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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hill talks shifted to May end ..

TT, Darjeeling, April 29: The next round of political-level talks between the Centre, state and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has been postponed to the end of May because of “important issues” presently under discussion in Parliament.
If the Union home ministry had stuck to the earlier deadline of May 14 — that had been set for the second round of political talks — there would have been no time for official-level discussion necessary as a precursor to the tripartite talks.
The last tripartite talks was held in Delhi on March 18.
Lt Gen. (retd) Vijay Madan, the interlocutor appointed by the Centre, in an interaction with The Telegraph, said over the phone from Delhi: “One more round of official-level talks is needed to sort out some contentious issues. Since Parliament is in session till May 7, the official-level talks will be held soon after on a mutually agreed date.”
Madan admitted that the political-level talks would in that case be pushed back by a few days. It could take place on May 25 but the date has not yet been fixed.
“Some very important issues are being discussed in Parliament… But we do not want to undermine the Gorkhaland issue. It is of much importance and the home ministry wants to fully focus on it and this can be done only after the session is over in Parliament,” said Madan.
After the March 18 tripartite talks, the Morcha participated in two more rounds of dialogue, one at the bureaucratic-level on March 29. The last meeting was with home minister P. Chidambaram on April 9. However, with the Morcha sticking to its stand to include the Nepali-dominated areas of the Dooars and the Terai in the proposed interim set-up and the state and the Centre opposed to the idea, the talks had not progressed much.
Morcha president Bimal Gurung has been currently addressing a series of meetings across the Darjeeling hills to spread the message that the party will not accept a set-up without the territories (read Dooars, Terai) it wants. Gurung had also conveyed the same message to Madan during their meeting at Dudhia in Kalimpong last week. Asked about the stalemate, Madan said: “My job is only to listen to the views of all parties concerned. If I have any view I can only express it before the home ministry. Various views are being attributed to me by the media but I have only once spoken on record recently.”
By “on record” Madan was referring to his conversation with The Telegraph where he had said the tripartite meetings would only involve the representatives of the Morcha, state and the central government. “The clarification was needed as it was getting crowded (with demands to be included in the talks),” he said.
The reference was to the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad that had demanded that the next round of tripartite talks should include the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes so that the views of the tribals living in the Dooars and Terai could be aired at the meeting.
During the first round of political talks, the Centre was represented by the minister of state for home affairs Ajay Maken and the Trinamul Congress minister of state for health Dinesh Trivedi. Siliguri MLA and municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya and health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra had represented the state.
Civic protest
TT, Siliguri, April 29: The DYFI today submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate of Darjeeling, demanding the immediate transfer of the subdivisional officer of Siliguri, while its parent body, the CPM, asked the mayor to step down as she was elected to the post with Left support.
This morning, about 300 DYFI supporters shouted slogans against SDO Rajat Saini on his office premises, accusing him of ordering the lathicharge to disperse CPM members picketing in front of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation during the 12-hour Left strike on Tuesday. They also took out a rally from Hill Cart Road to the SDO office before submitting the memorandum to the additional district magistrate of Siliguri.
“We demand steps against the SDO and N.C. Das, the police inspector who led the lathicharge, and a thorough inquiry on the attack on our supporters and councillors,” said Shankar Ghosh, the Darjeeling district DYFI secretary.
Tapan Burman, the ADM of Siliguri, said: “I will forward it to the DM. I have also assured them of an inquiry.”
State committee member of the CPM Jibesh Sarkar said they had extended support to mayor Gangotri Dutta after a request from the Congress. “On March 30, the present Congress-led board joined hands with the Trinamul Congress. Now we demand that she should resign on ethical ground and get re-elected.”
Manmohan Singh, PM of India met Shri Madhav Kumar Nepal Nepali Prime Minister and HM Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck,King of Bhutan at the bilateral meeting, on the sidelines of SAARC Summit, in Thimphu, Bhutan on April 29, 2010. (Pix:PIB)
Bhutan agrees to bilateral talks
Bhutan has agreed to resume ministerial level bilateral talks with Nepal to discuss on the issue of  its citizens who are languishing as refugees in Nepal, according to Kuenselonline.  During a short meeting with the Nepalese PM, Madhav Kumar Nepal yesterday in Thimpu, Prime minister of Bhutan, Jigme Y. Thinley expressed Bhutan’s willingness to put an end to the  refugee problem through bilateral dialogue between these two neighbors.
There has not been any official talks between them after fifteen rounds of Nepal-Bhutan ministerial level dialogues that were held in different times in the past failed to find a concrete solution to the refugee crisis.
More than one hundred thousand Bhutanese citizens of Nepali ethnicity had been living in seven UNHCR administered refugee camps in Jhapa and Morang district in Eastern Nepal, out of which Thirty thousand have so far been resettled in western countries including the United States, Australia among others. Lately the UK also has expressed its willingness to resettle at least one thousand Bhutanese in its land with in this year.
Sources say that during the meeting, Mr. Nepal also  requested the  government of Bhutan to repatriate the remaining refugees in the camps.
At a separate press conference in Thimpu, Bhutanese  Minister in-charge of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Khandu Wangchuk said that the Bhutanese refugee problem is a bilateral issue and that both the governments have to work together to find a lasting solution. “This is a difficult problem and we are constantly discussing all options and we will continue to talk”, Wangchuk said in response to a  query of an American journalist on Tuesday. shared by
Unemployment hits Pittsburgh- 50 Bhutanese laid off
Bhutanese at lunch break at Quality Driven Copack/post gazette
Bhanu Phuyel, Pittsburgh, Bhutanusa. com : “Having trouble finding a job in other states, you might give Pennsylvania a try”  this has been a popular saying among the Bhutanese resettled in different parts of the United States since the  employment situation of this state is said to be comparatively better. Dreaming for an entry level job to survive in this dire economic condition, Bhutanese refugees who were relocated in different US states are moving to Pennsylvania, particularly Pittsburgh.  But, this ‘Keystone State’ is no more a  favorable destination for us now.
Though the  Pennsylvania Department of Labor and  Industry recently brought forth a report saying  there was a healthy employment growth in the first quarter of the year, 2010, yet, the unemployment rate has  swelled up one tenth of a percentage point to 9% in March this year. As a consequence,  stories of more and more lay-off have frustrated the residents, especially the newly resettled Bhutanese.
Quality Driven Copack, a  food-packing plant factory nestled on a small hill in North Charleroi, a producer of breakfast sandwiches, chicken patties and other frozen foods had  employed more than 80 Bhutanese refugees some  2 months ago through a staffing agency called “Taste of Asia, LLC”.
About 50 families moved to Charleroi to get a  job in this company from different parts of USA, mostly from Idaho. Unfortunately,  50 of the Bhutanese working in the company were fired on April 26  without any reason. Many believe the company laid them off as the sales declined.
They came  here from other states with a prospect of finding a stepping stone and are now compelled to  stay idly at home. The time is hard for them to pay rent, buy food for their children and survive.
These days its very hard to find job even in Pittsburgh, the city that was included in the Top Ten  for job growth by Forbes in 2009. “I have been trying in different companies for a job, but still the situation doesn’t seem to be in my favor”, said a Bhutanese refugee in Pittsburgh who moved to this city from another state with his family a few months ago.” “The present job situation in other cities of PA might be good but not of Pittsburgh”, he added.
“If you are trying to move to this place hoping to find a job, please think twice before you make a decision”, another resettled Bhutanese in Pittsburgh said.
Cong and Trinamul to clash in 11 seats
TT, Siliguri, April 29: The Congress today announced candidates for all the 25 wards of the Jalpaiguri municipality, further alienating the Trinamul Congress that stuck to its demand for 11 seats.
As Trinamul has also declared that its 11 candidates will file nominations tomorrow, there is no room for an alliance.
“The only option left for the two parties is to reach a consensus in the next few days and withdraw the nominations accordingly by May 6 to ensure that there is only one candidate of either Trinamul or the Congress in each seat,” said a political observer.
Jalpaiguri district Congress president Biswaranjan Sarkar, along with the chairman of the civic body, Mohan Bose, and other leaders, announced the candidates’ list this afternoon. While 23 candidates will be contesting on the Congress symbol, the rest will be Independents backed by the party. They will be fielded in Wards 11 and 13.
“We had earnestly tried to clinch an electoral pact with Trinamul, but they kept on insisting that 11 seats be kept aside for them,” said Sarkar. “We had little option other than announcing the names for all the seats. We will be fielding Independents in Wards 11 and 13 based on the feedback we had received from the residents. All our candidates will file their nominations tomorrow.”
Chandan Bhowmik, the district secretary-general of Trinamul, while announcing the candidates, including four women, said: “We want to make it clear that Trinamul has a support base and at the same time, it is interested in forging an alliance with the Congress. That is why we have refrained from fielding candidates in all the seats.”
The observer said the Congress would face troubles in the other 14 wards also, though Trinamul has not fielded candidates in those seats. “It is not that the Congress candidates in the remaining wards can be sure of getting votes from Trinamul supporters as there will be an underlying resentment if no alliance is formed,” he said.
Sikkim soccer scheme pays dividends- ‘Search for more Bhaichungs’ yields 18 footballers in 10 yrs
Bijoy Gurung, TT, Gangtok, April 29: Soccer lovers here still remember October 2006 when two teenagers, Sanju Pradhan and Nirmal Chettri of the Sports Academy of Sikkim, ran riot during the Governor’s Gold Cup Football Tournament at the Paljor Stadium.
So sterling were the duo’s performance that then Air India coach Bimal Ghosh straightaway picked up right-winger Sanju and stopper Nirmal for his team. The two are now part of the Calcutta giant East Bengal playing alongside their idol Bhaichung Bhutia.
Sanju and Nirmal are also the products of a campaign named after the Indian football captain — Search for More Bhaichungs — launched by the Sikkim government on April 2, 1999.
The same year, the government also set up the Sports Hostel in South Sikkim’s Namchi to translate chief minister Pawan Chamling’s dreams of spotting more talented footballers in the state into reality.
Around 3,000 Under-14 players from across Sikkim had turned up for trials and of them, 30 best were inducted into the Namchi hostel to receive the state-sponsored coaching and education.
Sanju and Nirmal were among the first batch of the 30 shortlisted players who had graduated to the academy in Gangtok in 2006 for further training and higher education. They were replaced by another batch of U-14 children at the Namchi hostel to infuse more young blood and maintain the production line.
The batch at the academy practise daily at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok, while the junior players in Namchi do the drill at the Bhaichung Stadium in South Sikkim. After the morning workout, they march off to their respective schools.
As the Search for More Bhaichungs completes 10 years, the government’s two initiatives have contributed much to the state and Indian football. Besides Sanju and Nirmal, Ashish Chettri and Pema Thendup Sherpa are now playing for the Eastern Railway, Calcutta, Sanjay Chettri for the Leyang Club, Shillong and Bikash Jairu and Robing Gurung are with the ONGC, Mumbai. Few others have done stints with the Mohun Bagan SAIL Football Academy. Till date, at least six products of the scheme have represented India in the U-14, U-16 and the U-19 tournaments.
Bhaichung today is happy to see the success of the campaign. “It is a wonderful scheme and it’s doing and done some very good work,” he told The Telegraph. “Both Sanju and Nirmal are doing really well (in East Bengal) which gives the kids from Sikkim a lot of confidence that they too can play and make a good living from football.”
The Indian soccer captain, however, suggested proper grounds for initial practice. “The authorities should be more flexible in letting the kids go for better teams if the offer comes,” he said. “The coaches need to get more training from well-known academies from abroad or from trainers who have vast knowledge on youth development.”
Almost all the recruits hail from poor families and are assured of a career and education after being inducted into the academy and the hostel.
The academy’s chief coach, Hangu Norden Lepcha, said: “The most important part of the scheme is that since its inception 18 players have been inducted either with clubs or have been employed by the navy, air force, army and police on sports quota. We are like a factory, producing players.” He is helped by Milan Singh and warden Suresh Mukhia.
“During selection, we look for the inborn talent and natural skills. Anybody can juggle a ball after some practice but we look for those who have the vision and the good positioning skills,” said Thupden Rapgyal Bhutia, the deputy director (coaching) of the state sports and youth affairs department. 
Varsity Registrar gets bail
TT, Siliguri, April 29: Dilip Sarkar, the suspended registrar of North Bengal University, appeared before additional chief judicial magistrate Amit Chakraborty today and secured an interim bail.
Sarkar got an anticipatory bail from Calcutta High Court on April 22 that had directed him to appear before the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) within four weeks. He has been charged with misappropriation of funds from the varsity’s confidential accounts. Sarkar has been asked to appear before the ACJM on May 13.
Tea meet
TT, Calcutta: The state government will meet the trade unions and planters’ associations of tea gardens on May 6 at Writers’ Buildings to discuss the demand for interm wage hike raised by the CPM-affiliated Co-ordination Committee of Tea Plantation Workers (CCTPW) and other trade unions. “The CCTPW has expressed its intention to go on an agitation in the gardens. They demand an interim wage hike. We will try and find a solution,” said state labour minister Anadi Sahu.
KalimNews: SDF candidates is elected in all the 47seats of Civic poll in Sikkim. Earlier it was elected uncontested in  44 seats and only in the 3 seats election was held. The counting of the poll was held yesterday in which 3 candidates of SDF were declared elected.
CRPF stationed at SD Library in Kalimpong moved yesterday for an unknown destination. It is yet uncertain whether they will be replaced by another company or they have moved for good.
Nepali diaspora and illegal immigration.

By RP Subba
This article was published in the Kathmandu Post in March 28, 1998. It is being reproduced here for further introspection.
Approximately six million Nepalese job hunters living in India, those working in South Asian countries and the Middle East and Nepalese living in Europe and United States called the Non-resident Nepalese (NRNs) constitute the ‘Nepali’ diaspora. These ‘Nepalese’ emigrants live outside under different arrangements. India, which is the largest destination, offers shelter as per treaty with Nepal, which provides reciprocal rights to citizens of either country to live and work in the other, except political rights. In other countries, they live under Nepalese visa and work permits issued by respective countries. HMG’s Labour Ministry permits Nepalese to go abroad through companies registered under the Foreign Employment Act to thirteen countries viz, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei, South Korea and Taiwan.

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