To contact us CLICK HERE
View Kalimpong News at
Citizen reporters may send photographs related to news with proper information to

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hill rivals clash..PhD on Gorkhaland.. GNLF, ABGL meeting with Centre

TT, Siliguri, April 14: Five supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and two GNLF members were injured in a clash at Putung Tea Estate in Mirik block last evening.
The injured Morcha supporters have been admitted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital and the others were given first aid at the Naxalbari Block Hospital, police said.
Today, both the outfits lodged complaints with Panighata police outpost. Nobody has been arrested.
The president of the Morcha’s Panighata branch committee, Tikaram Pradhan, said: “Around 7.30 in the evening yesterday, when our supporters were returning home after a meeting at Putung-Khaprail, at least 20 GNLF supporters attacked them with khukuri at the estate (about 40km from here). Raju Lepcha, Tikaram Gahatraj, Balkumar Khawas, Salim Biswakarma and Sarita Bhujel have been admitted to the medical college with injuries following the attack. Salim was later shifted to a Siliguri nursing home.”
Raju Pradhan, the Morcha assistant general secretary, has threatened to call a strike in Mirik block if the police failed to arrest within 12 hours the GNLF members involved in the attack.
Sources in the medical college said all the five had suffered external injuries. “We are keeping them under observation and their condition is stable,” Sudeb Sanyal, a surgeon, said.
Denying the charges, the GNLF accused the Morcha of raiding the houses of two of its supporters, Dhanbahadur Pradhan and Charan Pradhan, and trying to torch them. “When the local people protested, the Morcha activists fled. Following the attack, both of our supporters were injured and given first aid at the Naxalbari hospital. We have demanded immediate arrest of the Morcha men,” said Rajen Mukhia, the convener of the GNLF’s Terai branch.
The police have started investigations. “We are looking into both the complaints. Nobody has been arrested,” said Rakesh Singh, the subdivisional police officer of Kurseong.
1. PhD on Gorkhaland
KalimNews: Aninda Guha a Political Science student received PhD on Gorkhaland Agitation under University of North Bengal. He received the doctorate degree under Prof. Manas Chakraborty of NBU. Aninda is a lecturer of a college and part time teacher of an unrecognised school. His thesis focuses on the causes of the Gorkhaland agitation starting from 1907 till the agitation started by Bimal Gurung. He has tried to analyse the various causes of the agitation as deprivation from basic amenities and opportunities compared to other parts of the country. According to him some of the causes are Identity crisis of Gorkhas, violence against Gorkhas of Meghalaya, Problems arisen due to Indo-Nepal Treaty and Use of Nepali Language.
Three years hardwork of Aninda also gives some light in the agitation of CPI (Gorkhasthan), Gorkha League, Pranta Parishad and Subash Ghising. He had also analysed the fall of GNLF and revolt of Chhatrey Subba in his thesis. 
2.KalimNews: Dictat of GJMM to boycott Malbazar is not obeyed by Gorkhas of Jholung and Gorubathan area. People of both the areas were seen doing marketing and visiting Doctors at Mal bazar. Even some of the party workers and office bearers were seen defying the diktat. They said that we are hurt to hear about the incident but the decision is not a practical one. It is easy to preach than to practice and we have no other alternative. Our experience of last year confirms that it is foolish to issue such absurd decision, they said. 
3. Subhas Ghising is likely to meet Home Minister after his return from Myanmar. He will return next week and visit Delhi. He will be meeting the Home Ministry before the next meeting of Secretariat level which is fixed on 24th April.  On 22nd April ABGL Leader Madan Tamang is also meeting the Home ministry.
Battling the raging winds
TT, Raiganj, April 14: Suddenly, 55-year-old Khudiram Oraon found his daughter-in-law and her five-year-old son “blowing away”.
Waking up to the sound of thunder and crashing metal, Khudiram initially did not quite realise what was happening. Then within a few seconds, he knew that a huge storm was raging outside.
Peering around in the darkness of the his three-room mud house — it was close to midnight and he had gone to sleep a few hours earlier — he looked for his two daughters-in-law and their two children to see if they had woken up as well.
But before he could grope his way to the other two rooms, there was a sudden shudder and he looked up to see the tin roof of his house blowing away.
In the brief glare of the lightning that kept striking, he saw his daughters-in-law with their children cowering in the corners of the two rooms.
With the roof gone, the swirling winds kept striking down everything inside the small house, blowing away utensils and overturning the small table that had been kept in one of the rooms. Outside, he could see tin roofs floating around like falling leaves and trees getting uprooted from their roots.
Then suddenly, the wall of one of the rooms collapsed and one of his daughter-in-law, clutching her child quickly rolled away from the falling debris. “But I was shocked to see that the two of them just kept on rolling and not stopping,” said Khudiram, a farmer of a village in the Karandighi block of North Dinajpur who is now being treated for leg injuries at the district hospital in Raiganj. “It was then that I realised that they were being blown away by the wind.”
Khudiram rushed outside to stop the two of them. “The wind was so strong it was like I had hit a wall,” Khudiram said. “I had to struggle to edge my way forward, but I knew I had to make it or else the two of them would perish.”
Just as he was reaching out to the two a flying tin roof, blown away from one of the many huts in the village, hit him in his right leg. “I could not move after that, I knew I could not get up,” Khudiram said.
Fortunately for him, he saw his daughter-in-law and the grandchild hit a tree nearby and stop. Within a minute they got up and sat beneath the tree. The other woman by then had come out of the house with her child.
As Khudiram watched with relief, he fell unconscious. He later learnt that they had suffered only minor injuries. And then, about 15 minutes later, it started pouring. With the water hitting his face, Khudiram regained his senses a few minutes later and, with the help of some villagers, limped back to his home.
Shortly after the storm had settled — it lasted around 20 minutes — Khudiram’s two sons who were visiting a fair in another village returned home and rushed their father to the Karandighi block health centre. Told his wound was too serious to be treated there, they shifted him to the district hospital this morning where he recounted his experience. 
Hail hits brew belt, first flush & quality tea
TT, April 14: At least two gardens in the Dooars lost nearly 1 lakh kg of tealeaves each and five others lost a number of shade trees and bushes when a hailstorm hit Kalchini last night, different from the killer winds that raged through North Dinajpur but powerful enough to destroy the first flush and injure 10 persons.
At least 2,000 houses were damaged when the hailstones struck around 8.30pm, the second time in a month in the same block of Jalpaiguri district. The loss, according to initial estimates by the district administration, is Rs 2 crore.
Mechpara, Bhatpara, Chuapara, Chinchula, Bhatkhawa, Rajabhat and Satali tea estates have borne the maximum brunt.
Traffic on the Hasimara-Phuentsholing Road that connects NH31C with Bhutan via Jaigaon was disrupted since 9 last night as a number of trees lay on the road particularly near Dalsinghpara Tea Estate.
Trucks and other vehicles stood stranded, with locals trying to clear the way by chopping off tree trunks and branches. The vehicles, around 300 of them, started moving from 2pm.
“So far, I have received reports that 30 houses have been completely damaged and 500 partially. The estimated loss, as it seems, is not less than Rs.1.50 crore,” said Rajendra Raj Sundas, the BDO of Kalchini, 90km from Jalpaiguri town. At the Petrol Pump Line of Kalchini Tea Estate, a tree fell on the house of Sundarlal Singh.
He and his family members were brought out of the debris by neighbours. Two in his family suffered injuries on the head. Planters said it would take them at least two months to recover from the losses.
“In Mechpara, 2 lakh kg of tealeaves — first flush and of the best quality — and 60 per cent of the labour quarters have been damaged. It will take at least two months for the estate to recover,” said P.K. Bhattacharjee, the secretary of the Dooars Branch of the Indian Tea Association. “In Bhatpara, 80,000kg of tealeaves and 300 quarters were damaged while in Satali 400 hectares of plantation area have been affected by the storm.”
Ranjit Dutta, the secretary of the north Bengal branch of the Tea Association of India, said first the rain shortage and then the storm has hit production hard.
“This storm has only added to our woes and we are under the impression that the loss is bound to affect production in these tea estates and the industry as a whole.”
The tin roofs of the Union Academy Girls’ High School and the teachers’ quarters and the Hindi High School have been blown away. The quarters of the block medical officer of health in Kalchini is also roofless. The block has been going without electricity and water since last night.
Car crash
The remains of the car Picture by Main Uddin Chisti.Four persons were killed and one was seriously injured when the car they were travelling in rammed into a roadside tree after the driver lost control of the vehicle in torrential rain at Kanthaltala in Cooch Behar on Wednesday morning.
Cooch Behar police said while Nikhil Debnath, 28, Manik Seal, 29, Subhankar Dey, 29, and Tanmay Das died on the spot, Rajat Roy was fighting for his life in hospital.
Bamboo and sky shelter homeless
TT, Raiganj, April 14: Altaf Ali huddles in the middle of a small kutcha pathway that divides plots of agricultural land in Bazargaon II gram panchayat of Karandighi block, along with hundreds of others rendered homeless by last night’s storm.
Along with him are his elderly parents, wife and his minor son and daughter. Still shocked at having his mud hut completely destroyed, Altaf faces an uncertain future.
“We managed to salvage some clothes and a few mattresses, but they are still damp. We will have to spend the night under the open sky. A relative had asked us to stay in his hut that is still standing, but I am not willing to take the risk. The skies are still cloudy and the air is damp, there could be another storm tonight,” said Altaf.
The farmer, who grows brinjal on a small plot of land, today sent whatever crop he could collect after the calamity to the market in Raiganj through a middleman. “He returned with Rs 150 and we bought some puffed rice to eat,” said the farmer.
While some of the affected people chose to stay out in the open, there were others like Nikhil Barman, who took shelter in a bamboo grove in Maharaja, about 22km from Raiganj.
“The storm has levelled my house and I and many others find it safe to stay in the bamboo grove and not under a tree. Bamboo is strong and will not succumb to strong winds, unlike trees that came crashing down around us last night,” he said.
Seething in rage and frustration at no help coming, Nikhil said if he and the others did not get tarpaulin sheets from the panchayats by evening, they would break into a nearby primary school.
Abdul Latif, a corn farmer, and his family of four, were among the homeless. Left with no other option, Latif today leased the crop on his 1.5 acre land to a local money-lender.
“I leased the crop to him for Rs 400 so that we can survive for a while on our own. The money-lender can sell the crop when it matures, though nearly half of the corn stalks were damaged in the storm,” Latif said.
Still awaiting relief, Latif had made a makeshift shelter for his two children with the canopy of his bullock cart.
The pradhan of Bazargaon II panchayat, Sukumar Singha, said more than 20,000 houses had been completely damaged in Karandighi block and there were only 1,200 tarpaulin sheets to be distributed. “We are sure to incur the wrath of the homeless if we show up with so little relief. We are waiting for more sheets.”
Storm rips before alarm ringsRadar too far, response too slow
                                                            G.S.Midur,TT, New Delhi, April 14: Bengal found itself handicapped when a thunderstorm — neither a Nor’wester nor a cyclone but an intense weather event born over the plains of Bihar — struck Bengal on Tuesday night.
A few minutes past 11pm, Calcutta meteorologist Devendra Pradhan received an alert from his staff saying the Doppler weather radar on the 15th floor of the New Secretariat building had detected signatures of a severe thunderstorm beyond Malda.
But Pradhan had no information to predict the severity of the storm. Nor was he aware of any mechanism to reach out to the state authorities to communicate a warning that late.
Along the border of Bihar and Bengal, while Pradhan wondered about what he could do, the thunderstorm matured and dissipated its energy with devastating fury that claimed over 110 lives.
“The storm lasted about 90 minutes — and its most intense phase may have been much shorter, perhaps less than 30 minutes,” said Pradhan, a senior scientist at the weather radar station in Calcutta.
Scientists say the Calcutta radar was too far away for meaningful predictions to be made in the available time. An India Meteorological Department (IMD) project to install weather surveillance radars at several sites across the country, including Malda in Bengal, has been dogged by delays.
“A weather radar in Malda would have been within 100km of the severe thunderstorm,” said Pradhan. “We could have picked up early warning signatures 45 minutes earlier.”
The IMD was to have installed weather radars in 12 cities during the first phase of the modernisation project approved in December 2007 and scheduled for completion by March 2010. But only a single radar has been installed in Delhi, and even that is yet to become operational.
IMD director-general Ajit Tyagi told The Telegraph that one of the reasons for the delay was that civil structures for the radars had not been completed by public works departments. “In any case, Malda was to get a radar in the second phase — over the next two years,” he added.
But meteorologists point out that even with advance warnings, the mechanisms to assess the possible impacts of such thunderstorms and carry actionable warnings to the people are weak.
Along India’s coastline, the IMD has set up a satellite-based disaster warning network that connects it with district authorities and local communities — always considered at risk of cyclones from the sea.
Any prediction about likely impacts of a severe thunderstorm would require information about vulnerability of local populations — their homes and structures around them — according to meteorologists. They say storm features need to be combined with ground information — population density, the predominant type of housing and terrain — to predict impacts.
“We also need a mechanism to quickly convey information to state officials, whether it is daytime or night,” Pradhan said.
Weather scientists said the Bengal thunderstorm probably produced either a tornado or an intense downburst — both of which are associated with high-speed and potentially destructive winds. “The wind speeds can reach 100km to 120km,” a meteorologist said.
They said the Calcutta radar was too far for them to determine whether the storm had generated a tornado with a typical vortex wind flow, or a U-shaped flow of a downburst.
“Whether it was a tornado or a downburst, it would have lasted 10-30 minutes,” Pradhan said.

No comments:

Post a Comment