Sikkim Year-Ender: Events that made headlines in 2020
By Nitesh R Pradhan
Sikkim witnessed a turbulent turn of events this year despite the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
Here is the list of important happenings in the Himalayan state:
Premkit Lepcha, a tribal girl from remote Dzongu in North Sikkim, was sworn in as the Prime Minister of National Inclusive Parliament of Children (NIPC) on February 3. She was given the additional charge as Minister of Industry, innovation and infrastructure, one of the Sustainable development goals.
Three persons died on the spot after an SUV carrying tourists fell in a river after being hit by a boulder, leaving seven others injured in East Sikkim district on March 10. The incident took place when the vehicle was hit by a rolling boulder from the hillside in the Rongli police station area.
24-year-old Manila Pradhan from Namchi, South Sikkim was crowned the winner of the popular show the MTV Supermodel of the Year 2020 (Part IV) which was announced on March 15.
Sikkim insulated itself from the first few months of COVID induced lockdown. However, the state could not sustain the momentum and later, the state witnessed a surge in cases of Coronavirus, leading to a health emergency in the Himalayan state.
Sikkim reported its first COVID-19 case on May 23 after a 25-year-old, who had arrived in Sikkim on May 17, was tested positive for the virus.
Ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) party took strong exception to a fake picture of the Health Minister, MK Sharma and the victims of the Singtam fire tragedy, uploaded on social media platforms in June this year.
The original picture reportedly showed an image of the victims of the recent fire tragedy at Singtam Bazar holding a cheque which was handed over to them by the government as a relief.
A 20-year-old girl was stabbed to death by an unknown miscreant at Tikjek in Geyzing, West Sikkim on August 10. According to sources, the young lady had gone to Geyzing Bazar to apply for admission to a college and on her way back home, she was attacked by the miscreant.
Three siblings were washed away by the strong current of the Bakcha Khola river at Dikchu, in Sikkim on August 29. The siblings include Purna Rai (29), Chandra Rai (28), and Erika Rai (22).
Ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) party on September 19 inducted many Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs, including state President DB Chauhan into the state government with various plum positions in state administration.
BJP President DB Chauhan said that the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance has become stronger after Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang included the State BJP in the government.
A protest led by members of the Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum (SPYF) against the government’s decision to raise taxi fares took an ugly turn when protestors clashed with taxi driver associations in Gangtok leading to some tense moments on October 24.
They demand to remove restrictions in transportation, allowing pillion riders in two-wheelers and, permission to run the state’s SNT buses without increasing the rates. The protest was diffused when the two warring parties compromised after the intervention of the district administration.
The Northeastern State of Sikkim was ranked fourth place in Best Governed State on the Public Affairs Index 2020 (PAI 2020). The fifth consecutive annual edition of PAI 2020 was launched on October 30 in a virtual event.
Two persons were killed and three others injured after they were hit by a speeding vehicle near Ranipool Bazar in East Sikkim on November 1. The speeding vehicle first hit three persons near 6th Mile before fatally knocking down two more persons near Ranipool Bazar. The driver of the utility vehicle was arrested and booked on charges of rash driving.
Former Sikkim Chief Minister Sanchaman Limboo passed away on November 8 after a prolonged illness at Sir Thutob Namgyal Memorial (STNM) Hospital in Gangtok. He was 73. Limboo was the fourth Chief Minister of Sikkim.
He was Chief Minister in Sikkim for 179 Days (June 17, 1994, to December 12, 1994) in the fourth assembly when he formed a Congress Government in the state which lasted for six months.
Neurosurgery was successfully performed for the first time at Sir Thutob Namgyal Memorial (STNM) Hospital in Sikkim’s capital city of Gangtok on November 29.
Pakyong Police Station in Sikkim’s East District ranked seventh among the top ten best-performing police stations in the country according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, which was released on December 3.
The survey graded the police stations according to their performance and the feedback from the citizens.
Sikkim was adjudged the best performing small state in two categories - “cleanliness” and “most improved small state in governance” in the India Today e-State of the States Conclave 2020, which was held virtually on December 5.
Sikkim police on December 18, busted a drug consignment worth ₹14 lakh, from Samdong in East Sikkim. Police sources informed that a sub-inspector was one of the key facilitators in bringing drugs to the state, along with four other peddlers.
Four persons, including three Army personnel, were killed on December 20 in a road accident near the Sino-India border at Nathula. Three soldiers and the son of an Army man died on the spot and, another soldier suffered injuries in the incident, the officer said.
(Edited by Laxmi Chyrmang)