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

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Indefinite strike in hills started...Tamta going, Ranvir coming...Manisha ties knot

When in doubt call a bandh
TT, Darjeeling, June 18: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today called an “indefinite” strike in the Darjeeling hills from tomorrow, falling back on a time-tested tactic after being forced on the backfoot since the murder of Madan Tamang.
The Morcha, which had been hunting for a pretext to re-assert its strength, said the bandh had been called to protest the government’s failure to reply why police lathicharged its party supporters on Wednesday night in Kurseong.
The government has been stepping up heat on Bimal Gurung’s party since Tamang’s murder on May 21. The state has not only implicated the Morcha in the killing, but has also started asserting the writ of administration in the hills after almost 32 months.
As a first step, DGHC administrator B.L. Meena filed FIRs against Gorkhaland Personnel — a Morcha squad of lathi-wielding volunteers — occupying government properties for the past two years. In fact, on Wednesday evening the police even visited the GLP headquarters at Jamuni, about 35km from Darjeeling, which was unthinkable a couple of months ago, given the state’s non-confrontation policy.
Following Tamang’s daylight murder, three companies of the CRPF were deployed in Darjeeling town for the first time after the Morcha was formed on October 7, 2007. Meena has also started a probe into the development projects undertaken in the hills following last year’s devastation caused by Cyclone Aila.
Under the circumstances, the Morcha was looking for an opportunity to put the pressure back on the government and Wednesday’s lathicharge provided the spark.
“The indefinite strike will continue unless the administration gives us a written explanation on the decision to lathicharge a peaceful gathering in front of the Kurseong police station where 17 of our supporters were injured,” said Binay Tamang, assistant secretary of the Morcha.
But faced with a Supreme Court notice, the Morcha has decided to keep NH31A, the lifeline of Sikkim, out of the strike’s purview and has also exempted the tea gardens and cinchona plantations, the backbone of the hill economy, and schools with mid-term exams.
The Morcha has also decided to demonstrate in front of police stations across the hills from tomorrow. “The demonstrations will take place for two hours everyday from 11am onwards,” said R.P. Waiba, the vice-president of the Morcha.
The outfit also demanded the immediate transfer of K.L. Tamta, inspector-general of police, north Bengal, along with the subdivisional police officer of Kurseong, Rakesh Singh. But when the government announced Tamta’s transfer in the afternoon, the Morcha described it as “routine”.
“The tenure of B.L. Meena comes to an end on June 30 and we don’t want the government to give him an extension,” said Tamang. The Morcha today wrote to the chief minister demanding Meena’s removal “in the interest of the public”.
The Democratic Front, an anti-Morcha conglomeration of seven parties, said it would go ahead with its June 20 public meeting. Ishamani Pakhrin, a central committee member of the Morcha, said his party had no intentions of disrupting the meeting.
(Photo: People in Kalimpong waiting in a ration shop on friday before the bundh. There was a rush in the market to collect whatever they get.-Samiran Paul)
North IG transferred
TT, June 18: North Bengal inspector-general of police K.L. Tamta was today moved to Calcutta as IG, planning.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had been demanding the transfer for two years but, today, it called the move routine, as did the state government.
Tamta was among 25 IPS officers shuffled. Ranvir Kumar, the additional commissioner of police (traffic) in Calcutta, will replace him.
Among the demands for which the Morcha has called a hill strike from tomorrow was Tamta’s shift. But Morcha leader Binay Tamang said the transfer did not mean the strike would be called off. “We have several other demands.”
Asked if Morcha pressure had played any part in the move, home secretary Samar Ghosh said: “What pressure?’’
The Darjeeling CPM had been vocal against the possible transfer on the ground that Tamta, who had advocated strong action against the Morcha, had “worked well’’.
TH, KOLKATA: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leadership on Friday called for an indefinite strike in the Darjeeling hills from Saturday.
The GJM said the decision was taken as the authorities concerned had failed to give an explanation for the baton-charge on party supporters in Kurseong on Wednesday.
The fresh spell of agitation was also “in protest against the high-handedness of the police in the name of arresting those responsible for the murder of Madan Tamang,” GJM assistant general secretary Benoy Tamang told TheHindu over telephone.
A government order, transferring the Inspector-General of Police, North Bengal, K.L. Tamta, — a long-standing demand of the GJM — would not change the decision of going ahead with the strike, he added.
Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League president Madan Tamang, a vociferous critic of the GJM, was fatally stabbed in broad daylight in the heart of Darjeeling town on May 21.
The killing caused a public outcry and apparently put the GJM, whose supporters were suspected to have committed the murder, on the back-foot. But the GJM reasserted itself as the principal political force in the hills by organising a massive rally a few days later where it reiterated its claim that it had no hand in the killing.
Swimming, latest fad- Hills stream down to Kalimpong pools
Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kalimpong, June 18: Kalimpong is fast emerging as the swimming centre of the hills with two commercial pools coming up in and around town in the past five years and another one on the verge of opening.
In the process, more hill people are making a beeline for the pools to learn swimming.
Swimming and cycling are two exercises that the majority of the people in the hills do not get to do, thanks to the climatic condition and the mountainous terrain.
The hills did not have a swimming pool for the common people till Dinod Sharma, an enterprising man, set up one in 2005 in his native village, Pudung, about 10km from here.
Darjeeling and Kurseong still do not have swimming pools open for the common man.
After Sharma’s Dab Swimming Pool, another one, though small, has come up in Kalimpong, which is weather-wise much warmer than the other two hill towns, Darjeeling and Kurseong.
The second pool is at Raunock Guest House at 12th Mile. The tourism department of the DGHC has also set up a pool at Relli village, 11km from here, even though it is yet to be opened.
Both the pools are watered by natural springs through pipes. The owners claimed that the pools are cleaned daily, but refused to describe the process in details.
Even though the footfall at the two pools have come down a bit in the recent past, perhaps because of the political disturbances in the hills, there is no doubting the fact that they have become popular weekend destinations for people not only from Kalimpong, but also from Darjeeling, Kurseong and neighbouring Sikkim.
“My clients are mostly from the hills and Sikkim. Tourists come occasionally,” said Sharma whose pool needs 80,000 gallons of water.
The pools charge between Rs 50 and Rs 70 per person a day. Both the pools also serve local delicacies at reasonable rates.
“The pool at Pudung with its rural ambience is a nice place to relax and spend a day with family. Whenever I am in Kalimpong, I try to take out time to chill out there,” said Rajesh Pandey, a lawyer from Darjeeling.
Others visit the place just for a swim. “All members of my family of four learned to swim in these two pools. In fact, many in my circle of friends took their first dip in the two pools. Many people are now able to learn such a wonderful form of exercise like swimming,” said Navin Tamang, a Kalimpong resident.
None of the two pools, however, have any trainers, only “helpers”.
When the footballers of the Calcutta giant Mohun Bagan had held their pre-season training here last year, they had done the swimming part of their fitness routine at Pudung. “The swimming pool is excellent. Our boys loved it,” Anjan Mitra, the club’s secretary, had told The Telegraph then.
From fire to electric frying pan - Sparks fly in surgery room, Siliguri, June 18: Sparks from a switchboard today triggered panic in the main operation theatre of the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, five days after a fire at the emergency operation theatre.
Doctors and nurses were in the middle of two orthopaedic surgeries when they noticed sparks coming out of the switchboard at OT II around 1.30pm.
“We were carrying out the surgeries when we saw sparks from one of the switchboards. A fire had taken place at the emergency operation theatre on June 13, so we panicked. We were tense as there were two surgeries going on. While some doctors and nurses continued with the operations, some of us intimated the authorities,” said a nurse who was present in the room during the operation.
The surgeries were being conducted on a six-month-old boy and an adult male, said hospital sources.
Within five minutes, the main switch was put off and the operations were carried out under emergency lights.
“There was no gap in the surgical procedures which were completed using emergency lights. It took 20 minutes to complete the surgeries after the fire alarm. Although we faced some difficulties working under emergency lights, both the operations were successful,” said another on-duty nurse at OT II.
Two fire tenders from Siliguri fire station reached the NBMCH soon. However, they were not needed to put out the fire. The hospital authorities called in civil and electrical engineers of the public works department attached to the NBMCH.
S.P. Maitra, a fire official, said: “It was a not a fire but a momentary flash in one of the switchboards that caused panic among the staff at the operation theatre. A leak had developed near the switchboard and water had seeped into it, causing the sparks. Although we reached the spot in time, we did not have to use the fire tenders. Frequent fire alarms at the NBMCH are a matter of concern and the authorities should look into the aspects of electrical and civil maintenance of the entire hospital.”
On June 13, a fire had broken out at the emergency OT of the NBMCH because of a short circuit in the AC. Thirty patients were evacuated from the male and female casualty wards and 10 oxygen cylinders were removed from the OT safely. Since then, the main OT is being used for all emergency surgeries.
Today, there were 16 surgeries scheduled at the main OT and the last two were in progress when the incident took place.
After the PWD officials and the fire brigade team inspected the main OT, the power was restored.
According to the PWD’s electrical officials, the wiring at the main OT had been changed two years ago.
“Preliminary probe reveals that a leak in the switchboard had caused the electrical sparks. We have repaired the switchboard and checked the wiring. There is no danger now and the operation theatre can function as usual,” said a PWD electrical official at the NBMCH.
In the evening, the OT II was used to conduct an emergency operation.
Body found
TT, Jaigaon: The body of a 30-year-old man identified as Sanjog Ghishing was found at Chinchula Tea Estate on Thursday evening. David Lepcha, the subdivisional police officer of Alipurduar, said Ghising, a resident of the garden, had been missing since June 15. Injury marks were found on the body and a murder case has been started.
Climate meet
TT, Siliguri: The Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority organised a convention on the impact of urbanisation on climate change at Dinabandhu Mancha here on Friday. The annual administrative and financial report was presented at the event along with a plan for the comprehensive development of areas on the outskirts of Siliguri. Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya and mayor Gangotri Datta were present at the event.
11km trek preferred to tin school 
Mrinalini Sharma, TT, Siliguri, June 18: A structure made of bamboo and tin, which has recently replaced tarpaulin, and a handful of students are all that exists of a government high school in Rohini forcing children to do a daily 11-km trek for post-primary education.
After all, guardians don’t want their children to attend Madhyamik Shiksha Kendra, which cannot withstand rain and storm and can be risky in monsoon. The school, the first government institution in Rohini, 25km from here, is a wobbly structure fighting to stand erect.
Around 10 days ago, the management of the Rohini tea garden provided the siksha kendra with tin for the roof.
“Two months ago, classes were stopped for a few days when the tarpaulin sheets were blown away. The tin has solved the leakage problem but water seeps in through gaps in the bamboo walls during the rain. On such occasions, we have to declare holidays, which affects the children’s studies. The problem worsens during monsoon. We had approached DGHC officials who assured us funds to build the infrastructure but we do not know when the work will begin,” said Dipen Tamang, the in-charge of the school that has till Class VIII.
A little more than 100 children from 15 villages like Lapche Kheti, Kothidara, Tharo Gaon Rohini study in the school. “The bamboo structure has helped us solve space problems in that we now have four rooms,” said Milan Raisaily, one of the four voluntary teachers.
Rohini has four primary schools. Most of the villagers who are farmers and tea garden workers cannot afford to send their children to the three private English medium schools.
The students are left with no choice but to walk to Pankhabari (15km away), Tindharia, Gayabari and Kurseong (11km each from Rohini) after completing their primary education. In the process, many of them are forced to give up their studies.
“The parents can’t afford to rent a vehicle to drop their children to school so the students have to walk the entire distance. The schools generally start by 9am and the students leave home as early as 6am. It is tiring to travel such a long distance everyday on foot,” Dev Kumar Tamang, a resident said.
The swelling up of rivers during the monsoon makes the life of the students more miserable. “The children have to cross rivers to reach Tindharia and Pankhabari. Often they cannot go to schools for days because of rain-triggered landslides that block the roads,” Krishna Tamang, another resident said. “For all these reasons, the number of drop-outs is high. If the siksha kendra had adequate infrastructure, our children would not have to take so much of troubles.”
In June 2008, in deference to the wishes of many villagers, the Madhyamik Shiksha Kendra was set up by the DGHC’s education department in Rohini. But so far the institution has been at the mercy of local people.
“We started Classes V and VI with 40 students at a spare room of a primary school. Last year a villager allowed us to use a room of his house to upgrade it to Class VII. This year, when we could not start Class VIII for lack of space, a guardian donated 30 decimals of land. We built the bamboo structure with four rooms with the financial help of the local people. The residents also helped us arrange for chairs and tables,” said the school in-charge.
The school, with 115 students at present, is run by five teachers. Of them, Dipen Tamang is the only government-approved teacher. The other four render voluntary services.
DGHC administrator B.L. Meena said: “It (the problems of the school) has not been brought to my notice. I have to find out the details with the department concerned.” 
Manisha ties knot
PTI: Bollywood actor Manisha Koirala tied the knot with beau Samrat Dahal in a traditional ceremony here on Friday.
The Nepalese beauty exchanged wedding vows with Samrat in a private function at the Gokarna forest resort, 10 km east of the capital.
Dressed in a yellow saree, Manisha garlanded Samrat and exchanged rings as priests recited Vedic mantras in the presence of her parents, Prakash Koirala and Sushma.
Besides Manisha's family, close relatives and friends, also present at the function were actors Suman Ranganathan; Manisha's co-star in her debut film Saudagar, Vivek Mushram; and Govinda's wife Sunita.
Actors Jackie Shroff and Govinda are expected to attend the wedding reception, that will be held at the Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza on Sunday.
Friday's celebrations included traditional Nepali music Panchai Bazaa and a cultural dance. Nepali, Indian and continental dishes were served at the function, sources said.
Spread over three days, the main ceremony will be held on Saturday, when the bride will go to the groom's house after performing hour-long rituals as per the Hindu tradition.
Nepali President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, Maoist party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias ‘Prachanda,' and the former King of Nepal, Gyanendra, are expected to among the 3,000 guests at Sunday's dinner party.
Manisha will continue to act in films after the marriage, her father Prakash Koirala, nephew of the late Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, told PTI.
The actor will live in Nepal and mostly devote time to Nepali films. She has already begun acting in Dharam, opposite Nepali actor Rajesh Hamal, he said.
Manisha Koirala's 3-day wedding celebration started 
Agencies: As Nepal hosts Manisha Koirala’s wedding with Samrat Dahal Saturday, the most intense speculation is whether President Ram Baran Yadav will come face to face with his bete noire, Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, and the latter with his, ex-king Gyanendra.
The 40-year-old actress, who is finally engaged to 33 year old Nepali businessman who deals in leather industry in a glittering three-day ceremony starting Friday, has invited former king Gyanendra as well as his arch-enemy Prachanda, the Maoist chief whose party fought a 10-year war to abolish monarchy in Nepal.
The engagement ceremony on Friday was  kept a private affair however wedding ceremony will be held on saturday and the reception on sunday. Manisha koirala’s wedding  reception is at the Soaltee Crowne Plaza Hotel Sunday. Manisha and Dahal have been seeing each other for over a year and their wedding date was fixed by an astrologer. The actress had evaded marriage earlier and broke off two engagements in the past. 
The traditional ceremony will be low-key and off-limits to the media. However, the reception will be grand and 3,000 cards have been distributed for the same. Manisha Koirala (40) has acted in Hindi as well as a number of Tamil-Telugu movies like Bombay (1995), Criminal (1995), Indian (1996), Mudhalvan (1999), Aalavandhan (2001), Baba (2002), Mumbai Express (2005) and Nagaram (2007).

No comments:

Post a Comment