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

Thursday, July 22, 2010

All offices except DGHC will open from 23 July...Hunger strike of ABGL...Rare rally against Sikkim govt ...Speaker seizes cellphone of DGP

Kalimews : Offices of Darjelling hills closed since 6th July will remain open from 23rd July. 
GJMM public meeting in Darjeeling today
GJMM Chief Bimal Gurung while addressing a party meeting at Darjeeling announced that in view of the request from Home Minister P Chidambaram all offices, Banks and Post Offices except DGHC Offices will function normally from tomorrow. BL Meena the Administrator of DGHC will not be allowed to function declared Gurung.
All other strikes to start from 25th is also withdrawn for the time being and it is not withdrawn completely warned Gurung. In the meeting organised at Motor Stand of Darjeeling a huge crowd of GJMM supporters echoed Gurung for a positive outcome from the sixth tripartite talks.
Party sources said 12member GJM team Roshan Giri, LB Pariyar, HB Chhetri, RB Bhujel, Binay Tamang, Wilson Champramari MLA, SK Pradhan of Dooars, Raju Pradhan, D.K.Pradhan, Dr Rohit Sharma, P Arjun, Santosh Rai, Pradip Pradhan and others will be representing GJMM on the talks of 24th. They left Bagdogra for Delhi. It also said that rallies will continue till 24th .
In a meeting organised in Damber Chowk Kalimpong GJMM leaders disclosed that Dawa Pakhrin is a state's agent and he has a close contact with CPM leaders and everything for his return to Kalimpong was arranged by Suraj Pathak and others. (Photo:

Strike put off after Delhi talks gesture Blame state if meet fails: Morcha
TT, Darjeeling, July 22: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has deferred its shutdown starting tomorrow, the gesture a result of party president Bimal Gurung’s hope that the July 24 tripartite meeting will be fruitful.
Strikes have also been withdrawn from all government offices, except the DGHC, whose administrator B.L. Meena has in recent times come down heavily on the Morcha by filing FIRs against its lathi-wielding squad of volunteers for occupying the council’s tourist resorts.
At a public meeting attended by thousands of people at Darjeeling Motor Stand, the Morcha president painted the Centre a Good Samaritan and vilified the Bengal government. “The Centre has thought good for us and I am confident that something positive will come out of the talks. The fruits (of the meeting) should be good. If the talks turn out to be a failure, the state government must be held responsible and its results will be evident in August (hinting at a renewed agitation). For now, the strike in the hills has been deferred,” said Gurung.
Announcing the decision to lift the strikes in government offices, he said: “The DGHC will, however, remain closed. We will open the offices only to disburse salaries at the end of the month.”
Speculation is rife on the success of the meeting, as Gurung told the media: “Another delegation will leave for Delhi tomorrow.” Asked if he would be in the team, he said: “I might go.” During the previous five rounds of tripartite talks involving the Centre, the state and the Morcha, Gurung had not been part of the delegation.
The Morcha has already sent a 12-member team led by party general secretary Roshan Giri to Delhi for the meeting. “The final delegation will include around 16-17 people,” Gurung said.
Even though the Morcha chief said the talks would be on “Gorkhaland”, he did not rule out discussions on other issues as well. “We will also talk about the regularisation of the 3,472 causal workers of the council,” he said.
At a meeting in Kurseong on July 20, Gurung had said he would raise the issue of Chhatrey Subba’s release too. Subba had been accused of masterminding an assassination attempt on GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh 10 years ago and has been in a correctional home in Jalpaiguri since then.
However, it is clear that on the core issue of reaching a settlement on the hills, the Morcha is relying more on the Centre than the state. “When the Bengal government opposed the talks, the Centre clearly sent a message by convening the talks. A message has also been sent to the other hill parties. They have not been involved in the talks. The ABGL and the CPRM should take note,” he said. Gurung’s statement is an indication that he has been in touch with the Centre all along. 
While condemning the murder of ABGL leader Madan Tamang which put the Morcha on the back foot, Gurung said: “If one has not swallowed poison it will not affect you. I have told Roshan Giri to attend the talks without worry.” Home department sources said police had transcripts of phone conversations between Giri and local cadres before and after Tamang’s murder, which could nail the Morcha top brass.
The ABGL has decided to start a relay hunger strike in Darjeeling tomorrow to demand the arrest of Tamang’s murderers.
Tamang’s widow Bharati Tamang, who is currently the president of the ABGL, will take part in the fast.
Bandh calls
The Bangla O Bangla Bhasa Banchao Committee has announced a 12-hour strike in Siliguri subdivision on July 24 to protest the tripartite talks involving the Morcha. The Rashtriya Shiv Sena has also called a 12-hour bandh in north Bengal the same day.
“We consider it unethical on the part of the Centre to sit across the table with the Morcha leaders accused of murdering Madan Tamang,” said Bhasha Banchao Committee president Mukunda Majumdar.
Another anti-Morcha outfit, Amra Bangali, will observe “black day” throughout the state on July 24. 
Youths protest service extension
TT, Gangtok, July 22: Protests against Pawan Chamling’s Sikkim Democratic Front rule are few and far between, but today a group representing unemployed youths hit the streets of the state capital against the policy of extending the services of government employees.
Youths under the banner of All Sikkim Educated Self-employed and Unemployed Association took out a rally, shouting slogans against the government. The last protest rally in the state that has a 32-member Assembly without any Opposition was also organised by the same organisation on January 28, 2009. Even the lone Lok Sabha seat in the state is held by the SDF.
About 20 people had taken part in the march last year to protest the imposition of direct income-tax by the Centre on Sikkim. Today, the number of participants swelled to over 100.
Apart from the members of the association, representatives of various other organisations and two political parties also — the Congress and the BJP — took part in the 2km-long procession that started from Deorali and ended at Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal Memorial Park near White Hall.
“The rally has been taken out to protest the practice of the state government giving service extension to government employees at a time when the number of educated unemployed youths in Sikkim is increasing,” association general secretary Navin Kiran Pradhan told journalists after the rally.
“Unemployment is rising every year in Sikkim but the state government is silent on the issue. According to our estimates, there are 40,000 unemployed youths in Sikkim and yet, the government keeps on extending the service of employees, most of whom are senior bureaucrats. The extension is blocking the job prospects of our youths,” said Pradhan.
The general secretary claimed that around 150 government employees had so far received service extension.
“At least one retiring employee gets the service extension every week. Although we had filed questions under the RTI, the government failed to give us a satisfactory response,” said Pradhan.
He also slammed the retiring bureaucrats for lobbying for service extension and thereby “hogging the post and blocking the way for unemployed youth of Sikkim”.
The general secretary warned that the association would resort to other forms of protest like hunger strikes and road blockades if the government continued with the service extension.
“We also want the government to strictly monitor the private sector in Sikkim and ensure good wages for employees there. One of the main reasons for Sikkimese youths queuing up for government jobs is the low salaries in the private companies,” said Pradhan. 
Water level comes down in NB rivers
TT, Kalchini (Alipurduar), July 22: The water level in five rivers of Alipurduar subdivision have decreased today prompting the authorities to bring down the the alert, even as Jalpaiguri divisional commissioner A.K. Singh visited the affected areas in Kalchini block.
The red alert in the Kaljani and the Torsha has been lowered to yellow, while the alert issued earlier in the Basra, Raidak and the Sankosh has been withdrawn, irrigation officials said.
In Mendabari. people are going back to their houses. However, the 42 families in Nimti Jhora Tea Estate in Kalchini block are still living in a camp. People from Kalchini and Hamiltangunj areas are forced to travel an extra 30km to reach Hasimara and Jaigaon because of the Basra bridge which was washed away on Tuesday.
Singh visited old Hasimara, Uttar Mendabari, a weak bridge on NH31C and the remains of the Basra bridge. “I tried to visit Shikari Bund but could not as a stretch of the road in the Churapara tea garden (4km from the spot) is washed away.”
Irrigation officials said almost 300 metres of Shikari Bund had been washed away by the Pana river on Tuesday night, cutting off the central Dooars and Radharani Tea Estate from the rest of the world. “The bund is the most affected area of Kalchini and I will visit the area tomorrow,” Singh said. He said he would talk to PWD officials on what could be done on the Basra bridge.
When Radharani workers urged Singh to visit the bund today, Singh asked sabhadhipati of Kalchini panchayat samiti Atul Subba to construct a temporary bamboo bridge over the damaged portion of the road at Churapara so that he could visit the embankment tomorrow.
Nishad Hussain, the manager of Chuapara Tea Estate who met Singh said: “I have told him that if it rains five inches in the hills, the Pana will wreck havoc on my garden. The Shikari Bund has to be protected otherwise Bhatpara, Chuapara and Mechpara gardens will be damaged badly.” He said he had written to the administration repeatedly on Shikari Bund, but nothing had been done.
NBU second campus gets first funds
TT, Siliguri, July 22: The first tranche of funds for the construction of the second campus of North Bengal University in Jalpaiguri has been sanctioned by the state higher education department. The amount, Rs 28 lakh, will be used to erect the boundary wall around the 38.18-acre plot for the campus.
“We had sent a proposal to the higher education department with the estimated cost of constructing a boundary wall as soon as the land was transferred to us from the Jalpaiguri Government Engineering College. For the purpose, Rs 28 lakh was sanctioned and we received the intimation about two weeks ago. We have instructed the Jalpaiguri PWD’s construction division to take up the work and the process of transferring the funds to them is in progress,” said P.N. Basak, the joint chief engineer of the varsity.
The campus was approved by the state government in November as there was a growing demand for PG courses from the students of Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts .
The varsity plans to introduce courses from the new campus in the next academic session (2011-2012). However, sources said the government was yet to sanction the estimated funds of Rs 77.16 crore.
“A committee comprising the NBU executive council members, engineering college authorities, and MLAs and MPs from Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts was formed to chalk out a detailed project report (DPR). On February 2, the DPR was sent to the state higher education department with the estimated cost of 77.16 crore. Five months have passed since then and we are yet to receive the state government’s nod,” said a source.
According to Basak, the nod is being delayed as the higher education department has transferred the DPR to the State Planning Commission for approval.
“The higher education department approves funds up to Rs 25 crore and amounts higher than that are sent to the State Planning Commission. We have requested the state government to sanction the funds in three phases of Rs 32.8 crore, Rs 11.34 crore and Rs 33.67 crore. These will be used for infrastructure development and salary grant for academic and non-academic staff. Apart from classrooms, there will be an administrative building, a separate library and quarters for the staff on the campus,” said Basak.
Writers’ tea meet ends without hike
TT, Siliguri, July 22: The daily wage of a tea worker will continue to be Rs 67 as a tripartite meeting on the demand for an interim hike failed to reach an agreement today.
The three-hour meeting at Writers’ Buildings, chaired by principal secretary of the labour department T. Kumar, could not arrive at a decision after management representatives vetoed a hike proposed by trade union leaders, citing price rise. Today’s development left around three lakh workers in 307 gardens in the Dooars and the Terai and the hills disappointed.
Over the past six months, the tea trade unions have been pressing for an interim hike till the current wage agreement expires in March 2011. The newly formed Progressive Tea Workers’ Union, affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, has demanded that the daily wage be raised to Rs 250.
“The management refused to raise the wages as the present agreement is yet to expire. We then asked for the reintroduction of variable dearness allowance and a revision of extra leaf price — an incentive paid to a worker who plucks extra leaves — as these could supplement the present income,” Samir Roy, convener, the Defence Committee for Plantation Workers’ Rights, said over the phone from Calcutta.
A management representative said the planters were against a hike till the present wage agreement expired. “We have agreed to sit again at a bipartite meeting to discuss two other means of supplementing the income on August 10,” he said.
A worker of Dagapur tea estate said the trade union leaders had been threatening to start a movement if the management ignored their demands. “But in today’s meeting, the issue seems to have been sidelined.”
The issue of safe drinking water in the gardens was also discussed. “By August 31, the management of all tea estates will apply for the implementation of the Sajal Dhara scheme and provide electricity connections to all workers’ houses,” said Alok Chakrabarty, the Darjeeling district Intuc president.
The management had also been asked to reveal the number of vacancies in gardens so that an agreement to employ 10,000 additional workers, inked in 1999 in the presence of Jyoti Basu, could be taken up, Chakrabarty said.
Speaker seizes cellphone of DGP
ENS, Kolkata:West Bengal Assembly Speaker Hasim Abdul Halim on Thursday seized the cellphone of Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh for allegedly taking pictures of the Assembly when it was in session. It is illegal to take pictures of the House while it is in session.
The Speaker asked government Chief Whip Syed Mohammad Masih to submit a report to him on Friday morning.
The DGP was also told to be present in the Assembly.
The DGP, along with Chief Secretary Ardhendu Sen, Home Secretary Samar Ghosh, Kolkata Police Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti and other senior state officials, was present in the officers’ gallery in the House when the police budget was being presented.
The DGP was seen fiddling with his mobile phone when all the Congress members trooped into the well after one CPM member allegedly made some derogatory remarks during the speech of independent member Manoj Chakraborty in the budget debate. 
Congress member D P Roy sprang up and alleged the DGP was taking pictures. Later, CLP leader Manas Bhuniya accused the DGP of committing a heinous act by taking pictures.
“The DGP has lowered the image of the House since taking the pictures is illegal. He has defied the chair,” Bhuniya added.
On this, the Speaker asked the Government Chief Whip to seize the cellphone, check the record and submit a report. “Taking pictures of the House is unlawful. The matter will be taken up tomorrow morning before Question Hour starts,” the Speaker added.
Later, the DGP admitted his mistake when he was summoned by the Chief Minister. The DGP also met the Speaker and sent a note to the government chief whip, saying he was trying to read an SMS and his finger accidentally touched the flash button.
Bhuinya, however, demanded exemplary punishment for the officer who is going to retire on August 31. “It shows how the government keeps us under surveillance. The DGP has lowered the image of not only the House but his own office too,” he added.
Leader of Opposition Partha Chatterjee too demanded action against the DGP.
Ravages of rally
PTI, Siliguri, July 22 : A 11-member Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) delegation, led by its general secretary Roshan Giri, left for Delhi today to participate in the sixth round of political level tripartite talks on the Darjeeling issue.
Talking to reporters at Bagdogra airport, Giri said he was hopeful about the July 24 talks and something "positive might come out in the discussions".
GJM press and publicity chief Harkabahadur Chhetri said the invitation for the talks was itself a victory for GJM as the state government had opposed the parleys vehemently.
The issue of setting up of an interim authority in Darjeeling for the Gorkhas and its territorial jurisdiction is likely to come up for discussion at the talks, to be attended by representatives of the Centre and the GJM and West Bengal Home Secretary, official sources said.

Press report issued by BGP  

Sixth tripartite talks on 24th
ANI, Darjeeling, July 22 : The upcoming sixth tripartite meet called by the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has united almost all regional parties in the hill town of Darjeeling in West Bengal, as many of the parties want it to be postponed.
Even as the significant meet is scheduled for Saturday (July 24) in the national capital, a sense of uncertainty prevails here about holding the tripartite talks between the Central government, State government of West Bengal and Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM).
Different parties like Bharatiya Gorhka Parisad, All India Gorhka league, Socialist Unity Centre Of India (SUCI), Communist party of Revolutionary Marxist, Trinamool Congress (TMC,Hill), Communist Party Of India (Marxist-Lenin) Liberation (CPIML), United forum of Cinchona Plantation and Communist Party of India, Marxist (CPIM) have jointly opposed the meeting.
They are demanding postponement of the meeting as top leaders of GJMM are accused of murdering Madan Tamang president of All India Gorkha League (AIGL).
They also maintain that GJMM is not the sole representative of Darjeeling.
Ashok Bhattacharya, Urban Development Minister of West-Bengal Government said that the meeting would give legitimacy to an organisation, which is now looked down upon by the people of the hills.
“This meeting right now means disrespecting the strength of democracy. It is the duty of the state as well as central government to respect the hill’s democratic strength and the strength of peace. There should be a government, which would be able to prevail law in the hills, and everybody should encourage this. Only they would be able to resolve the issue,” said Bhattacharya.
Avijeet Majumder, Central Committee Member of Communist Party Of India (Marxist-Lenin) Liberation (CPIML) party says that it should be postponed till Tamang’ s killers are put behind the bars.
“The central as well as the state government has always tried to create some or the other interference in between the matters of the people of the hills and therefore they have only welcomed a newly evolved party Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM). And by doing that they are pampering this party and neglecting the democratic rights of other parties. In this newly developed situation here they have again called a tripartite meet and they have only invited this new party and the leaders of the party who are accused of murder charges. This is not acceptable, this is not democratic. We protest this,” said Majumder.
Political circumstances of Darjeeling have altered drastically after the murder of Tamang on May 21. Since then Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) is losing popularity.

No comments:

Post a Comment