DISTRICT AT A GLANCE
Gangtok is a bustling, friendly hill station and the capital of the state and well as the district headquarter of the East district. Geographically, East district occupies the south-east corner of the state. East district is surrounded by North District in the Northern side and South & West districts in the western side. East district occupies an area of 964 km² and is the second smallest district area wise in the state. It is located at topographical location of Latitude – 27º 25’ North to 27º11’ North and Longitude – 88º 53’ East to 88º26’ 10” East. The District is considered to be a very sensitive area sharing boarder with People’s Republic of China and Bhutan. It is the hub of all state level administrative activity too.
Not much is known about the early history of the East District. A very little whatever we get from different sources gives a glimpse of beginning which takes us back to the time of the construction of the hermitic Gangtok monastery in 1716. Gangtok remained a small hamlet until the construction of the Enchey Monastry. The construction of Enchey monastry in 1840 made Gangtok a pilgrimage center. Gangtok came into importance after an English conquest in mid 19th century in response to a hostage crisis. After the defeat of the Tibetans by the British, Gangtok became a major stopover in the trade between Tibet and British India at the end of the 19th century.Most of the roads in the area were built during this time.
In 1894, Thutob Namgyal , the Chogyal (king) of Sikkim, shifted the capital from Tumlong to Gangtok, increasing the city’s importance. East district became the centre for all administrative and social activities with shifting of capital . A new grand palace along with other state buildings was built in the new capital. Following India’s independence in 1947, Sikkim became a nation-state with Gangtok as its capital. Sikkim came under the suzerainty of India, with the condition that it would retain its independence, by the treaty signed between the Chogyal (King of Sikkim) and the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. This pact gave the India control of external affairs of Sikkim. Trade between India and Tibet continued to flourish through the Nathula and Jelepla passes , offshoots of the ancient Silk Road near Gangtok. These border passes were sealed after the Sino- Indian War in 1962, and the trade came to a halt. The Nathula pass was finally opened for limited trade in 2006, fuelling hopes of economic boom.
In 1975, after years of political uncertainty and struggle, including riots, the monarchy was abrogated and Sikkim became India’s twenty-second state, with Gangtok as its capital after a referendum.
The communication system in the district has gained in a rapid pace for the last few years. BSNL in the district has taken appreciable efforts in making district as a model telecom state having the highest tele-density, widest coverage of telecom facilities, providing indirect employment to the youth through cyber cafe and STD/ISD booth, providing telecom facilities in remote corner of the district laying optical fiber cable in the most difficult terrain of the country against the minimum telecom facilities some years back. There has been induction of all the new technology equipment internet node in all the district headquarters at sufficient speed. Optical fiber in almost all the telephone exchanges coverage area of telecommunication to the remote villages, very less STD ISD rates, timely billing and customer care has really given an impetuous in development of business, education efficiency of the employees, convenience to people of the district and it is really giving boost to the tourism in the state of Sikkim and it has really given boost to the tourism in the district. In addition to landlines BSNL has also provided mobile and WLL services. Other Servic
e Providers namely Reliance, Vodafone, Airtel, Tata Indicom, Aircel are also active in the state. There are 20 telephone Exchanges in the East district (Source BSNL).