Sikkim model village, built to rehabilitate homeless, has been a ghost town for 20 years

Snippets from the vibrant Northeast that capture politics, culture, society and more in the eight states.

Sikkim's Yuksom town where the model village is located | Wikimedia commons
Sikkim's Yuksom town where the model village is located | Wikimedia commons

New Delhi: A model village that was set up in Middle Chongrang under Yuksom-Tashiding constituency in Sikkim has been lying uninhabited for 20 years now. The cluster of 25 houses was built by the then Sikkim Democratic Front-led government to rehabilitate the landless and homeless people.

Lack of maintenance for two decades have threatened to now destroy the houses. The roofs have started to rust and the houses are surrounded by weeds and thick grass. Many of the structures have also become a den for stray dogs and other wild animals.

“The public property that is falling apart due to ignorance and lack of maintenance could be renovated for other innovative public welfare initiatives. The infrastructure can be revamped and utilised for other useful purposes. Leaving the public infrastructure to rot or decay gradually will result in complete waste of money and loss of public property,” a local identified as Deven Kaushik has been quoted as saying.

Manipur artist with no formal training sells painting for Rs 3.74 lakh at foreign exhibition

Zamminlun Singson, 23, from Manipur’s Churachandpur district has achieved success that many experienced artists in India only dream of. Singson recently sold one of his paintings at the Taipei International Art Exhibition for Rs 3.74 lakh and also went on to win the 2020 International Artist Grand Prize Competition in Taiwan.

This young artist, however, has never stepped foot inside an art school or college. He is  self-taught and learnt only from “Google University”.

The painting that Singson, who lives in Sumtukphai village of Manipur, sold for over Rs 3 lakh is titled ‘Peaceful Smile’. It is a pencil painting of a smiling girl whose face is drenched.

Singson has been quoted as saying that he began taking his craft seriously only last year, and slowly transformed his hobby into a thriving career. He has since participated in various exhibitions in Delhi, Mumbai and Goa.

He also said marketing and “finding the right platform” were the most challenging part for artists since they have to promote and also sell their work.

Syeda Anwara Taimur, Assam’s only woman CM so far, dies

Syeda Anwara Taimur, Assam’s only woman chief minister, died earlier this week in Australia due to a cardiac arrest. She was 83 at the time of her death.

Taimur, then part of the Congress, had helmed the state from 6 December 1980 to 30 June 1981, during the peak of the anti-foreigner agitation. Her term ended when the state was put under President’s rule for six months in 1981.

A four-time MLA, she was a minister in Assam twice and was also a two-time Rajya Sabha MP (nominated in 1988 and elected in 2004). She later joined the All India United Democratic Front in 2011.

In 2018, Taimur’s name was missing from the National Register of Citizens in Assam.

Nagaland villagers’ crowd-funding campaign to build bridge

Residents of two villages in Nagaland — Pongching and Mongtikong — have come together to start a fundraising campaign to build a bridge over the Dikhu river. It has been eight years since the foundation stone for construction of an RCC bridge over the river was laid by the state government, but there has been no activity so far.

The villagers have been using a temporary wooden bridge they had built to travel across the river along the Longleng-Chuchuyimlang-Mokukchung road.

They have now formed a committee to oversee the construction of a bridge by raising money through crowd-funding. Kongba Chungphang, the convenor of this committee, said the state government has “ignored the project although the route is important for the people”.

“If the government fails on its part to construct the bridge, we the public have decided to go on our own with the support of well-wishers; and we want to let the government realise that this bridge is very important for the people in the area,” Chungphang added.

Also read: This single mom from Assam delivers parcels, and some hope in Nagaland