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

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Opinion on Interim Authority GIA sought by State from hill parties.... Sikkim status spurs hills ....High Court dismisses charges of CBI against Bhandari

KalimNews:  Anti GJMM parties of Darjeeling hills were asked to submit their comments and report on the proposed draft of the Interim authority handed over by the State government by 6th August  during the bilateral Talks. In view of the resolution of the 2nd political level tripartite talks held on 24th July an 11 member delegation of Democratic Front of Darjeeling hills met the West Bengal Government's representatives at Writers' Building, Kolkata today, however, the hill representatives of Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janta Party were denied entry in the meeting hall as the Government representatives assured their presence in the next round of talk to be held with state and national political parties. (Photo: IE)
In the meeting that continued for more than two hours the Govt. side presented a draft of proposed Gorkhaland Autonomous Authority in lieu of the present DGHC before the hill leaders and sought their response over the subject. Due to lack of adequate time to go through the draft, the hill delegation team sought more time to study the contents of the draft. Later it was decided to send that the hill team will send back their comments and opinion from Darjeeling on 6th of this month. The Bengal Govt. was represented by Ashok Narayan Bhattacharya, Urban Development Minister and Suryakanta Mishra, Minister of Health Services and Samar Ghosh, Home Secretary. 
The Govt. delegation made it clear that the West Bengal govt has been asked by the centre to send their response to the union on the interim arrangement at the earliest possible. According to the Govt. representatives, to avoid any misunderstanding in the future, it desired to consult all the political parties in the hills on the proposed draft. 
The hill delegates also sought early arrest of the killers of late Madan Tamang, ABGL leader first and talk about other proposal later. In their reply, the Govt. representatives assured to nab all the culprits of the murder case within one month timeframe. D.K. Bomjan, President, Gorkha Rashtriya Congress placed his proposal of merger of Darjeeling and Sikkim which was turned down by the Govt. side as it was out of context to hold discussion on the issue. D.K. Pradhan of GNLF(C) pointed out that the DGHC which was also formed in the similar manner in the late 80s was a total failure. He suggested the Govt. to make efforts to bring a permanent solution to the hill problem which is possible only by way of carving out a separate state. His proposal was  ignored and not heard by the state representatives. The hill delegation also demanded restoration of democracy and peace in the Darjeeling hills before taking any major decision about the interim arrangement, they said that it is the priority of the hill people. The team consisted of representatives Dawa Sherpa and Tribhuan Rai of ABGL, Shankar Hang Subba and LD Lepcha of SDEM, DK Pradhan and Shrawan Rai of GNLF(C), DK Bomzon and Amar Lucksom of GRC.
State trying to corner GJMM
SNS, KOLKATA, 3 AUG.: The state government would take the opinion of the Democratic Front (DF) into consideration before announcing its own views on the “interim set-up” for Darjeeling suggested by the Centre.
The decision is considered a move to corner the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha and step up pressure on the Centre to include DF partners in the ongoing tripartite talks over the Hills imbroglio.
It may be mentioned that in the last tripartite talks, the Centre had proposed an "interim set-up" for the Hills to give more powers to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).
State urban development minister Mr Asok Bhattacharya and health minister Mr Surjya Kanta Mishra today met representatives of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League, Sikkim Ekikaram Mancha and GNLF (C) ~ three DF constituents ~ at Writers' Buildings and sought their views on the interim measures. However, no representative from either the GNLF or the CPRM attended the meeting.
"We would inform the Centre of our views on the interim measures on 9 August after taking opinion from the DF partners," Mr Mishra told reporters after the meeting. "The parties of the people of Darjeeling are of the opinion that an interim measure can not be the final solution to the crisis. They want peace and democracy be restored first," Mr Mishra said. When asked if the state government will request the Centre to invite the DF partners to the next round of tripartite talks, Mr Mishra said: "It depends on the Centre". The DF partners have been asked to communicate their stand on the interim set-up to the state government before 6 August, Mr Mishra added.
"Those who participated in the talks today made it clear that the interim set-up will not bring a permanent solution to the Darjeeling impasse," the minister maintained.
"To break the deadlock, a democratic environment should be created in the Hills first. To create democratic environment, the murderers of Madan Tamang should be arrested," said Mr Dawa Sherpa, working president of the ABGL. "Not even a single person named in the FIR in the Tamang murder case could be arrested. We raised the issue today. The home secretary said police would try their best to arrest them. We told the ministers that our views on the interim measures would be communicated to the state government by 6 August," he maintained. Representatives of the BJP and the Trinamul Congress came to Writers’ Buildings but did not take part in the meeting.
To a question, Mr Bhattacharya said the Centre should listen to the voice of the common people regarding the impasse in Darjeeling. 

Hill front frowns on interim- Temporay measures not solution-Dawa
TT,Aug. 3: The state government’s effort to seek a consensus on the interim set-up for the Darjeeling hills has met with resistance with the CPRM backing off from a meeting called to discuss the proposal and the other regional outfits reluctant to back any authority supported by Bimal Gurung.
The CPRM is the second largest party in the hills after the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha that is spearheading the statehood movement. Any objection by the CPRM might be a rerun of the Sixth Schedule fiasco, the government fears.
Dawa Sherpa, the convener of the Democratic Front, said after the meeting with state representatives at Writers’ Buildings: “The state has handed us a proposal on the interim set-up and has asked us to make observations. We told them that we could comment only after consulting our friends back home.” Besides the front, a six party anti-Morcha conglomerate in the hills, the GNLF, too had been invited to the meeting, but had refused to attend it.
The government is expecting a reply on the proposal by August 6. Minister Asok Bhattacharya, who represented the state along with Surjya Kanta Mishra, said: “We want to consider the opinion of all parties from the hills before the next round of talks.” Bhattacharya was referring to the next round of tripartite talks that the Centre is expected to convene with the Morcha and the state on August 17.
Today’s proposal to the front was the one prepared by the Centre to set up a Gorkhaland Autonomous Authority and provide legislative powers on 54 transferred subjects. The same draft proposal had been placed at the political-level tripartite talks between the Morcha, the state and the Centre in New Delhi on July 24.
However, with the CPRM categorically saying that it would not support an interim authority, the exercise is expected to be futile. “We will support the interim authority only if the government guarantees to create a separate state on the expiry of this authority (on December 31, 2011). And the authority should also include areas from the Dooars and Terai,” said Taramani Rai, spokesperson for the CPRM. The state is unlikely to give any commitments on these two demands.
The front, too, might not want to endorse any arrangement which the Morcha is trying to work out with the governments for fear of politically losing out to Bimal Gurung’s outfit. “Temporary measures are no longer a solution. Such interim measures are neither feasible nor acceptable,” said Sherpa.
The state on the other hand is desperate for a consensus, as it does not want a repeat of the Sixth Schedule fiasco. Both the Centre and the state had negotiated only with Subash Ghisingh, the president of the GNLF, the then predominant party, to confer special status on the hills. “Since there was no political consensus, the GNLF rivals repeatedly criticised Ghisingh leading to the formation of the Morcha,” said an observer. 
Hill Parties reject "painkillers" -seek solution
ENS, Kolkata: All the political outfits that came to participate in the talks convened by the state government to find a solution to the Darjeeling problem rejected the Central government’s proposal on the contours of the Gorkhaland Autonomous Authority that is supposed to replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). The outfits that sent their representatives to Tuesday’s meeting included the All India Gorkha League (AIGL), Darjeeling Sikkim Ekhikaran Mancha, GNLF(C) and Gorkha Rashtriya Congress.
Representatives of the Trinamool Congress and BJP who came to attend the meeting as part of the Democratic Front, however, did not join it after receiving instructions from their leadership. The outfits that were invited but did not attend the meeting included the GNLF and CPRM.
The organisations that were given the proposals were requested by the state government to submit their reply by August 6. “We have distributed the proposals on the interim arrangement for Darjeeling among them and have requested them to get back to us within August 6, as we will have to submit our reply on the proposals to the Centre within August 9,” Health and Family Welfare Minister Surya Kanta Mishra, who led the state government team, said after the meeting. 
However, the Darjeeling parties turned down the proposals, saying they amounted to a mere ad hoc arrangement and could not meet the aspirations of the people of Darjeeling. “We rejected the proposals as they were not acceptable to us. We want a permanent solution and not a temporary one. When somebody is seriously ill, you do not give him just pain killers. You need to administer a holistic treatment to him. We have told the government that the situation in the hills is not conducive for talks. There is no democracy, no peace. It is just hooliganism and goondaraj prevailing there. Unless that situation ends, there cannot be any talks,” Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League Working President Dawa Sherpa said after the meeting.
Some of the parties also raised the demand for Gorkhaland, which the government said was not possible. “We have told them that Gorkhaland is a sentiment of the people of the hills and we do not deny it. But is it feasible?” asked Ashok Bhattacharya after the meeting.
The AIGL also demanded that the culprits involved in the murder of their president, Madan Tamang, must be arrested soon. ‘We named 34 people in our FIR after the murder but none of them has been arrested. It is unfortunate,” said Sherpa.
Gorkhaland: WB Govt holds meet with Non-GJM hill parties
PTI, Kolkata: With the Centre keen on an interim arrangement to replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council which runs the administration in the district, non-GJM Hills parties today held parleys with the West Bengal government on the tripartite talks.
The talks with political parties from Darjeeling were held here prior to the political-level tripartite talks among the Centre, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), and West Bengal government on August 17.
Health Minister Surjya Kanta Mishra and Municipal Affairs Minister Asok Bhattacharya, who convened the meeting, told reporters that the opinion of non-GJM Hills parties was essential before the next round of talks, since the Centre has so far been talking only to the GJM.
Mishra said that the parties were told to submit their views in writing before August 6, which would be communicated to the Centre by August 9. 
All India Gorkha League leader Dawa Sherpa, however, ruled out an "interim arrangement" until law and order and governance was restored in the Darjeeling hills. 
"Interim arrangement or any temporary measure is no solution. The Darjeeling issue needs a permanent solution. We don't need a pain killer for this major issue, because such a measure is neither feasible nor acceptable," Sherpa said.
The GJM has now settled for an interim council which, the party demanded, should also include the Dooars and the Terai in neighbouring Jalpaiguri district.
The meeting was also attended by state Home Secretary Samar Ghosh.
Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) chairman Subhas Ghising, who recently recently met Union Home Secretary G K Pillai in Delhi, did not attend the meeting.
The meeting was attended by eight representatives of four political parties in the hills -- All India Gorkha League (AIGL), Darjeeling-Sikkim Ekikaran Mancha, GNLF(C) and Gorkha Rashtriya Congress.
Shankar Hang Subba and P D Lepcha of Darjeeling-Sikkim Ekikaran Mancha, Vishnu Pradhan and Col D K Pradhan of GNLF(C) and D K Bomjan of Gorkha Rashtriya Congress also echoed Sherpa's view. 
Opinion  of non-GJM parties sought
TH, KOLKATA: The West Bengal Government has sought the views of non-Gorkha Janamukti Morcha regional parties on a proposed interim administrative set-up for the Darjeeling hills to replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council before it finalises its stand on the subject and reports back to the Centre.
A delegation of leaders of four non-GJM regional parties who were invited by the Government for talks on the subject reiterated its opposition to the setting up of an interim administrative arrangement in the hills at a meeting here on Tuesday.
Among the invitees who did not join the talks was the Gorkha National Liberation Front, a principal force in the region since the mid-1980s till the time the GJM was formed in October 2007.
The meeting was held ahead of the seventh round of tripartite talks involving the Centre, the State and the GJM leadership scheduled for August 17 where the future of a regional authority for the Darjeeling hills will be discussed.
The State Government will also reportedly impress upon the Centre the need to involve non-GJM regional parties of the Darjeeling hills in future tripartite talks on the political situation in the region. “We were told so by those representing the State Government at the meeting”, Dawa Sherpa, convenor of the Democratic Front – a conglomeration of regional parties, told The Hindu after the talks.
“We informed the meeting that the setting up of any such interim arrangement would only be a pain-killer and not a proper cure for the present political malaise in the Darjeeling hills,” he said adding that “We were provided with a document regarding the interim set up being considered for the Darjeeling hills. We shall study it and respond in principle. But no temporary body can be a solution to the problem.” The State has sought the views of the parties by Friday.
“We also reiterated our demand for the arrests of those who masterminded the murder of our leader, Madan Tamang, in Darjeeling on May 31 and the need for the immediate restoration of democracy in the hills. These two issues are of paramount importance”, he added.
The State's Ministers said seeking the opinion of the non-GJM regional parties was necessary before the August 17 tripartite talks since the Centre has so far been talking only to the GJM. The State Government has been keen on including all political parties of the Darjeeling hills in the dialogue process to find a way out of the political gridlock there.
State's Health Minister Surya Kanta Mishra, Minister for Urban Development Ashok Bhattacharya and State's Home Secretary Samar Ghosh were also present at the meeting.
Gorkha views to be sought
IANS, Kolkata, The West Bengal government would consider the opinion of the anti-Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Democratic Front (DF) before announcing its own views on the ‘interim setup’ for Darjeeling suggested by the central government, a minister Tuesday said.
Briefing media persons after a meeting with representatives of the anti-GJM parties here, Health Minister Surjya Kanta Mishra said: ‘We will inform the centre about our views on the interim measures Aug 9 after taking the opinion of the DF partners.’
Besides Mishra, Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharjee was present in the meeting attended by the representatives of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL), the Sikkim Ekikaram Mancha and Gorkha National Liberation Front-C.K. Pradhan (GNLF-C) - at the state secretariat Writers’ Buildings.
Darjeeling has been on the boil for years following the demand from some hill outfits for carving out a separate Gorkhaland state out of Darjeeling and parts of its neighbouring Jalpaiguri district in the northern part of the state. GJM has been leading the Gorkhaland agitation for the last two years after cornering the Subash Ghising-led Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF).
The government sought the views of the participating parties on the interim measures by Aug 6. However, no representative from either the GNLF or the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM) attended the meeting, said a senior state official.
During the previous round of tripartite talks, the central government had proposed an ‘interim aetup’ for the hills to give some more power to the hill governing body, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).
‘The parties said people of Darjeeling are of the opinion that an interim measure can’t be the final solution to the crisis. They want peace and democracy be restored first,’ said Mishra.
Asked if the state government will request the central government to invite these parties in the next round of tripartite talks, the health minister said ‘it depends on the centre’.
‘To break the deadlock, a democratic environment should be created in the hills first. To create a democratic environment, the murderers of ABGL president Madan Tamang should be arrested,’ ABGL working president Dawa Sherpa said.
‘Not even a single person named in the FIR in the Tamang murder case could be arrested. We have raised the issue today. The state home secretary said the police would try best to nab them,’ Sherpa maintained.
Representatives of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Trinamool Congress came to the Writers’ Buildings but did not take part in the meeting.
Posters in Kalimpong  (Photo:Manoj Rai)
Sikkim status spurs hills
(From top) A Lepcha family; a bongthing or a priest of the community, a girl in a traditional attire and a flag of the tribe during a ritual at Ayong Kyong in Kalimpong. Pictures by Chinlop Fudong Lepcha
Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kalimpong, Aug. 3: The Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association has said it would continue its efforts to secure the inclusion of the community in the primitive tribe group (PTG), the announcement coming amid allegations that the Centre was in no hurry to add the community to the list of 75 most backward tribal groups in the country.
Reacting to the decision of the Sikkim government to issue primitive tribe certificates to the 40,000-odd Lepchas in the state, ILTA president Lyangsong Tamsang hoped the Centre would grant similar status to the community. “We have been fighting hard (for inclusion in the PTG), but we are yet to achieve success. As long as such a policy exists (of identifying PTGs), we will continue to fight,” he added.
Tamsang said the Bengal government, as far back as 1986, had recommended the granting of primitive tribal status to the Lepchas of Darjeeling.
“From our interaction with central authorities over the years, we get a sense that the government (in Delhi) is not too keen to add the community to the 75 PTGs,” he added.
The PTGs were identified for the first time in 1975-76 and the list was subsequently appended in 1993.
In all, 75 tribal communities spread over 17 states and one Union territory have so far been identified as PTGs. Most backward groups from among the larger ST population are PTGs. The criteria for granting PTG status are pre-agricultural level of technology, very low level of literacy, and declining or stagnant population.
Tamang said even though the 2001 census pegged the Lepcha population in the state at over 34,000, the more realistic figure, according to the ILTA estimate, should be over 80,000, mostly spread across the Darjeeling district. The Lepcha population in neighbouring Sikkim is considered to be over 40,000. The ILTA has been fighting for primitive tribal status not just to ensure the development of the community, but also to preserve its distinct identity.
The Lepchas claim they are the original inhabitants of the Darjeeling hills and Sikkim. “PTGs do not get separate or special job reservation, but what they do get is access to special Central schemes earmarked exclusively for them,” said an ILTA member.
Tamang also thanked the education department for considering the introduction of Lepcha language in primary schools. “This is the result of our many years of effort.”
Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya had said in Darjeeling on Sunday that the state government was actively looking to introduce the Lepcha language in primary schools, and a formal announcement would be made soon by the education minister.
Rain & Forest prolong NH55 repair, Landslides and potholes hit traffic on highways
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 3: A meeting convened by the Darjeeling district magistrate today resolved to intensify efforts to restore NH55 that was damaged by a landslide on a stretch of 500 metres on June 16But officials present at the meeting hinted that the highway could not be opened for traffic soon as the monsoon was hampering the repair and a central clearance was needed to make forest land available for the work.
The meeting was attended by officials from the NH division of the public works department, forest department and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and the Kurseong subdivisional officer.
Around 500 metres of the highway had caved in after a landslide at 14th Mile near
Paglajhora, 35km from here, on June 16.
“We have discussed the matter with the departments which were affected by the damage of the highway. Their suggestions will be sent to the appropriate authorities for necessary steps,” Surendra Gupta, the district magistrate of Darjeeling, said after the meeting at Siliguri circuit house this morning.
However, PWD officials said after the meeting that possibilities of immediate restoration of the road link between Siliguri and Darjeeling through NH55 were bleak because of the vulnerability of the damaged stretch.
“The impact of the landslide on the highway was massive as about 500 metres of the road were completely washed away. We had tried to start the repair at the spot soon. But continuous slides caused by the rains disrupted the work,” said Nirmal Mondal, the executive engineer of the NH division of the PWD.
“As the monsoon will stay in the region till September 15, we have decided to wait till then to start the work again,” he added.
NH55 that was damaged by a landslide at Paglajhora and (below) NH31 that is unsuitable for traffic because of potholes. File pictures
The landslides have disrupted the toy train service between NJP and Kurseong also as the track is parallel to the highway. “We are continuing our train service between Kurseong and Darjeeling. But because of the landslide near Paglajhora, 500 metres of the railway track were damaged, affecting the train service between NJP and Kurseong. Once the road connectivity is restored, we can run the train service,” said P.P. Roy, the director of the DHR.
N.C.Roy, the additional divisional forest officer of Kurseong, said: “The slide had eroded five hectares of forest. The PWD now requires a portion of the forestland in our division to re-start renovation. We have told them to approach the Union ministry of environment and forest for the permission.”
After the meeting was over, members of the Darjeeling Truck Drivers’ Association demonstrated in front of the circuit house and threatened to call an indefinite strike if steps were not taken by August 15 to restore traffic on the highway.
“As the highway is completely shut, we have to take vehicles to Darjeeling via Mirik or Mungpoo, putting extra burden on fuel and time. Today, we asked the Kurseong subdivisional officer to allow all good carriers to ply through Rohini and restore the highway with agencies like the GREF,” said Hari Pradhan, the president of the association.
“If the administration fails to take necessary measures by August 15, we will call an indefinite truck strike from the next day,” he added.
The demonstrators numbered around 500 and had come from Ghoom, Kurseong, Jorebunglow, Sonada and Sukhia. NH55 is not the only national highway that is in dire straits in north Bengal. The pathetic condition of NH31 sparked protest from the people of Falakata on Sunday. They blocked the traffic for eight hours, demanding its speedy repair.
The condition of NH31A is worse between Bagdogra and Siliguri with accidents a regular feature.
“It takes almost an hour to reach Bagdogra these days. Even though the distance is only 15km from Siliguri, the pathetic road conditions lead to accidents, damage of vehicles and congestion. The average speed of a vehicle on the highway is as low as 20kmph,” said Tanmoy Goswami, who travels regularly between Siliguri and North Bengal University.
The NH31D that connects Siliguri with Jalpaiguri via Mainaguri and Dhupguri is also unsuitable for travel. Throughout the 80-85-km-long stretch between Siliguri and Dhupguri, the bitumen cover has completely eroded with huge craters all along the highway.
Tourism scope to Mungpoo
D.K.Waiba, KalimNews: Mungpoo Cinchona Plantation is drawing attention of State. Ministers are visiting it one after another. Tourism Minsiter Manabendra Mukherji with its Director Gopal Lama and Dr Amal Kanta Roy, SDO Darjeeling accompanied by Dr G.C.Subba, the Director of the Cinchona & Other Medicinal Plantation Directory visited  different ares of Mungpoo. Besides other areas they visited Sirel Bunglow which was burnt down during Gorkhaland agitation of 80s and the Minister declared that it will be repaired with a new look and will be used for the tourism purpose.
Members of Darjeeling, Terai Dooars hill plantation labour union led by Gopal Ruchal also met the Minister dring his visit. They insisted that the Cinchona Plantation be given priority for development. (Photo:DK Waiba)
High Court  dismisses charges of CBI against Bhandari

Prakha, Gangtok, Aug 3: Sikkim High Court today dismissed an appeal filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the clean chit given by a lower court to former Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari in a disproportionate assets case.
A single High Court bench of Chief Justice Barin Ghosh pronounced the dismissal of the CBI appeal and upheld the acquittal given by the lower court to Bhandari.
Taking into consideration the judgement under appeal and grievances highlighted in relation thereto in the appeal, there is no scope of interference with the judgement under appeal, observed the Court in its order.
The High Court also dismissed the cheating charges against Bhandari who had been accused by CBI of fabricating evidence to mislead the CBI over the actual construction cost of his Ranipool house built in 1990.
A visibly happy Bhandari termed the court’s verdict as a victory for the Sikkimese people.
“In the end, truth always prevails. The verdict has gone in favour of the Sikkimese people. The CBI case had been ordered by the Sikkim Democratic Front government. It is their loss today and the victory of the Sikkimese people”, said Bhandari to reporters after the verdict.
Bhandari who is also the president of Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee (SPCC) had arrived in the court early with few of his close confidents and his advocates, BR Pradhan and KT Bhutia.
After the judgement, some of the SPCC functionaries who had come to attend the hearing, congratulated their party president and offered the traditional khadas (silk scarves).
The CBI designated court at Namchi had on March 21, 2007 acquitted Bhandari on all the charges filed against him by CBI prompting the agency to file an appeal in the High Court in the same year against the acquittal judgement.
In its charge-sheet filed in 2001, the CBI had alleged that Bhandari had amassed disproportionate assets to the extent of Rs.53.23 lakhs while he was working as the Chief Minister of Sikkim. The check period was from January 1, 1989 to May 17, 1994.
It may be added here that Bhandari has been convicted by trail courts in two other CBI cases for corruption. He had been convicted and sentenced by the designated CBI court in Sikkim in 2007 and 2008 on corruption charges. He has appealed in the High Court against the convictions. 

13-year-old sold by grandpa

TT, Malda, Aug. 3: A 13-year-old girl was married off to a 60-year-old man yesterday, allegedly after her grandfather struck a deal for Rs 20,000.
Police are looking for the girl, her grandfather Shantiram Majumdar, and Rajbal Yadav, the groom, who fled soon after the marriage was solemnised in Pannapur near Parbatidanga village, 72km from here.
The girl and her two younger sisters stayed with their grandfather in Parbatidanga because their parents, Yugal Biswas and Renu, work as day labourers in Delhi. According to residents of the village, Shantiram had sold off his eldest granddaughter yesterday to Yadav, a resident of Nainital, for Rs 20, 000. They also said Yadav paid another Rs 80,000 to the other persons involved in the deal.
Leader of a local mahila samiti, Manju Sharma, said: “We came to know that a girl was getting married. But we were stunned to see a 60-year-old man as the groom. We protested and a quarrel started with Shantiram.” Later, the samiti members informed the police. By the time the cops arrived, Yadav and Shantiram had fled.
Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said they were in touch with their counterparts in Nainital and a team might be sent there to look for the girl. 
Glare in land deal in youth murder

Policemen at the spot where Arindam was murdered on Tuesday. (Anirban Choudhury)
TT, Alipurduar, Aug. 3: An 18-year-old was shot dead today, three weeks after his mother had complained to police that four persons had threatened to kill him.
Although the mother did not mention in the FIR why the four had issued the threat, local people said the youths were involved in real estate business and drugs peddling.
According to neighbours, Arindam Roy had borrowed a motorcycle from his friend Hockey Das around 12.30pm and left his Itkhola home for Purba Santinagar, about 500m away, where he used to stay earlier.
Soon, residents of the area heard a gunshot. “When I came out of the house, I saw the youth screaming in pain on the ground and two others running across a culvert and disappearing,” said a resident. A bleeding Arindam was rushed to the subdivisional hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police said the youth had been shot through the left lower abdomen.
Arindam’s mother, Bina Roy, said on July 10 four youths — Sujan Mondol, Ram Dey, Sambhu Dey and Shyamal Dey — had come to their rented house in Purba Santinagar, and threatened her. “They held a gun to my head and told us to vacate the house or else they would kill my son.”
The woman said the next day she had gone to Alipurduar police station and lodged a complaint naming the four. “We also left the area and rented another house in Itkhola, but the police did not take any action,” she said.
Arindam used to work as a salesperson in a mobile shop and Bina worked as a temporary staff in a nursing home. Arindam’s father Sandip Roy drives a private bus.
“My son studied till Class VII and after that he used to work as a salesman. He had many friends but I do not know what they do,” the father said.
Additional superintendent of police Alipurduar Anup Jaiswal said his force had conducted raids after receiving the woman’s complaint but the persons named in the FIR could not be located. “An investigation has been started to catch the killers.”
Medical students axed for assault- AIDSO launches dharna for suspension withdrawal
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 3: Three fourth-year students of North Bengal Medical College and Hospital have been suspended for allegedly manhandling faculty members and ransacking the principal’s chamber.
The students, who were served the suspension notices on July 31, alleged that the principal was biased towards the SFI and he had taken the action as they were members of the All-India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO).
About 25 students under the banner of the AIDSO — affiliated to the SUCI — began a dharna in front of the principal’s office yesterday, demanding the revocation of the suspension.
Tushar Kanti Sarkar, Chandan Kumar Shit and Mohammad Sarwar were “suspended from attending any institution related activity including classes, demonstrations and functions”. They have also been “directed to vacate the rooms occupied by them in the men’s hostel till further notice”.
The three said they had gone to meet principal J.B. Saha in his chamber on Saturday to demand a separate room for two of them in one of the medical college hostels.
“The allegations levelled against us are baseless. We had met the principal on July 31 requesting that a separate room be allotted to us. But the principal and some faculty members present in his chamber said first-year students would be given preference and our plea would be considered if rooms were vacant after accommodating them. We had raised only a few slogans against the decision and did not rough up any teacher or ransack the chamber,” said Sarkar, the AIDSO unit secretary at the college.
Sarkar and Shit had applied for a hostel room in February and they have been paying hostel fees since then.
“But we were given a room only in June and, that, too, had to be shared with two others. Normally, a room is occupied by only two students. We moved to Sarwar’s room in the new men’s hostel and were told to adjust till senior students were shifted to the building meant for them. The authorities are biased towards the SFI and they are victimising us because we are AIDSO supporters. We are not being given a separate accommodation, though there are vacant rooms in the hostel,” said Shit.
The college authorities have referred the matter to the director of medical education (DME) and the vice-chancellor of West Bengal University of Health Sciences (WBUHS).
“The decision to suspend the three students was unanimously taken at the College Council meeting. The students manhandled the faculty members, used abusive language against the principal and ransacked his office. The principal has referred the matter to WBUHS vice-chancellor and DME in Calcutta and the next course of action will be taken after discussions with them. We have also called their parents to the college for a meeting,” said R.N. Pramanik, the dean of student affairs at the college.
The authorities denied the allegations that the students were being victimised because they were AIDSO supporters.
“All students irrespective of their political affiliations are equal before us. We are trying to accommodate all first-year students in the hostels because they are new here and not familiar with the surroundings. Shit and Sarkar had been told that they would be given a separate room in 15 days, but they wanted a room immediately,” said Sabyasachi Das, the superintendent of the new men’s hostel.
Cong on SMC
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 3: The new president of the Darjeeling district Congress today refused to say when his party would form an alliance with the Trinamul Congress at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation.
“It is wrong to assess that elected representatives of the Congress are running the SMC without consulting with Trinamul leaders. Mayor Gangotri Datta and others who hold positions at the civic board always remain in touch with leader of Trinamul councillors Gautam Deb and take decisions only after consultations,” said Uday Dubey, who was recently appointed the district Congress president by PCC chief Manas Bhuniya. “However, it is always desirable to have a formal alliance and that is why discussions are going on at different levels.”
Trinamul had decided to back the Congress at the civic board on March 30, but no deal has been worked out yet to offer some posts to Mamata Banerjee’s party at the SMC.
Boar found dead

TT, Jalpaiguri: A wild boar was found dead on NH31 at Khunia More close to the Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary on Tuesday. The animal, around 4.5ft long, was lying on the road with injury marks. The foresters suspect that the animal died after being hit by a vehicle.
TT, Islampur: All the 17 councillors of the Islampur municipality on Tuesday organised a campaign to spread the awareness of a ban on plastic. They visited shops, markets and offices, requesting people to refrain from using plastic carry bags.
TT, Siliguri: The Sports Board of North Bengal University will organise the University Blues and Annual Prize Distribution Ceremony at the administrative building on Wednesday. Former footballer Chuni Goswami and CAB joint secretary Biswarup Dey will be present on the occasion. 
Buxa reserve Tiger count likely to exceed expectations
PTI, Kolkata:The initial reports of scat samples collected from the Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) in north Bengal have indicated that there could be a greater number of tigers than expected.
“We had sent the 83 samples to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad of which 55 were fit for analysis. Preliminary reports confirmed that 33 of these samples are of tiger origin,” said R P Saini, Field Director of BTR.
He said although a detailed report about the number and gender of the tigers was yet to be received, it could be anything between 12 and 16.
Describing the preliminary findings as “very encouraging”, Saini said the tiger estimation exercise — in which scats were collected to enable DNA profiling of the big cats in the reserve — could not be completed due to rain and another full-fledged exercise would be undertaken after the monsoon.
The reports about the preliminary findings have been submitted to the state government as well as the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which had identified Buxa as one of the reserves with low density tiger population and constituted a special team last year for urgent appraisal of the reserve. 
Encouraged by the reports, the state government has sanctioned Rs 30 lakh to the BTR for the development of grasslands in the reserve, he said.
Saini said scats were also sent to ‘Aranyak’, an NGO based in Assam, for analysis and their preliminary report. According to him, the GPS positioning was recorded during the scat collection and after receiving the detailed report camera traps would be set up in areas with high tiger density.
The BTR authorities had earlier toyed with the idea of going in for captive breeding to maintain the tiger population. 
4th swine flue death
TH, KOLKATA: A 13-year-old boy died of swine flu infection here late on Monday, taking the number of those to have died from the infection in West Bengal to four since July 1.
According to Health Department officials, two new cases of A(H1N1) virus infection were detected on Tuesday, and that the number of flu-afflicted patients in the State stood at 104.
“The child was admitted to a private hospital on July 27 with multi-organ failure. His swab test detected swine flu infection on July 28, and his treatment started on the same day. But he passed away last night,” Asit Biswas, nodal officer of the health department's swine flu wing, said on Tuesday. This is the first case of a young patient succumbing to the infection in the State. The other three deceased were above 60 years.
A State Minister and three national-level footballers from Sikkim are undergoing treatment here after being tested positive for the flu.

No comments:

Post a Comment