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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Road blockade in Kalimpong as an army vehicle dashed uphill truck... Bharati expresses dissatisfaction...

KalimNews : The vehicular traffic along state highway, lifeline of Kalimpong, was blocked for more than four hours when one army heavy vehicle dashed one uphill Swaraj Mazda truck WB 73- 0381 near Milan Club at 7th Mile, Kalimpong at 0600 hrs today injuring the driver  Kamal Rai of the Swaraj Majda. 
The blockade was so congested that not a person could cross the either side as the two vehicles had totally covered the roadside which resulted into the jam of all the school and passenger vehicles plying through the road. Even the school vehicles were found stranded due to the want of alternative route. However, the pedestrians used the mule track to reach the other side. Some of the pedestrians were seen climbing  ans some other kneeling down to crawl the empty space between the two vehicles to reach the other side. Later, the recovery van from the nearby army headquarters reached the spot and the road was cleared.
It is recalled that on 23rd August a  savari went down the road killing one and injuring 15 just 10 mt away on the same road. On 29 August (Sunday) a motorbike and an uphill truck collided just 1 km away from the spot of today's accident where a young girl was crushed to death by the truck.
 An army personnel and a man passing through the space between the two collided vehicles 
Pix: Mukesh Sharma
Bharati expresses dissatisfaction
KalimNews: Bharati Tamang wife of slain Madan Tamang's wife had expressed her dissatisfaction on the content of the chargesheet submitted by CID to the District Court. Speaking to the local media she said the there are thirteen new names but names of  involved front line leaders of GJMM have been skipped. Though there are circumstantial evidences still it is politically evaded.
Stating about the meet with the Congress and other leaders she said that the Central leders have given assurances and she is quite satisfied with their promises. She said that a conspiracy is still being hatched to ignore the justice. She further added that the AIGL will soon meet to announce further course of action.
KalimNews: Jaswant Singh BJP MP of Darjeeling has been meeting with the members of Study Forum of GJMM and discussing on the matters to be discussed and  decisions to be taken during the eighth round of talks. He is likely to have a formal meeting this afternoon with the study forum on the same matter. He stated that formation of Interim Setup is a temporary arrangement and a step forward for the creation of a separate state. But that takes a long time which cannot be stated now so people have to wait patiently, Jaswant added. MP Jaswant refused to comment on the statement of Amar Singh MP & President of National Federation of New States on the Interim Setup as a lollipop, he just said Amar is my friend. 
Meanwhile Col (Retd) DK Pradhan President of GNLFC has expressed  doubt  that MP Jaswant who had demanded statehood for Gorkhas is now preaching for Interim Setup and it might be a Center's conspiracy to deprive us of our legitimate right. He further said that atleast we should be been given an area comprising of Dooars and Siligur.
A controversy has been raised by BJP state committee stating that there no post of Working President in BJP as such appointment of R Moktan as working President of BJ Darjeeling is invalid.Moktan was inducted to BJP when he merged his party Sikkim Rashtriya Morcha to it. Banshidhar Mittal Convenor of Darjeeling District BJP stated that the post of President and Secretary is lying vacant and either Jaswant Singh or Mittal can decide on the matter for election of a new officebearers. R Moktan said that Punya Bikash Podyal is President of BJP Darjeeling and so far my appointment is considered it is official but I have not received any letters on the dissolution of my post.
Hills may join plains in road complaint

TT, Kalimpong, Sept. 2: Transporters in the hills have threatened to join hands with their counterparts in the plains over the poor road condition.
The far-flung areas of Kalimpong subdivision bordering the Dooars, however, continue to be affected by the three-day bus strike in the plains.
The Janmukti Chalak Mahasangh, which is affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, said the condition of NH31A that links Kalimpong with Siliguri had become so bad that driving on it was fraught with danger.
“We want the authorities in charge of maintaining the highway to carry out immediate restoration work, failing which, we will be forced to call a transport strike,” said T.D. Bhutia, the president of the Mahasangh.
However, before taking a decision on the strike, the Mahasangh plans to meet Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh, who is currently in the hills, and urge him to take up the matter with the Union transport ministry in Delhi so that the restoration is done on a war footing.
“We will seek Singh’s advice before going ahead with our plans,” said Bhutia.
Two different agencies are in charge of maintaining the highway. While the national highway division of the state PWD maintains the 22-km stretch (NH31) between Siliguri and the Coronation Bridge at Sevoke, the Border Roads Organisation looks after NH31A that runs from the bridge to Sikkim.
Both the agencies blame the monsoon for the delay in carrying out the road repair.
While rain-triggered landslides that occur regularly at different points along NH31A is a major contributory factor in damaging the road, the abysmal condition of the stretch between Siliguri and Sevoke is primarily because of negligence and shoddy restoration work, drivers allege.
“The major portion of the Siliguri-Sevoke stretch is in the plains, which means barring rains, there is no other adverse nature interference. But those looking after its maintenance are so callous that the road does not even last a rainy season after every repair,” said a driver.
In the Gorubathan block of the subdivision that borders the Dooars, the ongoing bus strike is beginning to hit the local people, especially schoolchildren from neighbouring Damdim and Malbazar, which are in Jalpaiguri district.
“Almost 40 per cent of our 2,000-odd students come from these areas. However, because of the bus strike, the overall attendance in our school has come down by as much as 30 per cent,” said Sanjay Ghisingh, a teacher of Judhabir Higher Secondary School in Gorubathan.
Villagers from the block, including places as far as Jholung, Jaldhaka and other villages bordering Bhutan, said the cost of travel had gone up for them as they were forced to take smaller vehicles to commute at more than double the fare.
“Our greatest fear is if the strike continues for longer period, the prices of essential commodities will start going up,” said Dal Bahadur Rai, a villager from the area.
Minister promise fails to budge bus owners Protesters to wait out 15 days 
TT, Siliguri, Sept. 2: A promise by the state public works minister to repair the roads within a fortnight has failed to move the private bus owners who said they would continue with their strike till the routes became “motorable” in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts.
Public works minister Kshiti Goswami, while requesting the bus owners to withdraw the strike, admitted that although a 147-km stretch between Siliguri and Falakata had been handed over to the NHAI for the construction of a four-lane corridor, 60 per cent of it was in a dire state.
“The NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) officials have informed us that Rs 26 crore has been sanctioned for the repair. On our part, the PWD has started repairing the state and national highways under our jurisdiction. The condition of the roads will improve within a fortnight and I request the private transport owners, who have resorted to indefinite strike, to resume services. Instructions to ensure that the repair is completed within 15 days have been passed to the necessary quarters,” the minister said after a meeting between his department and administrative and police officials of the three districts at the Jalpaiguri circuit house.
The minister said buses would be allowed to use parallel routes through villages during the 15-day repair. These roads are maintained by the zilla parishad.
“We have asked the zilla parishad to allow the use of these roads and the police officers of districts concerned to be on the alert to ensure that buses plying the parallel roads do not face any trouble. Our officials will be there to monitor the situation,” the minister added.
Citing an example, the minister said instead of NH31D that connects Siliguri to Jalpaiguri, buses can use the Siliguri-New Jalpaiguri-Ambari-Belakoba-Dashdarga-Rangdhamali route to reach Jalpaiguri.
The bus owners, however, have rejected the minister’s proposal.
“Several such promises were made earlier but not an inch of any road was repaired and the conditions worsened by the day,” said Pranab Mani, secretary of the North Bengal Passenger Transport Owners’ Coordination Committee. “We are prepared to continue the strike for another fortnight. We have heard the minister say that the roads would be ready within 15 days. We are ready to wait till they become motorable. There is no question of withdrawing the strike.”
Around 1,500 private buses, which ferry 1 lakh people in the three districts everyday, are off the roads for the past three days because of craters that mark the routes. The bus owners said bad roads increased the maintenance cost of vehicles.
While the minister was busy at the meeting, 30-35 SUCI supporters demonstrated in front of the circuit house, blaming the state government for the bad roads. They were, however, whisked away by a force from Kotwali police station and later released.
On the third day of the strike, daily commuters continued to swarm the railway stations with the rush increasing in the local and express trains. “We cannot exactly say what is the percentage of increase in train passengers but definitely more people are travelling to Jalpaiguri, Mainaguri, Dhupguri, Falakata, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar for the past few days,” said G.D. Mondal, the station manager of New Jalpaiguri.
“Also, purchase of monthly and quarterly tickets have increased.”
Green thieves raid govt campus- choppers take advantage of holiday
TT, Balurghat, Sept. 2: A kadamba tree was felled and carried away from the campus of the district collectorate here on Janmasthami, a holiday in government offices.
Large branches of a banyan tree on the same premises were also chopped off yesterday.
Officials of the public works department have filed a complaint at the Balurghat police station after the theft came to light this morning.
Deben Sarkar, a driver with the Integrated Child Development Scheme, and Rabi Sarkar, a mechanic with the district administration’s car pool, were picked up by police for interrogation.
However, they were released later during the day.
A local social worker, Hillol Majumdar, said: “I don’t know why they cut off the trees. But it seems that it was a pre-planned act. The manner in which the trunk of the kadamba tree has been chopped off, it looks like a large saw was used to cut through the base.”
Executive engineer of the public works department Fayez Ahmed said he has filed a complaint with the Balurghat police station.
The department is in charge of the upkeep and maintenance of all state government property including the trees that grow on government owned land.
Secretary of Dishari Sankalpa, an environmental group here, Tuhin Subhra Mondol, said those involved should be punished. “If one tree is felled, four saplings have to be planted according to government norms. Trees being felled inside a government campus is totally unacceptable. There is rampant felling of trees throughout the district and this is going on unchecked. These people should be given exemplary punishment,” he said. Mondol added that during the widening of the Malda-Balurghat-Hili road more than 10,000 mature trees had been felled causing imbalance to the environment.
South Dinajpur district magistrate Asok Banerjee said he has asked the Balurghat police to investigate.
District superintendent of police Swapan Banerjee Purnapatra said: “We are probing the incident. We have not arrested anyone yet as no one has been named in the FIR.”
Water sport catches up in Sikkim- 46-event swimming meet on september 25 and 26
TT, Gangtok, Sept. 2: Water sport is fast catching up in Sikkim and the organisers of a swimming competition this month are expecting more than the usual figure of 100 participants for their meet that will have 46 events.
The 7th Sikkim State Swimming Meet will be held on September 25 and 26 at the Tashi Namgyal Academy pool. Established in 1987, the swimming pool at TNA is the oldest in the state.
It was the only pool in Sikkim till Nim Valley, a private educational institute based at Nimtar in East district, set up its own pool four years ago.
“Swimmers from all over Sikkim will be participating in the meet. We have issued an open invitation to all. We are expecting participants from institutions like Palzor Namgyal Girls’ Senior Secondary School, Rongey School and West Point School which had participated in the summer camp organised by us in May,” M.K. Subba, the general secretary of the Sikkim Amateur Swimming Association (SASA) that is organising the meet told reporters today.
Subba said 100 swimmers used to participate on an average during the annual meets organised in the past. “This time we have 46 events for all age groups.”
This time five promotional events have also been listed by the SASA.
“We are organising the promotional events as an encouragement drive to bring people to the pool. These events may not follow any guidelines and rules of the meet,” said SASA technical director P. Chakraborty.
While admitting that swimming has not really been taken up as a sport in Sikkim, the SASA general secretary said lack of facilities and infrastructure was responsible for this. It is difficult to have an easily accessible swimming pool in a hilly state, he added.
“People here do enjoy swimming in rivers and streams but as a regular exercise or a sport, it is not much seen in Sikkim. We have been trying to promote swimming by organising camps for schools. We will also submit a proposal to the state government to open a pool in Gangtok under the SASA where people can learn swimming,” said Subba.
Presently, swimming in Gangtok is limited to streams like Rani khola and a commercial pool at Smileland, Marchak, 14km away.
The TNA pool is restricted only to its students. The school, however, allows SASA members to practise and conduct events and training camps.

Gorkha Shaheed Sewa Samiti (GSSS) holds blood donation camp at the national capital.
GSSS media cell:A blood donation camp was held by Gorkha Shaheed Sewa Samiti in memory of martyrs- INA Maj. Durga Malla and INA Capt. Dalbahadur Thapa of the Indian freedom movement.
The blood donation camp was organised on the premises of Indian Red Cross Society blood bank, (Red Cross road,New Delhi) on 29 Aug, 2010, a blood donation camp of such magnitude has been highly applauded. Gorkha Shaheed Sewa Samiti (GSSS) – an NGO has been working for the betterment of the society through its social welfare activities. The event was attended by hordes of people from all walks of life for the noble cause. Dr. Palta (Chairman of grievance cell, DPCC) embraced the occasion as a chief guest accompanied by several other dignitaries.
Mr. Subhas Gurung- Anchor of the said event gave a warm welcome to the people who attended the blood donation and further threw light upon the role played by GSSS in regard to social activities.
"Dr Palta thanked Gorkha Shaheed Sewa Samiti for the noble cause. His words were enough to explain the path shown by the great Gorkha martyrs to serve the nation and create a sense of unity amity and brotherhood amongst all denizens
"Among the dignitaries – Dr. S.K Sunar, Dr Ashok Dutt- Vice  Chairman grievance cell, DPCC,P.S Bisht- Member planning commission, Dr. Prajapati - Vice chairman grievance cell DPCC, Laxmi Sehgal – President women international network, Ashok Lohar – President Delhi GJM unit all expressed necessity of such camps for the betterment of the society.
Mr. Andrew Gurung – president of GSSS, during his speech explained the path shown by the great Gorkha martyrs to serve the nation and create a sense of unity amity and brotherhood amongst all denizens. Furthermore, he thanked Mr. Uttam Chetri and the members of GSSS for braving all odds and making the event a success.
Further a speech was delivered by Mr. Uttam Chetri- a veteran social worker based in Delhi regarding the role of Gorkha Freedom Fighters and Gorkha community in the nation building process.
Mr. Kamal Pradhan addressed the role played by INA Capt. Dal Bahadur Thapa and INA Maj. Durga Malla’s contribution during the Indian freedom movement.
The underlying objective behind the said event was to help the Indian Red Cross Society Blood Bank through its voluntary means for the betterment of the society as a whole, while also to commemorate the social event by paying homage to the martyrs of Indian freedom movement – Maj. Durga Malla and Capt. Dalbahadur Thapa of Indian national Army (INA), their contribution towards the nation cannot remain unsung.
A saga of patriotism towards the nation- Maj. Durga Malla had to face the gallows on 25th of Aug, 1944 at central jail while fighting the Britishers. Similarly Capt. Dalbahadur Thapa became a martyr, who was hanged on 3rd may 1945 at central jail.
It is recalled that Gorkha Shaheed Sewa Samiti has been socially active and responsible right from its inception Year 2000, at the national Capital.
30 Bhutanese refugees resettled in US  
THT, KATHMANDU: The United States has so far resettled 30,000 Bhutanese refugees, with 5,000 others elsewhere during the on-going large scale resettlement of Bhutanese refugees to several countries around the world, the US Embassy in Kathmandu said on Wednesday.
“We are gratified, together with our partners, to be able to help turn an unfortunate and often painful situation into something more hopeful for these people – America’s newest residents, whom we welcome with open arms and hearts,” the statement quoted US Ambassador to Nepal Scott H. DeLisi as saying.
The statement also said the US has a policy of accepting some 75,000 refugees from around the world each year, withthe Bhutanese resettlement program being currently the third-largest resettlement operation for the United States.
Bhutanese refugees have been resettled in all 50 States and receive support from U.S. federal and state governments as well as non-governmental organisations, the statement added.
Saying that still some 75, 000 Bhutanese refugees remain in camps in southeastern Nepal, the US government continued to urge the Bhutanese government to accept the return of those persons who are eligible and wish to do so as another important component of finding durable solutions for all Bhutanese refugees in Nepal.
The United States, working with UNHCR, IOM and the other members of the Core Group that includes Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand and the UK began resettling Bhutanese refugees in early 2008.

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