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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Morcha protest puts rural exam on hold Relief for off-shops, glare on block office... From relay to indefinite fast for Nickole.. Dalai Lama visiting Kalimpong ... Manohari singh remebered in Kolkata

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Sept. 10: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today browbeat the government into deferring an exam for employees’ promotion in the panchayat department. The Darjeeling district administration has announced that the exam scheduled for tomorrow has been put on hold indefinitely.
The Morcha has also decided to shut down the block development office in Bijanbari from Monday.
However, keeping in mind the “success” of the tripartite talks on the Darjeeling hills and the coming festive season, the Morcha has lifted the “ban” on liquor off-shops from Monday.
District magistrate Surendra Gupta said in the evening: “Certain objections had been raised by them (the Morcha), so the exams have been deferred. Another date will be announced.”
Earlier, Morcha assistant secretary Binay Tamang said the panchayat exams should be postponed till the interim set-up for the hills was finalised.
“We have already told the Janmukti Karmachari Sangatan (an employees’ union affiliated to the Morcha) not to take the rural job exams tomorrow. It will be held once the interim set-up is finalised,” said Tamang.
The hill party has also decided to close down the block office in Bijanbari, 35km from Darjeeling, from Monday. “We are not satisfied with the functioning of the block office. We have received complaints about the way the officials are functioning in Bijanbari,” said Pemba Tshering Ola, president of the Morcha’s Darjeeling sub-divisional committee.
Some of the Morcha allegations against the block office are:
lMisappropriation of funds and anomalies in issuing tenders and notices on implementation of development work under the Border Area Development Project.
lNo action has been taken against employees winning the contracts for the projects and participating directly in political activities (which the party says are against existing rules)
lIrregularities in payments for work done under the 100-days’ scheme
lIrregularities in bringing people under old age and widow pension and the delay in disbursement of the benefits.
Objecting to the way in which the BADP funds are being utilised, Tamang said: “Tender for work under the BADP is not being issued, and the process of allotting projects is flawed. Crores of rupees are being spent on development of the region but the quality of work is not up to the mark.”
Under the BAPD, the district administration can undertake projects like construction and creating community assets.
Sonam Bhutia, additional district magistrate (development) of Darjeeling, said the grievances against the Bijanbari block office would be looked into. “As far as stopping the department exams is concerned, a decision can only be taken by the state government,” said Bhutia.
From Monday, however, the Morcha will allow the off-shops to remain open.
“Taking into account the success of the ongoing tripartite meetings and the festival, we have decided to open the off-shops from Monday,” said Tamang.
The off-shops have been shut since July 5, as part of a non-cooperation movement against the state government. Sale of liquors in restaurants has, however, not been restricted by the Morcha.
Sources said the owners of off-shops had met Morcha chief Bimal Gurung and had formed an association, which is now an affiliate of the hill party.
The Morcha said during the next round of the tripartite meeting, discussions would be held on the transfer of the tauzi department to the new set-up. The tauzi department is in charge of the land records of the tea garden. The mode of selection of the interim authority would also be taken up at the talks.
“Territory will be discussed during the political-level talks which we expect to be held before the pujas,” said Tamang.
Sources said the Morcha was looking at making some announcement when it celebrates its foundation day on October 7.
From relay to indefinite fast for Nickole
TT, Darjeeling, Sept. 10: A relay hunger strike currently going on in the three hill towns will be converted into an indefinite fast from September 17, said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
The party had been organising the hunger strike since August 1 to demand that Morcha central committee member Nickole Tamang, a prime accused in the murder of ABGL leader Madan Tamang, be produced alive in court.
Nickole had been arrested by the Darjeeling police on August 16 but he allegedly escaped from the CID custody from Pintail Village on August 22.
The CID had said in its chargesheet that the investigators had recovered Nickole’s cellphone with dual SIM cards from the murder site at Upper Clubside Motor Stand in Darjeeling. Madan Tamang was killed by a khukuri-wielding mob in broad daylight on May 21.
“The relay hunger strike which is taking place in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong will continue till September 16. Instead of the relay hunger strike, we will now go in for an indefinite hunger strike from September 17,” said Binay Tamang, assistant secretary of the Morcha.
The indefinite fast will, however, be held only in Darjeeling. “The indefinite hunger strike will be organised in front of the Darjeeling district magistrate’s office by our youth front members. Seven members of the youth wing will take part in the fast,” said Binay.
Two Yuva Morcha members each from Darjeeling and Kalimpong will take part in the fast, while Kurseong, Mirik and Siliguri will be represented by one supporter each.
The chief judicial magistrate’s court in Darjeeling has issued an order to attach the properties of the 23 people named in the chargesheet filed by the CID. The accused are currently absconding. The CID had made a prayer for such an order when it had submitted the chargesheet to the court on August 30.
The 23 people were booked under sections 147/148 (rioting/rioting with deadly weapons), 149 (unlawful assembly), 427 (mischief causing damage), 506 (criminal intimidation), 302 (murder) and 120 (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Sources said the court had issued the attachment order between September 4 and 8 and it was now the duty of the police to implement it. The same court had issued an order in August to freeze the bank accounts of 10 people accused in the Madan Tamang murder case. 
Exit continues in tribal body
TT, Jaigaon/Siliguri, Sept. 10: A joint secretary of the Dooars unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad today announced that he was quitting his post, the last in a trail of resignations that has affected the tribal outfit in the past two days.
Four office-bearers of the Dooars-Terai regional unit of the Parishad have resigned from their posts in the past two days. However, state leaders of the Parishad today said they would try to pacify the disgruntled regional leaders and to stop further exodus.
Rajesh Lakra (not the Dooars unit secretary who has resigned), a joint secretary of the regional wing, said he would put in his papers to the state committee tomorrow.
However, state president of the Parishad Birsa Tirkey, who reached Malbazar for tomorrow’s state committee meeting, said: “We have information about the resignations of the regional committee secretary and three others. We plan to sit with them to listen to their grievances and reinstate them to their respective posts.”
“We will also hear some other disgruntled regional leaders, but not during the state committee meeting tomorrow which will not have it on its agenda,” Tirkey added.
The state president’s move contradicts the comments of state secretary Tezkumar Toppo who had said that those who resigned had been “lured” by the Progressive People’s Party.
Former regional secretary Rajesh Lakra, treasurer Sanjivan Kuzur and two others who have resigned said they would not attend the state committee meeting tomorrow. “If the state president or other leaders call us to have dialogues, we are ready to meet them but will not attend the meeting tomorrow,” Kuzur said.
Rahul visits NB, Basibiyalo
SHEEM : Political - Rahul Gandhi, ALL India Congress General Secretary will visit the economically hit tea gardens of Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar on 14th September. He has no plan to scale to Darjeeling hills now as expected.
Literature - 91st episode of popular monthly literry programme Basibiyalo will be organised today on 11th September at Sub-divisional library hall, Kalimpong under the aegis of Sudesh Khati a young story writer of Kalimpong. Khati has invited all the literature lovers to attend the programme and share their feelings in the platform from 1 PM onwards.
Unpublished works of late Dr. Sashi Bhushan Rai (S.B. Rai) will be released in book form on 26th September, 2010 at Club Royale (Green Hill Resort). The book entitled 'Mero Cancer Yatra Ra Chihanma Gorkha' will be released on the day in presence of prominent literary figures of the region. Kalimpong Television, Kaleybung Darpan and Charitra Prakashan are assisting the programme. 

Hill liquor shops set to reopen
TNN, DARJEELING: In a welcome move, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has decided to allow licensed liquor shops in the Hills to remain open from September 13.
In July this year, GJM leader Bimal Gurung had announced the closure of all government licensed liquor shops in the Hills. On Friday, the Morcha said it would allow these shops to resume functioning as the tripartite talks were progressing in the right direction and the Pujas were also round the corner.
"The tripartite talks to settle the issue of interim arrangement are going in the right direction. Also, keeping the Pujas in mind, we have decided to allow government licensed liquor shops to remain open from September 13," said GJM assistant secretary Benoy Tamang

Suicide rates rising high
Prakha, GANGTOK, September 10: At a time when Sikkim is fetching top billing in national suicide rates for the past two consecutive years, the heath officials are presently fumbling on generalized factors and consequently oblivious to actual reasons why Sikkimese people are committing suicide almost every second day.
During a function to mark the ‘World Suicide Prevention Day 2010’ held today here at SNTM conference hall, the health officials admitted that there is lack of credible research to pin-point reasons for alarmingly high suicide rates in Sikkim which pole-vaulted from 18.88 per one lakh persons in 2007 to 43.16 per one lakh persons in 2008 before dropping down to 35.28 in 2009.
The national average for suicide is 10.5 per lakh persons. The rate of suicide for the year 2008 and 2009 in Sikkim was the highest in the country, said the health officials.
“This is a very serious issue. We accept that no research has been conducted to find out actual causes for suicide deaths in Sikkim. We have to take up our independent study than to rely on suicide data provided by police”, said Dr IL Sharma, STNM superintendent.
Sikkim ranked first among the Northeastern States and fourth in the country in suicide rates as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report of 2006.
As per the Sikkim CID police data presented today by the State health department, 124, 287 and 241 persons committed suicide in 2007, 2008 respectively in Sikkim.
While pointing out the generalized reasons of depression, social pressures and substance abuse, additional director of health department Dr PM Pradhan said that the department does not have a base to assert the particular reasons for Sikkim.
“There is a lack of research. We have to study the figures provided by the police and make our analysis. There was a massive jump in suicide rates from 2007 to 2008. We have to study more and we are determined to make a comprehensive study”, said Dr Pradhan.
According to the non-communicable diseases division of the health department, the factors for suicide spurt in Sikkim were mental illness including depression, socio-economic changes, rapid development, loosening of family bonds, breach in social supports and social taboos.
“Impulsiveness and/or aggressiveness in Sikkim’s society is also perhaps cause of worry”, the department said.
A section of health officials, however, has labeled the factors projected by the non-communicable diseases as ‘general’ and burrowed from the universal factors for suicides. The department needs to undertake a proper study instead of depending on data provided by police, they said.
Regarding the specific query whether suicides in Sikkim is linked to poverty and rising unemployment, Dr Pradhan said that such factors need to be studies. “It is a matter of research and we have to find out the actual cause”, he said.
Dr Pradhan informed that the department has been conducting awareness programmes in all parts of the State especially at grassroots levels besides providing training to health care providers on mental health issues. He said the recently launched Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Annual and Total Checkup for Health Sikkim (CATCH) gives top priority for mental health issues.
Screening of patients suffering from mental depressions will be done at the grassroots levels under CATCH and those who need immediate care will be referred to appropriate centers, said Dr Pradhan.
“Health seeking behaviour of population for mental health needs to be better understood too. Some services were provided through district mental health programme in East District. There are only four psychiatrists in the State health department. It is also felt that there is still a barrier to access mental health care even in areas where psychiatrists is available for treatment of mental illness and substance abuse. There is unwillingness on part of patient to seek help because of stigma attached to mental and substance abuse disorders and/or suicidal thoughts”, said the non-communicable diseases division of the health department.

Manohari Singh remembered
Avijit, KalimNews, Kolkata: Manohari Singh the legend in Indian Musical world was remembered by Amit kumar Fan Club and Melody Chime of Kolkata. During a programme held in Kalakunj Auditorium, Kalamandir of the city musicians of his time and his colleagues as well as his fans were present. A video show on the life and works of Singh was an added programme. 
Guitarist Bhanu Gupt, Musician Salil Choudhary and singer Sabita Choudhary, Sabitri Majumdar, Musician Subarna kanti Ghose and others attended the memorial programme.
Saxophonist and senior assistant to late Rahul Dev Burman, Manohari Singh died  on 13 July at Lilawati Hospital, Mumbai at 4 PM due to cardiac arrest. Singh was 79. Singh was last seen playing saxophone in the popular reality show Indian Idol with the famous singer Asha Bhonsle.
Music genius Singh had played saxophone in the latest films Veer Jara, Chalte Chalte etc and his last film was 1942 a Love story. He had played saxophone in the hits of past like Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charcha har juban par (film Brahmachari), Rup tera mastana (Aradhana) However his musical talents are greatly admired for his playing in the Burman's hits of 1970s. Sitaron Se Aage was his first break in the bollywood music world when he played for S.D. Burman, father of late R.D. Burman.
Dalai Lama visits Kalimpong
Prakha, GANGTOK, September 10: The Dalai Lama will be staying at Kalimpong in Darjeeling district for two days before flying to Pelling in West Sikkim in a chopper on December 15. He would be visiting various parts of Sikkim besides inaugurating a conference organized by Namygal Institute of Tibetology (NIT) during his nine-day tour.
According to a tentative itinerary of his proposed visit, the Dalai Lama is scheduled to stay at Kalimpong on December 13 and 14. On the next day, the Dalai Lama will fly to Pelling in a helicopter and make a brief visit of the Pemayangste monastery and then reach Tashiding monastery.
This was informed today by the State ecclesiastical secretary, Tenzing Gelek to a gathering of monks, representatives from eight Buddhist organizations and Tibetan associations and Tibetan Welfare officials here at Gangtok. The meeting was held to brief and take suggestions from the gathering.
State HRD minister NK Pradhan and Gangtok MLA Dorjee Namgyal Bhutia were also present on the occasion.
It was informed to the gathering that the Dalai Lama will be staying a retreat for meditation at Tashiding for two days on December 16 and 17. The retreat, ‘Tsam Khang’ is being constructed and should be ready by November and it would be exclusively for His Holiness and the house where he stayed will be declared as a museum, the State ecclesiastical secretary informed.
After two days of retreat at Tashiding, the Dalai Lama is scheduled to depart for Palchen Choling monastery at Ralang on December 18 and later visit the Tibetan settlement there. The following day, he would be participating in a blessing ceremony at the under-construction Buddha Park at Ravangla before proceeding to Gangtok on a chopper.
On December 20, the Dalai Lama will be inaugurating a 3-day seminar at Chintan Bhavan on ‘Brain and Mind, Our Potential for Change: Modern Cognitive Sciences and Eastern Contemplative Traditions’ organized by NIT. He had been invited by the Sikkim government to inaugurate the seminar which is expected to lay the foundations of Sikkim’s efforts to formally introduce concepts of morals and ethics to its school curriculum.
A public teaching from the Dalai Lama has been slated on December 21 at Paljor Stadium.
The Dalai Lama will be attending the closing ceremony of the NIT conference on December 22 before leaving Sikkim on December 23.
The State HRD minister invited suggestions from all to the State government over what kind of pujas should be conducted during the visit of the Dalai Lama for the benefit of Sikkim. He also read out the invitation letter sent to the Dalai Lama by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling.
Gangtok MLA Dorjee Namgyal Bhutia said that everyone in Sikkim is excited about the forthcoming visit of the Dalai Lama.
10 auto ricksaws in a trip to Rajasthan from Sikkim
Prakha, GANGTOK, September 10: The auto-rickshaws are ready to roar and this time; these three wheelers will be rolling down from Gangtok on a 3500 kms trip right upto the princely town of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan!
After turning heads here earlier this year in April when seventy multi-coloured auto-rickshaws motored into Gangtok, ‘The Rickshaw Autumn Run 2010’ organized by The Adventurists is slated to hit the down-road on September 12 from MG Marg.
Seventy one teams consisting of 175 participants from more than 20 countries will be driving the auto-rickshaws from hill town of Gangtok to reach the desert oasis of Jaisalmer on September 26.
The 3500 kms run will raise over 80,000 pounds for the official charities, Frank Water Projects and Maiti Nepal, informs a press release from the organizers.
Frank Water Projects funds sustainable, community run, 5-filter UV clean water projects in India while Maiti Nepal is working on prevention of trafficking of girls and young women.
“Seventy one brave teams will launch from Gangtok’s MG Marg at 10:30 am with no set route, no professional drivers, no back up or support of any kind and will face some of the toughest driving conditions in the world”, said The Adventurists which is based in United Kingdom.
Tourism minister Bhim Dhungel will be flagging off the Rickshaw Autumn Run from MG Marg.
"The Rickshaw Run is possibly the most exciting one yet, taking our teams from a lofty elevation way up in the mountains to the scorching, sand blasted desert. Our teams have a veritable behemoth of an adventure before them, starting off with a tough downhill slog to plains over landslides and numerous other challenges”, said Matthew Dickens, director (operations) for South Asia branch of The Adventurists.
Dickens said that Gangtok is a great location to launch the auto-rickshaw run.
“I was awestruck by the condition of the roads when I made by way up to Gangtok earlier this week. Its tough enough in a jeep, so let’s see how our little three wheeled marvels cope with the conditions while going down from Gangtok”.
The organizers have also expressed the support given by State tourism department and Travel Agents Association of Sikkim.
“The Adventurists are all about promoting safe, sustainable and responsible tourism. This event certainly has a lighter side, but the message is clear. We plan to bring attention to tourism all across India, raise awareness to the beauty of such places as Sikkim and Jaisalmer and we are thrilled to be raising a large amount of money for worthy charities across the nation”, said Vikash Pradhan, Chief of Field Operations for The Adventurists.
Before kicking off towards Jasailmer on Sunday, the international tourists participating in the Rickshaw Run will be playing an exhibition football match against the Bar Association of Sikkim at Paljor Stadium on Saturday at 2 pm.Founded by Tim Morgan, The Adventurists has offices in England, India and Mongolia.
Guides for treks in Mahananda 
TT, Siliguri, Sept. 10: Foresters will provide guides for tourists visiting the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary that will open on September 16 after a monsoon break.
Nearly 40 youths today took part in the daylong training session organised by the foresters of wildlife division-I at Sukna, 9km from here.
“Unemployed youths from the fringe villages were trained to become tour guides. The objective of taking such an initiative is to help the tourists enjoy their forest trip in an organised manner and also to provide a source of income for the youths of the local villages,” said Tapas Das, the divisional forest officer (wildlife-I).
Villagers from Koklang, Punding, Gulma and Khairani, participated at the training session held at the Nature Interpretation Centre in Sukna.
“Earlier, there was no organised approach from the department to guide the tourists inside the jungle. Now we will engage around 40 guides for the visitors,” Das added.
The trainee guides were told not to allow the tourists to use plastic bags inside the sanctuary, harm animals or pollute the environment by throwing waste.
“We will provide the guides with identity cards and uniforms. They will get remuneration from the visitors for their service,” said Das.
Chandra Tamang, a resident of Punding, who attended the training session, said: “This will not only help us earn money but will also increase our knowledge about the forest and the wildlife.”
Animesh Bose, the programme co-ordinator of Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation, who also attended the session, said: “Such moves always help to keep a pollution-free environment inside the forest, besides creating income opportunities.
2 die in accident
गंगतोक। गंगतोक से सिलगुढी कि तरफ जारहे एक यात्री वाहक वाहन दुर्घटना में दो लोगों की मौत हो गया है जबकी 5 गंभीर घायल हो गया है। रानीपूल थाना के तहत  हुए इस दूर्घटना में उत्तर प्रदेश निवासी 61 वर्षिय गनपत अरोरा और 18 वर्षिय आनन्द कुमार गुप्ता की मौत मणिपाल अस्पताल में उपचार के दौरान हो गया। पुलिस सूत्रों के मुताबिक घटना सुबह साढे 6 बजे की है। जब गंगतोक के प्रावेट टैक्सी स्टैंड से  सात लोगों को ले कर सिलगुडी के लिए रवाना हुआ था, तब अचानक 7 माइलस्थित एलपीजी गोदाम के पास सडक को छोड्ते हुए लगभग 10 फुट उचा दिवार पर टकराकर गोदाम के गेट के पास लौट गया। जिस में चालक सहित पांच लोग घायल हो गया। जिस में मल्ली केराबारी दक्षिण सिक्किम  निवासी चालक गणेश छेत्री (20) मृतक अरोरा के बेटा संजिब कुमार अरोरा (32), बहु रेखा अरोरा (20),पोता स्वरित अरोरा (01) तथा मनफर रावत (28) गम्भीर रूप से घायल हो गया है। घायलों को यहां के तादोंग स्थित मणिपाल अपस्पताल में उपचार हो रहा है।
पुलिस ने चालक विरूद्ध भारतीय दंड संहिता के धारा 279,330 के तहप पहले मुकद्मा दर्ज किया था बाद में यात्रीयों के मौत हो जाने के वाद 304 (ए) के तहत मामला दर्ज किया है। घटना के कारण के बारे में विस्तृत  छानविन शुरु किया गया है।
Potholes cause accident

TT, Jalpaiguri: Two trucks collided on NH31D on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri on Friday afternoon, injuring the drivers of both the vehicles (top). While one driver was admitted to the Jalpaiguri District Hospital, the other was released after first aid. Police said the collision had occurred when the drivers had tried to negotiate potholes on the highway.
This is the second accident attributed to the bad condition of roads in Jalpaiguri in less than 36 hours.
A Class X student was killed when the auto-rickshaw he was travelling in turned turtle on NH31 on Thursday. Twenty-two others were injured in the accident.
Private bus owners have been on strike in Siliguri subdivision and Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts for the past 11 days to demand the speedy repair of the roads. More than 1,500 buses have been kept off the roads because of the strike. Passengers depended on few government buses in Jalpaiguri (bottom) to tide over the strike.(Pix: Biplab Basak, TT)
Sandalwood jail for trader 
TT, Siliguri, Sept. 10: A Calcutta-based businessman and his employee were today sent to jail by a local court here for their alleged involvement in a sandalwood smuggling racket.
Officials of the directorate of revenue intelligence produced Jiwan Behal, who runs a chemical manufacturing unit at Jessore Road in Dumdum, and Gokul Saha before additional chief judicial magistrate of Siliguri Bibhuti Khesang.
“The judge remanded them in jail custody. They will be produced again on September 16,” said Ratan Banik, the standing counsel of the central government who is representing the DRI.
According to DRI sources, red sandalwood, which has a huge market in China, is being brought from states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and smuggled to China through Nepal for making decorative items. Smugglers often use the porous border at Panitanki in Naxalbari block, around 40km from here to take their consignments to Nepal — which is evident from regular seizures by the DRI and the SSB personnel on the border.
“Investigations and seizures have revealed that Behal and his associates used the chemical manufacturing unit to store the sandalwood logs and also to camouflage their smuggling activities. The logs were loaded into trucks bound for Nepal,” a source said.
On September 3, the DRI officials intercepted two trucks at Ghoshpukur on NH31, around 20km from here, and seized 14,965kg of red sandalwood that were on way to China via Nepal. The drivers of both the vehicles were arrested.
The arrested drivers told the interrogators about Behal’s involvement in running.
“The Siliguri DRI then informed their counterparts in Calcutta, who in association with Dumdum police, arrested Behal and Saha, from Jessore Road on September 3,” Banik said. “Next day, the duo were produced in the metropolitan magistrate’s court in Calcutta who remanded them in jail custody.”
On Wednesday, a team of DRI officials reached Calcutta and prayed for the duo’s transit remand. The two were brought here and presented at the court today, Banik said. “During the arrest, the police and the DRI officials raided Behal’s chemical manufacturing unit and seized more sandalwood logs.”
Two ITBP officers have been arrested on Tuesday for alleged collusion with smugglers of red sandalwood in a Himachal Pradesh pocket along the China border.
Selina Rongmo, Kurseong Social Network ( friendly, smiling, timid Lepcha is angry today. He has left the cool Hills and come to the Plains seeking justice as his tribe is on the verge of existence! He is compelled to do the most unheard of thing for a Lepcha to do since independence – sit in indefinite Hunger Strike and Dharna, in the hot Plains sun, and shout for Justice about:
1. Neglect by the State Govt, Central Govt, Political Parties and Policy makers in thinking for the welfare of the communities like Lepchas in all aspects – because they have been quiet and gentle all these years with tremendous tolerance quality.
2. It’s more than 60 years of independence and in comparison with 1947, communities like Lepchas had to sacrifice the most in terms of language, the culture and the very land they belong to. On the whole since independence till date the Graph of people speaking the Lepcha language fluently, practicing the culture and custom and total land holding has diminished by more than 80 %. Is it only the fault of the community or is it direct negligence by the Government and decision makers to consider in planning process the aspiration of communities like Lepchas?
3. Amount of money being infused for development has increased many fold since last 60 years from thousand to billion rupees but why does it have negative impact on communities like Lepchas. Instead of prospering, the Lepchas are on reverse swing. Communities like Lepchas have been reduced from the owner to vagrant. Is it not negligence not to consider the appropriate planning process fit for community like Lepchas?
4. Community like Lepchas had sacrificed the most for greater interest of the Nation. Dynamics of Forest and rivers were changed from provider for sustenance of the community to enormous revenue earner for Government in the process, nature based community direct sustenance system was depleted and negligence on the part of Decision and policy maker to consider and compensate the loss of the sustenance was foreign and rebound on community aspiration for development.
5. In recruitment of the Armed and Paramilitary Forces of both Central and State Govts – the introduction of producing ethnic based Community Certificate by incumbent candidate has denied the opportunity for Lepcha youths to join the Forces and serve the Nation. Not a single vacancy has been announced since the categorisation for the category the Lepchas falls in compared to several round of announcement and induction for other category in all Armed and Paramilitary Forces.
6. Lepchas of Darjeeling District, West Bengal are being categorised as Sikkimese. Govt categorisation is based on old Historico-anthropological studies which in the present geo-political setup is not applicable because of the distinct modern delineation of Sikkim and Darjeeling districts. It is true that Lepchas of Sikkim and Darjeeling have a common ancestry, but the negligence on part of the decision maker will directly marginalise the political right of the Lepchas in present political volatile situation of Darjeeling. To categorise Lepchas of Darjeeling District, West Bengal as Sikkimese is ludicrous because time and again the Lepchas have been referred by historian and anthropologist as original inhabitant of Darjeeling District.
7. The Lepcha population has been grossly reduced in the last census, because their names and titles have been mistaken for non- Lepcha ethnic groups by the Census enumerators. Is it simple negligence or conspiracy to make the Lepcha a political non entity?
8. The negligence of the policy maker to consider Lepchas of Darjeeling District, West Bengal in upcoming new political status of the region will make Lepchas expatriates in their area of origin, because the nomenclature itself denies the Lepchas proper representation in policy making body.
9. Mr Sonam T Lepcha, a Kalimpong resident, received the National Award Padmashree for promoting Lepcha Culture, Music and Songs ! Sad to say,his nomenclature was forwarded not by his own State Govt, but by the Sikkim Govt. This instance proves the utter lack of interest of the State administration in Lepchas. Only Academic Scholars seem to be interested in our Tribe, and their work is lost in gloomy Libraries after the Scholars get their PhDs !
10. In State Govt Recruitment interviews why is there only two Language Groups Nepali Speaking and Bengali Speaking – why is there so much Controversy and Ambiguity for Lepcha candidates, who cannot claim to be Nepali and hence are considered to be in the Bengali Group and their Bengali reading skills are tested in the Interviews ! Why this harassment just because they claim to be Lepchas?

Lepchas on an indefinite hunger strike in Kolkata on Wednesday. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish Lepchas on an indefinite hunger strike in Kolkata on Wednesday. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish
KalimNews: Indefinite Hunger Strike started by youth wing of Indigenous Lepcha Association is on the verge of withdrawing its agitation a special source said. Condition of a participant is said to be deteriorating.
Meanwhile a source confirmed that the Government of India has issued a notification with directives to introduce Lepcha Language in the Primary education curriculum for the Lepcha students and Lepcha medium of education.  (Pix below:Sushil Lepcha)
TH, Kolkata: Members of the Lepcha community, an indigenous tribe of the Darjeeling hills, went on an indefinite hunger strike here on Wednesday demanding clarity from the State and Central governments on their “status” as a community.
The Lepchas are the indigenous tribals of the region that was originally a part of territory governed by the ruler of Sikkim. The region was gifted to the East India Company in 1835.
“According to a 2004 notification by the Anthropological Survey of India, Lepchas were classified as tribals of Sikkimese origin. Since then, when we are asked to produce community certificates while applying for enrolment in para-military forces, the certificates issued to us state that we are of Sikkimese origin and are rejected by the authorities concerned,” said B. Lepcha, convenor of the dharna committee.
The Lepchas of Sikkim and Darjeeling have a common ancestry but the categorisation marginalises the rights of the Lepcha community in the politically volatile situation of Darjeeling, he added.Questions related to the “status” of the Lepcha community in the Darjeeling hills are being increasingly voiced in a region where ethnic identities often dominate public discourse.
Claiming that they never had problems in being recruited into the military and para-military services before the notification, Mr. Lepcha said the policies of the Central and State governments were creating “artificial differences among the communities of the region”.
“Instead of issuing community certificates categorising us as Gorkhas and persons of Sikkimese origin, they should give certificates according to the region,” he added.

1 comment:

  1. its so touching to see how these people have been is true that the Bengal government has turned the deaf ear to these indigenous people of the Darjeeling hills but i am afraid that their lives would be worst if a separate state of Gorkhaland is formed...The Rongland would have been more achievable and more meaningful than the Gorkhaland but the lepchas like always were/are shy and smiling...but are these people going to remain the same????? i don't think the very fact that these people are coming out on the streets shows that the feeling of discontent has reached to the peak...
    Lepchas of Darjeeling together with the other tribes should form a separate political group so that their voices are heard...i am not against the Gorkhaland movement but when the Gorkhas themselves start treating these group of people as out-groups then there is every chance that the friction between the different community arises in the hills...