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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vacate order to Gorkha squad .....Statehood demand by NFNS....Panel for Aila funds misuse in hills....Jaswant may return to BJP

TT, Kalimpong, June 15: Police have told the Gorkhaland Personnel to vacate the seven DGHC properties they have been occupying illegally in the hills in three-four days or risk being evicted forcefully.
The move came in the wake of FIRs lodged by the acting administrator of the DGHC, B.L. Meena, accusing the GLP of illegally occupying the council’s buildings in Darjeeling, Gorubathan, Deolo, Tribeni, Kafer and Relli.
“The illegal occupants will be given three-four days to vacate these buildings. The legal process has started. We have registered a case under Section 448 (of the IPC). People occupying these properties can be arrested without warrant,” K.L. Tamta, the inspector general of police, north Bengal, told The Telegraph.
Accompanied by Meena, Tamta today visited Tribeni Tourist Lodge, one of the seven properties occupied by the GLP.
“I had lodged the FIRs at Gorubathan, Kalimpong, Rongli-Rongliot and Darjeeling Sadar police stations last Friday, requesting the police to take necessary steps to evict the so-called GLP from these places,” said Meena.
Apart from Tribeni lodge, the other properties are Deolo Tourist Lodge, Gorkha Huts, Kafer Tourist Lodge, Parijat, Dalim Fort and Roy Villa. The GLP was raised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in 2008. Even Morcha president Bimal Gurung sometimes stays in some of these lodges under the protection of the GLP.
The Morcha has recruited around 4,000-odd boys and girls from the hills and the Dooars for the GLP and pays them a monthly remuneration ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000.
“I have instructed the officers in-charge of the police stations, which have jurisdiction over these properties, to visit the places and record the names and addresses of the people occupying them,” said Tamta.
Meena said it was difficult to say how many GLP cadres were staying in these lodges. “In the past, over 500 cadres used to stay in the Tribeni lodge. Now, the number has perhaps come down to about 60,” he added.
Apart from providing security to Morcha chief Bimal Gurung, the stick-wielding personnel are also seen patrolling the streets in uniform. The GLP is made up of volunteers raised initially —according to party claims — for crowd management during public programmes. Later, the party had tried to make it function like a parallel police force, checking cars to seize “illegal liquor”. The administration had then announced that the GLP seizures went against the law.
Meena and Tamta visited the Tribeni lodge to see for themselves the existing facilities there. The administration has plans to shift a company of CRPF from Reang on NH31A to Tribeni, 18km from here.
The Morcha warned that forcible eviction of the GLP cadres could lead to law and order problem. “Tamta and Meena will have to shoulder the responsibility if any law and problem arises. We may even take recourse to indefinite strike if they go ahead with their plan,” said Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha.
CM meets governor
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today called on governor M.K.Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan in Calcutta to discuss the situation in the hills.
Raj Bhavan sources said the governor, who had returned from Darjeeling on June 8 after a month-long stay, had expressed his desire to share his concern over the situation in the hills with the chief minister.
“During the meeting, the governor discussed the Darjeeling situation at length with Bhattacharjee, besides last month’s civic polls,” said a source close to the chief minister. The source added that Bhattacharjee had also told the governor that there was “no violence before and after the polls”.
The meeting that began at 5.30pm lasted for an hour.
Narayanan was in Darjeeling when ABGL president Madan Tamang was murdered on May 21. Tamang had called on the governor and complained to him about the absence of democracy in the hills four days before the assassination. The governor had also visited Delhi a week ago to brief the Centre on the situation in the hills.
Amar mouthpiece of statehood demand
Samajwadi party
Expelled Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh (4th from left) with Raja Bundela(3rd from left),  president of Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha, and others Munish Tamang(2nd from Left) and P Niroop(extreme right) in Lucknow on Monday. Photo:Vishal Srivastav
ENS: Telengana Vikash Kendra’s convener P Niroop Reddy criticised the Centre for “unnecessarily delaying the process on a separate Telengana” though it had earlier announced its support.
Munish Tamang of the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh said the demand for a separate Gorkhaland has also been pending for long.
Others present at the meet included Raju Setti of Setkari Sangathan in Vidarbha and Choudhari Zakir Hussain of the Harit Pradesh Kranti Dal. Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh, also a votary of Harit Pradesh, was invited but could not attend.
Don't play billiards out of Statehood issue-NFNS
HT, Lucknow: The National Federation for New States (NFNS) in Lucknow on Monday held its maiden national conference for creation of six new states in the country. It blamed the center and the respective states for engaging in the policy of 'managing by postponement' the crisis of the demand of new states.
NFNS unanimously elected the expelled Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh as its chairman in the presence of the convenor, Raja Bundela of Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha (BMM) and co-convenor, P Nirup Reddy of Telengana Vikas Kendra (TVK).
Though Raja Bundela said that the NFNS would struggle for new states without engaging in any kind of violence or vandalism, Amar Singh warned of self propelled public movement if the center and the state governments dilly-dallied the issue.'
Amar Singh said: "Stop playing billiards and play football. Instead of the indirect approach like in the sport of billiards, the governments should 'kick and goal' like in football." He meant that governments should be direct in their approach towards statehoods to these six regions. The regions are-Telengana, Vidharbha, Bundelkhand, Harit Pradesh, Purvanchal, and Gorkhaland.
The federation would hold its next meeting in Darjeeling at the end of this month. The federation earlier was known with a different name-National Federation of Smaller States (NFSS) but went defunct after the creation of Uttrakhand, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. "Now instead of 'smaller' we changed it to 'new' states because small is the wrong word. Now of the regions that we are demanding statehood for are small. If Telengana was made a state, then it would be bigger than 134 countries in the world," said P Nirup Reddy who by profession is a Supreme Court lawyer.
Munish Tamang, who is associate professor in English but also leads the separate Gorkhaland movement through Bharatiya Gorkha Parishad said: "Struggle for separate Gorkhaland is not based only on the issues of governance. It is also the matter of self-representation and identify. We Gorkhas, speak Nepali but we were always Indian. We have no other history. But in popular imagination we are not Indian."
Reddy and Bundela said that the federation would only struggle for the six regions and would not add any new statehood demands. "We are struggling only for those six regions for which the central government had agreed statehood for. We are not demanding any new commission because commission mean an issue going into a cold storage," said Reddy.
Bundela, talking about Bundelkhand said that the region existed as a state and had a chief minister but it was later divided into two and merged in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Ajit Singh did not turn up at the conference. Amar Singh announced that from December 1 he would take up a 350 km foot-march from Allahabad to Gorakhpur for statehood to Pruvanchal.
Amar Singh said that he was doubtful about UP chief minister, Mayawati's statements of favouring smaller states out of UP. "She has majority with her. If she is serious, then all that she has to do is to move a proposal for the smaller states and then send it to the center. This would make the states a reality faster. Instead she is writing letters to the center about the statehood of Bundelkhand, Harit Pradesh and Purvanchal."
NFNS said that British government had the vision to make commissions every ten years for reorganization of states every, just recently election constituencies have been delimited, but the governments do not think about reorganization of states.
A five-member delegation of National Federation for New States (NFNS) would meet the Governor, BL Joshi over its demand of statehoods to Bundelkhand, Purvanchal and Harit Pradesh.
The delegation includes NFNS chairperson, Amar Singh, convenor, Raja Bundela, co-convenor, P Nirup Reddy, Munish Tamang from Gorkhaland and Raju Shetty who demands statehood to Vidharba.

AILA misuse probe  in hills Scanner on Morcha, contractors

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, June 15: The DGHC has set up a committee to probe charges of embezzlement of funds provided for development projects in the hills after the devastation caused by Cyclone Aila in May last year.
DGHC administrator B.L. Meena had accused the leaders of the frontal organisations of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha of conniving with contractors awarded the tenders, taking up the projects themselves and then doing sub-standard work across the hills.
Meena had alleged that only 30 to 35 per cent of the Rs 70 crore disbursed by the council had been used to execute the projects. The rest, sources close to him indicated, had been embezzled.
Today, Meena told The Telegraph from Siliguri: “I have formed a committee which has started probing all the projects that were undertaken by the DGHC after the devastation caused by Cyclone Aila.” Meena himself is heading the committee.
DGHC sources said the committee would make a detailed inspection of the projects, assess the costs involved and then submit a report. “This will make it clear if inferior material had been used, whether the work done was shoddy or not and if all the terms and conditions of the contracts had been adhered to,” a source said.
The committee will not have on it any engineers who are working with the council.
“All engineers (on the committee) have been brought from outside the DGHC. Some of the engineers are retired and others are still working (with the state government),” said Meena.
Sources said the idea was to ensure that anyone who had a hand in the irregularities committed was not part of the probe team.
However, the exact number of engineers entrusted with the inspection is not yet known. “We are using the engineers as and when we require. So, a precise figure (of engineers involved in inspection) cannot be said,” the source said.
Asked about alleged involvement of the frontal leaders of the Morcha in the development projects, Meena said: “I do not want to make any comment on this issue. I have already given my statement, there is no point in repeating it.”
In April this year, when Meena was asked if funds had been embezzlement while executing the development projects, he had said: “I had better not comment on this…because everybody is aware of what is happening in the hills.”
Expressing dissatisfaction with the quality of work executed by the contractors in the DGHC area, Meena had also said: “In many cases, we have found that organisations like the Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha and the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha are executing the projects (instead of the contractors who had been given charge).”
Meena had also specifically named two projects in Sukna which the Nari Morcha and the Yuva Morcha leaders had allegedly taken over.
The assistant secretary of the Morcha, Binay Tamang, today said: “The Morcha has not been elected to the DGHC. It is Meena who is running it and he is also the signing authority. So he should be held responsible if any irregularities have been committed.”
Earlier, Morcha president Bimal Gurung had refused to get drawn into the controversy. While addressing a public meeting at St Joseph’s grounds on May 30, Gurung had said: “Everything is being blamed on the Morcha. Are we in control of the DGHC? We are not signing the DGHC cheques. Those who are signing the cheques and issuing payment should be held responsible.”

Tough policy bears green fruits 
TT, Gangtok, June 15: Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling today said some of the difficult decisions taken by his government to preserve the forests in the state had yielded a four per cent rise in the green cover.
A private truck on the Namthang-Namchi road with a message of Green Sikkim. A Telegraph picture
“From the time we came to power in 1994, we undertook policies and measures to protect the environment and our forests. As a result, the forest cover of Sikkim has increased by four per cent till today,” said Chamling while launching the fifth phase of the Green Mission at Chintan Bhavan here.
“The forest cover of Sikkim in 1995-96 was 43.95 per cent. According to the 2009 report of the ministry of forests, the green cover of Sikkim is now 47.59 per cent which is because of our sound environment conservation policies,” said Chamling. He said some forest conservation policies like ban on animal grazing in forests and removal of cow sheds from jungles had come under a lot of flak at the time of its introduction. “But we went ahead with our mission to conserve our rich biodiversity for our future generations,” said the chief minister. He appealed to the people to participate in the mission whole-heartedly.
“The Green Mission is not of the government alone but it is a mission of the people and we have to set a successful example for the nation.” He observed that the mission fits the eco-tourism thrust of the state government perfectly. The mission will not only increase the forest cover but also lead to sustainable development and make Sikkim a truly eco-friendly tourism destination, he added.
The Green Mission launched in 2006 calls for public participation in planting saplings and ornamental flower plants like rhododendrons and bushes along the roads and barren land, both government and private. It also seeks to beautify the roads of Sikkim with trees and flowers.
According to the forest secretary S.T. Lachungpa, 5- 6 lakh saplings and flower seedlings have been planted by all sections of the society in the state every year since the mission started.
The forest secretary claimed a survival rate of around 70 per cent for the saplings planted under the mission.
State conservator of forests (territorial) Pradeep Kumar said the saplings planted under the mission roughly covered 200km every year. Last year, around 6.2 lakh of saplings were planted, he said.
Stadium on lines of ‘English county’
TT. Siliguri, June 15: The Bengal Ambuja group is constructing a cricket stadium of “international standard” on a 25-acre plot on the Uttarayon Township premises near here.
“It will be a natural green stadium, and not a concrete junk, with all modern amenities essential for an international cricket stadium,” said Asok Bhattacharya, the state urban development minister.
“Work is in progress and we would like to iterate that it will be set amid lush green surroundings, as seen in the English county and the cricket grounds in New Zealand.”
Deputy mayor of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation Nantu Paul said the decade-old demand of a cricket stadium of international standard was raised in a meeting with Bhattacharya at the Siliguri Mahakuma Krira Parishad office on June 12. “He listened to us and said work has been started by Calcutta-based realtor Bengal Ambuja on the Uttarayon premises.”
Currently, Siliguri’s Kanchenjungha Stadium with a capacity of 35,000 is used both for football and cricket matches along with other sports like athletics. However, except for a few Ranji Trophy and Deodhar Trophy matches, Siliguri has not hosted any international games.
“Last week, Biswarup Dey, the joint secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal, visited Kanchenjungha and told us that it lacks the infrastructure to host big cricket events,” said Paul, who is also the SMKP secretary. “This prompted us to take up the issue with the minister, who then confirmed the construction of the new stadium.”
The SMKP is focusing on development of infrastructure at Kanchenjungha Stadium as well. “Floodlights will be installed at the stadium soon as the state finance department sanctions Rs 3.50 crore. The PWD will do the work,” Bhattacharya said. “Tenders will be invited shortly by the department.”
Lauding the SMKP’s efforts, Paul said: “It (setting up floodlights) was a longstanding demand. Once the lights are installed, we will have the opportunity to organise football matches and other events at night and the sports-lovers of the town can enjoy the games in the evening.” 
Fire probe ordered
TT, Siliguri, June 15: The health minister today ordered a probe into the fire that destroyed the emergency OT of the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital.
Surjya Kanta Mishra, who was in Jalpaiguri today, said the PWD had been told to start repairing the damaged OT. “We want it to be restored as early as possible and have given necessary instructions to the PWD,” the health minister said. “A probe has been ordered by our department and accordingly NBMCH authorities have been engaged to collect information on what led to the fire and the damage.”
Fire officials said a magisterial inquiry would begin soon. “Possibly a deputy magistrate will be asked to probe the matter. He will be assisted by a fire official and an NBMCH representative,” said an official of the fire department.
The fire had started from the AC of the OT on Sunday, damaging it completely. Thirty patients from the two adjoining male and female casualty wards had to be shifted in a hurry. The blaze has put pressure on the main operation theatre of the hospital, which now may have to deal with almost 30 surgeries a day.
Terai cries for tourism facelift- Naxalbari longs to become visitors’ paradise
TT, Siliguri, June 15: Tucked away in the Terai on the border with Nepal, Naxalbari, might be known more as the epicentre of India’s ultra Left movement, but the block has other things to offer in terms of tourism.
The area offers everything that a tourist wants: forests, rivulets, hilly tracts, tea estates and as an added advantage, a glimpse of history. But the residents feel that the authorities are yet to tap the block’s tourism potential.
“Our area is no less attractive than the Dooars. What is needed is a concerted effort as witnessed in the Dooars in the past 10 years or so. The Dooars has marched much ahead of us with the backing of the state government, particularly the forest and tourism departments. Naxalbari can be developed as a tourist circuit, added with some nearby areas like Panighata, Lohagarh and Putung in Kurseong subdivision,” said Ritesh Biswas, a Naxalbari resident.
“Some eateries have come up along NH31C that connects Panitanki on the India-Nepal border with Naxalbari. But more needs to be done to lure tourists to the Terai,” he added.
According to local people, if the state government, in association with stakeholders of tourism, drafts a comprehensive plan and executes it, the Terai can emerge as an ace destination for tourists in north Bengal.
“Making arrangements to visit tea estates, jungle trails or short trips to small hillocks like Panighata and Putung are no big deal,” said Ajoy Das, a businessman. “Moreover, there are several people interested in knowing the history of Naxalite movement that originated here.”
The block is known to be an elephant corridor with the forest stretching till the bank of the Mechi that marks the international boundary with Nepal.
“There are at least 20-25 tea estates on either side of the highway. Like in the Dooars, jungle safaris can be organised in forests like Tukuria, Kalabari and Panighata,” said resident Dinesh Rai.
Another attraction in Naxalbari is the Dhimal community, a tribe living in Dhimalbusty. “Tourists can experience and learn about the Dhimal culture. We have dance troupes and singers who can perform to entertain the visitors,” said Garjan Mallick, a senior member of the community.
A bridge over the Mechi at Panitanki. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
While touring Naxalbari, the visitors can make a “foreign trip” also. “They can hire a cab and visit Kakarvitta in Nepal and even move to Dhulbari, famous for foreign-made goods,” said a Naxalbari resident.
Raj Basu, associated with the Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators’ Association, said: “The block showcases nature, has an international border and has everything from forests to tea estates to rivers. We feel the residents should moot a proposal for Naxalbari’s development as a tourist hub. From our side, we can definitely help them move further and develop the circuit. State government departments like tourism and forests also have a role to play here.”
KalimNews:Kalimpong Traffic Police is active now. After getting some feedback from Gorkha Chalak Mahasangh a GJMM vehicle drivers' union it is taking actions against traffic rule violators. Most of drivers welcomed the action but some of the drivers were of the opinion that vehicles with SK numbers are fined for a simple violation while WB numbers are ignored of violation of traffic rules of serious nature. (Photos: Samiran Paul).

A clash between members of Chhatra Parishad and Students Federation of India in Parimal Mitra Memorial College in Mal Bazar resulted in Traffic closure for several hours. Both the students union staged a dharna in the NH 31C near the College one after another. According to SFI sources a banner of SFI in the college premises was forcefully torn and taken away by CP members . But CP members refuted the allegation and stated that the we had told SFI to remove the banner and on ignoring our call lately we removed the banner safely, during which SFI holligans not belonging to the college attacked us. CP and SFI have lodged complains in Matelli Police Station.   
Jaswant in BJP likelihood almost confirmed
TOI, NEW DELHI: Nine months after former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh was expelled from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over his book praising Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the MP from Darjeeling is likely to return to the fold, party sources said on Tuesday.
"Jaswant Singh is likely to return to the party fold and the decision is to be made by the BJP parliamentary board. The decision is expected this week itself," a BJP source told IANS.
However, there was no official word from the party.
"If there is anything, the party president will announce it," BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar told reporters here.
Jaswant Singh was expelled at the BJP Chintan Bhaitak held in Shimla in August last year a day after his book, "Jinnah- India, Partition, Independence", was released.
The book described the Pakistan founder as secular and sought to blame Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel for the partition of the country.
Jaswant, 72, had expressed his resentment at the manner in which the decision was taken and asked why he was not even asked to clarify his position.
He had said that the decision was conveyed to him on the phone by then party president Rajnath Singh.
His book was promptly banned by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in his state.
The acrimony between Jaswant and BJP only grew further when he refused to step down as Chairperson of Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Later, in December he voluntarily resigned from the post, three months before his term was to end.
However, there was a thaw in relations as time passed. Sources said Advani was unhappy about Jaswant's removal from the party and the manner in which it was done. On his part, Jaswant recently said BJP was in his blood.
Gadkari, who had announced that all those who had to leave the party could come back provided they expressed regret for their actions, is also open to the idea of Jaswant's return.
Jaswant, a founder member of the 30-year-old party, had served the BJP-led NDA government as External Affairs Minister and Finance Minister.
As External Affairs Minister he had accompanied the three terrorists to Kandahar for the release of hijacked passengers of IC-814 in December, 1999. 

1 comment:

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