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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Maken reveals CM objection to July 24 meet.....Chances high of tribal company for Morcha.....Electricity generation started from Jaldhaka

TT, Siliguri, Aug. 12: Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had wanted the Centre to defer the tripartite meeting with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on July 24 because of the public resentment over the murder of ABGL chief Madan Tamang, the Rajya Sabha was informed yesterday.
Union minister of state for home affairs Ajay Maken also said the Centre would continue to hold talks with the Morcha to find a solution to the Gorkhaland issue.
“The chief minister had felt that sitting with the leaders of GJM (Morcha) would send a wrong signal to those who want peace and democracy to be restored in the hills. Subsequently, however, after discussion with Union home minister (P. Chidambaram), the government of West Bengal agreed to participate at the tripartite talks which were held in New Delhi on July 24,” Maken said in reply to a question by Jharna Das Baidya, a CPM member from Tripura.
Baidya wanted to know why the Centre had held talks with the Morcha and if there had been objection from the Bengal chief minister to the meeting.
ABGL chief Madan Tamang was murdered by a khukuri-wielding mob in Darjeeling on May 21.
With several top leaders of the Morcha being named in the FIR, the state wanted the Union government to defer the sixth round of talks.
State urban development minister and Siliguri MLA Asok Bhattacharya, who had attended the earlier talks held at the political level with his cabinet colleague Surya Kanta Mishra, openly criticised the Centre for convening a meeting with the Morcha accused of masterminding Tamang’s assassination.
He even refrained from attending the July 24 talks, and the state sent only Mishra and senior officials to the meeting.
Maken also told the Rajya Sabha that talks with the Morcha were part of an ongoing process to end the Gorkhaland issue.
“The fifth round of talks was hold at the political level on March 18 wherein it was decided that the next round of political level talks may be held in May,” said the minister.
“However, the talks could not be held in May. As part of the ongoing process, the government (Centre) decided to continue with the process of tripartite talks to find a solution to the Gorkhaland issue,” he added.
With Maken reasserting the Centre’s stance that tripartite talks with the Morcha would go on, MP Saman Pathak said it was important that the Union government gave a thought to the state’s proposal to meet other parties in the hills.
“The state government has already got the opinion of other political parties which have a base in the hills,” Pathak said over the phone from Delhi.
“We want the Centre to talk to these parties as well and get their opinions because as of now, it would be wrong to perceive that the Morcha represents entire hill population,” said Pathak.
Adivasis wait for invite to join Delhi talks
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 12: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha may include representatives of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad’s Terai-Dooars regional unit in the delegation for the August 17 tripartite talks in New Delhi.
A final decision will be taken at the Morcha’s central committee meeting scheduled to be held in a day or two.
“The Parishad’s letter to our president, Bimal Gurung, has been received well within the party, and their comments are being seriously considered,” said a Morcha insider. “At our central committee meeting, we will also decide whether to include Parishad members in our delegation for the Delhi talks.”
On August 7, the president of the Parishad’s Terai-Dooars regional unit, John Barla, had written to Gurung, expressing the desire to work closely with the Morcha, provided seven conditions were met. Among the conditions was a change in the nomenclature of the Morcha’s proposed Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh — the state that it wants — to one that did not include the name of any particular community.
“The central committee of our party will meet in a day or two as only five days are left before the next round of talks,” said Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the media and publicity secretary of the Morcha.
“A number of issues, including the Parishad’s letter, will be discussed in detail.”
Chhetri said as the Morcha and the Parishad had been “struggling on similar issues”, the two outfits could reach a consensus.
“There are a couple of demands like reservations and protection of interests, which we would have considered even if the Parishad had not mentioned them specifically. However, there are a few points we need to discuss before we convey our opinion to the Parishad leaders,” he said. “Nevertheless, we are positive that we can ultimately reach a consensus.”
A Morcha leader said after a consensus was reached, the party would consider whether the Parishad should be included for the next round of talks in Delhi.
“We could then inform Delhi that our delegation would include members of the Parishad as well,” the Morcha leader said.
Political observers said if Parishad leaders accompanied the Morcha, it would help the hill party prove its point on the issue of territory, one of the key stumbling blocks in the negotiation process.
The Morcha is demanding that the new state and the interim set-up should include not only the Darjeeling hills but also the Terai and the Dooars where the tribals are in a majority.
Parishad leaders said they were awaiting a reply from the Morcha. “Till date, no formal reply from their end has reached us. We are, however, optimistic that our demands would be accepted,” said Rajesh Lakra, secretary of the Dooars Terai regional unit of the Parishad.
State will invite ABAVP
KalimNews: State Government is willing to invite ABAVP for further talks. They had a talk with the state Officials stated Ashoke Bhattacharya, Municipality Affairs Minister. It is observed that Adivasis have felt that they are left with no other option than to rely on Morcha. Regional Morcha have donot expect any hope from the state for the redressal of their grievances and demands. In view of the recent confusion among the Regional committee of ABAVP a meeting of state committe is called at Mal Bazar on Saturday. Stae President Birsa Tirky and General Secretary Tej kumar Toppo and all regional leaders will attend the meeting .
Bhupinder Singh DGP after  opening newly constructed building of Bhaktinagar Thana in Siliguri addressing reporters stated that within 16-17 months there will be recruitment of 191 Sub Inspectors and 259 Asst S.I.s posts as well as 4500 constables which is lying vacant. A regional Forensic Science laboratory will be established for North Bengal, three tier Police stations will be set up, Intelligence department will be equipped with some modern technical devices, 100 new vehicles have arrived for Police stations, declared DGP. 
BJP will organise a public meeting in Dajreeling on 24th August announced Dr biswapriya Roy Chowdharay, State Secretary of BJP. The meeting will focus on price rise of essential commodities.
Electricity generation started from Jaldhaka
KalimNews: After a gap of 2.5 years generation of electricity has been satarted from the Jaldhaka Hydel Project. It is now generating about 11.4 Mega watt power from 2 of its units. In view of the present power crisis this has become a boon to the WBSEDCL and of course the cosumers too. About 9 megawatt from the newly commissioned Unit 2 of stage I and 2.4 Megawatt electricity from Unit 1of Stage II power house is being generated since 4th August. Stage I power house was closed since early 2008 for remodification (Renovation, Modernisation, Upgrading & Augmentation) of all the 3 units which used to generate 9 MW each. These 2 Yugolslavian and 1 Japanese machines are replaced while a 4th new unit is installed with Austrian machines. Stage-I power house is equipped with three units of 9 MW each. Unit No. 1 & 2, consisting of vertical Francis turbines from Litostroj and generators from Rade Koncar, Yugoslavia were commissioned in 1967 while Unit No. 3 from Fuji, Japan was commissioned in 1972. Andritz VA TECH HYDRO of Austria started the work in December 2006 with its equipments and was supposed to finish it by July 2009. Installation of Unit 1 and Unit 3 are under completion and 4th new Unit is still under construction. Stage II power house was closed due to shortage of water as the units runs with tail water supplied from Stage I power house.
The intake of water for the Hydro Power station is from the river Bindu which originates from Bhutan and is a tributary of river Jaldhaka. Actually River Jaldhaka originates from Sikkim and flows into Bhutan and is known as Di-Chu. On its way it is joined by Ni-Chu and a stream called Bindu in the Indo Bhutan border and is jointly called river Jaldhaka.
The water of river Jaldhaka consists of heavy amount of silt specially during the monsoon as a result it is not fit for the Hydro Project.The water collected from Bindu is run through a 1.3 km long RCC Duct and a tunnel of 3.3km length via a surge shaft and ultimately ends in a pressure tunnel & Penstock about .65 km long.
This Hydel Project is one of the oldest Hydro Electricity producing plant and the first unit of the Stage I power house was commissioned on 1st March 1967, the second unit in 1968 and the third in 1972. Stage II power house with 2 units of output 4 megawatt each was commissioned in 1983. It has generated a record power out put in the year 1997-98 and 98-99.

Cops kick off soccer tournament to win hill hearts
TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 12: Director general of police Bhupinder Singh today kicked off a football tournament at Dali police ground, hoping there would be no hiccups in the law enforcers’ efforts to reach out to the people of the hills this year.
The Police-Public Friendship Trophy, organised by Darjeeling police, is expected to witness the participation of 15 local clubs. A similar tournament organised by the police last year had been thwarted by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
The earlier tournament, planned at all the police stations in the district, could not be completed at many places as the Morcha floated simultaneous parallel matches, accusing the police of trying to lure the youths from agitation.
Although the Morcha had not officially boycotted the police matches, the message was clear when the party announced its own tourney. Most of the teams, which had already started playing in the police tournament, did not turn up later and instead, rolled the ball in the Morcha matches.
However, things appear to be moving smoothly this time with tripartite talks involving the Morcha and the central and state governments scheduled for August 17.
The Morcha has not yet announced any parallel tournament and the police, too, have acted smartly by organising the tournament only at Dali and not all the police stations.
Singh hoped that the tournament would provide an opportunity for the police to interact with the local population.
(A march by the Darjeeling police band before the start of the tournament on Thursday. Picture by Suman Tamang,TT)
“We had started a similar tournament at Lalgarh and two players were selected for training with Bayern Munich in Germany. One player is slated to leave the country in August, while the other will go to Germany after three-four months,” said Singh.
However, there would be no Lalgarh type opportunities for outstanding players in the hills.
Bengal’s top cop also reminisced his stay in Darjeeling as a young police officer in 1976 by talking about “the great history and tradition of Darjeeling’s Gold Cup”.
ABGL delegation
The DG today assured a three-member ABGL delegation led by party president Bharati Tamang that police would not allow the people involved in the murder of Madan Tamang to go scot-free.
In lambs, a whiff of elusive predator- Prey clue to snow leopard habitat
TT, Gangtok, Aug. 12: A two-year project in Sikkim has documented the habitat of snow leopards and their main prey, blue sheep and the Himalayan tahr.
The predator is known to be elusive and the project’s aim was to collect evidence of its presence by tracking down its prey along the 4,200-sqkm trans-Himalayan corridors of East, West and North districts of Sikkim.
The project has been taken up jointly by The Mountain Institute India and Mysore-based Nature Conservation Foundation in consultation with the Sikkim forest department.
All the three high-altitude animals are highly endangered species and fall under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
“This project is an effort to document the snow leopard’s presence in Sikkim using indirect evidences, the occurrence of their main prey. We also are developing an understanding of resource use by the local communities to factor in their needs and possible role in conservation,” said Ghanashyam Sharma, TMI-India programme manager.
The project, which started on April 1, 2008, concluded on March 31, 2010.
Over the past two years, NCF and TMI-India officials toured the areas of Sikkim above 5,000 metres, documenting snow leopard presence and keeping track of habitats of blue sheep and Himalayan tahr.
“The project will help identify critical snow leopard areas that can form the basis for landscape level conservation in the Sikkim Himalayas. In particular, the information on wildlife, local resource use, threats and local governance mechanism generated by this project will greatly aid in the landscape identification and preparation of the Management Plan mandated by the Project Snow Leopard,” said TMI-India in its report.
The state forest department has already identified snow leopard habitat spread over West, North and East Sikkim. This includes West and North Kanchenjungha National Park, Lhonak Valley, Tso Lhamo-Lashar-Yumesamdong complex and Tembawa-Jelep La based on extensive work conducted earlier in 2001-02 in addition to collaborative work with other institutions.
The forest department and other agencies have collected 33 snow leopard evidences that include scat as well as sightings made by herders and villagers in the high altitude areas since 1980. A bulk of these evidence were from the Dzongri-Lampokri area in West Sikkim and Tsho Lamu-Laseher in North district. The Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, had set up camera traps in 2009 and captured the photographs of two snow leopards.
A himal rakshak or honorary mountain guardian, Phupu Tshering Bhutia, had collected a fresh pug mark in Yambong in West Sikkim in 2009, the report said.
“We did not use high-tech gadgets and instead relied on information provided by the herders and physical evidence like scat,” said Suraj Subba, the research assistant for the project.
State wildlife officer Usha Lachungpa said the Union ministry for environment and forests had launched Project Snow Leopard in January 2009 covering Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. “We are currently drafting the funding proposal for the project that will strengthen conservation efforts,” she said.
Woman held for kidnap
TT, Alipurduar, Aug. 12: A woman has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping a minor girl from Kalchini Tea Estate. The girl has been rescued.
The girl’s mother Pampa Sarki had lodged an FIR on July 31, saying her 17-year-old daughter was kidnapped by Heera Lama of Chinchula Tea Estate on the afternoon of July 29. Yesterday police received information that Heera had been spotted in the Kalchini area with the girl. The tip-off prompted the police to conduct a raid and arrest Heera. The girl, too, was rescued. During interrogation, the police came to know that Heera had taken the girl to Kashmir. Yan David Lepcha, SDPO, Alipurduar, said: “Both will be produced in the court of the ACJM of Alipurduar tomorrow and the girl will be handed over to her guardians.”
Train service
TT, Siliguri: Running of night trains in Assam, except the Lumding-Badarpur-Silchar-Agartala section, would remain suspended from August 14 to 17, the Northeast Frontier Railway said on Thursday. According to the authorities, 26 trains, mostly local passenger trains and intercity expresses, have been cancelled for three days. Five long distance trains including the Kanchanjunga Express will be terminated before entering Assam. Nine long distance trains have been rescheduled and the services of 12 trains would be regulated throughout the routes. Four pairs of special trains would run in different routes of north Bengal and Assam during these days to mitigate the inconvenience of passengers.
Train services
SNS, KOLKATA, 12 AUG: The 5657 Sealdah - Guwahati Kanchanjungha Express will short terminate at New Jalpaiguri and would remain cancelled between New Jalpaiguri and Guwahati from 14 to 16 August as the NF Railway has announced suspension of night running of passenger trains in Assam for the period because of terror threats.
Also train services were disrupted for nearly two hours in the Sealdah-Budge Budge section of Eastern Railway's Sealdah division during the morning rush hour when a compartment of Down Majherhat-Namkhana local train got derailed near Lake Gardens station this morning.
The incident, which occurred around 9.52 a.m., did not cause any injury or casualty to any of the passengers, Eastern Railway (ER) officials claimed.
Senior railway officials, including the general manager of ER, Mr VN Tripathi and divisional railway manager of Sealdah, Mr Purusottam Guha visited the spot and supervised restoration work. Mr S Chakraborty, a permanent way inspector, has been suspended in this connection and an enquiry has been ordered to find out the cause of derailment. 

Assault arrest
TT, Siliguri: Pulak Ghosh, Bipul Sarkar, Samir Das and N.T. Sherpa, were arrested from Debidanga on Thursday for allegedly assaulting a woman who runs an eatery in the area. Umesh Singh, the woman’s husband, had filed a complaint with the Pradhannagar police on the basis of which the arrests were made. 
Guide Class
TT, Jaigaon: A two-day workshop to improve the skills of guides in the Gorumara National Park started at Murti, located on the fringes of the park, on Thursday. A total of 80 guides will participate in the workshop, foresters said.
Protest garland for teacher 
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 12: Youth Congress workers today tried to garland the daughter of a CPM-dominated teachers’ union leader to protest alleged corruption and nepotism in the recruitment of primary school teachers in Jalpaiguri district.
The protesters also removed the chair of the Jalpaiguri District Primary School Council’s head from his chamber and placed it in the middle of the road.
Around 12.30pm, the Youth Congress members, including women, reached Hargilapukuri BFP School where Soumita, the daughter of district president of the All Bengal Teachers’ Association Monoranjan Bhadra, had joined as a teacher on August 3.
“Initially, we requested her to resign from the job as there were malpractices in the recruitment process,” said Saikat Chatterjee, the Jalpaiguri district Youth Congress president. “But she insisted that she got the job on merit and our workers became angry. One of our woman supporters tried to put a garland around her neck to congratulate her. She tore the garland and abused us.”
Chatterjee said Soumita’s appointment was an instance of favouritism in the selection drive. “She scored only 61.02 per cent in Madhyamik exams. But many candidates, who had secured over 80 per cent marks, did not find a place on the final list of applicants chosen for teacher jobs. The recruitment was supposed to be made on the basis of marks the candidates had secured in Class X exams, along with the scores in written tests and viva-voce,” he added.
Soumita, on the other hand, alleged that the Youth Congress workers had misbehaved with her. “They were shouting slogans and demanding that I quit the job. I felt insulted when they tried to garland me. I have got the job on merit and there is no question of any favouritism,” she said.
The school is located at Konpakhri in Sadar Block, 15km from Jalpaiguri.
The Youth Congress workers returned from the school around 2pm and their next destination was the council office in Jalpaiguri town.
“We entered council chairman Mrinal Pal’s chamber and brought down his nameplate, as he no longer deserves to be in the post. We took his chair outside and placed it in the middle of DBC Road,” said Chatterjee. “He is the main man behind the corruption and does not have the right to remain as chairman. That is why we expressed our protest in this manner.”
Law enforcers from Kotwali police station reached the spot and took back the chair to the chamber.
Several candidates, whose results had been withheld, launched a demonstration outside the council office yesterday. “After the publication of the final list, we found that our results had been put on hold. We approached the state school education department and came to know that there are 295 such candidates, whose results have been withheld,” said Jayanta Roy, a job applicant.
“There is utter confusion as the council chairman is not attending his office and nobody else is in a position to say what our exact status is.”
Couple torture slur on cops
TT, Malda, Aug. 12: A newly wed couple have sent a fax to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, complaining about police harassment after marrying out of their communities.
Mohammad Aziz and Priya today met journalists at a secret location here and said they had not been able to return to Malda for the past three months and were staying in a neighbouring district.
“We have asked the chief minister whether he wanted another Rizwanur case to take place? We have also sent a message to Mamata Banerjee to stand by us and ensure safety and security for us,” said Aziz.
Priya, 19, is the only child of Pankaj Sanyal, an influential businessman in town and a resident of Puratuli Sadarghat.
Aziz, 22, runs an auto spare parts shop in town and his father Mohammed Ezazul is a technician with the CT scan department of the district hospital.
The couple said they ran away and got their marriage registered on January 25.
“My family could not accept Aziz and I was not allowed to venture out of my house. But I managed to run away on May 15. Then, we heard that the police and anti-socials were looking for us,” Priya said.
She wrote to the chief secretary and the Malda police superintendent saying she had married Aziz on her own and if anything happened to him or any member of his family, then the administration would have to take the responsibility.
Aziz’s elder brother, Abhi Sheikh has complained to the Englishbazar police that his family was getting threatening calls.
Additional superintendent of police, Malda, Kalyan Banerjee, said the boy and the girl were adults and were free to marry each other.
“If they want to return home and are feeling insecure, we will provide security to them. But there was no mention of police harassment in the letter,” he said.

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