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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

UGRF chief gets bail... TMS meets GJMM ... Rahul dislikes sycophancy

TT, Kalimpong: The self-styled chief of the United Gorkha Revolutionary Front Ajay Dahal, who is accused of murder and waging war against the state, was granted bail by the court of the additional chief judicial magistrate here on Wednesday. However, Dahal was not released from jail, as he could not furnish the bail bond.
TMC meets GJMM
KalimNews: In view of the proposed visit of Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee,TMC Chief on 26 September and a meeting with Bimal Gurung, the GJMM chief Gautam Dev the TMC District Committee President is visiting hills on 17 September. An indoor  meeting is organised in Kurseong between Gurung and Dev and Partho Chaterjee the leader of the opposition of Bidhan Sabha may also join during the talks. It is indicated that TMC wants no disturbance during the visit of their Chief when she will be inaugurating a few new centers and provisions of some railway stations. 
It is recalled that though Mamta Banerjee had rejected the demand of Gorkhaland GJMM so far has  no rivalry with it. GJMM opines that every party is organising their meetings and TMC too can do it, we have no objection.   
10 injured in clashes
TT, Islampur, Sept. 15: Two persons were shot at and eight others were injured in a series of clashes that broke out between CPM and Congress supporters in a locality near here since yesterday evening after a motorcycle of a local trader was snatched.
A police picket has been posted in Matikunda, 20km from here, and patrolling is on to prevent any further trouble. No one has been arrested. Police said Congress supporter Ramprasad Singh was hit by a bullet on the right leg, while CPM member Mohammad Nasiruddin was shot at on the chest by a bullet. Eight other persons were also injured in the clash.
Hoax Call
TT, Siliguri: A hoax call at the Nursing Training Centre of the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital created panic on the campus on Wednesday. Samir Ghosh Roy, the NBMCH superintendent, said around 3pm a person rang up to say a bomb had been planted at the centre and disconnected the line. Ghosh Roy informed Matigara police immediately who conducted a thorough search in the area but could not find anything suspicious.
TT, Islampur: Criminals raided the house of Tapan Majumdar, a retired schoolteacher of Millanpally here, on Tuesday night and robbed the family gold ornaments worth Rs 2 lakh and cash. Police said a gang of four-five robbers held the family at gunpoint and took the articles away.
Extra Coaches
TT, Siliguri: The Northeast Frontier Railway has decided to run two additional general coaches with three trains from September 17 to meet the extra rush of passengers. NFR sources said the additional coaches would be added to the 649/650 and 651/652 New Jalpaiguri-Haldibari Passenger and 645/646 NJP-Bamanhat Passenger.
Rahul dislikes sycophancy
Portal on Indian News | Indian News Portal | Indian News Online |  Latest Indian News |Current Indian News | News From India, India News, World NewsDK Waiba, KalimNews, Jalpaiguri, 15 September: We want no sycophants, sycophancy will not be tolerated any more, if anybody wants to be a sycophant he should leave our party and join CPM, said Rahul Gandhi during his visit to North Bengal. He invited the youth to join them and lead the party with sincerity.
Rahul was addressing a meeting of the Youth Congress of INC at Jalpaiguri. He said that Bengal has two faces, one is full of rich people who can do anything as they like and the other face has oppressed poor people living still in darkness.  CPM of Bengal says that their government is for the poor people but they themselves are rich and work only for the rich, Rahul added.
Blaming CPM he said, they have done nothing for the development of the poor. Rahul further said, Rabindranath Tagore and Subhas chandra Bose had led the country and its people in the right path but CPM is blocking the development of the people by misleading them towards outdated ideology . (Photo:IBNS)
Organisation pill to hold head high Rahul urges state Cong to beef up base
TT, Jalpaiguri, Sept. 15: Rahul Gandhi today gently prodded Congress leaders and workers in north Bengal to “strengthen the organisation” and referred to some home truths while iterating that the party would not “bow its head” before the Trinamul Congress for the sake of the alliance.
“If you want to hold your head high while stitching together the alliance, you will have to do one thing. You will have to strengthen the organisation in the state. You can go for a hard bargain while striking a seat-sharing deal with our alliance partner only when you are able to put yourself on a solid ground,” Rahul was quoted as telling a Youth Congress convention in South Dinajpur’s Balurghat.
The AICC general secretary offered the same organisation pill to stop the “steady defection of state Congress leaders to other parties”.
Although he “appeared embarrassed” when Tabraj Alam, a Youth Congress activist from Malda, asked him about his opinion on leaders such as Somen Mitra and Subrata Mukherjee who have defected to Trinamul, the MP quickly replied: “If you can strengthen the organisation, more people will join us. These people (the leaders who have defected) don’t matter. Our party does not lack leaders. You could yourselves become leaders one day.”
Malda zilla parishad sabhadhipati Sabina Yasmin, 30, one of those who got the chance to ask Rahul a question, said: “I felt thrilled when Rahulji smiled and answered my question on the alliance. He told me we would have to strengthen ourselves first,” Yasmin said after the meeting.
Earlier in the day, Rahul had held a closed-door session with Youth Congress leaders in Jalpaiguri. Participants said the AICC general secretary told them the party would not sacrifice its “self-respect and dignity” to strike an alliance with Trinamul.
“We are ready to join hands with the Trinamul Congress. Lekin sar nahin jhukaenge (But we will not bow our head),” a Youth Congress leader quoted Rahul as saying at the meeting.
Sabita Devi Agarwal, the Congress chairperson of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, asked Rahul if the party’s interests would be sacrificed while striking a deal with Trinamul before the Assembly polls next year, as was the case during last year’s Lok Sabha elections.
But the AICC general secretary is learnt to have assuaged her fears by saying the alliance would be maintained “as long as our dignity and self-respect remains intact”. Agarwal said those present at the meeting applauded.
Mamata meets MK
An hour before Rahul returned to Raj Bhavan from his day-long tour in north Bengal, Mamata Banerjee called on governor M.K. Narayanan around 5pm.
Trinamul sources said she complained to Narayanan about the killings of two party supporters allegedly by CPM activists in Burdwan yesterday. She is also learnt to have requested the governor to be present at a programme on September 22 when President Pratibha Patil will lay the foundation stone for a Metro stretch.
Cong scion drops in on hut on way to airstrip- After Kalawati, Shanti catches Rahul’s attention
TT, Balurghat, Sept. 15: Shanti Pahan was standing along with a group of women on the roadside, right next to her mud hovel on the outskirts of Balurghat, when Rahul Gandhi’s motorcade stopped and he got off car.
“He walked straight to me and wanted to come inside my home. I was taken aback and tried my best to remove a tarpaulin sheet at the entrance and move aside a bicycle in front. He came inside much to everyone’s surprise,” said Shanti.
Rahul was going to the Balurghat airstrip after a meeting in the town when he made a visit Shanti’s house.
In the five-minute chat, Rahul asked Shanti about her family members and wanted to know whether they had got work under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. She said Rahul had stood in the middle of their cluttered room holding on to the back of a red plastic chair.
“He was speaking in Hindi and it was difficult for me to follow his words. Some neighbours helped out; and I told him that I had got work for just six days last year. He took down the name of my husband and two sons and also the number of my job card that I showed him,” said the 45-year-old woman. “I will remember his visit all through my life.”
The Gandhi scion had surprised everyone when he spoke to Kalawati, a widow, during a visit to Maharashtra’s Vidarbha a few years ago. Later, her name was mentioned by Rahul in his speech to justify the Indo-US nuclear deal during a no-trust motion against the UPA 1 government in July 2008. He said energy security would improve the future of women like Kalawati, who was struggling to feed her family of nine after her husband had committed suicide in December 2005.
Shanti touched Rahul’s feet before he left.
“Our home has been honoured by his visit. I only wish that my husband and two sons were present. I touched his feet before he left. My only regret is that he did not stay longer. I would have loved to talk to him at length and brew a cup of tea for him,” said the woman.
Shanti’s two sons, Achinta, a first year student of Balurghat College, and Srimanta, who had stopped studying after passing Madhyamik in 2007, had gone to the air field to catch a glimpse of the Congress leader. Their father, Kartik Pahan, was away working as a casual labourer in the state farm in Balurghat.
Sonal Pahal, a Class V girl, managed to get an autograph from Rahul at Shanti’s house.
Achinta and Srimanta were very disappointed that they were not at home during Rahul’s visit. “We missed such an occasion. I would have told Rahulji that I am carrying on with my studies under tremendous pressure as our family is poor. I would have also asked him what he had planned to do for unemployed youths,” said Achinta.
Rahul rural job jab at state- Stall scheme finger at Bengal
Abhijit Sinha, TT, Jalpaiguri, Sept. 15: Rahul Gandhi today accused the state government of hindering the implementation of the NREGS in the tea belt to prevent poor garden workers from joining the “better-paid” central job scheme, tribal youths who attended a convention here said.
Rahul, who arrived here this afternoon on a whirlwind tour of north Bengal, told the 5,000-odd Scheduled Tribe youths that as the existing tea wage was less than what was disbursed under the NREGS, the state was not implementing the scheme properly. For the same reason, the state always levelled baseless allegations of non-allocation of funds by the UPA government, said Rahul.
“We told him that on an average, 10 to 12 days of work is provided in a year to unemployed people from the tea gardens, instead of the 100 days. Most of the times, the officials tell us that there is a funds crisis,” said Pushpa Kuzur, a resident of Pahargoomia Tea Estate of Naxalbari in Darjeeling district.
While garden workers, both permanent and casual, get Rs 67 a day, a beneficiary under the NREGS earns Rs 100. “The amount can go up to even Rs 200 or Rs 300 if more work than the usual work is done,” an official said.
Kuzur, along with Joseph Munda of Metelli in Malbazar, asked Rahul about the alleged paucity of funds hitting the NREGS. “He clarified that the state is not implementing the scheme to its fullest extent in the tea estates as wages paid under the scheme is higher than what we get in the gardens. If the NREGS is implemented properly, he explained to us, gardens would find it difficult to get workers as more beneficiaries under the scheme would come forward,” said Munda
The 30-minute convention was held at the ABPC ground of the town from around 11.30am.
Tirath Toppo, who had come from Mathura Tea Estate in Alipurduar, said: “Rahulji told us that we need to raise our voices so that it reaches the appropriate quarters. This can be done only by joining politics and the Youth Congress.”
Today’s event had been organised considering that eight of the 12 Assembly constituencies of Jalpaiguri district and two of the six constituencies of Darjeeling are tribal-dominated.
Congress leaders in north Bengal hope that Rahul’s decision to merge the “macro” enrolment drive across the country with “micro” issues of the region, like problems of tea garden workers, would help them make inroads at a time the recently formed Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has carved out a place for itself and the Trinamul Congress is out to get a toehold.
“The Congress, which is still the principal opposition in north Bengal, is trying to plug the existing gap. Because of the lack of development, the tribals have developed a natural disliking for the CPM. The Congress wants to take over from there,” a political observer said. “The poll results in these 10 constituencies would depend entirely on votes cast by the tribal populace and none of them is a Trinamul stronghold. Rahul’s visit will give the Congress chance a boost.”
Jagadish Das, a resident of Rangdhamali, was arrested when he tried to enter the ABPC ground while Rahul was meeting Youth Congress workers. Jagadish was impersonating as Sariful Mohammad, who had been issued a gatepass. The 36-year-old said he had come across the gatepass lying on the ground. 
Gardens balk at interim wage raise
TT, Darjeeling, Sept. 15: Tea garden managements have not yet submitted their proposals on the interim wage revision of workers, a move expected to cast a shadow on the success of a tripartite meeting scheduled for tomorrow in Siliguri.
At a meeting in Calcutta on September 9, state labour minister Anadi Sahu had asked the managements to submit a fresh proposal on interim wage revision within seven days. The deadline expires tomorrow.
Keeping an eye on the Assembly elections next year, the minister had said the government would be compelled to take steps to implement the minimum wage for around 3 lakh tea workers in north Bengal if the gardens failed to draw up a fresh pay structure by the next seven days.
The deadline was set after the government’s suggestion to increase the wage from Rs 67 to Rs 100 was rejected by the garden authorities, while the management’s proposal to provide a one-time amount of Rs 400 to each worker, which was to be recovered at a mutually agreeable date, was turned down by the workers’ union.
“The management has already expressed its inability to go in for a wage revision as an earlier settlement on tea garden workers is valid till March 31, 2011,” said a management source.
Even though representatives of the Consultative Committee of Plantation Association, a body representing planters, will attend the meeting, its top brass, which can take a decision on the issue, is unlikely to be present in the Siliguri session. They have cited a bonus meeting for tea gardens of the Dooars and the Terai in Calcutta next day to stay away from tomorrow’s meeting.
The CCPA draws its members from the Darjeeling Tea Association, India Tea Association, Tea Association of India, India Tea Plantation Association and the Terai Indian Plantation Association.
The tea trade unions have been demanding that the given the increase in the prices of essential commodities there should be an immediate wage revision till the earlier agreement expires on March 31, 2011.
Sources said even if the minister decided to start the process for implementation of the minimum wage for garden workers, it would take time as a committee had to be formed and its recommendation has to be passed by the Assembly. “By then the Assembly elections will be announced and the earlier wage agreement will be near to expiring, bringing the issue back to square one,” said a source.
In Bengal, generally the minimum wage varies from Rs 96 per day to Rs 193.50, depending on whether the worker is unskilled, semi-skilled or skilled and the sector one is being employed.
Meanwhile, the bonus meeting for the 64-odd tea gardens in the hills, which was held at the Darjeeling Tea Association office in Darjeeling yesterday, remained inconclusive. “The unions demanded a bonus of 20 per cent for all gardens, irrespective of the grades, but we told them that even if the bonus is disbursed at the rates agreed upon last year the workers will get more money,” said Sandeep Mukherjee, the secretary of the DTA.
Bonus is paid according to the total annual earning of the workers and there has been a hike in garden wages every year. Last year, the bonus for Grade A gardens was disbursed at the rate of 17 per cent, followed by 16, 15 and 13 per cent for Grade B, C and D gardens. Gardens are graded according to various yardsticks including the profits made by the management over a period of time.
Hindi Diwas celebrated
PIB, Gangtok: Hindi Diwas celebrated in the office of the Area Organiser, Sashatra Seema Bal, Sikkim Area at Gangtok on September 14, 2010. On this occasion essay writing competition, English to Hindi translation of common words used in official communication, noting and drafting in Hindi were organized amongst the staff of Sikkim area  and prizes were distributed to the winners in carious categories.
Speaking on this occasion Shri S. K. Sood, Area Organiser, SSB, Sikkim Area   encouraged everyone present on the occasion for taking pride in use of Hindi in their routine official works. Vote of thanks was given by Shri Kiran Rizal, Sub-Area Organiser, SSB, Gangtok.

1 comment:

  1. Hello there-- spots news are good. Now, in my opinion, we must try to project the forgotten facts of Darjeeling Hills also. For example, Kalimpong was once offered to one Sunar of Kalimpong by Queen Victoria. This fact can be extracted from the District Census hand Book of Darjeeling 19021/1931. My copy of this book was taken by a friend and did not return.