People sit in an outdoor plaza in Gangtok, Sikkim (Representational image)
People sit in an outdoor plaza in Gangtok, Sikkim (Representational image) | Prashanth Vishwanathan | Bloomberg
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New Delhi: The long-delayed project of rail connectivity to Sikkim is likely to be completed by the end of 2022, officials of the Northeast Frontier Railway have said.

The foundation stone for the rail network was laid in 2009 when Mamata Banerjee was the railways minister but little work had been done.

Sikkim is the only Northeastern state which is not connected to a rail network. NH10 is the only road that connects the state with the rest of the country.

The new rail line will be from Sevoke in West Bengal to Rangpo in Sikkim, a distance of 45 km. The tracks will cover 13 bridges and 14 tunnels, with stations in Rangpo, Ryang, Teestabazar and Melli. The rail project will cost Rs 1,339 crore, of which Rs 607 crore has already been sanctioned in the current fiscal.

The need for a railway line in Sikkim, which is situated near the India-China border, had gained momentum after the Doklam stand-off in 2017 and the recent clashes in Ladakh. Nathula in East Sikkim, which also borders China, is only 56 kilometres away from capital Gangtok.

Work on the broad-gauge railway line has been hit in the past few months owing to difficulties in transportation of labour and equipment due to the pandemic-induced lockdown.

Also read: The sordid underbelly of ‘golden state’ Sikkim — it’s India’s suicide capital

Arunachal legislator wants China to share hydrological data on Siang river

Ninong Ering, Arunachal Pradesh’s Pasighat West MLA, has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that a reminder be sent to China for resumption of the sharing of hydrological data on river Siang.

Siang originates in Tibet and flows through Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. It is known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet and the Brahmaputra in Assam.

In his letter, which was sent Thursday, Ering said information on the river had stopped coming two years ago.

The Siang has become a threat for the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, Ering said, after a recent series of earthquakes had created a natural dam across the Yigong Tsangpo, one of the major tributaries of Yarlung Tsangpo.

“The floods in Arunachal, Assam and other states of India have been very devastating this time, and if this dam bursts during this monsoon season, then the downstream would be tenuous,” Ering further said.

Suicide, physical violence feature in Class 4 grammar book in Nagaland

An English grammar textbook for Class 4, recommended by various schools in Nagaland, was found to have some disturbing sentences.

Called ‘An Easy Approach to Grammar and Composition’, the book has sentences such as “The lady hanged herself from the fan” and “Neena teased me and I slapped her”.

The matter was brought to light by a private tutor, Chuilei Wangnao, when one of her student read the sentences aloud in class.

Nellayappan, assistant director of school education in Nagaland, reportedly said that the state’s education department was not aware of this particular textbook in use. He also said that private schools in the state use textbooks of various publications, even though their contents are the same.

“We don’t have a regulation that all schools should follow a particular publication,” he said.

Also read: Mother tongue rule to apply ‘wherever possible’ — Pokhriyal says NEP understands diversity

Clamour grows to make Khasi and Garo compulsory till Class 5 in Meghalaya

The Meghalaya BJP has asked the state government to make Khasi and Garo, the two main languages in the state, compulsory till Class 5. The matter was raised at a meeting held by the party to discuss the New Education Policy (NEP).

It has also asked the government to bring all schools, whether they are run by the government, private authority, religious or social organisations, under the purview of NEP.

Meanwhile, Vincent H. Pala, a Lok Sabha MP from Shillong, has also asked the central government to include Khasi and Garo in the list of second language options in the Central Board of Secondary Education curriculum.

Pala has said that even though languages such as Mizo and Tangkhul, spoken by a small population, are included in the CBSE’s list, the two languages from Meghalaya are not.

Mizoram governor pens 13 books during lockdown, including an anthology of poems

Mizoram Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai has written 13 books, both in English and Malayalam, in the four months since lockdown was announced. His literature includes poetry collections.

Talking about his daily schedule during the lockdown, Pillai said, “I used to wake up early in the morning at 4 am and start reading and writing after exercise. During the day I sat in my reading room after my official work. This has become a usual practice.”

Pillai, who took to writing more than three decades ago, had his first book published in 1983. Prior to becoming the governor, he had published 105 books. So far, he has written around 121 books under different categories.

Also read: Remotest Arunachal tehsil, with a motorable road 157 km away, gets 2G connectivity


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