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

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Deaths in Khasi-Nepali clash

TT, Shillong/Guwahati, May 14: At least two persons were killed today when Assam police opened fire after a clash between two groups at Langpih (Lampi in Assam) on the Assam-Meghalaya border.
Unconfirmed reports put the toll at seven.
K.P. Pangniang, a member of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council, told reporters in Shillong: “An altercation broke out between Khasis and Nepalis around 11.30am. As the skirmish snowballed, the Nepalis went to an Assam police camp. The personnel fired indiscriminately for 30 minutes.”
Pangniang said seven people were killed. He named five of the dead as Dismus Rani, Columbus Hujon, Charles Lyngkhoi, Detrus Nongsiej and Bring. “A man is still lying inside the boundary of the Assam police camp and a schoolgirl died after she was allegedly taken inside the camp,” he said.
But Kamrup police chief Partha Sarathi Mahanta said two persons had died. 
Tourists stranded on way to hills
TT, Siliguri, May 14: Over 2,000 tourists and local people were stranded in New Jalpaiguri station and Bagdogra airport on the first day of a rash of bandhs in the hills and plains of north Bengal today.
Many tourists, mainly foreigners, were caught unawares. “We did not have any clue about today’s strike. It seems we have to wait at least till the evening to get out of here. We are desperate to reach Sikkim by tonight because if we travel tomorrow morning, we may be stopped by the agitators,” said Glen McCarthy, an Australian, who had flown in from Calcutta.
With hardly any vehicles plying and taxi drivers sitting around at New Jalpaiguri station or at the airport throughout the day, passengers were forced to wait for hours. After 4.30pm, some drivers agreed to bring out their vehicles.
Today’s strike, called by the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee, will be followed by a two-day shutdown in the hills from tomorrow by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has threatened to call a bandh for three more days from May 17. The Morcha has announced a 10-day strike from June 12.
A few visitors managed to make it to Darjeeling early in the morning. But those coming down from the hills had to face problems as their vehicles dropped them off either at Sukna on NH55 or at Salugara on NH31. They had to walk at least 5km to reach Siliguri town.
Sikkim fears early season death Blow not to be limited to Darjeeling: Tour operators
TT, Gangtok, May 14: The coffers may be ringing for the time being as spurred by the weekend bandh in Darjeeling tourists made a beeline for Sikkim, but tour operators fear that the tourism season will come to a premature end.
The 10-day bandh of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha next month, they apprehend, will bring an early end to the tourist season not only in Darjeeling, but also in Sikkim.
“There has been some immediate impacts as a percent of tourists has started contacting tour operators (to know more about the strike) and some have already cancelled their trips. But the 10-day strike in the neighbouring Darjeeling hills in June is the most worrying factor here,” said a tour operator.
The general secretary of the Travel Agents’ Association of Sikkim, Lokendra Rasailly, said in the 10-day bandh, the foreign tourists would be most affected, as they would have connecting flights to take them back home.
“Tourists are also contacting the tour operators seeking a diversion or postponement. Diversion of tourists is very difficult as we have limited places as far as Sikkim and the Darjeeling region are concerned,” said Rasailly. The Northeast is a different route and Nepal is also disturbed, he said.
The immediate worry for Sikkim is NH31A, which has often been held hostage by protesters in neighbouring Bengal. People here fear that the two-day strike from tomorrow by the Morcha will hit Sikkim-bound traffic as well.
The Supreme Court had in a response to a petition asked the Centre and the Bengal government to ensure that the highway remained free of blockades. But though the Morcha had, after the court intervention, said the highway would be outside the purview of its agitation, there have been frequent incidents of stone throwing on vehicle plying the road during strikes called by the party. Most of the vehicles were forced to return to Gangtok.
But district collector (East) D. Anandan said he had been assured by his Darjeeling counterpart that the highway would remain open this time.
“The Darjeeling DM told me that NH31A would remain open during the two-day strike. I was told that the highway was out of purview of the strike,” said Anandan. “What actually happens, we have to wait and observe tomorrow. We will also be in constant touch with the Darjeeling administration over the status of the national highway during the bandh period,” he added.
The strategy of “wait and watch”, however, depends on whether taxi and truck drivers are willing to ply the 114-km NH31A, a major part of which falls under the Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling district.
Sikkim is currently enjoying a bumper season with almost all the 600 small and large hotels in Gangtok and tourism packages booked till June 30, said Rasailly.
Figures provided by the tourism department said around 60,500 domestic tourists visited Sikkim in March alone. The footfall for domestic tourists for April should be more than March, the tourism stakeholders said.
A total of 4,909 international tourists visited Sikkim this year from January to March, the department said.
“Sikkim was just picking up especially after last year when there was more bandhs and agitation in neighbouring Darjeeling. But now the big blow,” said a tour operator.
He said the sector had been expecting at least 85,000 tourists in June. “Last year, it was 65,000. So every year, there is almost a 15-20 per cent rise.”
Hundreds of tourists left Gangtok for Siliguri early this morning to avoid today’s bandh called by the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Bachao Committee and the weekend shutdown of the Morcha. 
Shutdown in Siliguri against separate Gorkhaland demand
BN, Siliguri, 14 May : A regional non-political group, Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Bachao Committee, called for a 24-hour shutdown in West Bengal’s Siliguri District on Friday to protest the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s (GJM) demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Opposing the demand of the GJM, the members of the committee said that West Bengal is for Bengalis, and the Gorkhas residing in the hills are outsiders. "Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Bachao Committee called a 24-hour strike throughout West Bengal to protest and oppose the interim self-government as demanded by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, which amounts to partition of the state," said Mukunda Majumdar, President of the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Bachao Committee.

KalimNews: 10 supporters of BOBBBC were arrested for disrupting the movement of the vehicles in the Siliguri town later they were released.
Bandh affects life in Siliguri A 48-hour bandh called by the GJM in Darjeeling
TH, KOLKATA: Except for Siliguri and some of its adjoining areas, normal life remained unaffected on Friday by the call for a 24-hour State-wide bandh by a local anti-Gorkhaland organisation, the Bangla-O-Bangla Bhasha Bachao Committee (BOBBBC).
The bandh was in protest against what the BOBBBC described as the Centre and State Government's affirmation to the proposal of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) for setting up an interim administrative body for the region.
“The bandh is in protest against the Centre and the State Government's agreeing to the setting up of such a body and granting it greater autonomy and administrative powers (than the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council) which is as good as acceding to the demand for a separate Gorkhaland State,” BOBBBC president Mukunda Majumdar told The Hindu over telephone from Siliguri.
The impact of the bandh was felt in Siliguri where most shops and other commercial establishments were closed. There was little traffic movement. Besides some of the town's adjoining areas it had virtually no affect in other parts of the State, officials said.
“The response to the bandh in Siliguri and adjoining areas was spontaneous,” Mr. Majumdar claimed. Life was also affected in several parts of Jalpaiguri district, he added.
The day passed off peacefully. Seven bandh supporters were held on charges of blocking roads, said a senior police officer. Jalpaiguri District Magistrate Vandana Yadav said the bandh did not have much impact in the district and in the tea gardens.
Meanwhile, Darjeeling hills braces itself for the 48-hour bandh called by the GJM from Saturday.
KalimNews, 14 May :24 hr Bundh called by BOBBC was observed for the first time in GJMM dominated area of Jaigaon and  Birpara. It also affected life in Alipurduar completely. Meanwhile ABAVP has opposed the 48 hr strike of GJMM in Dooars and Terai area.
Rapid Action Force and State Armed Police jawans have made a flag march in the main streets of Kalimpong today. But people feel that these are just routine march and in times of need police are just like onlookers a mere spectator and not a saviour. In times of need a handfull of police becomes a helpless uniformed witness rather than a lawmaker.
Tourists cancel bookings in Darjeeling following shutdown
ANI, Siliguri, 14 May : Tourists heading to Darjeeling for holidays are cancelling their plans following a shutdown call given by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to demand a separate state of Gorkhaland.
The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha that has called for a shutdown on Saturday and Sunday are expected to come up with a more intensive movement, if their demands are not met. Following the shutdown call, tourists are reluctant to stay in Darjeeling, fearing violence. “I went to Darjeeling and had plans to stay there for around ten days. But I heard that Darjeeling hills would come under strike for a period of two days. Hearing the news, I decided to return. Like me, there are many other tourists who are going back,” said Safikul Islam, a tourist from Bangladesh.
Tour operators said the shutdown call would be a big loss for tourism in the area. “It (shutdown) brings a very bad brand name to the region actually, and with the strikes that are due on 14th, 15th and 16th of May in the plains and in the hills. There have been several cancellations, which is very unfortunate because this is the most peak time for the tourism this summer,” said Raj Basu, tour operator.
Storm damages 450 houses, school
TT, Alipurduar, May 14: More than 450 houses were damaged and a boy was injured when a storm hit Alipurduar subdivision last night. The roof of a school was also blown away in the storm.
The affected families have spent the night under the open sky and they are yet to receive relief. Power supply was also disrupted for 19 hours in the affected villages.
The 20-minute storm hit mainly the Kumargram block, where trees were uprooted and fell on at least 400 huts. Gopal Marandi, 14, was injured when a tree fell on his hut at Bania near Samuktala. He suffered injuries on the left hand and leg and was brought out of the debris by the neighbours. The roof of Volka High School was blown 500 metres away under the impact of the storm.
Sachindra Roy, the pradhan of Volka-Barobisha-II grama panchayat, said: “The storm that began at 7am damaged 100 huts completely and 300 huts partially. Electricity poles were uprooted and crops on large swathes of land were destroyed. I have asked the block development officer to send relief as soon as possible. The Volka school’s loss is not less than Rs 5 lakh.”
Bipin Chandra Roy, a villager, complained that nobody from the administration had visited the affected people. “We have nothing left and even after 20 hours, no official has come to meet us. We spent last night under the open sky and the situation will be the same tonight also,” said Roy.
The block officer of Kumargram, Bir Bikram Rai, said: “We are yet to calculate the loss and officials have gone to the affected places. The storm wrought havoc in Volka-Barobisha, Kamakhyaguri, Salbari areas. I have asked the panchayat pradhans to submit a list of relief items they require and we will send them at the earliest.”
The power supply was restored in the block around 2pm today.
The storm also damaged 50-odd huts in Alipurduar II block, tea bushes and the tin roof of Hasimara High School in Kalchini block.

No comments:

Post a Comment