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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bundh suspended till 30th August, Offices open...2 company CRP coming for hills..Unitedly Gorkhaland can be achieved

KalimNews: Indefinite bundh called by GJMM suspended till 30th August. GJMM has stated that the bundh is suspended as the time given to the police is extended till 12 noon of 30th August. Closed DGHC offices will also be open declared Binay Tamang Asst Secretary of GJMM.
It is recalled that GJMM had called an indefinite bundh starting from 1pm of 22nd August in protest against escape of Nicole Tamang  prime accused in the Madan Tamang murder and it gave relaxation from 24th August for 48 hrs ie till 25th August.
Meanwhile 2 company of CRPF is being sent by Center declared Samar Ghose, Home Secretary. A source from Dooars said that ABAVP called a meeting in Birpara and resolved to vehemently oppose the meeting called by GJMM in Jaigaon on 29th August. No Adivasi people will attend the meeting of GJMM said a branch committee member of ABAVP. It is recalled that Bimal Gurung had promised to gather 30 thousand Adivasis and with challege ordered leaders of GJMM of Dooars to gather 50 thousand Gorkha supporters from Dooars during an interactive programme held in Darjeeling on 22nd August.

Prime Minister concerned over Darjeeling 
KalimNews: Addressing DGPs and IGPs during an annual Conference held in Delhi Manmohan Singh, PM said  " The situation in Darjeeling hill area also needs a careful watch. The writ of the State should be firmly established in all these areas. The State police and the central paramilitary forces should take firm action against those who take the law into their own hands. "
Inaugurating the conference he said “I am very happy to once again address this annual gathering of heads of police organizations in India. Let me begin by congratulating those officers who have been awarded the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service and meritorious service today."
Shutdown looms as remand nears end Morcha sets Aug 30 deadline for cops
TT, Aug. 26: The hills are wary of another indefinite shutdown with the CID drawing a blank on the Nickole Tamang escape probe, and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha setting August 30 as deadline to produce him in court.
The Morcha said it expected the accused, a central committee member of the party, to be produced in court before noon of August 30, when Nickole’s term in police remand ends.
“The police and the CID are expected to produce Nickole Tamang in court on August 30, when the police remand ends. If he is not produced before the court by noon, an indefinite strike will start,” said Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha at a media conference here today.
The Morcha had called the indefinite strike last Sunday after Nickole, who had been arrested by Darjeeling police on August 16, fled from a CID camp at Pintail Village near Siliguri.
However, even five days after Nickole, a prime accused in the Madan Tamang murder case, fled from CID custody, the police hardly have any leads.
Additional director-general of police, CID, Raj Kanojia, who arrived in Siliguri today, said his agency had received phone calls after a reward was announced for information on Nickole. “This is a positive development and our officers are working on these inputs, we expect a breakthrough very soon,” Kanojia said.
The Morcha, while announcing a two day relaxation in the indefinite strike on Wednesday, had said the continuation of the bandh would be decided upon today. People in the hills spent the entire day in uncertainty, and the Morcha announced late in the afternoon that the relaxation would extend till the noon of August 30.
The 48-hour strike relaxation had been provided following an assurance from the Darjeeling district police that there had been no foul play in Nickole’s disappearance. The Morcha had claimed that Nickole had probably died during interrogation and that the police were trying to hush up the incident by staging the “escape drama”.
With the uncertainty now looming, almost all the residents are being forced to keep every future schedule in abeyance.
“Travelling plans have gone haywire. We cannot even tell people who are coming from distant places to cancel their visit,” said a resident of Darjeeling.
Tourism industry, which is the backbone of the town economy but one of the most sensitive industries, has also been hit hard.
“Even though this is not a peak season, tourists always trickle to the hills. However, with this uncertainty we are bound to lose even on this little inflow which is important to sustain our business,” said a hotelier.
Even if the strike commences from August 30 noon the duration is not yet known as the Morcha has talked about an “indefinite” shutdown. Apprehending a fresh flare-up in the hills after Nickole’s disappearance, the state government had asked for three companies of CRPF. However, the Centre today, reports PTI has agreed to send two.
“The state government had requested the Centre to give three additional companies of CRPF to Darjeeling, but they have agreed to send two companies for the hills,” PTI quoted home secretary Samar Ghosh as saying. 
KalimNews:  Additional director-general of police, CID, Raj Kanojia said that we have received enough informations regarding the Madan Tamang murder and we can arrest many person. But it is believed that this will be initiated only with the rearrest of Nicole Tamang and police wants to prove that Nicole was an active GJMM member before and after the murder and he is being sheltered  by GJMM as such GJMM and its leaders are directly or indirectly involved in the murder.
Yechury visit
TT: CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury will visit Darjeeling on August 29. He will deliver the Ratan Lal Brahmin Memorial Lecture at Gymkhana Club, said K.B. Wattar, a CPM leader from Darjeeling. Brahmin was one of the leading communist leaders from the hills.
State silence on Pahari baffles hills
Sabyasachi Bandhopadhyay,IE, Kolkata:The state government’s inaction against Ardhendu Shekhar Pahari-investigating officer in the case of Nicole Tamang, who escaped from the custody of the CID of the state police on August 21 ¿ has Darjeeling in a tizzy.
A sub-inspector and a constable have been suspended for their negligence but no action has been taken against Paharai — who was heading the team guarding Nicole.
The All India Gorkha League had already alleged that Nicole was allowed to flee as the state reached an understanding with the GJM after it dropped its demands to include Dooars and Terai in the proposed hill council.
“The theory sounds ridiculous,” said a senior official of the state police. “But one thing is baffling. Nicole’s escape was facilitated and Pahari could have a role in that. He was responsible for a serious lapse. It’s intriguing that no action has been taken against him.” 
Home Secretary Samar Ghosh said they were waiting for a CID report before taking any action. “Our IG, CID Neeraj Narayan Pandey and ADG, CID Raj Kanojia have gone there. We will take action on the basis of their report,” Ghosh told The Indian Express.
Kanojia and Pandey met officials at Siliguri to take stock of the efforts to trace Nicole.
“During interrogation, Nicole mentioned the names of 10-12 people and we are checking on them. We are hopeful that Tamang will be re-arrested soon,” Kanojia said.
The GJM, which called an indefinite bandh following Nicole’s escape — and later gave two-day breather on August 25 and August 26 — extended it to August 30. Nicole is supposed to be produced in court that day and the chargesheet against him is to be filed. “Unless Nicole is produced by then, we will go for an indefinite bandh,” said Morcha spokesman Benoy Tamang.
The Centre, meanwhile, is sending two companies of CRPF to Darjeeling following a letter from state chief secretary Ardhendu Sen to Union home secretary GK Pillai early this week. Sen wrote the letter following the withdrawal of three companies of CRPF from Darjeeling.
Unitedly Gorkhaland can be achieved
DK Waiba, KalimNews (Kalimpong News): Gorkhas identity crisis is a national issue, so it should be fought through a national movement, It is not a demand it is a necessity said Amar Singh MP & president of National Federation for New States during a workshop organised at Bagdogra jointly by Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh and NFNS.  Speaking on 'Federal structure of India and the demand of Gorkhaland' held in the hotel Marina Amar Singh said that for the patriot and sincere Gorkhas justice can only be given by creating a separate state of Gorkhaland. He emphasised that the movement for the statehood should be sincere, peaceful and should not touch the sensitivity of public. 
Jaya Prada MP and former actress addressing the audience said that all should unitedly fight for Gorkhaland as fought for the inclusion of Nepali language in the eighth schedule. As it will take a long time to achieve statehood people must consistently fight and continue the movement without any discouragement added Jaya. 
MPs Raja Bundela, P Niroop and others including Joel Rai, Prof Munish Tamang and Sukhman Moktan, Enosh Das Pradhan and others too were present in the programme attended by Gorkhas of Bagdogra and Siliguri.
Meanwhile BOBBBC demonstrated near Bihar more with slogan against MPs Jaya Prada and AmarSingh for supporting Gorkhaland movement .
KalimNews: Due to incessant rain some villages around Mal Bazar area is flooded. Mal Nadi and Gurjungjhora has been fllodded displacing many as homeless. Earlier small channels ans streams caused a flood in and around Mal Park and shops near Mal Bus Stand . Many shops were flodded damaging materials worth lakhs of  Rupeese.
Call for halt to ‘corrupt’ job selections 

TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 26: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today alleged malpractices in the ongoing recruitment of para teachers and midwives in the hills and demanded an immediate freeze on the processes till an interim set-up was put in place for the region.
Binay Tamang, assistant secretary of the Morcha, said: “It has come to our notice that there have been several anomalies in the recruitment of para-teachers and selection of ANM (Auxiliary Nursing Mid-wifery) candidates in the Darjeeling hills. Moreover, we had told the government that our party should also be consulted on all affairs, but this did not take place. We demand that the entire procedure be kept on hold until the interim set-up is put in place.”
He said applicants with only a couple of years’ teaching experience had been given preference over those with more than 10 years’ experience.
“Many people who were employed under the Integrated Child Development Scheme were selected as midwives. The selection was partial,” he said.
However DGHC officials said they had gone by the rules governing the recruitment and there had been no foul play in the process.
P.T. Sherpa, secretary of the council’s education department, said: “The appointment process is still in progress. We are following the norms laid down by the Sarva Siksha Mission to recruit teachers.” While 197 vacancies of para-teachers are in the primary schools (till Class IV), and 210 posts are to be filled in the upper primary section (from Class V to Class VIII).
Explaining the recruitment process, Sherpa said the onus of selecting teachers for the upper primary school lay with the managing committees of the respective institutions and village education committee in the case of primary schools.
“Selection is not done by the council. The candidates are vetted by managing committees and the village education committees. A panel then interviews them and the lists are again sent to these committees, which have appointment powers. The council merely sanctions the lists,” said Sherpa.
Primary schoolteachers receive a monthly remuneration of Rs 6.500, while those appointed in upper primary schools are entitled to Rs 7,500.
W. Zimba, secretary of the council’s health department, also said the selection of the ANM candidates had taken place according to the norms mentioned in advertisements.
Although a Morcha delegation today met the additional district magistrate of Darjeeling and requested him to stop the recruitment, he did not give any assurance as the decision had to be taken by the state government. 
Queen of orchids for queen of hills- one lakh cymbidiums to bloom in mirik by 2
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 26: Around one lakh plants of cymbidium, known as the queen of orchids, are set to bloom in Mirik in two years, thanks to an export-oriented project by a private company.
The biggest venture of orchid cultivation in the northeastern part of India was initiated by Darjeeling Gardens Private Limited on a two-acre plot at Rato Mate busty in Mirik with the help of 10 small farmers.
“Cymbidiums require low temperature and high humidity, a rare combination that is difficult to be found in other hill towns. Mirik valley provides the optimum requirement of temperature and humidity and is the best place to cultivate cymbidium. Floriculturists in Mirik were growing orchids on a smaller scale. But we have been growing one lakh cymbidiums at our nursery since May last year with the latest technical knowhow,” said Rajesh Chowdhury, the director of Darjeeling Garden.
The ultimate aim of the project is to enable small growers to start large-scale production of the cymbidium to export the flower.
“Although we have engaged 10 local cultivators, technical assistance was provided to more than 100 small farmers. In case we start exporting orchids, we need a regular supply, say 5,000 to 10,000 sticks a week. As the yield in our nursery will not be sufficient to meet consistent demands, we plan to engage the farmers and buy orchids from them so that exports can be continued without any shortage in the supply. The farmers, too, will be apprised of the demand, the desirable yield and the prices their produce would fetch in international markets,” said Chowdhury.
The cymbidium, the most popular orchid worldwide, is beautiful and comes in a variety of colours like white, green, pink, red and mixed shades of yellow and red, and pink and white.
Grown in countries like Australia, New Zealand and Holland, the cymbidium is known to have a long vase life ranging from two to three weeks. The longer vase life gives the flower high ornamental value.
Darjeeling Gardens signed a memorandum of understanding with the Centre For Agro-Business and Floriculture Management (COAFM) of North Bengal University in December to provide technical assistance to the nursery.
Ranadhir Chakraborty, the project manager of the COAFM, said cymbidiums grown in Mirik were of export quality. “However, as the plants are grown on small scale, enough flowers are not available for the export. Darjeeling Gardens is the first grower to start the mass cultivation of the cymbidium in the northeastern part of India. We give the nursery technical assistance in terms of monitoring nutrition requirements, light, temperature, humidity control and pest control,” he added.
Chakraborty said the cymbidiums had a thriving market in Japan, Dubai and European countries for ornamental purpose.
Ten poly-houses have been erected at Rato Mate, 52km from here, to grow the orchids under conditions prescribed by the COAFM.
The saplings are mostly of the Australian and New Zealand variety of cymbidiums and they were purchased from a tissue production centre in Gurgaon. With a gestation period of three-years, the orchids are expected to be in full bloom by October 2012.
“We have already planted over 75, 0000 saplings and 25,000 more will be planted in the coming month. Japan has the biggest market in the world for orchids and we are in talks with a floriculture company there for the exports. We are trying to develop market linkages in Mumbai and Bangalore where the cymbidium is in demand. At present, the cymbidiums fetch Rs 150 to Rs 200 per stick in the international market and less than Rs 100 in the domestic market,” said Chowdhury.
Sikkim best tour teacher- policy pat from northeast
TT, Gangtok, Aug. 26: Sikkim with its master tourism policy has a lot to offer to the Northeast where connectivity is the biggest impediment to smooth travel, leader of Opposition in the Meghalaya Assembly Conrad Sangma said here today.
“Sikkim has a lot to offer as the state is the pioneer in tourism. We have to learn from Sikkim,” said Sangma during the inaugural session of the two-day regional consultation on responsible tourism in the Northeast.
Tourism stakeholders from all the seven northeastern states and Sikkim are participating in the seminar organised by the Shillong-based Impulse NGO Network, in collaboration with Sikkim University and the Bangalore-based research organisation Equations. The seminar is supported by the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking.
Later in an interaction with the media, Sangma admitted that Sikkim was more advanced in the tourism sector compared to Meghalaya or the other northeastern states. “Sikkim is more advanced in the sense that polices and plans had been formulated. In our case, initiatives had been there but our government had not focused on them much,” he said.
The NCP leader, who was the Meghalaya tourism minister in 2007-2008, said he was impressed by the Akant Vas and the Agyat Van Vas concepts being considered by the Sikkim government.
“The state is naturally gifted with all sorts of destinations and circuits required for tourism. Some of the impressive varieties of our tourism products are nature, trekking, eco-tourism, adventure, pilgrimage and Buddhist tourism and Akant Vas and Agyat Van Vas,” said Sikkim tourism minister Bhim Dhungel.
The concepts were floated by the government earlier this year with proposals to build Vedic-era-type huts in the forests where tourists can spend some time in solitude and meditation. However, the proposal is still in the conceptual stage. “I really like these concepts of the Sikkim government,” said Sangma.
He was also impressed by the cleanliness of Gangtok.
“Overall, tourism in Sikkim is very attractive. The participation of the community is so clear. I saw people involved in a drive to clean up Gangtok. It goes very well with tourism,” said Sangma. He said lack of connectivity remained the biggest hurdle in the Northeast.
“There are 22 airports in the region, of which 11 are defunct because of sloppy design and construction. A tourist will love to fly from Gangtok straight to Shillong or complete the entire northeastern itinerary in a week which is possible only through air links,” said Sangma. He said he supported the development of quality tourism instead of quantity in the region, especially in his state.
Impulse team leader Hasina Kharbhih said the consultation was meant to “create a platform for government officials, civil society organisations, media and people from the tourism industry to discuss the critical issues and their impacts on tourism in the Northeast within the framework of current policies and legislations”.
First surrender by Maoists in Bengal
TH, KOLKATA: The first formal surrender of a Maoist militant since the West Bengal Government notified its surrender and rehabilitation policy for left wing extremists on July 28 took place at Midnapore, headquarters of the State's Paschim Medinipur district, before senior police officers on Thursday.
A Maoist squad member of the Goaltore area of the district and accused in 13 criminal cases including murder and sedition since 2009, Shobhan Karak alias Bijoy was also associated with the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC) and another outfit supported by the extremists, the Sidhu Soren Gana Militia.
Present on the occasion was Superintendent of Police Manoj Verma who said that though Karak was “the first among Maoists to surrender some more are expected to do so within the next seven days”. Karak laid down his arms before the police.
Speaking of some more activists having contacted the authorities and expressed their willingness to surrender, Mr Verma said: “There are some people who are on the boundary line and have some doubts in their mind. I hope they will be encouraged by this act of surrender and more will follow”.

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