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Monday, October 11, 2010

Talks in progress
KalimNews: Ninth round of Tripartite talks of today will lead a way for early  settlement on Gorkha agitation. It will be a successful talks and we hope that an early date will be fixed for the nest round of political level talks said a state home ministry official. As most of the vital matters will not be discussed and left for the political level the talks of 11 October would definitely end with positive outcome as expected opines political thinkers of Darjeeling.   
Talks protest
TT, Siliguri: Members of the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee will observe Monday as a black day to protest the tripartite meeting between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the central and state governments in Delhi. Mukunda Majumdar, the president of the anti-Gorkhaland outfits in the plains, said a rally would be taken out in Siliguri on Monday and effigies of Morcha leaders burnt to protest the talks.
TT, Siliguri: State urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya inaugurated an over bridge at Siliguri Junction here on Sunday evening. The bridge, constructed jointly by the Silguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority and North East Frontier Railway at a cost of Rs 7 crore, connects Hill Cart Road with Ward 47 of Siliguri Municipal Corporation.
India regain no2 position
PTI, NEW DELHI: Winning 15 medals in sports ranging from archery to athletics, which included five yellow metals, Commonwealth Games hosts India produced yet another scintillating display to get back to the second spot grabbed last evening by England.
Teenager Deepika Kumari and Rahul Banerjee won gold medals in individual recurve events on the last day of the competition to help India end their campaign in archery with three gold, one silver and four bronze medals.
Besides these two titles, India also bagged two bronze medals in archery through senior pros Dola Banerjee and Jayanta Talukdar in the individual recurve event.
World freestyle wrestling champion Sushil Kumar and boxing pin-up boy Vijender Singh came up with thundering displays that fetched them a gold and a spot in the semifinal respectively.

India's medal winners on Sunday
Gold (5)
Silver (5)
Bronze (5)
Deepika Kumari (Women's Recurve Individual event)
Vijay Kumar (Men's 25m centre fire pistol)
Dola Banerjee (Women's Recurve Individual event)
Harpreet Singh (Individual 25m centre fire pistol)
Anuj Kumar (84kg freestyle wrestling)
Manavjit Singh Sandhu (Singles Men's Trap)
Rahul Banerjee (Men's Recurve Individual event)
Joginder Kumar (120kg freestyle wrestling)
Jayanta Talukdar (Men's Recurve Individual event)
Sushil Kumar (66kg freestyle wrestling)
Vikas Gowda (Men's discus throw)
Anil Kumar (55kg freestyle wrestling)
Somdev Devvarman (Men's singles)
Malliakkal Prajusha (Women's long jump)
Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarti (Women's doubles)

India's total tally so far: 29 (G) – 22 (S) – 22 (B) = 73

Pistol shooter Harpreet Singh and tennis player Somdev Devvarman were the others to fetch gold medals for India to boost the overall tally to 29, just one short of their record tally of 30 won eight years ago at Manchester.
There were also two silver medals from athletics during the day, a discipline in which India have never won more than one medal at any single Games in the past and now have claimed four here.
Field athletes Vikas Gowda, in men's discus, and Malliakal Prajusha, in women's long jump, won the two silver medals.
To cap a great day, the Indian men's hockey team shed their nerves when faced with a do-or-die situation and hammered arch-rivals Pakistan 7-4 to qualify for the semi finals.
Barring Akhil Kumar, who was knocked out in the quarterfinals, most other medal contenders in the boxing ring took their places in the semis with Vijender's knock-out of his Elias Nashivela in just over a minute being the most impressive one.
World freestyle wrestling champion Sushil Kumar too produced a superb display to win the 66kg class to add lustre to a splendid Indian show on the mat that fetched India their tenth gold from the mat.
India's tally of 29-22-22 kept them ahead of England's 26-45-30 while Australia were speeding ahead of the rest with a total haul of 61-36-37. 
US push to student flow
TT. Gangtok, Oct. 10: The US consul-general in Calcutta, Beth Payne, has said American students could be attracted to unique education programmes, environment protection practices and inherent cultural richness that Sikkim has to offer.
“There are a lot of things we can learn from Sikkim. We can enter into partnership in areas like education and clean energy. There are possibilities of American students coming here to study as there are several subjects which are on offer here and (at the same time) popular in the US,” she said in an interaction with journalists here on Friday while wrapping up her two-day official visit to the state.
As an example, the consul-general said the American students might be interested in Buddhism, taught especially at Namgyal Institute of Tibetology.
“Students in Sikkim are doing interesting research on environment conservation and such subjects are popular in the US. American students can be attracted to the Sikkim University’s department of peace and conflict studies and management also,” said Payne.
The US envoy has also vouched for Sikkim’s track record in clean energy. “Sikkim is one of the leading centres of clean energy and we want to see what we can learn. I am looking for visits of more US diplomats to Sikkim,” she said.
After finishing her official visit, the envoy has become, in her words, an ordinary tourist in Sikkim from yesterday. Payne said she had decided to extend her two-day scheduled official tour to a week, impressed by Sikkim’s culture.
“Sikkim has a very peaceful society and when I asked chief minister about the secret, he told me that the people here are very happy,” said Payne.
Before embarking on the personal tour, the consul-general said she would be writing an account of her travel in Sikkim for The Telegraph.
Strikein BSNL Offices
The guards in front of the closed telephone exchange in Darjeeling. (Suman Tamang)
TT, Darjeeling, Oct. 10: Private security guards of the BSNL offices in the hills have closed down the telephone exchanges in three subdivisions along with the basic transmission system towers, demanding immediate payment of bonus.
The strike by the guards, who are members of the Janmukti United Labour Welfare Organisation, a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha affiliate, began on Friday evening across Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong subdivisions. None of the BSNL employees, except for generator operator, are being allowed to enter the premises.
Pramesh Pradhan, the secretary of the JULWO district committee, said: “It is our fundamental right that we get our bonus. If our demands are not met, we will not allow the generator operator to enter the office and this could lead to total collapse in the communication system.”
The BSNL signed a contract with the Calcutta-based M/s General Security and Information Service to employ people for “watch and ward duty” in November 2009.
“According to the contract signed by the agency, there was no provision for paying bonus to the persons employed ...for watch and ward duty at different locations under Siliguri circle,” S.K. Samanta, general manger, telecom, Siliguri, wrote to the agency on October 7. He, however, said the BSNL would extend financial assistance to pay the bonus when funds would be available.
Kumar Khausal, an official of the security agency, told The Telegraph that the bonus would be paid by tomorrow. “Since the offices were closed for the past two days, payment could not be made. The bonus amount will come from the BSNL,” he said.
The agency employs 438 personnel for the Siliguri telecom district and requires around Rs 7 lakh to pay the bonus.
Foul play smoke in mayor chamber fire
TT, Siliguri, Oct. 10: A fire gutted the mayor’s office at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation this morning, the result of a suspected short circuit that reduced files and a computer to ashes in half an hour.
Both the Trinamul Congress and its ally the Congress which runs the board have smelt a conspiracy in the blaze that is reported to have burnt many financial records and the mayor’s correspondences with Delhi. Mayor Gangotri Dutta said she did not rule out the possibility of a sabotage while Trinamul leader at the SMC Goutam Deb demanded an investigation to find out who was responsible for the fire.
Fire brigade personnel who doused the flames with the help of three engines after half an hour said the fire protection measures in the building were inadequate. “The fire came from the AC machine first and then spread to the computer. I must say the fire protection measures are not adequate in the building. For example four extinguishers are not enough for the building,” said Udaynarayan Adhikary, the deputy director of fire services (north Bengal). He had earlier suggested a water reservoir on the campus and a regular checking of the electrical wiring. Neither mayor Dutta nor civic staff could say when the last check on the electrical wiring was conducted. “If no such checks were done, I will find out why they were not conducted,” Dutta said.
Siddharth Singh, a security guard who was posted at the main entrance to the building, said he had seen smoke emanating from the first floor around 11.30am. “I shouted out to the staff and called the fire brigade.”
With the pujas only three days away, around 40 civic employees were at work on the ground floor. When the four security guards, including Singh, realised that the mayor’s room was on fire, they swung into action with the four fire extinguishers.
The first floor of the three-storied building of the SMC houses the chambers of the mayor, chairperson, deputy mayor, commissioner and head clerk, computer section and the conference room. The fire destroyed the rooms of the mayor and her personal assistant. The lock on the PA’s room had to be broken to access the mayor’s room which is connected to it.
“I don’t know how such a fire broke out, but we have to find out if it was an act of sabotage. There were some documents there in my office related to my visits to Delhi, correspondences with the Union ministry of urban development regarding Siliguri’s inclusion under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and some accounts papers. Considering the importance of the documents, we will conduct an inquiry. A police complaint has been lodged,” said the mayor.
Trinamul leaders too smelt a conspiracy in the fire. “We were vocal about publishing a white paper on the functioning of the previous civic board and conducting special audits from the time the SMC became a municipal body. This may have scared some people. We demand an inquiry into today’s incident,” said Deb.
Man of god’s way with words
TT, Kolkata:The Archbishop of Canterbury came, he spoke and he conquered with a smile on the second evening of his “mission of goodwill” trip to India.
The principal leader of the Church of England and the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion was the guest of honour during the evening church service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday and the civic reception that followed.
“In the United Kingdom we often have debates on what it means to live in a multicultural society and a secular society. Many believe that to live in a multicultural society is to live in chaos and to live in a secular society is to live in an atmosphere of graveness. Which is close to saying more people from the United Kingdom ought to visit India!” smiled Rowan Williams.
He also struck an easy personal note. “Thank you for the privilege of having me here with you. I remember in my student days I was deeply inspired by what was done here (St Paul’s Cathedral) for the refugees and the poor,” said Williams at the civic reception arranged at the Parish Hall in St Paul’s Cathedral.
Showing no signs of fatigue after a long day that began with his sermon for the morning mass at St Peter’s Church, Behala, he walked up to the guests gathered around circular tables and greeted them all with hands folded in a namaste.
One of the first guests he met was Mamata Banerjee, who the bishop of Calcutta, Ashok Biswas, introduced as “a most vibrant and powerful lady”.
“Is this your first time in Calcutta?” asked the railway minister with a smile.
“Yes, my first time in Calcutta and full-time too,” answered the Archbishop, with a smile.
Mamata urged the bishop to make the “first visit” memorable. “I would request you to give Archbishop Williams some rosogolla and some mishti doi.
Earlier in her address, Mamata had welcomed the visitor on behalf of the people that she seems poised to rule politically within a few months.
“We are all proud to say we are meeting such an important messenger from the Anglican Church just before our Puja,” said she.
Then she drew upon the Bible to deliver a three-in-one message of peace, fellowship and development — ‘‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God”; “Love one another as I have loved you”; “We work together as partners who belong to God.”
The political powers that be were missing in action — only Speaker Hasim Abdul Halim was in the front row — and so no questions were asked about how much Mamata practices what she was preaching.
It was left to the Archbishop to add a tinge of plurality that could be interpreted in more ways than one in the time of political change.
“This city has simply been a chaos of warring identities and nobody could say it was grave or colourless,” he observed.
The impression the city has already made on the Archbishop was evident. “Calcutta is a welcoming city and that has been made very clear to us in the last two days.... This city is a crossroads of languages, people and cultures welcoming diversity over centuries.”
The Calcutta visit marks the beginning of his two-week “mission of goodwill” trip to India for the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Church of North India (CNI). The CNI is part of the Anglican Communion that Rowan Williams heads.
Sunday evening’s reception saw on the dais governor M.K. Narayanan, bishop Ashok Biswas, Mamata Banerjee, Justice (retd) Shyamal Sen, deputy moderator of CNI Philip Marandih, British deputy high commissioner in Calcutta Sanjay Wadvani and others.
But the focus was entirely on the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest ranking non-royal in the United Kingdom and a member of the House of Lords.
A face in the crowd, Nikhil Biswas, hoped for more to come: “Today it’s the Archbishop in Calcutta, tomorrow it could be the Pope (who was here in 1986) again.”
What does the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury mean to you?

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