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

Monday, August 9, 2010

Clauses clash in draft .....Strike call to protest talks -

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 8: The Democratic Front has alleged in its reply to a Bengal government query that the Centre’s proposal for an interim administrative set-up for the hills is not only contradictory but has also failed to address core issues of the region.
The response from the front, a six-party anti-Gorkha Janmukti Morcha alliance in the hills, is a clear indication that the state’s move to build a consensus among political parties on the set-up has fallen flat on its face.
The front representatives were given copies of Delhi’s proposal for a stop gap arrangement during their meeting with Bengal ministers Asok Bhattacharya and Surjya Kanta Mishra at Writers’ Buildings on July 24. The state government had wanted the front’s observations on the proposed set-up.
The front has made it clear that even though it is “equally concerned about the future of this area and early resolve of the current crisis, any interim arrangement at this juncture is neither feasible nor desirable”. The proposal, which the front believes is contradictory, concerns a clause in the Centre’s proposal. The clause says that even though the interim authority will be in place till December 31, 2011, it has talked about a five-year term for the elected members of the Gorkhaland Autonomous Authority (GAA). “Paragraph 2 specifies that GAA would be an interim authority valid up to December 31, 2011, only, but at the same time Paragraph 6 provides that the term of elected members of the GAA will be for five years. These two clauses are contradictory to each other,” the front’s observation reads.
The front has also said the issue of the casual workers of the DGHC has not been addressed in the draft. The welfare of the cinchona and tea garden workers has not been addressed either. “Since we were told to reply to the Centre’s proposal we have just made these observations,” said Dawa Sherpa, the convener of the front.
In fact, the Morcha rivals in the hills are determined to start a campaign to oppose the set-up. The CPRM, the party known to have the largest base in the hills after the Morcha, today held a public meeting at Sonada to apprise the people of the set-up.
The Morcha, which is expected to send its “observation” on the Centre’s proposal by tomorrow, has, however, decided to keep its card close to the chest. “We would not want to give the state government any undue advantage by revealing our report now. We will reveal the content to the people when we believe that such revelation will not impact the state’s strategy,” said a Morcha leader.
Sherpa today admitted that the front had written to the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad for a meeting “sometime back”. Sources maintain that with the Centre and state developing cold feet on holding a meeting with the Parishad over its demand for Sixth Schedule status for the Dooars, the tribal outfit is likely to hold parleys with both the Morcha and the ABGL to work out a strategy for a joint agitation either way.
Wheel jam
A transport union affiliated to the Morcha has called a general strike in Kurseong subdivision and a chakka jam in the rest of the hills on August 10 to coincide with the ABGL’s scheduled public meeting at Kurseong that was announced earlier during the day.
Subash Pradhan, secretary, Gorkha Janmukti Chalak Mahasangh, said: “We have decided to call a general strike and a chakka jam on August 10. This is a prescheduled programme of our union and has got nothing to do with the ABGL’s meeting. We demand the repair of NH55 that is affecting life in the hills and we appeal to all parties to support it.”
GJMM AIGL differ on Interim setup
SNS, DARJEELING, 8 AUG: As the GJMM braces for the seventh round of tripartite meeting scheduled for 17 August, the memorandum submitted by the AIGL to the Bengal government has given way to substantive and pointed questions. With AIGL expressing dissatisfaction over para 2 (Interim Authority would be valid till 31 December, 2011) of the proposed draft which contradicts para 6  (Term of GAA will be five years), Dr Harka Bahadur Chhetri the media secretary of GJMM said the Opposition has failed to understand the spirit of the Interim Setup. How can a budget be planned for a year only, it is always planned on a five-year basis, he said, adding that the separate state demand is in no way incumbent to the budget, as after the first year’s budget is exhausted they will go for a separate state demand.
Clearing the stand on the DGHC workers Dr Chhetri said: “They (AIGL) have just come to know of their existence, in other words they had never worried about the DGHC workers before but we have been fighting for them, in fact it is a pre-condition to the Interim Agreement.” Further in a memorandum which is being handed over to the home minister Mr P Chidambaram by the GJMM in a day or so it is clearly mentioned that the GJMM will not comply with para 8 of the proposal which states that the area of the GAA would be the area of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. On an allegation by the general secretary of CPRM Mr RB Rai this week regarding GJMM misappropriation in recruitment of para-teachers Dr Chhetri said: “The recruitment was done by the education monitoring cell which is a fairly neutral body.”
Asked about the conditions raised by the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad in a meeting held at Chalsa on Saturday in which they have said that whether the GJMM accepts Gorkhaland or Interim Authority the ultimate authority to handle the affairs of the Doaars-Terai region should be given to them Dr Chhetri said “we have been waiting for a response from the ABAVP for a long time but instead of sending a formal letter to us they went to the media.” Further he added that the ABAVP asking for authority in their region is “stressing the obvious" which is but natural in a democracy.
Meanwhile, protesting against alleged police atrocities and harassment of the drivers and demanding immediate restoration of NH 55 at 14 Mile near Ghayabari in Kurseong, the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha Chalak Mahasangh called a 12-hour Kurseong sub-division bandh on 10 August. In addition, they will stage road blockades in the rest of Darjeeling Hills and the rest of the proposed Gorkhaland area on the same date. During the bandh, they will not allow two wheelers to ply on the roads.
Incidentally, the AIGL was to stage a public meeting on 10 August in Kurseong after a long time of about nearly three years. AIGL sources said the bandh has been called to disturb their proposed 10 August meeting in Kurseong but as per the Chalak Mahasangh they are staging this bandh to pressurize the Government regarding their demands. 
GJMM stand on ABAVP
KalimNews: GJMM is willing to accept the terms and conditions laid down by ABAVP. Dr HB Chhetri spokesperson of GJMM said that the conditions of ABAVP are very simple and GJMM has nothing against it. As Dooars have Adivasis in majority and their demand of including them as the rulers in the proposed Interim authority is very much acceptable to GJMM without any hesitation, but the state committee of ABAVP too should approve it said Dr Chhetri.
Meanwhile ABAVP has scented doubts on the prompt approval of its conditions and inclusion of them in the GJMM led agitation too. It has said that to accept the proposal verbally and to let it in practice is quite different thing, we want deed not promises, John Barla of ABAVP said.  
In a meeting of Bhatinagar Block Committee of GJMM party workers confessed that they are doubting on the promises of the central committee members on the inclusion of Gorkha dominated areas of Siliguri in the proposed GAA. Several members of the committe said that  though we have been reading about these rumours from the media still the central committee members are not saying a word on it. They must clarify it , they said while the Office bearers tried to pacify them and requested them to rely on Bimal Gurung , the GJMM President.
CPRM in its meeting in Sonada has warned both the state government and the GJMM that if any one of them tries to fool the people them CPRM will answer it with a drama. So far GJMM has not been transparent and had not disclosed the bases and the main points of the talks, alleged Arun Ghatani, Secretary of youth wing of CPRM.   
Strike call to protest talks
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 8: The Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee has called a strike across Bengal on August 17 to protest the Centre’s decision to a hold tripartite meeting with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on the proposed interim set-up for the Darjeeling hills on the same day.
“When the DGHC still exists, we don’t think that there is a need for a similar interim administrative arrangement for the hills. We consider that the demand for such an interim set-up is nothing but a ploy by the Morcha to divide the state again. We strongly oppose any such move and believe that there is no need for the Centre and the state government to invite the Morcha leaders to Delhi for a dialogue on the matter. A Bangla bandh will be observed on August 17 to protest the talks,” said Mukund Majumdar, the president of the Bhasha committee.
The Amra Bangali, another anti-Morcha outfit in the plains, is also toying with the idea of calling a strike on August 17. “Inviting Morcha leaders to the tripartite talks is a step to encourage them for their separate statehood demand. We will always protest any such initiative from the government. A decision on the strike will be taken after holding the executive committee meeting here in the next couple of days,” said Khushiranjan Mondal, the organising secretary of the Amra Bangali
The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has criticised the central and state governments for not inviting them to the dialogue.
Tezkumar Toppo, the state general secretary of the Parishad, said: “The government is trying to make a one-sided move by inviting only Morcha leaders to the parleys. The Morcha has been constantly demanding the inclusion of the Dooars and the Terai in the proposed interim set-up. But we will oppose such move at any cost.”
The newly formed Progressive People’s Party also warned the government against discussing the inclusion of the Dooars in the interim set-up.
Night jumbo ravages sick garden
TT, Alipurduar, Aug. 8: A lone tusker last night destroyed eight huts in the closed Dheklapara Tea Estate, where workers are trying to eke out a living with whatever they can lay their hands on.
The estate in Birpara block has remained closed since 2006 and the workers have not been getting the monthly special government assistance of Rs 1,000 for locked out gardens for the past four months.
The elephant entered the garden around 10.30pm, sending people scampering out of their homes in the darkness.
“We know that marauding elephants target houses in which food grains are stored. But there was not a single grain in my hut and yet, the elephant completely destroyed it. The animal also trampled over the utensils and now, we have nothing to cook our food in,” cried Budahn Munda.
He added that after the assistance had dried up, he and others in the garden had been breaking boulders on riverbeds and earning a pittance of Rs 32 a day. “Neither the forest department nor the panchayat, the office of which is located just outside the garden, comes to our aid. Now, we will have to rebuild our huts,” said Munda.
Kishel Kumar, another garden worker, who hurt himself while trying to escape from the elephant, said no one could see the animal in the pitch darkness as there was no electricity in the closed garden.
“The elephant entered the garden from the adjacent Reti forest. I ran out of the hut and stumbled. The elephant was standing in front of me. But it did not attack me and I escaped with bruises,” said Kumar.
Forest department sources said the elephant had also entered the neighbouring Joy Birpara garden and damaged five huts there. It then re-entered Dheklapara and went back to the forest around 1am after being chased by the workers with torches.
The Dalgaon range officer had to face the ire of the workers when he reached the garden, 70km from here, at 9am today. He left the garden after assuring the labourers that patrolling in the area would be intensified.
Conservator of forests (north Bengal) Manindra Biswas said the workers who had lost huts the previous night would be given tarpaulin sheets and food grains.
Anandalal Tanti, another worker, said there was one ailing person in every hut and no health teams visited the garden. “There is a scarcity of drinking water also, as two of the three bore wells were damaged by elephants,” he said.
The subdivisional officer of Alipurduar, Anurag Srivastav, said he would instruct the block development officer to rush aid to the victims of the elephant attack. “I am also informing the assistant labour commissioner about the non-payment of the special assistance to the workers,” he said.
KalimNews : Kalimpong Police arrested Mohan Chhetri and Suren Chhetri of Ramphu under West Bengal and Dhiraj Rai and Bijay Rai of Sichey Busty Sikkim with drugs worth Rs 36 thousand. 
Bangla boys get push-back nod- Minors will be sent back to homeland in a week: DM
TT, Raiganj, Aug. 8: The state juvenile justice board today said the three minor Bangladeshi boys who had strayed into Indian territory should be allowed to return to their homeland.
The “recommendation” comes nearly two weeks after The Telegraph reported on July 27 the board’s rejection of the BSF plea for the boys’ push-back. The board had then claimed that it had no jurisdiction to decide on the matter.
The deputy inspector-general of the BSF in Raiganj, Jashwant Singh, said he was relieved to know about the juvenile board’s recommendation. “As soon as police inform us, we will contact our counterparts in Bangladesh and ensure the safe passage for the boys,” Singh said. All three boys are from Thakurgaon district in Bangladesh and had been arrested by the BSF from Sonagaon border on July 23.
Pleas of the BSF and the North Dinajpur district administration to the juvenile justice board for an order to send the boys home had prompted it to conduct a hearing yesterday. At the end of the hearing, the board asked the district administration to “initiate proper action” so that the boys could be sent to their “motherland as soon as possible”.
One of the board members, Narayan Majumdar, said the boys were first produced before them on July 26. “On that day, the BSF had submitted a plea for their release. However, we were not clear about their intentions of entering Indian territory and police, too, had not submitted any investigation report. So we sent the boys to the government home here for safe custody,” he said.
At another hearing on August 5, a lawyer was assigned by the district legal aid cell to appear for the minors. “The boys pleaded guilty to infiltration but claimed that they had done so unintentionally, and their lawyer pleaded their case. On August 7, we held a special board meeting and decided that the boys should be sent back home,” Majumdar said.
When reminded that the board had said on July 26 that it did not have any jurisdiction to decide on push-back pleas, Majumdar said: “We have recommended a push-back and ordered that the boys be released from the jurisdiction of the board. Now it is up to the district administration.”
The district magistrate of North Dinajpur will sign the final release order. Sunil Dandapat, the district magistrate, said: “I have communicated the decision of the board to the police to begin the process of their hand over to the proper authorities in Bangladesh. I am hopeful they will be able to return home by this week.”
One of the three boys, staying at the government home, Surjodaya, said he had come to know about their release while having lunch today.
“We are happy that we shall be able to see our parents after such a long time,” he said. North Dinajpur superintendent of police Milon Das said the Raiganj police station had already been instructed to contact the BSF.
Hill boy died
TT, Hyderabad, Aug. 8: A 19-year-old intermediate second year student of Vikas Junior College, who hailed from Darjeeling, died of high fever in a private hospital in Visakhapatnam last night. The body of Shah Rukh Ali has been kept on the college campus for his parents to arrive.
Nearly 110 students, mostly from the Northeast, who stay at the junior hostel, alleged that the youth died because of the delay by the college management in admitting him to hospital. Police said no case has been registered yet. “An autopsy will be conducted only if there is a formal complaint,” said a police officer. The college management said the boy died of high fever and had nothing to do with the school facilities.
Transport strike deferred
SNS, nsport strike scheduled to begin from 10 August. Their decision came a day after the state transport minister Mr Ranjit Kundu assured them to sympathetically consider their demand to give more relief in petrol and diesel prices.
Members of the Bengal Bus Syndicate, Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, Mini bus Operators Coordination Committee and Bengal Taxi Association said they will decide on their next course of action after 22 August. Mr Sadhan Das, general secretary of Joint Council of Bus Syndicate said they have deferred the strike till 22 August and will go on strike after 22 August if the state transport minister, Mr Kundu fails to give them more subsidies on petrol and diesel.
Commercial transport operators had yesterday requested Mr Kundu to give them more subsidies on petrol and diesel prices or reduce the sales tax or Cess on petrol and diesel.
Mr Abasesh Daw, general secretary of the Mini Bus Operators Coordination Committee said they will stop plying their vehicles after 22 August, if the transport minister does not consider their demand sympathetically.
Echoing a similar view, Mr Bimal Guha, general secretary of the Bengal Taxi Association said they will wait till 22 August as the transport minister had sought 15 days time to reconsider their demand. Meanwhile, speaking at a railway programme, Railway minister Miss Mamata Banerjee urged all transport unions to withdraw their proposed transport strike. She said that the strike will inconvenience people, who are about to celebrate Ramzan and Durga Puja soon. 

No comments:

Post a Comment