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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Murder plotted in Morcha office in May - Chargesheet says ...... Pathak met PM.. Strike in NHPC Stage V

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 31: Madan Tamang’s murder was not a spur-of-the-moment act but a planned conspiracy hatched in the first week of May at the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s office at Singamari, the CID has found out.
The investigating agency has also found out that ABGL leader Tamang was first hit by a stone on the forehead, before 31-year old Dinesh Subba alias Kaila, a resident of Vah-Tukvar in Darjeeling, hacked him to death.
According to the chargesheet filed by the CID in court yesterday, Tamang was trying to stop his supporters from fleeing towards Gandhi Road when an armed group of 200 people swooped down on the ABGL meeting venue at Upper Clubside on May 21.
“At this time, Madan Tamang was trying to persuade his supporters not to flee from the spot. In the melee he was also hit by a stone on his forehead and one Dinesh Subba, alias Kaila, assaulted Tamang on his neck with a sharp cutting sword,” reads the chargesheet prepared by Ardhendu Sekhar Pahari, the investigating officer of the case. A copy of the chargesheet is in the possession of The Telegraph.
Investigations have also revealed that two SIM cards were used to co-ordinate the entire incident. Both the SIM cards were fitted to a Spice M 4580 cellphone, which was recovered from the murder site by constable Kiran Rai of Darjeeling police.
While one of the numbers — 9932516944 — was registered in the name of Samir Bhutia of Darjeeling, the other, 9733166826, was found registered in the name of Nickole Tamang who on August 22 fled from CID custody.
The CID said Bhutia had confessed that Nickole had taken his phone with his SIM and that he was “helpless as Nickole Tamang was a politically powerful person having close association with the GJM (Morcha) president, Bimal Gurung”.
The 30 persons named in the chargesheet had made an elaborate plan to prevent Madan from holding a pubic meeting in Darjeeling and the plot was hatched at the Singamari office of the Morcha in “the first week of May 2010”.
This meeting was attended by Nickole and other Morcha leaders like Puran Thami, Alok Kant Mani Thulung, Dinesh Subba, Dinesh Gurung, Kesav Raj Pokhrel, Kismant Chhetri, Suraj Singh, Tenzing Khambachey and the others. It was decided that no political party would be allowed to hold a public meeting in Darjeeling.
Call details of the accused a day before and on May 21, when Madan was murdered, have also been tracked by the CID along with their tower locations.
It has also come to light that three persons named in the chargesheet — Subash Tamang, Yogen Rai alias Prashant Chhetri and Sangay Yolmo — who suffered bullet injuries were not shifted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital. Instead police took some time to trace them to nursing homes in Kalimpong and Siliguri.
Madan Tamang’s memorial at the Motor Stand in Darjeeling
Among the three injured, Yolmo has not been arrested yet. His family has shifted him to Vellore for better treatment. Currently, the number of arrested persons in CID custody is seven contrary to belief that it was nine. Yolmo had not been arrested at all, and Nickole has fled.
“On humanitarian ground he has not been arrested till date and after recovery, his (Yolmo) arrest will be secured for production before the Ld (learned) Court,” the chargesheet reads.
On May 21, seven Morcha leaders and activists were seen moving around the meeting venue and keeping a watch over the arrangements so that it could be attacked at an opportune moment. These people have been identified as Nickole Tamang, Sanjoy Tamang, Sudesh Raijmajhi, Dinesh Gurung, Dinesh Subba, Sona Sherpa and Babita Ganguly.
The CID believes that the group had first assembled at Chowrastha and had made their way to the meeting venue using Nehru Road.
KalimNews, 1 Sept: GJMM will start hungerstrike starting from today till 7th September in the respective subdivisional Offices demanding arrest of Nicole.Janmukti Karmachari Sangathan members of Kalimpong participated in the hungerstrike.

KalimNews:Saman Pathak MP of Rajya Sabha met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh  and proposed for an all hill party discussion for a solution regarding Gorkhaland and other issues. He also submitted a  memorandum to the PM signed by LF MPs Sitaram Yechuri, Brinda Karat, Ram chandra Dom and Bajuban Riyang. He thanked PM for his concern over Darjeeling problem and said that WB govt has no objection for the forthcoming tripartite Talks but  he demanded that before coming to any conclusive decision there should be an all party meeting regarding the overall situation of the hills and restoration of peace, law and order and democracy as well as  the formation of an Interim body. On demand Pathak submitted a list of the hill parties to the PM Singh.

Potholes in the NH 31C roads
Meanwhile MP Amar Singh President fo Federation of new states stated that demand of Gorkhaland is not the demand of a region but a political demand of all Gorkhas of India.
KalimNews: Private Buses of Dooars area were off the road from Monday. Protesting against the bad condition of roads Bus owners of Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri and Siliguri didnot ply their buses as a result passengers were seen rushing after the NBSTC buses and many were stranded. 
Hill College registration under scanner
Darjeeling, Aug. 31: Fifty-eight students of a year-old college here are staring at an uncertain future as the institution authorities have been unable to clear the air on its registration.
Mangal Priyaa Management and Engineering College, which was established on August 8, 2009, in a rented place on Lebong Cart Road, offers courses in BCA, BBA, hotel management and English honours.
According to the college prospectus, the institution “has been granted an autonomous status under the UGC Act (1964-65) and is supervised by Bangalore University and some of the course of the engineering department is supervised by Delhi University with an NOC i.e. joint venture of Pranath Institute of Management and Technology (Regd. No.S/IL/34754”.
Aditya Sharma, a second semester student of the BCA course, said: “We started suspecting the college’s claim after we got the admit card. It did not look like a proper admit card. Moreover, we did not get a proper marksheet and our marks were merely pasted on the notice board.”
When the students met college director Nishesh Jaishee on August 11, he reportedly left for Bangalore to get the registration documents. He is yet to return.
Arpan Sharma, co-ordinator of the college’s hotel management department, said Jaishee could not be contacted till date. “We are also in the dark. If the situation so demands I might have to shut down the college from tomorrow unless the director returns,” said Sharma. Jaishee could not be contacted on the mobile numbers provided by the college staff. Janam Rai, a resident of Ghoom, had filed an RTI application on August 13 seeking a clarification from the UGC on the status of the college.
“The reply I got states that the college is not recognised under Sec 2 (f) and 12(B) of the UGC Act 1956,” said Rai.
In protest some of the students also slept within the college campus for six nights starting from August 20.
College students now fear that they might have lost a year. “Where will we get admission at this time of the year? Even if we manage, we probably have to start the course afresh,” said another student.
According to the prospectus, a student has to pay Rs 15,850 per semester for a BCA course. The fees for other courses range from Rs 15,600 to Rs 20,300 per semester. The total amount a student has to pay for all the six semesters (three-year course) ranges between Rs 93,600 and Rs 1,21,800.
Garden siege over power demand
The workers of Subhasini Tea Estate lay siege to the manager’s office on Tuesday. Picture by Anirban Choudhury
TT, Alipurduar, Aug. 31: More than a thousand workers of Subhasini Tea Estate confined the garden manager to his office for 10 hours today demanding the restoration of electricity lines that had been disconnected five months ago.
The siege that began at 7.30am was lifted at 5.30pm after the manager, Anindya Roy, assured the protesters that he would sit with the trade unions on Thursday to thrash out the issue. Work in the garden in Kalchini was hampered throughout the day.
According to Abdul Hamid, the unit secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad’s Progressive Tea Workers’ Union, the management had begun to deduct Rs 350 a month from the workers’ wages as electricity charges from October last year causing widespread resentment among the workers.
Earlier, the management had charged a worker between Rs 200 and Rs 225 a month for power consumption. But the workers protested the sudden rise in deduction from their wages and said they were ready to pay Rs 100 a month for electricity supply for 12 hours a day. Earlier, the supply was for 24 hours.
“The management did not heed our plea and instead disconnected the power lines from every worker’s quarters from April 1 this year. Since then we are living in tremendous hardship, especially the elders and the students. So we decided to gherao the manager till some assurance was given,” Hamid said.
The PTWU leader said the workers had submitted a proposal that electricity meters be installed in each quarters and the amount consumed would be paid for. But that demand was also rejected by the management, he said.
The garden has 1,200 workers.
Around 3pm, police from Hashimara outpost arrived at the garden office and tried to persuade the protesters to lift the gherao but failed.
As the manager was feeling uneasy — garden sources said the agitating workers did not allow him to drink water or use the washroom — the police asked the central leaders of the Parishad from Hashimara to come and negotiate. After the talks with the Adivasi leaders, the agitation was withdrawn.
While the manager was not available for comments, Amitangshu Chakrabarty, the secretary of the Indian Tea Planters’ Association’s Birpara branch, of which the garden is a member, said Roy’s confinement was uncalled for.
“It was very undemocratic of the workers to confine the manager to his office in this manner. What the workers have been demanding is unreasonable. However, let us see what takes place in the meeting scheduled for Thursday,” Chakrabarty said.
Strike in NHPC V
Prakha, Gangtok, Aug 31: Administrative work at 510 MW NHPC Teesta Stage V power plant at Balutar, Singtam in East Sikkim was crippled today with a section of labourers calling an indefinite strike demanding ‘re-designation of grades as per educational qualifications’.
The Teesta Stage V power plant located 42 kms away from Gangtok had been commissioned by Union Power Minster Sushil Kumar Shinde last year in the month of June.
The NHPC Teesta Stage V had recruited fifty three workers as part of its rehabilitation and resettlement package for the project displaced families. The workers, all local residents, had been appointed by the hydro-electric giant under the ‘rehabilitation and resettlement’ plan for the families who had been ousted from their lands by the project.
Contending that they have been given a raw deal by the NHPC authorities, the local workers claimed they were given appointment only in the lowest grade of W-0 irrespective of the educational qualifications. 
After a series of submissions to the NHPC and State authorities went unheeded, the workers today locked the gates of the administrative block of the power plant at Balutar at 9 am.
Backed by the labour front of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front, the workers shouted slogans against the alleged ‘discrimination’ meted out to the locals by the NHPC and demanded their grades be promoted as per educational qualifications.
However, the power generation was not halted by the workers.
Later, sub-divisional magistrate (East) AB Karki intervened and convinced the agitating workers and supporters of SDF labour front to come to dialogue with the NHPC authorities.
After nearly two hours of talks between the NHPC authorities, workers, sub-divisional magistrate and SDF labour front functionaries, it was decided that the indefinite strike has been deferred till September 3.
“All parties have come under a dialogue process. A meeting has been fixed on September 3 at the East district administrative centre where the issues of workers and concerns of NHPC authorities will be sorted out”, said Karki to reporters after the meeting.
In the meantime, the NHPC Teesta Stage V management will also be contacting its higher authorities to place the demands of the workers here, said Karki.
The agitating workers however remain non-committal on the outcome of the talks. “We will be having a meeting again on September 3 with the NHPC and district authorities. If our demands are resolved on that meeting, then we will be happy. If demands are not met, we will again resume our indefinite strike from September 4”, said Santosh Adikhari, one of the agitating workers.
All Sikkim Democratic Labour Front (ASDL), the labour frontal organization of ruling SDF party, also reiterated its support to the NHPC workers.
ASDL general secretary Hari Chettri, who attended the meeting, said that meeting was ‘okay’. “Some hopes have been generated today that demands of the workers will be resolved in the upcoming meeting. We want a conclusive result in that meeting and we are ready to support the workers if they call indefinite strike again”, he said.
Chettri said that demands of the agitating workers are fully genuine. “Our local workers are being humiliated and discriminated by the NHPC.  The NHPC should not take advantage of the peaceful nature of our people”, he said.
Though the district authorities and ASDL remain optimistic of a solution to be reached on September 3, the statements given by NHPC Teesta Stage V chief engineer D Chottapadhya gave hints about an unfruitful meeting on September 3.
“We have our own policy matters regarding employment of workers. There is a government policy for all NHPC projects and to incorporate something new, we have to change the entire policy”, said Chottapadhay when asked about the ‘grade re-designation’ demand of the workers.
When asked what new things he will have to offer in the table during the September 3 talks, the NPHC Teesta Stage V chief enigineer said that he will approaching his higher authorities and see what can be done.
“Lets us see. The talks will have to continue”, he said. He added that State labour department has already constituted a commission regarding the labour issues in the Teesta Stage V.
“We will have to wait for the commission to submit its report on September 17”, said Chottapadhya. He asserted that NHPC has fulfilled all its promises given to the local people and Sikkim government.
However, the local aggrieved workers are not agreeing to this claim of the NHPC. They are presently employed as helpers and beldars under W-0 grade in the plant.
We are the land oustees were appointed as helpers and beldars under W-0 grade irrespective of our educational qualifications and we had been regularly requesting the NHPC authorities to consider our pending demands. Our chief demand is re-designation of existing grade to suitable grade as per educational qualification and as per the rehabilitation and resettlement plan approved by the State government”, said Sangram Basnett and other workers.
The 510 MW NHPC Teesta Stage V project had been commissioned by Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in July 4, last year. The project had been built at a cost of Rs. 2619 crores and took eight years to be completed.
The State government is entitled to 12 percent free power from the installed capacity of the NHPC Teesta Stage V plant which translates to around Rs. 300 crores per annum.
Pointing out that they had given their lands for the project, the workers said that they have been languishing at the lowest levels for the past six years. “We gave our land and got employment but our qualifications were not respected by NHPC management. We have been repeatedly demanding that our grades should be given as per qualifications but they failed to listen to us. Till today, we are working as helpers and belders and we feel exploited as our educational qualifications were not respected”, they said.
“We have worked for six years and it should be natural that we should have been promoted as per our experience and educational qualifications but today, even a mechanical engineering graduate is forced to continue as a helper”, said the group.
According to the group, there are workers holding graduate and post graduate degrees who are working in the lowest grades. There are workers who have engineering degree, graduate and graduate degrees but still have to work as helpers and beldars, they said.
It was pointed out that there were 60 families who were ousted by the project. These land oustees were offered appointment in the lowest grade in the project.
Only 57 members from the ousted families joined out of which four have already passed away.

NHAI blames bumpy ride on rain- Bus owners refuse to budge till visible proof of road repair
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 31: On the backfoot because of the indefinite strike called by private bus owners, the NHAI has assured the protesters that it would repair the roads in the region at the earliest and was waiting for the rain to stop.
The promise from the National Highways Authority of India comes even as thousands of commuters in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar struggled for toehold in the few over-packed government buses and the private owners from other districts, besides some trains and smaller vehicles.
Around 1,500-odd private buses remained off the roads to protest the condition of the routes on which they travel. The bus owners said the potholed roads meant additional expenses for the maintenance of their vehicles, which were often damaged.
Smaller vehicles like cars hiked up their rates and goods carriers like mini trucks turned means of transport for daily passengers today.
Since morning, thousands of people swarmed New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri Junctions, New Mal, Birpara, Hasimara, New Cooch Behar, New Alipurduar, Dhupguri, Falakata, Jalpaiguri Road and Jalpaiguri Town stations. Train travel would have been easier had the tracks been connected to the remote corners.
“I teach at a school on Gayerkata and travel by bus from Siliguri everyday. Today, I boarded an express train from NJP to reach Dhupguri, more than 10km from Gayerkata. From the station, I had to take a rickshaw van to reach NH31D and then got a pick-up van to reach school,” said Ashima Chakraborty, a teacher.
“I don’t know how I will go back. The only hope is that a couple of express trains on way to NJP stop at Dhupguri in the evening.”
Those whose destinations were Changrabandha, Lataguri, Jaigaon, Barovisa, Tufanganj, Sitai, Baxirhat, Kumargram and Mekhliganj in Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts where there is no train connectivity had to wait for government buses or take private vehicles on share.
“Private vehicles are often available between Siliguri and Jalpaiguri on share with rates varying between Rs 40 to Rs 60. But today these vehicles are charging as high as Rs 150 per person,” said Binod Chhetri, a resident of Jalpaiguri who works in a bank in Siliguri.
Although bus owners admitted that passengers were inconvenienced, they refused to budge till the roads become “motorable”.
“It is not a strike called for revision of fares. There is the question of safety and security. Everyday, accidents are reported, as the roads are not in motorable condition. The strike was spontaneous today and we plan to continue with it until we see visible proof of repair,” said Pranab Mani, secretary of the North Bengal Passenger Transport Owners’ Coordination Committee.
The NHAI claimed the repairs that have started would be expedited soon. “We are responsible for NH31 and have started repairing the stretch between Sevoke and Bagdogra via Siliguri. The incessant rain is posing a problem but we expect the work to take a full swing once it stops,” said Dhruba Chakraborty, the superintending engineer of PWD (NH Division IX).
R.K. Chaudhry, the project director of the NHAI posted in Siliguri, said tenders have been issued for repairing NH31D, from Ghoshpukur on the outskirts of Fulbari to Dhupguri and Falakata.
“Repair has commenced in five places on the entire stretch. We have floated three tenders of Rs 15 crore for strengthening the road but the main constraint is rain which is hampering work,” he said.
Tech boy arrested for assault 
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 31: The third-year student of Siliguri Government Polytechnic College, who allegedly assaulted his junior over a video shot of his girlfriend on the latter’s cellphone, was arrested from a private hostel here this morning.
Subham Bera, who is pursuing a course of electronic instrumentation technology, was produced before B. Khesang, the additional chief judicial magistrate of Siliguri, and was released on bail.
“Subham was booked under Sections 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and was granted bail by the court today,” his lawyer D. Roy said.
The college has constituted a fact-finding committee that is supposed to submit its report within seven days. According to polytechnic sources, both Arin Dutta, a second-year student and the victim, and Subham have been suspended from the institution for seven days. College principal Subrata Sarkar was not available for comment.
“All the second-year students have boycotted classes today and we will keep doing so until the college takes action against Subham. The first-year and third-year students attended classes as usual. The college is shut for Janmasthami tomorrow so we will meet the principal with our demand again on Thursday,” said Nurul Hassan, a second-year civil engineering student. Nurul was also assaulted allegedly by Shubham at his hostel in Aurobindopally on Sunday night.
Subham had allegedly assaulted Arin, a student of electronic telecommunications, at his hostel following which Arin was admitted to the Siliguri District Hospital. Arin had filed an FIR against Subham alleging physical and mental torture. He was discharged from the hospital today. Subham had denied the charges.
Leash on primary job drive- 15 told not to join duty
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 31: The state school education department has asked the Jalpaiguri district inspector of schools not to allow 15 candidates selected for primary teachers’ post to join duty in a tough stand against corruption in job drives.
A letter written by S.C. Ghosh, a deputy secretary of the department, that reached the DI (primary) office yesterday, also asked the official to suspend the candidates, if they have joined by now, immediately on an interim basis. All 15 are reportedly close to the CPM leaders.
Earlier, the department had removed Jalpaiguri district primary school council chairperson Mrinal Pal and shifted Kaushik Roy, the then DI (primary) of schools, to West Midnapore as assistant inspector after receiving around 1,000 complaints on allegation of corruption and nepotism in the recruitment process. An inquiry had been started.
The Youth Congress, which had been spearheading a movement over the issue, demanded the arrest of those involved in corruption. The party had accused Pal and district CPM leaders for inducting their near and dear ones in the final merit list by depriving the deserving candidates.
“All the 15 names mentioned in the list are the family members and the relatives of CPM leaders. They include the wife of Mrinal Pal and three family members of K.K. Jha, a CPM leader from Nagrakata,” said Saikat Chatterjee, the Jalpaiguri district Youth Congress president. “Our movement has succeeded in unearthing the corruption to some extent but we want a complete amendment of the final list as at least 550 others — 1,411 were recruited — have got jobs by virtue of nepotism. They should be treated like the 15.”
The Youth Congress leader said now that the corruption had been proved, the party wanted police to immediately arrest all those involved in the racket — right from Pal to some of the employees of the DPSC who had resorted to illegal means to ensure job for their family members. “Or else, we will continue our agitation and call a general strike in Jalpaiguri district or sit on indefinite hunger strike.”
Mohan Bose, the Jalpaiguri district Congress president who had sought the intervention of governor M.K. Narayanan, claimed that Raj Bhavan had forwarded the matter to the state school education department.
“On the basis of the movement by the Youth Congress and our request to the governor, the school education department was forced to take the action,” Bose said.
Pal, however, could not be contacted. The district CPM leaders, too, refused comment.
Naparajita Mukherjee   DGP of Bengal appointed
TH, Kolkata: Naparajit Mukherjee, a 1976 batch IPS officer, took over as West Bengal's Director -General of Police on Tuesday. He takes the place of Bhupinder Singh who laid down office after a 14-month tenure.
In an informal chat with the media, Mr Mukherjee identified police welfare among his priority areas.
In response to a query on his plan in the Left-wing extremism-affected areas, he said: “ There is a set policy and we will follow it”.
Asked whether the combined forces will continue their anti-Maoist operations, he quipped: “I am surprised that you are asking this question to me, but I have no indication to the contrary”.
Mr Mukherjee takes charge at a time when the State is just months away from the Assembly elections which are scheduled in May 2011. .
After the rain Golfers at Golf Course , Durpin,  Kalimpong
Stephen Hugh-Jones
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” So, reportedly, Jesus answered a crowd of men who had brought to him “a woman taken in adultery”, pointing out that Jewish law said she should be stoned, but what did he think? Surprisingly, instead of stoning him too, at his rebuke her accusers slunk away, while he told her to “go, and sin no more.”
And what’s odd about his answer? I don’t mean its ethics, though I imagine that to any ayatollah, they’re very odd indeed. No, just the wording. It comes from the great 1611 translation of the Bible, but you could easily find its like today.
The oddity is let him. We use that phrase often enough today, and still more often ones such as let’s go. That let’s go sounds pretty colloquial, but it’s simply short for let us go, and there are thoroughly formal parallels: let us pray, for instance, used in church services. And the question is: why him and us, not he and we? After all, it is he who is to cast a stone, we who are to go or to pray.
Private grammar
The easy answer is to see him and us as merely the standard forms of those pronouns when they are the objects of a verb, as in, say, humour him or he’ll shoot us. Not so. The let of let him cast or let’s go is utterly bogus. It’s no equivalent of allow him/us to. No third party is being told to do the letting. In practice, those phrases are commands, that he or we should carry out, and the let is hardly a verb at all, merely a meaningless part of the imperative mood of the verbs cast or go. To quote one expert, “let’s is being treated as a quasi-modal”. (And let’s hope that leaves you wiser than it left me.)
Most languages have an imperative available for phrases like these. France’s Marseillaise opens Allons, enfants de la patrie — let’s go, children of the fatherland — not Permettez-nous aller, as if the enfants needed permission. The French equivalent of let him cast is more complex, but it too uses their version of he, not of him.
In English, phrases like let he cast or let we go can be found as far back as the 17th century. But they were oddities then, and they’re plain wrong now. You’ll find today’s usage in Shakespeare’s Henry V: he which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart. Or Henry VI: let’s kill all the lawyers. Not that Shakespeare was above a bit of his own private grammar, as in Hamlet: break we our watch up, which is plainly a kind of imperative, a substitute for let’s break — and is indeed at once followed by let’s impart.
Spell out
So that’s settled? Not quite. Even now, the we/us confusion is reflected in one subtlety. If you say let’s go, would you spell out that us as you and me or you and I? Trollope went for I, writing and now, my dear, let you and I say a few words about this unfortunate affair. Half a century later, William Faulkner had a character say let’s you and me take ‘em on. However colloquial, that’s surely correct: if it’s us, it has to be you and me, not you and I.
Well, so I would think, and many a pedant would affirm (as indeed the great and unpedantic H.W. Fowler did, reproving Trollope). Yet in 1910 T.S. Eliot, hardly an illiterate, in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” was writing let us go then, you and I, exactly as if the two people concerned were the joint subjects, not objects, of let. As in real life they are. At which point, my pedantic friends — just how am I to put this?— let’s admit we’re beaten, you and me. Source: THEWORDCAGE@YAHOO.CO.UK

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