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Friday, August 20, 2010

NH 31A closed - landslide causes heavy damage- Sikkim cut off.. Prmary school board chairman sacked

AK Rasaily, KalimNews, (Kalimpong News): NH 31A is closed due to heavy landslide near Likhubhir.  Heavy damage has stalled all traffic plying on this road. Due to heavy rain for the last five days some portion of the road near the Likhubhir Temple is swept away by the River Teesta about 1 km away from Teesta Bridge. The road was damaged last year and a protective wall was constructed on the site which is totally damaged. (Photo:PTI)
According to police sources it will take not less than 2 days  to restore this road. As such passengers, vehicle owners and transporters of Sikkim and Kalimpong are requested to take any of the alternative routes via Coronation - Mungpoo - 3 Mile - Peshok - Teesta , Coronation - Lava - Algarah or Kurseong - Jorebunglow - Peshok - Teesta. 
Siliguri, IBNS: Sikkim and parts of West Bengal’s Darjeeling state were cut off from the rest of the country on Thursday, the second time this week, after massive landslides washed away a major portion of road at Likhuvir on  31A  National Highway near Teesta Bazar, official sources said.
The damage of surface road led to suspension of all transport services linking Sikkim and Kalimpong sub-division in the hills with Siliguri, the nearest railhead, said police and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officials.
The landslides, triggered by heavy rains, washed a good chunk of surface at Likhuvir forcing the authorities to close roads for all vehicles for indefinite period, according to BRO, which maintains the strategic roads linking landlocked Sikkim.
Barring road transport, Sikkim has no other alternative mode communication to be linked with the rest of the world.
The BRO has deployed bulldozers to clear the debris and then will take up restoration of the road.
Earlier on Tuesday, landslides at Sevok severed the Sikkim-Kalimpong link.  
TT, Kalimpong, Aug. 19: A 40-metre stretch of the national highway to Sikkim breached at Likhubhir this afternoon after a bout of heavy rain, stopping heavy vehicles carrying supplies to the Himalayan state and forcing the smaller ones to make a detour that takes nearly double the usual time.
The breach on NH31A, Sikkim’s only direct road link with the rest of the country, occurred 17km from Kalimpong town that is also linked by the highway.
Sources in the Border Roads Organisation, which maintains the highway, said they were trying their best to open at least one-way traffic on the stretch by tomorrow. “We have pressed two JCBs (excavators) and a dozer into service at the troubled spot to facilitate the speedy restoration of the road. We may have to work throughout the night to get the job done. If needed, we will bring more equipment,” said a BRO source.
The cave-in occurred at the landslide-prone Likhubhir, about a kilometre from the Teesta bridge, after heavy rain had lashed the area for 48 hours. Landslides on the stretch are regular occurrences. At times, the rocky hill above the road comes tumbling down, and at other times, the land below the road breaches all the way to the Teesta bank. In fact, even at the best of times, it is difficult to negotiate the stretch which is worse than a dirt track.
With the road completely gone, vehicles travelling to and from Siliguri have to take detours to reach their destinations on either side of the Teesta. While some vehicles heading for Sikkim took the Algarah-Lava-Damdim Road, others took the route via Takdah Valley. The first route takes an additional 2.5 hours against the usual 3.5 hours. The time taken on the second route is 1.5 hours more. 
“The Algarah-Lava-Damdim road takes double the time to reach Siliguri from Kalimpong (usually it takes two hours to cover 65km through the highway). The Takdah valley road will take a little more than three hours,” said T. D. Bhutia, the president of the Janmukti Chalak Mahasangh.
However, vehicles prefer to skip the Takdah valley route as the road is narrow and the terrain is steep. The condition of the Algarah-Lava-Damdim Road is slightly better.
“In any case, I don’t think the road is designed to take the daily pounding of heavy vehicles. And that is why it is imperative that the highway is restored at the earliest,” said Dawa Tamang, a taxi driver who ferries passengers between Kalimpong and Siliguri every day. He took the Algarah-Lava-Damdim road to Siliguri today.
Seated in his Tata Sumo was a worried Nripen Barua, who said he was praying that it did not take more than 4.5 hours to reach Siliguri, otherwise he could miss the 8pm bus to Guwahati. “I have booked a ticket for the last available bus to Guwahati. If I miss it, I will have to spend another night in Siliguri,” he said.
Local people said prices of commodities might go up because of the highway has been shut to heavy vehicles. “I hope the authorities keep tabs on the prices,” said Geeta Lama, a resident of Kalimpong.
KalimNews: Raimatang and Kalchini Tea Estates of Central Dooars closed since early 2002 is open from today. Yogeshchandra TE also opened from yesterday, it was closed since 2003.
Families flee swollen Teesta
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 19: Around 300 more families today left their homes as the water level in Jalpaiguri rose further because of continuous rain in the sub-Himalayan Bengal.
Vivekanandapally, Saradapally and Sukantapally have been inundated by the Teesta since yesterday.
Nearly 200 families had shifted to safer places yesterday. While some affected people went to their relatives’ houses, others took shelter on an embankment that protects Jalpaiguri town from the Teesta.
“Our locality was already marooned yesterday. As the rain continued last night, the water levels increased and inundated our huts, prompting us to leave with our belongings,” said 38-year-old Jyotsna Roy, who lives in Sukantapally.
Dilip Sen, a resident of Vivekanandapally, said he had abandoned his hut early this morning. “We came to know that it was raining heavily in the hills and that was why water levels were rising in the Teesta. We took no risk and came out of our houses and took shelter with relatives or on the embankment,” he said. “We don’t know how long we will have stay away from our houses as the sky is still cloudy.”
As the flood-hit people kept their fingers crossed, the Regional Met Office in Jalpaiguri forecast heavy rain in the next 24 hours. Weathermen said Sevoke and Domohoni — the catchment areas of the Teesta — had received 126mm and 36.2mm rain in 24 hours till 8.30am today.
While Falakata and Buxa Dooars in the plains recorded 136.6mm and 104mm rain, the figures were 72.4mm and 89.4mm for Darjeeling and Kalimpong in the hills.
The Siliguri Municipal Corporation has intimated the state public works department about the condition of Mahananda bridge at Airview More as the soil was loosening near one of its pillars on the bank.
“Initially, we had engaged an excavator to pile up soil on the bank of the Mahananda as a temple close to the river was in precarious condition. Stone cages were put around the pillar so that it can withstand the force of the water if the river swells further,” said mayor Gangotri Datta.
“However, for permanent repair of the pillar, we have written to the PWD which looks after the bridge. Although it rained heavily last night and the weather is still cloudy, there is no further erosion around the pillar,” she said.
Heads roll in teacher selection
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 19: The school education department today suspended the chairman of the district primary school council of Jalpaiguri and ordered departmental proceedings against the district inspector of schools for their role in recruiting primary teachers.
Ever since the publication of results by the DPSC to recruit 1,411 primary teachers in Jalpaiguri district in July, several political parties and organisations, including the DYFI, have alleged corruption and nepotism in the recruitment. Demonstrations and blockades have taken place across the district, alleging that the council has recruited the near and dear ones of CPM leaders.
The protests had prompted the department to form a five-member team led by a joint secretary, who investigated the allegation and submitted a report. Today’s order for the suspension of Mrinal Pal, official sources said, is a follow-up action on the report.
Vandana Yadav, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri who received a letter from principal secretary of the department Vikram Sen, said: “It has been said the DPSC chairman has not complied properly with the instructions of the department in recruiting primary teachers in July this year. He has thus been suspended from his post. It has also been mentioned in the letter that the department is not satisfied with the role of the DI (primary), who is also the DPSC secretary. A departmental proceedings will be started against him,” she added.
The principal secretary has mentioned that so far more than 1,000 complaints have been received by the department. “The letter has made it clear that during further investigation if any anomaly is noticed in the answer scripts and the overall evaluation process, the undeserving candidate or candidates concerned, who might have got the jobs will be sacked,” an official said.
Since the post of the chairman fell vacant following Pal’s suspension, a meeting of the DPSC board will be called soon to select a new one. Pal, who was a school teacher, took charge in 2008 for a three-year term. He used to draw salary for being the chairman and enjoy other benefits of the post. “Now that he has been suspended, we are yet to know what would happen to him,” a DPSC source said. Pal could not be contacted.
Kaushik Roy, the DI (primary), refused comment.
The Youth Congress, which has been carrying out a movement on the issue, welcomed the suspension and inquiry but demanded that both Pal and Roy be arrested. “We want the department to cancel the appointments of all those who are related to CPM leaders and have got jobs,” said Saikat Chatterjee, the Jalpaiguri district Youth Congress president.
District CPM leaders were not available for comments.

Photo Exhibition in Kolkata
KalimNews: 8th Photographic Exhibition of ALOK REKHAY starts from today in Kolkata. To commemorate the International Photographers Day at Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata in i’s Central gallery the exhibition will be held from 19th to 25th August 2010.  The exhibition will be inaugurated at 5.00 p.m. on 19th instant.  2 photographs of freelance photographer Samiran Paul who is also a photographer of Kalimpong News will be exhibited in 8th Photography Exposition of ALOK REKHAY. Goodwishes from Kalimpong News goes to Samiran . 
Alternative route for Sikkim, Gangtok, Aug. 19: The Sikkim government has decided to construct an alternative to NH31A to reduce the dependence on the sole roadlink of the state.
Project Swastik of the Border Roads Organisation, which maintains the highways of Sikkim and parts of north Bengal, has started a preliminary study on the alternative link connecting Gangtok with Siliguri via Chalsa.
The proposed alternative road will begin at Khunia More near Chalsa and touch Jaldhaka, Tode, Tangta and Rachela on the Bengal side and end at Kumrek via Aritar in Sikkim. From Aritar, one can reach Gangtok either through Rangpo or via Pakyong, Project Swastik chief engineer Brigadier Rajiv Sawhney said.
The 126km-long stretch from Khunia More to Kumrek includes 74.6km from Khunia More to Rachela in Bengal and 51.4km from Rachela to Kumrek in Sikkim.
According to the preliminary study, Rs 3 crore will be required for construction of 1km of road in the plains, while the amount will be double in the hills.
A joint survey along with the governments of Sikkim and Bengal is going on, said Brigadier Sawhney. “However, dense forest and heavy rainfall are affecting the pace of work on the Aritar-Rachela stretch,” he said.
The route was proposed by the Sikkim government in 2008 as an alternative to NH31A to minimise hardships of the Sikkimese during natural calamities and political disturbances in the neighbouring Darjeeling region.
The demand for alternative highway gathered momentum after NH31A, the state’s only lifeline, was blocked by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha for several days between February-end and early August.
The survey shows that a 25km road already exists from Khunia More to the Jaldhaka power house. This road has to be upgraded. “A new road of 50-56km has to be constructed from beyond the power house up to Rachela while the existing stretch from Aritar to Kumrek has to be upgraded,” the BRO official said.
Forest and land acquisition clearances from both the states may take a year which will be followed by submission of the detailed project report to the Union roads and surface transport ministry.
Five forest and land acquisition clearances will be required from the Bengal side, while two will be needed from the Sikkim government. After the clearances of the detailed project report that will be prepared in five phases, the completion of the alternative highway may take four years.
The chief engineer said the highway could be extended by 53km from Aritar to Menla, near the Nathu-la border, via Rongli to facilitate an alternative road to reach the India-China border.
Nepali Language recognition day celebrated
Prakha, GANGTOK, AUGUST 19: A two days long Nepali Basha Manyata Diwas celebration today started with a talk on the culture and languages of various communities of Sikkim at Nepali Sahitya Parishad.
Organized under the Chairmanship of BK Roka, the President of Nepali Sahitya Parishad JR Subba, a noted limboo writer attended the function as the chief guest.
Addressing the gathering the chief guest JR Subba said the recognization of Nepali language in the Indian constitution itself is the greatest achievement for the Nepali speaking communities.
He said everyone should love their language and make best effort to preserve it. < Calling the younger generation to be more serious on the literature he also reminded of the persons who played major role in the recognization. BK Roka, the President also addressed the celebration said this is the 19th year of gloriuos celebartion of Nepali language in Indian constituion. The representatives from Akhil Sikkim Gurung Tamu Bodha Sangh, Akhil Sikkim Magar Sangh, Sikkim Newar Guthi, Akhil Denzong Sherpa Assocation, Akhil Sikkim Kirat Rai Sangh, Sikkim Tamang Bodha Sangh, Akhil Sikkim Mukhia Sangh, Akhil Sikkim Thami Sangh, Sikkim Limbo Sahitya Sansthan presented the paper on their respective languages and culture. Mrs. Dil Kumari Bhandari, former Lok Sabha MP, will be present as chief guest and she will be felicitated by Parishad for her contribution in Bhasha Manyata Movement on 20th August. The Parishad will also felicitate eminent writers for contribution in development of Nepali language.
Recognition of Nepali as a national language and its implementation for statehood demand

भाषाले मान्यता पाएपछि गोर्खाल्याण्ड हुँदैन भन्ने ठाउँ छैन पोल्टीक्स गर्नु हुँदैन सबै एक हुनुपर्छः भण्डारी
Prabin Khaling, Gangtokनेपाली भाषाले मान्यता पाएपछि मैले तत्कालै सोचेको थिएँ अब भारतीय गोर्खाहरूको सबैभन्दा ठूलो अड्चन समाप्त भयो। संविधानमा हाम्रो भाषाले मान्यता पाउनु भनेको देशको खाँटी नागरिकको मोहर हाम्रो जातिले पाउनु हो अनि भाषा पाएपछि त्यसको स्थान (गोर्खाल्याण्ड) पनि चिन्हित हुन्छ भन्ने विश्वास लागेको थियो। यस प्रकारको वक्तव्य भारतीय नेपाली राष्ट्रिय परिषद (भानेराप) का अध्यक्ष तथा पूर्व मुख्यमन्त्री नरबहादुर भण्डारीले 18 औं भाषा दिवसको उपलक्ष्यमा व्यक्त गरेका हुन्। उनले भोलि 20 अगस्तको दिन पालन गरिने भाषा दिवसको अवसरमा सम्पूर्ण भारतीय नेपाली भाषी गोर्खाहरूलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै भाषा आन्दोलनकै फरमुला प्रयोग गरेर गोर्खाहरूको थलो सुनिश्चित गर्ने गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलनलाई सफल पार्न सकिने विश्वास व्यक्त गरेका छन्। उनले भने, भाषा दिवस भारतीय नेपालीभाषीले गौरव बोध गर्ने दिन हो यस दिनलाई देशभरि भव्यताको साथमा पालन गरेर देशले हामीलाई संवैधानिक मान्यता प्रदान गरेको खुशी मनाउनु पर्ने हो। उनले भाषाको मान्यताले नै गोर्खा समुदायलाई नेपाली भाषी भारतीय रहेको ठहर गर्दै मोहर लगाइदिएको बताए। उनले भने अब गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति हामीले माग गर्दा कसैले पनि गोर्खाल्याण्ड पाउन सक्दैन भन्ने ठाउँ छैन किन भने संविधानले हाम्रो भाषालाई मान्यता दिए पछि त्यो भाषा बोल्ने मानिसहरूले आफ्नो स्थान चिन्हित गराई माग्दा कसैले रोक्न सक्दैन। जसरी उत्तराखण्ड, झारखण्ड बनियो त्यस्तै गोर्खाल्याण्ड पनि बनिनु पर्छ त्यसको निम्ति समय लाग्छ तर समयको फल मिठो हुन्छ. उनले थपे।
यसै गरि गोर्खाल्याण्ड आन्दोलनलाई अघि बडाइरहेका नेताहरूलाई नाम नलिई उनले आह्वान गर्दै भने, गोर्खाल्याण्ड माग्दा पार्टी पोल्टीक्स नगरौं सबै मिलेर देउसी खेल्नु पर्छ म पनि त्यसको निम्ति जाने छु देशभरिको नेतालाई भेटेर हाम्रो माग बुझाउनु पर्छ। उनले भने,तिर्खा लाग्नेले पानी माग्नु जान्नु पर्छ पानी दिनेलाई थाहा हुँदैन कसलाई तिर्खा लागेको छ।
उनले अझ गोर्खाल्याण्ड प्राप्तिको निम्ति सर्वप्रथम केन्द्रिय नेताहरूलाई रिझाउन सक्नु पर्छ भन्दै अहिलेसम्म गोर्खाल्याण्डको माग गर्नेहरूले प्रयोग गर्दै गरेको नीतिमा भाषा आन्दोलनमा प्रयोग गरिएको नीति पनि प्रयोगमा ल्याएर कार्य गर्दा अझ थप कार्य हुने उनले बताए। उनले गत वर्ष 1 सितम्बरको दिन संयुक्त प्रगतिशील गठबन्धन (युपीए) अध्यक्षा सोनिया गान्धीलाई मैले गोर्खाल्याण्डबारे विस्तृत जानकारी दिएर 15 पृष्ठको विवरण दिएको छु। उनले गोर्खाल्याण्ड बुझ्ने आशय व्यक्त गरे पछि मैले त्यो दिएको हुँ। यस्तै प्रकारले भारतमा हाम्रो जातिको थलो सुनिश्ति गर्ने सबै केन्द्रिय नेताहरूलाई गोर्खाल्याण्ड बुझाउन आवश्यक छ, उनले भने। उनले केन्द्रिय नेताहरूमा सबै राजनैति दल प्रमुख र वरिष्ठ नेताहरूलाई भेट गरेर गोर्खाल्य़ाण्डको निम्ति कन्भेन्स गराउनु पर्ने बताए।
उनले भाषा आन्दोलनको अऩुभाव बताउँदै भने, हामले प्रधानमन्त्रीलाई भाषाको मान्यताको निम्ति एउटा याददास्त पत्र चडाएका थियौं. जसमा हामीले 309 जना लोकसभा सांसदहरूको हस्ताक्षर गराएका थियौं। जसले भाषाको विधेयक सदनमा आउँदा समर्थन पक्का थियो। यसरी नै गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति पनि भारतभरि देउसी खेलेर समर्थन जुटाउऩु पर्छ। मैलें त यसको निम्ति कालेबुङ र मग्पूमा आह्वान गरिसकेको छु म पनि सहयोग गर्न तयार छु। अब गोर्खाल्याण्डको विषय सबै नेताहरूलाई व्यक्तिगत रूपमा भेटेर बुझाउनु पर्छ, उनले भने।
अर्कोतिर उनले भाषा मान्यता पछि विकासक्रम भइरहेको तथा भानेरापले केवल मान्यता प्राप्त गराए पछि अन्य कार्यको निम्ति नेपाली भाषा समितिलाई विकास र विस्तारको कार्यभार सुम्पिएको पनि जानकारी गराए। यसै गरि उनले सिक्किमको सन्दर्भमा भाषा दिवस पालन गर्दा पनि मानिसहरूले राजनीति गरिरहेको आरोप लगाए। उनले भने, भाषाले मान्यता कुनै राजनैतिक दलको आधारमा पाएको होइन अनि भाषा दिवस कुनै राजनैतिक दलको पेवा होइन तर यहाँ यस पर्वमा राजनीतिकरण गरेर सत्तारूढ एसडीएफको जस्तो गरिन्दैछ।मलाई भाषा दिवसको कार्यक्रममा बोलाएन किनभने म कंग्रेसको अध्यक्ष हुँ तर यस्तै संकिर्ण विचारधारा भएको व्यक्तिहरूले सरकार चलाउँदा भाषाको सही विकास हुन सकेन तर भाषा जस्तो विषयमा राजनीति गर्नु हुँदैन।
उनले नेपाली भाषाले मान्यता पाए पछि नेपाली भाषी गोर्खाहरूको भाषाको आधारमा हुने अड्चनहरू समाप्त भएको बताए। उनले भने अहिले हाम्रो जातिले सबै विश्वविद्यालयमा आफ्नो भाषा सगौरव लेख्न पाउँछन्। संसदमा नेपाली भाषामा आफ्नो कुरा राख्न पाउँछन् भने ठूलो-ठूलो परिक्षा आफ्नै भाषामा लेख्न सक्छन्। यो पनि भाषा मान्यताको उपलब्धी हो। उनले भाषा आन्दोलनको क्रममा भोगेका कुराहरू पनि बताए भने तत्कालिन सांसद दिलकुमारी भण्डारीले सदनमा गरेको कार्यको सराहना गरे भने सबै भाषा प्रेमीहरूले दिएको योगदानको स्मरण गरे। यसका साथै उनले देशभरिका नेपालीभाषीहरूलाई सन्देशको रूपमा भाषा दिवसको शुभकामना दिँदै अब यो जातिले गंगटे प्रवृति त्याग गरेर एकताको सूत्रमा बाधिएर कार्य गर्नु पर्ने बताए। यसै गरि पूर्वोत्तर भारतका नेपालीभाषीहरू अन्य क्षेत्रको तुलनामा अझै पूर्ण स्वतन्त्र नभएको हुनाले यसको निम्ति अल्पसंख्यकमा रहेका पूर्वोत्तरका गोर्खा समुदायले एकताको मूलमन्त्र कहिले विर्सनु नहुने र एकता नै ठूलो शक्ति भन्ने आहनलाई सिरोपर गरेर आफ्नो जातिय उत्थानमा लाग्नु पर्ने बताए।  
Futsal replaces football- Space crunch forces hills to go for modified match
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 19: Football has reinvented itself into futsal in the mountainous terrain of Darjeeling, where level fields are a rarity, to keep alive the passion of the game.
Apart from a few major educational institutions in the hills, most schools do not have a proper football ground.
“The passion for football is tremendous and since most schools do not have playgrounds in the hills, we decided to introduce futsal tournament in our academic calendar,” said Prakash Pradhan, the director of Rockvale Academy in Kalimpong.
The Association of Heads of Listed ICSE Schools, a conglomeration of 30 non-Anglo Indian schools from the hills, has introduced futsal in a major way and has managed to host an AHLIS Inter-school Futsal Tournament.
The game is very similar to football but instead of 11 players only five are allowed to take the field. The duration of each half of the match cannot exceed more than 20 minutes with an interval of 10 minutes. The ball used in futsal is much smaller than the one used in football.
Futsal may not have been as popular as football in India but it is a major draw in the South American countries. The game was said to have been played for the first time in Uruguay in 1930 — the year when the Fifa World Cup was hosted and won by Uruguay — but the name futsal was coined in the mid-80s.
“We had a qualifying round just like in any major international tournament following which eight teams were selected. The finals were held at Sacred Heart School in Kurseong recently, where our school team beat West Point, Darjeeling,” said Pradhan.
The hill tournament was not held indoors but in outdoor.
“It has been a huge success as the players had more opportunities to showcase their creativity and skills in this form of the game,” Pradhan said and added that the AHLIS was also preparing to start an inter-school futsal tournament for the girls.
Propelled by the success of the new game, the AHLIS is gearing up to hold a competition of different kind — that of power point presentation —among its member schools. “We are trying to reinvent ourselves further and we will be holding the first inter-school power point presentation on October 3,” said Pradhan.
The head of Rockvale Academy believes that a thorough knowledge on power point presentation will help children move ahead in life. “Power point presentations have become such an important aspect in our day-to-day lives and turning this into a competition should be enjoyable even for the students,” said Pradhan.
Participating schools will be given a topic two weeks before the start of the D-Day and students have to deliver a five-minute speech to go along with the slide show.

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