Tuesday, Feb 13, 2024 10:15 [IST]

Last Update: Tuesday, Feb 13, 2024 04:36 [IST]

Urgent Call for Stricter Regulations on Tambola Games in Sikkim

Mani Kumar Chettri PhD scholar, Sikkim University


I am writing to bring to attention an issue that has become a significant concern for our community in Sikkim – the widespread playing of Tambola. While some find enjoyment in this game, its pervasive nature has introduced several problems that cannot be overlooked. The game is played indiscriminately across various public spaces such as near schools, parks, residential areas, marketplaces, and parking lots. This not only disrupts the peace of these areas but also subject residents and visitors to unsuitable and loud expressions that are far from pleasant.

The disturbance caused by these games is particularly concerning for those in need of a quiet environment, including the sick, students, and anyone seeking tranquility. Despite efforts by the Urban Development Department, Govt. of Sikkim, through the issuance of notification No: 220/UDD/2022, which restricts playing hours from 11 AM to 4 PM, adherence has been disappointingly poor. This was tragically illustrated recently when a Tambola game, held well beyond the permitted hours at around 7:13 PM, escalated into a devastating incident in Ranipool.

This unfortunate event should serve as a wake-up call. We need to establish strict guidelines and regulations for playing Tambola. It is imperative that this game be confined to isolated, designated areas away from schools, marketplaces, and residential zones. In the event that banning it outright is not feasible, imposing a prize limit of 50,000 or less could potentially reduce the gatherings, mitigating the risk without compromising the fun aspect of the game.

It's crucial to clarify that the blame does not lie with the individuals who partake in Tambola but rather with the lack of stringent regulation and oversight that has led to such tragic outcomes. Designating specific areas for Tambola would significantly decrease the chance of future accidents, ensuring that public spaces remain safe and serene for everyone.

I urge the concerned department to revisit and revise the existing notification, implementing stricter, more clearly defined rules to govern the playing of Tambola. Our priority should be the well-being and safety of our community members, especially the vulnerable such as students, patients, and the elderly. Furthermore, we must remember those who have been adversely affected or lost their lives due to related incidents, and let their memory guide us towards making positive, impactful changes.

Let us all come together to address this issue promptly and efficiently, ensuring that Sikkim remains a peaceful and safe place for its residents and visitors alike.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi