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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whiff of interim protest in rival camp - STATE ONLY: ABGL ... Bhandari is SPCC chief .. 2 killed in accident

TT, Oct. 27: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is confident of inking an agreement on the interim set-up in the next political-level talks but rival outfits are determined to oppose the arrangement, raising the spectre of unrest in the hills after the pact is sealed.
Today, the ABGL warned that the hills would go up in flames if the Bimal Gurung-led Morcha went ahead with an interim set-up for the Darjeeling hills.
Chewang Bhutia, the the Kalimpong branch secretary of the ABGL, said those who claimed they would sign such an agreement within a month or two should think twice because former party president Madan Tamang had sacrificed his life to oppose such interim set-ups.
“If they (read the Morcha) have the guts, let them do it. The hills, however, will go up in flames. The youths are with us. Make no mistake of treating us like weaklings,” warned Bhutia.
The ABGL reaction was in response to reports that the Morcha is on the verge of signing the agreement on the interim arrangement by as early as the next round of tripartite talks, likely to be held in the first half of November.
The ABGL said over 1,200 people (in the 1980s) and Morcha supporters Pramila Sharma and Akbar Lama sacrificed their lives for the separate state of Gorkhaland, not an interim set-up or the Sixth Schedule.
“Gorkhaland is our birthright. We are not begging before anybody for a state of our own. To agree on anything other than Gorkhaland is shameful,” said Pratap Khati, an ABGL central committee member.
The ABGL’s threat looms on the hills, as the party has been able to mobilise support across the region in recent times. In fact, leaders like Rajen Mukhia, who was solely responsible for keeping the GNLF alive in the Terai, has switched over to the ABGL along with his supporters. Former GNLF leaders like K.N. Subba have also joined Tamang’s party.
The GNLF has also started reviving its activities after lying low for almost three years. With the rise of the Morcha, the GNLF writ was wiped out of the hills and its leader, Subash Ghisingh, went into political hibernation.
A handwritten press release issued by Kusum Ghimire, the GNLF’s president from Liza Hill tea garden, 25km from Darjeeling, said: “The GNLF had supported the demand for a separate state raised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha but since the Morcha started talking about Gorkha-Adivasi Pradesh and now an interim set-up, we have decided to press for the inclusion of the Darjeeling hills in the Sixth Schedule as this would have constitutional guarantee.”
After three years, this is also the first time that the GNLF has issued a media release saying that it has formed a unit in the Darjeeling subdivision.
Recently, the GNLF also held indoor meetings in Kurseong and formed village committees across the hills.
Harka Bahadur Chhetri, a spokesperson for the Morcha, has refused to read much into the rival activities. “The present leadership of the ABGL has no credibility. They only get into the negatives and they themselves have nothing positive to show vis-a–vis the Gorkhaland demand. The interim set-up must be seen as a step towards achieving Gorkhaland.”
About the GNLF, Chhetri said the party was radar-less. “Their leader is in political hibernation. A lot of their leaders have joined the ABGL which clearly shows that the party has no political programme of their own.”
The Morcha is perhaps drawing solace from the fact that the rival camp is a divided house. While the ABGL wants nothing short of Gorkhaland, the GNLF is focused on the Sixth Schedule.
Khan declared Bhandari as SIkkim Congress Chief
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, GANGTOK, OCTOBER 27: It is now final, what his supporters proclaimed over a month ago today proved true. Incumbent Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee (SPCC) president will continue as the party president. In a major blow to the dissenting faction led by his senior vice-president Mr KN Upreti, the central party, yesterday evening announced Mr Nar Bahadur Bhandari’s name as the president along with 17 other PCC presidents in respective states.
”It is finalized that Bhandari is the new SPCC president” Pradesh Returning Officer of the party Mr Zuber Khan informed The our Correspondent  over phone.
Asked whether the central party is aware of Upreti’s dissidence and his repeated objection on Bhandari’s presidentship, Khan hinted that the All India Congress Committee would decide Upreti’s fate within the party.
On the other hand, the congress party incharge for Sikkim, Mr Luzinho Falerio however maintained lack of knowledge on Upreti’s grumbles related to the president’s election. Since Bhandari was elected through an election, it now rests on the central high command to decide on Upreti’s petitions.
It may be mentioned that Upreti and his colleagues have made their stand of not-accepting Bhandari as their chief and had also forwarded a unanimous resolution to the All India Congress Committee chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi regarding their stand. Bhandari had then dubbed Upreti’s activity as ‘dissidence’.
Upreti and his Company had also mentioned that they would accept whatever decision the higher authority will take. So with such resolve assessment, Upreti and his colleagues had to accept Bhandari as the new president and the irony lies there.
The election procedure in the state for presidentship was performed under the aegis of Zuber Khan, wherein no lives have filed their nomination instead the election was condemned by Upreti and his supporters, refuting to remain under Bhandari.
PP Sharma resigned from Sikkim CPIM
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Car falls into gorge, claims two 

The vehicle that fell into
the gorge. (CF Lepcha)
TT, Oct. 27: Two persons died and nine suffered injuries when a Siliguri-bound Tata Sumo fell 300-feet below into a gorge along NH31A today.
The dead have been identified as Sentu Poddar, 25, of Shantinagar in Siliguri and Rita Rai of Nepal, 57.
Police said the incident occurred at 27th Mile around 1pm when the driver of the vehicle carrying 10 passengers lost control while negotiating a bend just above a NHPC Teesta Low Dam Project site. “We are trying to ascertain if the accident occurred because of mechanical failure or over-speed. Had a tree not come on its way, the jeep could have plunged down even further and the consequences would have been worse,” said an officer.
Of the injured, Nazimuddin, 28, a resident of Bihar, escaped with only minor injuries. “He was administered first aid at the primary health centre in Rambi but he is in a state of shock,” said the officer.
Meena Sharma, 28, and her 10-year-old son Ganesh from Salugarah, near Siliguri, are under treatment at the Kalimpong subdivisional hospital. “The mother has received knee and hip injuries, while the boy has injured his scalp and suffered a cut below the armpit,” said hospital superintendent Suva Ratna Pradhan.
Santosh Pradhan, 31, and driver Ranjit Tamang, 28, both from Singtam in Sikkim, have been admitted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri.
Mithun Ghosh, 24, of Shantipara in New Jalpaiguri and Ranjit Mandal, 32, of Jalpai More in Siliguri, are under treatment in a Siliguri nursing home, while Rajen Tamang and Asok Tamang are in a hospital in Siliguri.
Mother and child found dead
Tuli, her daughter Rinki Picture by Surajit Roy
TT, Malda, Oct. 27: A woman and her four-year-old daughter were found dead at their house in Malda’s Habibpur this morning.
Police suspect Tuli Biswas strangulated her daughter and then hung herself from the ceiling fan. An incomplete suicide note was scribbled on the wall in the room where the bodies were found. The call lists on Tuli’s cellphone had been erased.
Tuli’s mother said the 28-year-old was “stubborn and hot-headed” but she got along well with her husband, an army man currently in Goa on training. The couple had been married for seven years.
Tuli, a graduate who was studying to be a chartered accountant before her marriage to Ramakrishna Biswas, used to stay with her parents-in-law at Bakshinagar, 18km from here. This morning, neighbours rushed to their house, hearing the screams of Tuli’s mother-in-law Niva. They broke open the door of Tuli’s room and spotted Rinki’s body on the bed. Tuli was hanging from the fan with the noose made of a sari around her neck.
“After Tuli fed Rinki last night, she told me that she was suffering from gastritis and would like to skip dinner,” said Niva. “My son, who is in Goa now, rang me up in the morning and said his wife and daughter were probably dead.
“Tuli had called up Ramakrishna around 6am and said their daughter was dead and she too would follow her. Ramakrishna immediately called me and I went to Tuli’s room. When she did not respond to our calls, we called the neighbours who broke the door open and found them dead. We have no clue why she took such a step,” said Niva.
Hasi Biswas, who lives nearby, said her daughter never had any problems with her in-laws. “Despite being a stubborn and hot-headed girl, she never had any problem with her in-laws. She had a good relation with her husband too. I don’t know why she did this,” said Hasi.
Family members said Tuli graduated from Malda College and then went to Calcutta to study chartered accountancy. “She could not appear in the final exams as her father, who was a railway employee, died in 2003. She came back and soon got married to Ramakrishna. They knew each other from their childhood,” Hasi said.
Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said Tuli strangulated her daughter and then committed suicide. “But even then, there are certain facts that have to be investigated further. There was an incomplete suicide note written on one of the walls of the room. It read amar mrityur jonno dayi (The person responsible for my death…) and then there was a blank. Further, the call lists on her cellphone had been deleted. We will talk to the husband when he arrives,” said Mondal.
A tour with a citrus taste and flavour
Avijit Sinha, TT, Siliguri, Oct. 27:  A two-day orange festival in December will offer tourists a winter flavour of the Himalayas while they bask in the sun with glasses of the citrus juice.
Samsing Jaldhaka Orange Festival will be held on December 6 and 7 to offer visitors a flavour of bio-diversity and culture. Promotion of local cash crop orange will be the added objective of the event.
“We plan to repeat the event every year on the same dates, alternating between Jaldhaka and Samsing (two villages which mark the boundary between the Darjeeling hills and the Dooars). The festival will help bring pockets in the hills and the Dooars out of isolation,” said Raj Basu, the proprietor of Help Tourism, which will organise the festival in association with the local people.
“A core committee has been formed to organise the festival, for which about 500 young volunteers will be engaged,” he said.
According to Basu, Samsing Phari, around 70km from Siliguri, has been fixed as the venue of this year’s festival.
“During the festival, a host of activities has been planned. These include ethnic fashion show and dance and singing competitions based on folk. Archery competition, marathon, mountain bike rally, martial art display and rock-climbing have also been lined up for the tourists as well as local people,” said Basu.
Several stalls will be set up at the village to sell food, handicrafts, handlooms and consumer products.
The major attraction of the event will be the horticulture show with oranges, tea, medicinal plants and ornamental plants on display.
The organisers have already fixed routes for mountain bike rally, with the total stretch being 140km long.
“It will be a three-day event and will commence from Lava and conclude at Samsing, covering areas like Gorubathan and Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary,” said one of the organisers.
The organisers have made accommodation arrangements for tourists in homestay facilities at Jaldhaka and Samsing and tents at the festival site. “In these places, the rate will range between Rs 750 and Rs 2,100. Lodges at Lataguri and Chulsa have also agreed to provide accommodation,” said Basu. 
HMI to take mountain rescue class 
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Oct. 27: The Darjeeling-based Himalayan Mountaineering Institute will train the personnel of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to undertake rescue operations during calamities in mountainous regions.
The HMI has been selected to conduct the training given its international standing following its enrolment as a member of the Switzerland-headquartered Union Internationale Des Association D’Alpinisme (UIAA).
Col Neeraj Rana, the principal of the HMI, told The Telegraph: “We will be training the NDRF personnel from November 18 onwards. The training for eight battalions of the NDRF will be conducted in batches of 50 and each session will be of a month’s duration.”
The NDRF, which conducts search and rescue operation during disasters, has jawans drawn from the Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force.
“The training will revolve around search, rescue and rehabilitation when natural calamities strike mountainous regions in the country,” said Rana.
At the moment, the battalions are stationed at Arrakonam (Tamil Nadu), Mundali (Orissa), Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh), Chandigarh, Barasat (Bengal), Guwahati (Assam), Pune (Maharashtra) and Gandhinagar (Gujarat).
Over 6,500 personnel will be trained over a period of time at the HMI. “We are being paid Rs 8,000 per a jawan for the training by the NDRF,” said Rana.
The HMI now conducts training in basic and advance mountaineering, along with method of instruction training. These courses are of 28-day duration and candidates have to pay Rs 4,000 per course.
The training of the NDRF is expected to boost the institution’s revenue which was around Rs 1.8 crore in the last financial year.
The HMI is also gearing to receive the first set of evaluators from the UIAA in March 2011. “The evaluators will go through our training procedures before certifying our standards for a period of five years,” said Rana.
The UIAA, also known as the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation, is a body that governs climbing across the globe.
The UIAA sends experts to member federations to certify their courses and also lays down training standards to be followed worldwide.
“As we have been made a member of the UIAA, certificates issued by the HMI will be recognised across the world. Till date, we have trained around 1,600 foreigners and we can now expect more people from abroad,” said Rana, who recently returned from Italy after attending a UIAA meeting.
During the meeting, the HMI was formally declared a member of the UIAA. “There was a secret ballot and the HMI received 39 votes in its favour, while two members, the Indian Mountaineering Foundation and an Iranian federation, abstained from voting,” said Rana.
TT, Gangtok, Oct. 27: Shillong Lajong FC will invite selected boys from Sikkim for trials to set up an Under-15 side from the Northeast keeping an eye on the India leg of the Manchester United Premier Cup.
MUPC is organised annually by English Premier League giant Manchester United where selected countries, including India, participate. The Lajong Under-15 side had represented India in the last edition of the qualifying tournament. The players were mostly from Meghalaya at that time.
According to Lajong FC coach Pradhyum Reddy, only I-League teams are eligible to field their Under-15 teams for the MUPC qualifiers and therefore, young players from the northeastern states including Sikkim do not get an opportunity to play in the India leg and eventually in the MUPC.
Although the Shillong outfit has been relegated from the I-League, the coach believes that his side will be allowed to play the qualifiers for the MUPC by virtue of being the defending champions of the India leg tournament. “We want to give a chance to players from Sikkim and other northeastern states. We will go all over the region to scout for talents. These kids are the future of Indian football. Even if we are not allowed to participate in the MUPC qualifiers, we will take our players to various youth tournaments of other countries,” Reddy said.
The Lajong coach said they had written to the Gangtok Boys Club to send few of their talented players for trials to Shillong in December.
“We want to set up an Under-15 side comprising players from all the eight northeastern states for playing in the MUPC India qualifying round,” Reddy said here today.
He attended an almost two-hour-long coaching camp for the Under-14 and Under-16 players of the Gangtok club at Paljor Stadium here this morning.
The Shillong club is in Gangtok to participate in the All India Governor’s Gold Cup Football Tournament. It drubbed Sikkim Police 4-0 in yesterday’s match and entered the quarter-final round.
The Lajong coach and a few of his key players, including striker Anil Gurung, goalkeeper Gumpe Rime, Nigerian imports Kelechi Okoye and Michael Ochei Emeka, passed on technical tips and demonstrated their skills over ball control to the 45 young players of the Gangtok club at the stadium.
“They were good with sound technical skills. We concentrate on giving the technical tips. Everything we did today was with the ball. They have potentials,” Reddy later said commenting on the Sikkim players’ ability.
The Lajong club has also persuaded the Sikkim Football Association to give free passes to the Gangtok club players to watch the matches.
“It was wonderful to learn from the Lajong coach and players. We learnt new techniques like how to control, trap and dribble the ball. It was very helpful,” said Lakpa Sherpa, 16.
The Gangtok club had started a football academy two years ago and the players practised daily at the Tathangchen grounds under the watchful eyes of former players of Sikkim.
“We give our boys free training daily. We run the academy on our own and also on contributions from individual donors. The team has shown great progress and in a couple of years, these boys will be ready to play in tournaments,” said club general secretary Nima Thendup Bhutia, who had been part of the Calcutta giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
1 dead, another injured
TT, Siliguri, Oct. 27: One person died and another was injured in a suspected clash between rival groups at Naukaghat here early this morning. Police said they came to know around 1am that two injured youths were lying on the road.
The two were taken to NBMCH where Ramsurat Sha, 30, a resident of Gurungbusty, succumbed to the injuries. Biswajit Dey of Deshbandhupara is under treatment. The police said the men were identified with the help of driving licences found on them. The duo had multiple injuries, suspected to be the result of a fight. No one has been arrested.
Voters’ list
TT, Calcutta: The final voters’ list for the state will be published by the Election Commission of India on January 5 next year, panel officials announced on Wednesday. The announcement means that Assembly polls, slated to be held in June 2011, will take place according to schedule and not earlier, as demanded by the Trinamul Congress.
Infantry Day
TT,Siliguri: Infantry Day was observed at Sukna military station, the headquarters of the Trishakti Corps, 10km from here, on Wednesday. Lt Gen. D.S. Sidhu, GOC, Trishakti Corps, laid a wreath on the Vijay Smarak to commemorate the day in 1947 when infantry soldiers successfully evicted Pakistani intruders from Srinagar. A similar event was held at Binnaguri army cantonment in Jalpaiguri where the wreath-laying ceremony was attended by Maj. Gen. R.K. Rana, GOC, Kripan division.
TT, Siliguri: A first-year student of Siliguri Polytechnic College committed suicide at her residence in Pati Colony on Wednesday evening, police said. Rimpa Saha, 21, was found hanging in her room around 7pm. The police are trying to find out the cause of the suicide. The body has been sent to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital for post-mortem.

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