Sikkim saw emergence of new Opposition party in 2013
Gangtok: The year 2013 saw emergence of a new Opposition party in Sikkim, rise in cases of sexual assault on minors and tourism suffering because of agitations.
After a fourth consecutive term in power, the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front led by PK Chamling faced a challenging Opposition in the form of rebel MLA and Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) supremo PS Goley, who officially resigned from the ruling party in October.
The youth leader, a three-time former minister, was also a founding member of the SDF. He alleged the Chief Minister of high-handedness in running the government and indulging in corruption.
Another event which hit the headlines this year was the baton-charge by Sikkim Police on SKM supporters at its office on the date of its opening.
Many SKM supporters had to be hospitalised after which they were arrested and sent to judicial custody. The police action took place following orders of an IGP of Sikkim Police after a mineral water bottle was hurled at the Chief Minister`s convoy that was passing through the area where the SKM party office had been inaugurated.
A large number of suicides also made front page news this year with eight cases of child molestation and sexual offences on minors from rural areas registered with the Child Protection and Welfare Board.
Tourism also suffered a great deal this year as GNLF`s statehood demand movement shut down neighboring Darjeeling and West Bengal Hills for over 40 days.
The advisories by different foreign embassies suggesting avoiding Darjeeling and Sikkim areas also hampered tourism in Sikkim this year.
"Pretty Women" star Richard Gere was on a five-day trip to Sikkim in April. He is said to have attended a close friend`s wedding in Gangtok.
The National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) during the year reported to the Union Environment and Forests Ministry that several hydroelectric projects in Sikkim were coming up on the Teesta river basin without mandatory wildlife clearance, flouting Supreme Court orders.
The 1st Sikkim Scouts Battalion was also raised. This new battalion will form part of 11 Gorkha Rifles and will be raised at 11 GRRC, Lucknow.
The year ended on a religious note with the Maiteriya Buddha World Relic tour coming to Sikkim in November. Thousands of devotees from far and wide culminated at Tsuklakhang Monastery in the palace complex where a weeklong exposition was organised for the devotees. The relics reached Sikkim after touring 64 countries.
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