Tuesday, October 30, 2007
RANGPO WINTER CAMP AWAITS THE NEW SIKKIM GOVERNOR
RANGPO, October 29: This sleepy little border town may be well-known for the booze shops and mid-journey stopovers for that hot plate of momos or Aloo-puris, but in the past few years, the locals have something else to be proud of.
Former Governor V Rama Rao, during his tenure in Sikkim, made this town his second home after the Raj Bhawan in Gangtok. The Andhra-bred and brought up Mr. Rao, given his age, could not tolerate the low temperatures at the Raj Bhawan, located much high above the Capital. The logical step was to shift base during the cold winter months-much like what the Britishers would do during the old days of the Raj.
Rangpo became the choice, given its strategic location-close proximity to Gangtok-about an hour’s drive, and along the National Highway 31A. And of course, the pleasant warm weather.
The old Dak Bungalow was soon converted into a temporary base with all needed infrastructure and security requirements in place. The place was spruced up to suit a Governor’s stay and named Winter Camp.
It may have been Mr. Rao’s compulsion to stay at Rangpo Winter Camp for four months every year during his five year tenure due, the people of this town took great pride to host the Governor and generally kept themselves busy by meeting him at several occasions. “For a Governor staying in this town was like having a second Raj Bhawan here. It was like a mini capital after Gangtok during the former Governor’s stay. We were very happy as this gave us the opportunity to meet the Governor every now and then and also gave this place a lot of importance as VIPs would make several stopovers here,” says a local businessman.
Now that Mr. Rao has been preceded by the new Governor, Sudarshan Agarwal, the residents are hopeful that the new Governor would too continue with the tradition and stay in the Winter Camp.