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

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Series of bundh threat announced by GJMM chief.....Tribal leash on hill talks ..... Gorkha girl charges her employer

KalimNews : Addressing a public meeting Bimal Gurung, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief at Chungthung, Darjeeling today on 4th July, announced that if the West Bengal continues to divert the issue of the hill and plays foul to avoid the ensuing tri-partite talks the party would resort more effective agitational programmes. To begin with the same  bundh in Govt. offices of the Darjeeling hills will be observed from 6th July, party chairman Gurung announced
All State, Central and DGHC offices shall remain during the bundh period Gurung declared. He, however, exempted the offices/chambers of the District Megistrate and Superintendent of Police from the purview of the bundh. The relaxation was also rendered to the 100 days work, old age pension, conservatory unit of Municipalities and Relief Department. This time Gurung was seen more critical against the liquor shops as he announced complete shut down in the off shops. He, however, exempted the Sikkim made liquor. 
Partially exempting the financial institutions from the bundh he announced that the banks shall function on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday while the Food & Civil Supply office would work on Monday and Tuesday only.
Announcing the series of strikes Gurung declared that there will be 24 hours Gorkhaland bundh on 25th July to be followed by 72 hours bundh from 28th July. After a relief of 48 hours on 31 July and 1st August, the hill will observe 40 days and 40 nights bundh from 2nd August in protest against the attitude of West Bengal Govt. According to the party, no helplines will be installed during the bundh period. However, the GJM would not extend its influence to disturb the movement of vehicular traffic along 31/A National Highway during the bundh period in view of the apex court's instructions.
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, July 4: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today threatened a 40-day strike in the hills from July-end and reimposed its ban on licensed liquor in a bid to step up its statehood agitation.
Morcha chief Bimal Gurung said “the Centre, influenced by the Bengal government”, was delaying the next round of tripartite talks on the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.
Announcing its strike schedule today, the hill outfit said it would call a 24-hour shutdown on July 25, followed by a 72-hour strike from July 28. “After the July 28 strike, there will be a 72-hour relaxation and then a 40-day general strike,” Gurung said.
“We demand that the dates (for the talks) be immediately announced, failing which we will call general strikes in the hills,” the Morcha chief told party workers at Chungtung, 35km from Darjeeling.
The last round of political- level tripartite talks on Gorkhaland, now re-christened Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh, was held on March 18 in New Delhi.
In 1988, GNLF chief Subhas Ghisingh had called a 40-day strike in the hills.
Morcha strikes in the past have stretched to a maximum of five days. This time also, there is the possibility of the hill outfit curtailing the 40-day strike if the statehood talks are held.
Gurung said all government offices, except those of the district magistrate and the superintendent of police, would remain closed during a “non-cooperation movement that we will start from Tuesday”.
“Banks and post offices will however, remain open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The offices of the food and supplies department will be allowed to function on Mondays and Tuesdays,” Gurung added. “The relaxation will also apply to relief department offices and election offices,” Gurung said.
On the ban on licensed liquor shops, Gurung said the outfit would “close down all liquor off-shops from Tuesday so that no revenue goes to the Bengal government”. Last year too, the Morcha had closed down such offshops for two months.
PTI, Darjeeling, July 4 : The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) today announced a series of bandhs in Darjeeling hills beginning towards this month end demanding announcement of date for a tripartite meeting on formation of Gorkhaland.
"The GJM has called a 24-hour bandh on July 25, 48-hour from July 28 and thereafter a 44-day-long shutdown to press for announcement of a date for a tripartite meeting," its General Secretary, Roshan Giri told reporters here.
The bandhs were also aimed at strengthening the organisation, he said.

IANS, Kolkata, July 4 : The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) Sunday called for a 40-day long shutdown, from Aug 2, in the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling district to protest the unwillingness of the state and the central government for the sixth round tripartite talks,
It demanded the talks be held immediately.
“We are calling a 40-day long shutdown in the three hilly sub-divisions from Aug 2 to Sep 11 as the state government is delaying the sixth round of tripartite talks. We demand that the talks be held immediately,” GJM’s assistant general secretary Binay Tamang said.
The GJM, which has been spearheading the separate Gorkhaland state movement, also announced that offices of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), central and state government will remain closed for indefinite period from Tuesday. There will be a general shutdown July 25 in the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling.
A 72-hour general shutdown has been called from July 28.
Earlier state and central government had held several rounds of tripartite talks with the officials of GJM on the Gorkhaland issue.
Tribal leash on hill talks- Regional unit told not to talk to Morcha till July 11
TT, Siliguri, July 4: The state leadership of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has asked its Dooars and Terai regional unit to stay away from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha till July 11 when the tribal outfit is expected to announce the outcome of its meeting with the state government.
The Parishad’s regional unit had been toying with the idea of discussing with the Morcha Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh, the state that the hill party had re-christened from Gorkhaland, and the socio-economic development of the Dooars and the Terai, much to the chagrin of the state leaders.
“We have planned to hold a meeting in the Dooars on July 11 when we will inform our members about the outcome of the meeting that we had with the chief secretary of Bengal at Writers’ Buildings on July 1. Till then, we have told our regional committee not to fix any date with the Morcha for holding talks,” said Tez Kumar Toppo, the Parishad state general secretary.
Describing the talks in Writers’ Buildings as “very cordial”, the Parishad leader said they were assured by the state officials that the results could be visible within this month. “We are hopeful that necessary steps will be taken by the government to fulfil our supporters’ aspiration in the region,” he said.
A 15-member delegation of the tribal outfit had handed a 19-point charter of demands to the state government during the July 1 meeting. Besides the inclusion of the Terai and the Dooars under the Sixth Schedule, construction of a second bridge on the Teesta at Sevoke, setting up a technical institute and a medical college and hospital in the Dooars, increase of daily wages of tea workers from Rs 67 to Rs 250 and giving them land rights were some of the demands that figured on the charter.
“If the state government takes necessary steps to fulfil our demands, our members will have no need to sit for dialogues with the Morcha. We will tell this to our supporters at next week’s meeting,” Toppo said. 
‘Stunt’ tag on Asok sop
TT, Kalimpong, July 4: Two of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s affiliates have said Asok Bhattacharya’s announcement about appointing 1,000 teachers in hills schools in the next two months is a “political stunt” aimed at hoodwinking people.
Reacting to the urban development minister’s job promise in Darjeeling on Friday, the Morcha's education monitoring cell and the Janmukti Secondary Teachers’ Organisation said they would not be fooled by such statements from someone who has nothing to do with education in the state — particularly at a time when a dialogue on the subject was being held with education minister Partha De.
“We will all be too happy if Bhattacharya can actually deliver on his pronouncements, but the reality is different. There is a process to be followed in all government recruitment, which will be impossible to achieve in the time-frame set by him, especially given the fact that the entire education system is in shambles in the hills. The minister is clearly trying to politicise education with stunts like this,” alleged Tshering Tamang, the chief coordinator of the EMC.
Spokesperson for the JSTO Bhisan Roka came down heavily on Bhattacharya for speaking out of turn on an issue that only the department’s minister (De) or the chief minister has the authority to announce.
“We have held three rounds of talks with education department officials, including the minister in charge on one occasion, to resolve many ills afflicting education in the hills. In all the meetings, we had made it clear that regularisation of jobs of ad hoc teachers and non-teaching staff should be addressed first before issues like recruitment through the School Service Commission,” he said.
Roka said if any decision concerning education in the hills was taken without taking the JSTO into confidence, they would oppose it tooth and nail.
The JSTO will try to meet the education minister within the next week and seek clarifications from him on Bhattacharya’s promises. “During our previous meetings with De and his officials, decisions like the formation of a temporary recruitment board were taken but have not been implemented as yet. Why?” asked Roka.  
Woman charges her ex-employer of enslaving her
IE, New York: An young woman from India has charged an Indian government official, her former employer, of forcing her to serve as a slave for three years.  
Shanti Gurung, now 21, has filed a lawsuit against Neena Malhotra and her husband Jogesh, seeking unspecified damages for three-plus years of "slavery and peonage," New York Post reported today.
Ironically, Malhotra headed a 2008 initiative against domestic abuse while serving as a Manhattan-based consul responsible for "women-related issues."
She now works for the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, the lawsuit filed in New York city says, according to the paper.
Gurung claimed that the couple tricked her into accompanying them to America in March 2006 with the promise of Rs 5,000 a month, with raises every six months.
However, once in the US, she only received a single payment of Rs 5,500 and was threatened "if she ever tried to leave, police would beat and arrest her...," the suit says.
Gurung, then 17, was allegedly made to lie to immigration officials about her age and about a salary of USD 7-an-hour to get her a visa, it says.
In her "involuntary servitude," she was forced to sleep on the floor of their apartment and made to do household chores 16 hours a day "often until 3 a.m. following frequent parties," the suit says.
It also alleges that the Malhotra starved the girl, and once reprimanded her for having eating a slice of bread without permission.
The girl managed to escape in July 2009 after remaining with the Malhotras for three years. 
The paper said the Consulate General of India in Manhattan did not return calls for comment.  
Zone III for Unesco status 
TT, Gangtok, July 4: The Sikkim forest department has notified a transition area on the periphery of the buffer zone of Kanchenjungha Biosphere Reserve to strengthen its chances of inclusion in the exclusive world network of biosphere reserves under Unesco.
The KBR — that ranges from a height of 1,200m to 8,586m — is one of the world’s highest ecosystems spread over 2619.92sqkm in the South, West and North districts. The reserve that includes Kanchenjungha National Park and the buffer zone account for 36.92 per cent of the state. The notified transition zone consists of 44 villages on the periphery of the buffer zone. The updated area of KBR — covering the core, buffer and transition zones — is now 2,931.12 sqkm.
Among the three zones, transition is the outermost part of a biosphere reserve and includes settlements, cultivable land, and the area of economic activity characteristic of the region.
A transition zone is a concept where nature and man co-exist while respecting the needs of each other, a forest officer said.
In 2007, Sikkim had submitted a document to the Union ministry asking that KBR be nominated for Unesco world network status. But according to a requirement suggested by the international advisory committee of Unesco, the establishment of a transition zone is a must to enter the network.
For the past one year, the transition zone was marked and identified in a joint exercise by the state forest department and GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development’s Sikkim unit. The updated area of the KBR will now be submitted along with the Unesco nomination request to the MoEF. The ministry will then forward it to Unesco.
The world network of biosphere reserves under Unesco has 553 sites in 107 countries.
“We are trying to include KBR in the world network, and once it is done, we can then apply for Unesco world heritage status,” a forest officer said.
The KBR’s inclusion in the network could bring a number of benefits. “It could range from increased tourism revenues to funds for villages in the transition zone, conservation of rare species and money and aid to address natural calamities,” said a forester.
Gangtok to have Fashion street
PTI, Gangtok, July 4 : A half a kilometer stretch will be developed into a state-of-the-art 'Fashion Street' in Sikkim on the NH-31A here at a cost of nearly 17 crore.
The Urban Development and Housing Department (UDHD) will transform the stretch between Sisha-Golai, Pani House and the tri-junction towards Nam-Nang into a combination of branded showrooms, extravagant restaurants, beauty parlours, saloons and high-end shops, Additional Chief Engineer, UDHD, C Zangpo told PTI.
"We plan to develop the area as a congregation point for all to meet, shop, relax and enjoy," he said.
The department has started consultancy for developing the stretch of NH-31A as a trendy shopping destination for visitors to Gangtok, which would also decongest the MG Mall, he said.

Jinnah book issue a closed chapter
PTI, New Delhi, Jul 4: BJP President Nitin Gadkari has termed as "closed" the issue of Jaswant Singh's book praising Pakistan founder M A Jinnah and said return of leaders like him will strengthen the party.
"To add people to the party is going to strengthen it.
It is a good thing for the party," Gadkari said when asked about return of leaders like Jaswant Singh and Ram Jethmalani to BJP.
On the former defence minister not apologising for writing the book praising Jinnah which had led to his expulsion ten months ago, Gadkari said, "These are old issues.
The issue is closed. Apart from the views, he is loyal to the party.
"As a person, Jaswant Singh is a good man. He is a senior and experienced leader. At the time of foundation of the party, he was there. I respect him.

Green vanishes as highway expands - 9000 trees felled but no sign of re-plantation
TT, Balurghat, July 4: Almost 9,000 trees, some of them over a century old, have been felled along a 110-kilometre state highway that is being expanded, but not a single sapling has been planted under the re-plantation mandatory for such a project.
Despite the project clause that 10 saplings have to be planted along State Highway 10 — that connects Hili in South Dinajpur to Gajole in Malda — for every tree felled, no one has come ahead to implement the greening of the road in the four years since the work began. Work on the 75-kilometre stretch between Gajole and Bolla in South Dinajpur has been completed over a year ago.
A local NGO, Dishari Sankalpa, has written to the state public works minister Kshiti Goswami, forest minister Ananta Roy, and environment minister Sailen Sarkar, drawing their attention to this neglected but environmentally crucial re-plantation.
“The ideal green cover for a district is 33 per cent and our district has only eight per cent. We have noticed that there has been indiscriminate felling of mature and young trees without anyone objecting. Given this situation, we are very worried to see that the planting of trees after the highway’s expansion has been totally neglected,” said Tuhin Subhra Mondol of Dishari Sankalpa. He added that the ministers were informed of the felling by fax messages on Friday.
Mondol said he and the other members of the organisation had met government officials many times. “We have seen that the officials of the public works department have washed their hands off the issue by saying that the money for re-planting trees has been handed over to the forest department and they no longer had any responsibility in the matter,” Mondol said.
“We have appealed to the ministers to look into the matter urgently so that the people of the district do not have to suffer the effects of a rapidly degrading environment. We have also emphasised the district administration’s lack of effort to stop the illegal felling of trees,” he said.
Arup Roy, executive engineer (state highways) of the public works department and the project in-charge of the expansion, confirmed that the money had been given to the forest department. “It was about eight or nine months ago that we had handed over two cheques of Rs 8.5 lakh and Rs 76,500 to the forest department. We are primarily engaged in construction and tree plantation should be looked after by the forest department,” Roy said.
Divisional forest officer Apurba Sen, whose office is in Raiganj in North Dinajpur, said he had recently taken charge and did not know about the funds being sent to the department. “I shall definitely look into where the funds have gone,” the divisional forest officer said.
Mondol alleged that there was total apathy as far as government officials were concerned. “Officers are transferred, but how can the activity of the department get stalled in red tape? This is very strange,” Mondol said.

No comments:

Post a Comment