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Friday, August 20, 2010

ABGL LEADERS MEET CHIDAMBARAM IN DELHI......NH31A opened...Jaya Prada, Amar Singh visiting Kalimpong

KalimNews :  Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League delegates led by Smt. Bharati Tamang, party president and widow of late Madan Tamang called on P. Chidambaram, Union Home Minister in New Delhi this evening and briefed him up about the present political scenario in the Darjeeling hills. 
While talking over phone from New Delhi with the KalimNews, Pratap Khati, ABGL leader said that during the discussion which continued for more than half an hour, the Home minister expressed his condolence over the murder of Madan Tamang. According to Chidambaram he was shocked when he came to know about the information of hacking of Madan Tamang on 21st May, 2010. Minister also disclosed that on hearing the news of the broad daylight murder of Tamang, he had immediately rang up Buddhadev Bhattacharya, Chief Minister, West Bengal and instructed him to take prompt action against the culprits and masterminds behind the case. He had even instructed Bhattacharya not to spare any person irrespective of political affiliation if found guilty in the murder case, he added. 
In response to the demand of ABGL delegates, Chidambaram assured to instruct the West Bengal Govt. for speedy action in the case and promised justice to the widow of late Tamang. Home Minister also felt his surprise over the attitude of West Bengal Govt. towards the Darjeeling hills since last three years. On their demand to hear the non-GJMM political forces of Darjeeling on the proposal of interim set-up, Home Minister assured the delegates to consider this request.
During their visit the ABGL leaders also met the Commissioner of the Tribal Commission in New Delhi and demanded his interference into the murder case of late Tamang. The ABGL leaders apprised him of the state of affairs of the tribals in the West Bengal state. The Commissioner assured all possible assistances in the case.
According to Khati the ABGL leaders are trying their level best to meet with Smt. Sonia Gandhi, AICC President and UPA Chairperson to apprise her of the political development in the Darjeeling hills particularly after the murder of late Tamang. The visiting delegates are scheduled to meet Beerappa Moily, Union Law Minister tomorrow (21st August) in the same connection. 

SNS, KOLKATA, 20 AUG: An All India Gorkha League (AIGL) delegation currently camping in Delhi, has urged the Centre against entering into any negotiation with the “criminal leaders” of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) on the Darjeeling issue.
The party, whose president Madan Tamang was assassinated in Darjeeling on 21 May allegedly by GJMM workers, has also asked the Centre to shelve the idea of a proposed interim administrative set-up for Darjeeling, which is currently under consideration.
To press the demands, a four-member delegation of the AIGL, headed by its president Mrs Bharati Tamang, flew to Delhi yesterday afternoon and are still camping in the national capital lobbying with the Union ministers and leaders. While the Hills delegation called on the Union finance minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee at his official residence at 9:30 p.m. yesterday, today they met the Union home minister Mr P Chidambaram, whose department has been holding parleys with the GJMM. 

NH31 A opened- communication restored  
KalimNews: NH31A closed since yesterday due to massive landslide is opened after 24 hrs of its closure. Though the highway was swept away by the river Teesta near Likhubhir about 1 km away from Teesta Bridge an alternative pathway is made by backcutting the  wall of an adjacent rocky hill.
Give & take to fast-track state 
TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 20: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has chalked out a strategy to explain to its supporters the importance of “give and take” and to convince them that such a policy will be the ultimate winner and put statehood on fast track.
The Morcha will also explain that unless the interim set-up for the Darjeeling hills is put in place quickly, there will be a delay in achieving the final goal of statehood.
To this end, the party has called a meeting of the leaders of all its frontal organisations tomorrow and get their feedback so that the outfit can firm up its response ahead of the next round of the tripartite talks. The Morcha has to hammer out consensus on at least five contentious issues before the next round of official-level meeting with the Centre and the state on September 7.
It is treading warily so as not to give any impression to its supporters that it is yielding ground either to the Centre or to the Bengal government.
The Centre and the state have a rigid stand on all five issues — territory, composition, tenure, panchayat bodies and jurisdiction of the district magistrate and the superintendent of police — relating to the new body. These are core areas on which they are unlikely to agree with the Morcha.
This is where the Morcha’s dilemma begins. It realises that the party has to carry the hill people along with it in the formation of the interim set-up.
But it also knows that it must be flexible because of the compulsion of having to put the interim authority in place before the model code of conduct kicks in ahead of the Assembly polls.
“We submitted a report on the tripartite talks to the party president yesterday and we have called a meeting of the leaders of all our frontal organisations tomorrow to tell them about the developments and also to seek their opinions,” said Roshan Giri, general secretary of the Morcha.
A Morcha leader said it was imperative to explain to the frontal organisations that despite the party’s public stand that it would not “budge an inch” on any of its demands, certain areas would have to be compromised to put the interim set-up in place.
“We shall explain to them that the interim set-up is our stepping stone to statehood,” the leader said.
“Any delay in setting it up would also mean a delay in reaching our ultimate goal of statehood. We have had to work out this strategy so that we can give a little and yet carry our people along with us on this crucial issue.”
“There has to be give and take from both sides and the Morcha is trying to get a feedback from its grassroots leaders on the general mood of the hill people and the issues on which they could be a bit flexible,” said an observer. But at the same time, the Morcha knows that unless it can convey to the people that the outfit is the ultimate gainer, its rivals will take advantage to gain grounds.
“We have to show to the people that what we have got is much more than the Sixth Schedule status that the GNLF was about to push through,” the Morcha leader said.
“The very fact that a meeting has been called immediately after the delegation’s return from Delhi is an indication that the hill party wants to be cautious before inking a deal,” the observer added.

Jaya Prada, Amar Singh visiting Kalimpong
KalimNews: Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, Kalimpong Unit had decided to observe Balidan Diwas on 25th August at Ramkrishna Rangamanch (Town Hall), Kalimpong to mark the sacrifice made by Major Durga Malla for the cause of freedom movement of India. On the occasion the BGP has also decided to organise a blood donation camp. 
It was announced today by the office bearers of the BGP, Kalimpong during a media briefing. In the media briefing it was disclosed by Prabhakar Dewan, President, Zone II, that on 24th August national leaders and members of Parliament like Amar Singh and Jaya Prada would pay a visit to Kalimpong and attend an interaction programme to be held at the same venue. They would be accompanied by Raja Bundela, an activist of Bundelkhand and P. Niroop of Hyderabad who is spearheading the Telengana movement in Andhra Pradesh. The BGP's national leaders like Dr. Enos Das Pradhan, Prof. Munish Tamang and Joel Rai are also likely to visit Kalimpong the same day.
According to Dewan, the main programme of BGP on 25th August will be held at Hemiltongunj, Dooars where all  the dignitaries will be present as the special guest. In Hemiltongunj, statue of Major Durga Malla would be inaugurated by these guests on the occasion of Balidan Diwas.
It may be recalled that on this auspicious day Major Durga Malla was hanged to death by the then British regime at Lal Quilla, New Delhi. Malla was a freedom fighter in Indian National Army (INA) under the leadership of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. The occasion of Balidan Diwas is observed all over India where the Gorkha populace is residing in the memory of those Gorkha freedom fighters who laid their lives for the cause of country's independence. Some of such freedom fighters were Captain Ramsingh Thakri who was also a soldier in the INA and one of the best friends of Netaji Bose. He had composed the musical tune of the present national anthem of India i.e. Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya Hey during his tenure in the INA.
Meanwhile, the BGP Sikkim state unit has announced the names of the winners of state level essay contest which was organised among all the schools of Sikkim. The theme of the essay contest was "Role of Indian Gorkhas towards the freedom movement of India". The names of the winners are : (1) Miss Lalmaya Subba, Class XI, Brihaspati Prasai Higher Secondary School, Ranipul (2) Miss Renuka Basnett, Class X, Yuksom Secondary School and (3) Miss Punam Karki, Class XI, Rhenock Senior Secondary School. The winners will be awarded on the 25th August (Balidan Diwas) during a function being organised by the state unit at Pakyong, East Sikkim.
Supreme Court on State formation
TT, New Delhi, Aug. 20: The Supreme Court has refused to set parameters for dividing existing states or creating new ones saying it was a “political question”, and declined to intervene in the now-shelved plan for Telangana.
“This is a political question, why should the court interfere? We are of the view that at this stage, the larger constitutional question does not arise for consideration,” a bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan said, rejecting a petition by K. Srinivas Reddy to frame norms for new states.
The judges also refused to address another plea that challenged moves to create Telangana by carving out areas from Andhra Pradesh. The plea had been filed at the height of the statehood movement last December. Reddy was represented by counsel Harish N. Salve.
Interactive programme of GJMM
KalimNews: All frontal wings of  GJMM will meet at Gymkhana Club hall in Darjeeling for an interaction on the structure and function of proposed GAA. Intellectuals and members of frontal organisations of GJMM from all areas including Dooars and all heads of the educational institutions are invited to take part in the interactive programme. The topic of the programme is Ongoing tripartite talks and the demand of Gorkhaland. Mostly the party leaders like Dr HB Chhetri, Rohit Sharma, Amarsingh Rai, P Arjun will apprise the audience about the documents it has submitted to the authorities.   
Protest against teacher appointment
TNN, JALPAIGURI: Not content with school education department's action in suspending the District Primary School Council (DPSC) chairman, Mrinal Paul, and initiating disciplinary proceedings against the DI, primary, and DPSC secretary Kaushik Roy in the Jalpaiguri primary teacher recruitment irregularity case, protesters on Friday sought abolition of the probe panel and a fresh inquiry.
While TMC activists staged a dharna in front of DPSC office and forced its closure,  Jalpaiguri Youth Congress launched an indefinite hunger strike at Kotwali PS More. To make matters worse, several youths formed an apolitical platform and began fasting.
"Suspending the DPSC chairman and taking steps against the DI will not bring justice to hundreds of deprived youths. The probe panel itself has admitted that there has been violation of normal administrative norms and decorum," said Saikat Chatterjee, president of Jalpaiguri Youth Congress.
No early polls
TT, Calcutta, Aug. 20: Chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi today ruled out the possibility of early elections in Bengal.
Dismissing speculation of early polls as “premature” and “ill-informed”, Quraishi said the commission could decide on the poll date only after December 11.
Sukna officer court martial
TT, New Delhi, Aug. 20: A top army general will face a court martial in the Sukna land case.
Lt General P.K. Rath, who was the commander of the 33 Corps headquartered in North Bengal and was named the deputy chief of army staff, is the second officer of such high rank to face a court martial.
The court martial is likely to be convened in the eastern command headquarters in Fort William, Calcutta. The army has found prima facie evidence that he facilitated the transfer of 70 acres adjacent to the Sukna military station to a Siliguri-based realtor.
The court martial will be chaired by another lieutenant general senior to Rath.
The court of inquiry found that the attempted transfer of land was not merely a case of corruption but could also compromise strategic interests.
The land belonged to the Bengal government and it had been offered to the army for security reasons.
“We have concluded the summary of evidence on Lt General P.K. Rath. It has been decided to convene the court martial,” an army headquarters source said.
Lt General Rath would be the second officer of such seniority — and the first from the combat arms — to face a court martial. Rath had gone to the Armed Forces Tribunal challenging the proceedings against him. But the tribunal has decided against intervening at this stage.
The first lieutenant general against whom a court martial was ordered was Surinder Kumar Sahni of the Army Supply Corps. The proceedings are on in Jalandhar.
Rath, who is from the regiment of artillery, was named the deputy chief of army staff but his appointment was cancelled after the court of inquiry.
The army is also likely to take administrative action against a third Lt General Ramesh Halgalli.
Rath can go to the Armed Forces Tribunal if he wants to challenge the court martial’s order.
BJP asks for central probe into bank fraud
TT, Aug. 20: The BJP has asked the Centre to probe the disappearance of 150 temporary deposit receipts from the State Bank of Sikkim and the subsequent expose of a contractor-bank manager nexus to use them to cheat the state exchequer.
Three booklets of TDRs of the SBS containing 50 receipts each had gone missing about one and a half years ago. The bank authorities after detecting it in April had asked all account officers across the state to be on the alert. On July 31, Sikkim vigilance police arrested an assistant manager of the SBS branch here along with two contractors for submitting six receipts from the missing books in support of their bids for work in West Sikkim worth Rs 44,65,171.
According to government rules, a TDR is issued to a contractor after he deposits 2.5 per cent of the total work order as security while making a bid. The SBS is the only bank in Sikkim that can issue TDRs. In this case, no money had been deposited in the bank but TDRs had been issued.
BJP’s West district president Padam Prasad Sharma said in a memorandum to Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee yesterday that: “The TDR scam is a serious financial offence, financial impropriety and misappropriation of the public money by the government treasury bank. Since the SBS is not under the purview of the Reserve Bank of India, there will be of no use for the people of Sikkim to seek shelter under the umbrella of the RBI. The scam is fit for investigation by anti-corruption bureau and the bureau of investigation of economic offences of the Government of India.”
An executive member of the state committee of the BJP, Sharma questioned why the fraudulent use of the missing TDRs was not detected during the annual audit of the SBS. “All the accounts and the transactions of the bank is approved by its Board of Directors every year. How come the transactions involving the fake TDRs could not be detected earlier,” Sharma said.
Sharma said he submitted an RTI application to the SBS general manager seeking to know how the TDR books went missing and what actions had been initiated. 
Phone tapping permissible
TNN, NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Friday held that investigating agencies can intercept phone calls of an individual if there is sufficient evidence to prove that he or she is involved in anti-social activities.
The court dismissed the plea of an accused involved in drug trafficking cases challenging the government's decision to tap his mobile phone six years ago.
Haji Usman contended interception of telephonic conversations between him and his family members was in violation of his right to privacy guaranteed under the constitution.
After going through all the records produced by police, Justice S Murlidhar said the proper procedure had been followed by the authorities while intercepting his calls.
"The respondents (probe agencies) have to only show that there was sufficient material on record which formed the basis to intercept the said mobile number. That burden has been discharged by them," the court said.
Usman contended in his petition that he is being tried for minor offences in a lower court and the inference drawn by police that he was indulging in anti-national activities was without basis.
Minor rescued
TT, Alipurduar, Aug. 20: A 15-year-old girl from Madhu Tea Estate in Kalchini, who had been rescued by Delhi police while working as a maid, was reunited with her family today.
The girl and her mother had been taken to Delhi by two women with offer of good jobs, but police are still clueless about the latter. Malati (name changed) was separated from her mother soon after their arrival in Delhi and was sent to a house to work as domestic help. Unable to endure the torture by her employers, the girl escaped from the house on January 18. The police rescued Malati while she was sitting on a flyover and traced her family with the help of an NGO.
One injured
TT, Alipurduar: A postmaster was injured when three youths attacked him in Jogendrapur near Falakata on Thursday. Around 9pm, Tapan Dey was going to a colleague’s house when he was hit on the head with a sharp weapon allegedly by Ajit Saha, Nirmal Das and Narayan Barman. Dey was taken to the Falakata Rural Hospital from where he was shifted to Jalpaiguri district hospital. The postmaster suspects that the men had attacked him because of an argument they had earlier regarding payment under the NREGS.
Strike threat
TT, Islampur: The Private Bus Owners’ Association of North Dinajpur has threatened to go on an indefinite strike to protest against the collection of toll tax by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Secretary of the association Ashok Chanda said the NHAI had collected Rs 240 from each bus as toll tax on Thursday. Members of the association also met district magistrate Sunil Dandapat on Friday to discuss the matter.
Jumbo raid
TT, Alipurduar: A wild elephant damaged at least eight huts in Chinchula Tea Estate under Kalchini block of Alipurduar subdivision on Thursday night. On Friday, more than 50 workers of the garden demonstrated in front of the Pana range office for an hour demanding compensation. The protest was withdrawn after the BDO of Kalchini assured the demonstrators that they would be provided with ration.
Finally a pen to write, not sell - Habra boy’s journey from train hawker to medical student
Sanjay Mandal, TT: The first time Subodh Biswas took out his pen to jot down a note in his medical college classroom, his mind wandered to a train compartment where he once sold pens for a living.
“It’s so difficult putting the past behind. As I sat down for my first MBBS class (on August 2), I had to keep reminding myself that it was for real,” recounted the Habra resident, who earned a scholarship to finally take admission this year after thrice clearing an entrance exam that many fail to crack even in three attempts.
At 26, Subodh’s late entry into MBBS makes him around eight years older than most other freshers at Burdwan Medical College. The age factor doesn’t bother him.
“I have spent all my life struggling to survive. I started going to school much later than students my age…I have since done everything from selling pens on trains and buses to toiling at a construction site in Delhi for Rs 80 a day. Now I need to make the most of the opportunity I have been given instead of worrying about these things,” he told Metro.
Subodh’s career lifeline was Udayer Pathe, a scholarship programme sponsored by Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, off the EM Bypass.
“The programme has been reformatted this year to cover the basic financial needs of 12 poor but meritorious students. We will support Subodh’s basic financial requirements for the next five years,” said cardiac surgeon Kunal Sarkar, the vice-president of the institute.
For Subodh, this is the first time that he won’t have to work to study. “I lost my parents early and was brought up by my elder brother Sukhlal, who is a carpenter. But his monthly income is Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000, with which he cannot feed his family, leave alone educate me. So I had to fend for myself,” he reminisced.
Sukhlal supported Subodh’s studies till 2003, when he passed Madhyamik from Baugachi Kashibala Vidyapith in Habra with a 71 per cent aggregate. But once the elder sibling got married, Subodh was on his own.
“But I decided to continue my studies, come what may. A neighbour introduced me to a wholesaler of pens and I started hawking these on local trains and buses even as I continued studying,” he said.
For four years, Subodh was a regular on local trains on the Sealdah-Bongaon section and buses headed for Calcutta, earning Rs 100-150 a day. “I would step out of home at 7am and return at 9pm, after which I would study. It was a hard life but I persevered because I had a dream to fulfil,” he smiled.
After passing the Higher Secondary exam in 2005 from Rajbullavpur High School in Machlandapur with 61 per cent, Subodh decided to take the Joint Entrance Examination with the support of some neighbours and free lessons from a private tutor.“I cracked the test and was ranked 77 in the merit list but poverty prevented me from taking admission in the dental college in north Bengal where I was offered a seat,” he said.
Subodh passed the Joint Entrance Exam for the second time two years later and was offered a seat at North Bengal Medical College, but he again failed to arrange the admission fees. “I was so frustrated that I thought of giving up my dream,” he recounted.
So how did he motivate himself all over again? “I went to Delhi the next year as a construction worker but returned after six months for one last attempt. I took up a job in an Ayurvedic medicine store in Habra and started studying for the exam,” he said.
After clearing the entrance exam for the third time, Subodh was again at a loss how to arrange for the money required to take admission when the Bypass institute stepped in.
“The scholarship covered my admission fee but I also took a loan of Rs 3,000. A few individuals helped me, including seniors who gave me books,” he said.
Barely a fortnight into his MBBS course, Subodh has regained not only his confidence but also hope for the future. Classmate Abu Raihan, 18, said he admired and looked up to Subodh for “everything he has done to reach this far”.
And where does Subodh see himself five years from now? “I can’t think that far ahead, not after what I have been through. But, yes, I know my dream is now within reach,” he smiled.

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