To contact us CLICK HERE
View Kalimpong News at
Citizen reporters may send photographs related to news with proper information to

Monday, November 8, 2010

Govt Soccer Santa before talks - ..Tea growers meet Buddha for clearance .Centre and state have let us down.. After blunder, BJP keeps mum

Gurkha Gold Cup to kick off in Darjeeling on Friday after 25 years

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Nov. 7: The All India Brigade of Gurkha Gold Cup will kick off here on Friday with the government allocating Rs 45 lakh for its revival after 25 years, a move to reach out to the hills when negotiations are on for an interim set-up for the region.
However, sports enthusiasts here have refused to read much into the government effort. They only hope the soccer tournament — one of the biggest sporting events of the hills that once drew top notch footballers from across the country — will play a pivotal role in bringing Darjeeling back on the nation’s sporting map.
“Whether there is politics involved or not, it does not matter. Sports should triumph at the end of the day and create opportunities where national events can be staged in Darjeeling like it used to be in the past,” said Zaheed Khan, a state-level volleyball player.
The political implication of the sporting event was evident almost two months ago when sports minister Kanti Ganguly, while wooing the hills, had said in Darjeeling: “Irrespective of political differences, everyone concerned is united to start the football tournament. Hill players like Ram Bahadur and Chandan Singh had created a sensation on the football grounds of Calcutta.”
For sports lovers, however, reviving the rich sporting legacy of the hill town only matters. “Two decades ago, Darjeeling used to host national-level tournaments in table tennis and badminton. Sports icons like Prakash Padukone (badminton) used to participate in the Darjeeling events,” said Dawa Lama, vice-president of the organising committee of the Gold Cup at a media conference today.
In the past two decades no major sporting event worth its name has been organised in the hills, which had relatively better sporting facilities compared to the rest of the state before Independence.
“This year, 12 teams including the Army XI, Tata Football Academy, Indian Football Association XI (Calcutta), Manipur XI, Shimal Young Boy’s Club (Delhi) and Techno Aryans will participate in the tournament that has been approved by the IFA,” said Lama.
“From next year onwards the tournament will feature in the IFA’s calendar and we can expect big names to play in Darjeeling,” added Jordan Narbu, an executive member of the organising committee.
The tournament is being held jointly by the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Sports Association and the district administration, another indication that the government is keen to make its presence felt in the hills before the political-level talks at the end of this month or early December. “The state’s youth and sports department is expected to provide us with Rs 45 lakh to host the event. We had initially asked for Rs 70 lakh,” said Lama.
Dawa Lama (left) and Jorden
 Norbu at the media conference on
Sunday. Picture by Suman Tamang
Winners will take home a cheque for Rs 1 lakh while the runners-up will get a cash prize of Rs 50,000. “We are also taking care of the teams’ transportation cost, accommodation and appearance fees,” said Lama.
The organisers have put in a lot of of glamour to make the tournament attractive. “The governor of Bengal has been made the chief patron of the tournament, while Shyam Thapa, Chuni Goswami, Prasun Banerjee and Bhaichung Bhutia have been made patrons,” said Lama.
The Gold Cup was instituted by the Gorkha personnel serving in the British army. “The tournament, which started in 1975 and was held till 1985 (a year before the Gorkhaland agitation started in the hills), used to be organised by the Darjeeling District Sports Association that has remained defunct for long,” said Lama.
The inaugural tournament was won by Mohun Bagan while the last trophy was lifted by East Bengal. “We managed to retrieve the original trophy which was lying in a government office here and we have sent it for repair,” said Lama.
The matches will be played at the St Joseph’s School (North Point) grounds. Tickets have been priced at Rs 100, Rs 40 and Rs 20 each. “Students can avail a 50 per cent discount,” said Lama.
Centre and state have let us down
TOI, MALDA: Gorkha National Liberation Front chief Subhas Ghisingh arrived in Malda for a two-day visit on Sunday, setting the grapevine abuzz. While sources claimed that he may be here to establish contact with separatist forces like the Kamtapur People's Party (KPP), Ghisingh himself maintained he was taking a break from the tension in the Hills.
Ghisingh talked about Malda's history, sweets, mangoes and Ghani Khan Choudhury. "I badly needed a break from the unrest and tension in Darjeeling and the Dooars. Initially I thought of going to Bangladesh, but that would have taken more time. So I thought of spending two days in peace here," he said.
He also said he would visit historical places like Gour and Adina. "I would like to visit historical spots like Gour and Adina. I also want to visit the house of former railway minister Ghani Khan Choudhury. And, of course, I'll have plenty of rasakadamba (Malda's famous sweetmeat)," the GNLF boss said.
Ghisingh slammed both the state government and the Centre for playing with the sentiments of the Hills residents. "Neither is ready to fulfil its commitment. I've already written letters to Sonia Gandhi reminding her of the Centre's commitment to the Sixth Schedule. And even the state government has accepted that development is possible through the Sixth Schedule. Delay in implementing this would certainly anger the Hill people and we would have to launch a movement," he said.
Ghisingh maintained that people have realized that GJM has fooled them. "Only GNLF will look after the interests of Hills residents. In the name of an agitation, GJM has created a rift between people."
A section of police officers, though, feels that Ghisingh's visit can't just be a "break from work". "It is hardly believable that Ghisingh has come to Malda merely for this. We have to keep an eye on his movements for the next few hours," said a senior police officer.
With his support base eroding in the Hills, said observers, Ghisingh might establish contact with separatist forces like KPP. Another agenda could be building a network among Gorkhas living in the plains to garner support. Intelligence sources said fund-raising for his party could be another purpose of Ghisingh's Malda visit. (KalimNews: Ghising was with Prakash Dahal and guard Mani Gurung)
Must make way for a consensus, SNS: 
MR P Chidambaram may claim a breakthrough in the meeting he convened in Delhi to thrash out a solution for Darjeeling in the presence of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha chief. Bimal Gurung had so far sent his lieutenants to all the administrative and political exchanges. But it is anyone’s guess if his presence suggests he is willing to climb down from his unlikely position that the Morcha be given absolute powers in the interim council. Or whether it relates to the party’s delicate position following the arrest of Morcha supporters in the Madan Tamang killing. 

While it is clear the Centre wants an early solution, to bring relief from the disruptionist tactics adopted by Gurung’s party, it cannot ignore Mamata Banerjee’s initiative during her visit to the hills to bring all parties to the conference table. The Trinamul chief may not approve of a measure that also doesn’t accommodate the divided public mood. To make matters worse, Gurung has rejected the idea of an interim council on the basis of elections and would rather have the Centre nominate members ~ evidence, perhaps, of ground realities.
There are other problems in allowing Gurung the unfettered space he claims such as the need to assert the state’s role in legislative matters and territorial jurisdiction. The morcha has been preparing for major agitations to claim portions of the Terai and Dooars with Adivasi concentrations as part of the Darjeeling administration even as negotiations proceed. In the style of Subash Ghisingh, his one-time disciple and now principal adversary chooses to keep alive the Gorkhaland bogey should his ambitions not be fulfilled. 

On the other hand, an exclusive understanding with Gurung could lead to hostile reactions from the All India Gorkha League which has turned the Tamang assassination into an emotive issue. In other words, there is need for a consensus before a new authority can be established. 
The Morcha’s refusal to accept the state’s nominee as interim administrator and any arrangement that doesn’t give it absolute powers are not very promising signals. This may have prompted the Union home minister to focus on Gurung to allow the interim council smooth passage. But in the developing situation, there is also no reason to believe that he is the undisputed leader of the hills. The Centre and the state need to proceed with caution in finding an answer that satisfies Gurung, his rivals and, most important, the people of the Hills. 
Tea growers meet Buddha for clearance
TT, Jalpaiguri, Nov. 7: Small tea growers have decided to pressure the government so that it does not 2001 as cut-off year to recognise plantations.
The state land and land reforms department had decided in April that it would not issue no-objection certificates to small tea gardens which had come up after June 30, 2001.
“The decision of the state government not to recognise those gardens that had come up after 2001 is a ‘body blow’ to the owners. About 90 per cent of the small gardens that had come up before the cut-off date are yet to receive the NOCs,” said Bijoygopal Chakraborty, the chairperson of the United Forum of Small Tea Growers’ Association.
“Members of the association will leave for Calcutta tomorrow and meet the chief minister at Writers’ Buildings to air their grievances,” he said.
According to sources in the land department, while there were 7,480 small gardens at the end of June 30, 2001, an additional 13,910 such plantations have come up after that. So far, the land depart-ment has surveyed only 21,390 small gardens, said officials.
The sources said from 58,159 acres under small tea gardens in 2001, the figure has gone up to 88,957 acres till last year.
Chakraborty alleged that a large number of applications for the NOC lying with the block land and land reforms offices had been misplaced.
“The members of our association have complained that even fresh applications for NOCs were not being processed by the land department staff. Absence of NOCs is preventing the owners from applying for bank loans and taking advantage of the schemes under the Tea Board of India. A movement will be launched to demand the certificates for all the small tea growers regardless of the cut-off date,” he said.
The Jalpaiguri land and land reforms officer, Pranati Sewa, said of the 1,894 small tea gardens in the district, about 1,600 had applied for the NOC.
“It has been possible to give the NOCs to about 800 of them. The distribution of the certificates was delayed, as there were many errors in the application forms. We have asked the applicants to correct the errors and re-submit the applications.”
Two funerals and a study in contrasts
TT, Calcutta, Nov. 7: Both of them were barristers, both served as chief ministers of Bengal, both died in their 90s nine months apart, but the last journey of the two friends-cum-foes — Jyoti Basu and Siddhartha Shankar Ray — was a study in contrasts.
It was a tale of two funerals for Basu and Ray, courtesy the very different tracks taken by the state government.
A letter from the then chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti reached the Union home secretary G.K. Pillai a couple of hours after Basu’s death was announced on January 17, as the state government had requested the Centre for a two-day state mourning and a “military funeral”.
In the case of Ray — chief minister of Bengal between 1972 and 1977, governor of Punjab between 1986 and 1989 and India’s ambassador to the US between 1992 and 1996 — no such request was made and the pomp that marked the funeral of Communist leader Jyoti Basu was conspicuous by its absence.
“A request from the state government has to reach the Centre to arrange for a state funeral for someone who is not a natural recipient, as per the protocol manual. In this case, the state government did not send any such request,” said a senior official.
According to Bhaskar Khulbe, the resident commissioner of Bengal in Delhi, such request letters are routed through the office of the resident commissioner and he had passed on the letter from the state government to the Union home ministry after the death of Basu.
With the state government’s chalk-and-cheese response to the deaths of two former chief ministers, the difference between the two funerals — both of which ended with a three-volley salute by the Armed Police — was stark (see box).
Ray’s last journey started from his Beltala residence around 1.20pm, reached the Assembly around 2.05pm, and touched Calcutta High Court and the Cricket Association Bengal office before heading for the Chittaranjan Seva Sadan in Hazra. The procession reached the Keoratala burning ghat around 3.35pm where his nephew, Sanjit Ray, performed the last rites.
“Jyotibabu’s body was draped in the national flag, but I didn’t see that on Siddharthababu’s body… Even the army was not seen in today’s funeral procession,” said a Raj Bhavan employee.
Though the state government has declared a holiday on Monday as a mark of respect to Ray, the state will not be in mourning and the Tri-colour will flutter atop government buildings, as he was not given a state funeral.
“It’s really unfortunate that one of the tallest leaders (Ray) of Bengal was not given the honour of a state funeral… If Jyotibabu could get it, why not Siddhartha Shankar Ray? Our leader was equally deserving as he held key positions like the governor of Punjab and the ambassador of India to the US,” said Bengal PCC leader and former party MP Pradip Bhattacharyya.
A senior state government official told The Telegraph that the decision to send a request for a state funeral was the prerogative of the state home department, headed by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
“The chief secretary can write to the Union home ministry for a state funeral only under instructions from the chief minister and it is clear that the state government was not interested in a state funeral for Ray,” he explained.
According to him, the no-show of any of the senior ministers at Ray’s Beltala residence on Saturday was an indication that the government wanted to keep the funeral a low-key affair unlike Basu’s final journey from the Assembly to Mohor Kunj.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose, however, visited Ray’s Beltala residence, along with some Left Front leaders and ministers on Sunday morning and later in the day Bhattacharjee paid homage at the Assembly.
“In the 1970s, Siddhartha Shankar Ray had unleashed terror in the state… He was one of the architects of the Emergency and had scant regard for democratic institutions. So, giving him a state funeral would have been equating him with Jyotibabu,” said a CPM leader, who did not wish to be named.
Ray was CPM’s biggest enemy in the turbulent 70s. Basu and the Left Front government had even set up the Haratosh Chakraborty commission to inquire into the 1972-77 administration’s “excesses’’ after Basu took over from Ray.
“The commission, set up by the CPM government, however found nothing against Siddharthababu. That’s why he used to say quite often that the CPM had failed to prove a thing despite setting up a commission,” said Bhattacharyya.
The difference in the two funerals will not be able to dwarf one of the most influential leaders of Bengal, said a young Congressman after the last rites were performed.
After blunder, BJP keeps mum
TT, New Delhi, Nov. 7: The BJP has decided not to comment any further on President Barack Obama’s trip till it comes to an end, having blundered yesterday by hastily criticising his silence on the Pakistani role in the 26/11 attacks.
A top-level party meeting this morning decided that the BJP would not react to the remarks Obama made today on Pakistan and Afghanistan at a question-answer session with Mumbai’s college students.
Rather, at the end of the visit, the BJP will come up with a statement on how New Delhi had tackled such “sensitive” issues and whether it had succeeded in extracting “concrete” assurances from the US.
“The focus will be on our government and not on Obama,” a source said.
Therefore, when Sushma Swaraj calls on the US President tomorrow, she would be unlikely to dwell on Islamabad’s role in fomenting terror in Kashmir and elsewhere in India, the source added.
The leader of the Opposition will tangentially touch on Pakistan-instigated terror, but only in the “larger” context of instability in South Asia, particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s northwestern frontier.
The BJP has been left ruing spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy’s attack on Obama’s speech at the Taj hotel, where the President paid homage to the 26/11 victims and condemned the attack without mentioning Pakistan.
Rudy’s statement has been seen both within and outside the BJP as premature, coming within hours of Obama’s arrival in India, and as probably being in bad taste.
The party is rattled by the thought of the harm it might do to its US ties in the longer run, especially because it projects itself as having been America’s “original friend” in India in the years the Congress government had a pro-Soviet tilt.
BJP spokespersons, therefore, have been asked to keep mum, at least until the Sushma-Obama meeting is over.
This morning, a small group of party leaders, including Sushma, Arun Jaitley and Yashwant Sinha, met at L.K. Advani’s home to chalk out the issues Sushma would raise with Obama.
She is expected to bring up the subjects of protectionism and US investments in India and underscore the need for “better trade terms” for India.
“Matters concerning Pakistan and Afghanistan, the prospective pullout of the US military from Afghanistan, and its ramifications for the region are best left to the Prime Minister to raise,” a source said.
Employee robs shop
TT, Alipurduar, Nov. 7: An employee allegedly stole goods worth Rs 3 lakh from the shop where he worked and fled this morning.
Owner Manojoy Pal opened the shop in Falakata around 11am and noticed that three laptops, seven cameras and four LCD TVs were missing. The shop had been locked last night by his employee Samir Das. “Samir started working here two months ago. Last night he locked the shop and gave me the keys like he does everyday. But he kept two keys in his pocket, which I overlooked. Today when I opened the shop, I saw some items missing,” said Pal. Samir, a resident of Nagaon in Assam, was introduced to Pal by Krishna Gope.
“I have lodged an FIR with the Falakata police. A team along with Gope has left for Assam to look for Samir. The stolen goods cost around Rs 3 lakh,” said Pal. Samir has boarded Guwahati-bound Kamrup Express at Falakata station, said police.
SIM death
TT, Malda: One person was beaten to death in Kaliachak on Saturday night following a quarrel over returning a SIM card. Police said Kalu Chowdhury had borrowed a SIM card from his business partner Kanai Chowdhury three moths ago. When Kanai’s wife Kalpana went to Kalu’s house to get it back, his wife refused to return it and starting beating her up. When Kanai tried to rescue Kalpana, Kalu attacked him. Kanai was taken to the district hospital where he died. District superintendent of police Bhuban Mondal said a murder case has been started against Kalu and his wife. The couple fled the area after the incident.
Doc complaint
TT, Islampur: The superintendent in charge of the subdivisional hospital here complained to the CMOH against a doctor on Sunday for taking leave without permission. Sources said A.K. Gupta is on leave since November 1 without taking permission from the authorities. On Saturday, Dipali Pal, a resident of College More, was admitted at the facility under him. But when her son Abhijit found that Gupta was absent, he lodged a complaint with the hospital superintendent. The incident was reported to the CMOH, P.S. Bhattacharya, who said he will take necessary actions after an inquiry.
US President Barack Obama's moments in India
The US President, Mr. Barack Obama addressing the joint session of Parliament, in the Central Hall of Parliament House, in New Delhi on November 08, 2010.
The US President, Mr. Barack Obama addressing the joint session of Parliament, in the Central Hall of Parliament House, in New Delhi on November 08, 2010.<br>
 The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari, the Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar and the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh are also seen.
The US President, Mr. Barack Obama addressing the joint session of Parliament, in the Central Hall of Parliament House, in New Delhi on November 08, 2010.
The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari, the Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar and the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh are also seen.
The US President, Mr. Barack Obama at a ceremonial procession with the Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari, the Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar and the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, to address the joint session of Parliament, in New Delhi on November 08, 2010.
The US President, Mr. Barack Obama at a ceremonial procession with the Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari, the Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar and the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, to address the joint session of Parliament, in New Delhi on November 08, 2010
The US President, Mr. Barack Obama being received by the Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar, on his arrival at Parliament House to address the joint session of Parliament, in New Delhi on November 08, 2010.<br>
 The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources, Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal are also seen.

The US President, Mr. Barack Obama and the First Lady Mrs. Michelle Obama being received by the Prime Minister, 

Dr. Manmohan Singh and his wife Smt. Gursharan Kaur, on their arrival, at Palam Air Force Station, in New Delhi 

on November 07, 2010.

The Chairperson, National Advisory Council, Smt. Sonia Gandhi meeting the US President, Mr. Barack Obama, in New Delhi on November 08, 2010.
The US President, Mr. Barack Obama and the First Lady Mrs. Michelle Obama with the school children of traditional artisans who carried out renovation works at Humayun Tomb, during their visit at Humayun’s Tomb, in New Delhi on November 07, 2010.
The US President, Mr. Barack Obama and the First Lady Mrs. Michelle Obama with the school children of traditional artisans who carried out renovation works at Humayun Tomb, during their visit at Humayun’s Tomb, in New Delhi on November 07, 2010.

Four key pacts likely to be inked today
IE,New Delhi:India and the United States finalised at least four agreements — on shale gas reserves, weather forecasting, health and energy cooperation programme — by Sunday evening, top government sources told The Indian Express.
The agreements are expected to be signed at Hyderabad House after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh holds bilateral talks with US President Barack Obama on Monday. The talks will begin with a one-on-one between the two leaders, followed by delegation-level discussions.
Sources said Prime Minister will be accompanied by External Affairs minister S M Krishna, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony and Home Minister P Chidambaram.
A few more agreements are in the works as negotiations continued till late in the night, sources said. The two countries will call for a meeting of the joint working group, with focus on higher education — expected to be reflected in the joint statement of the two leaders on Monday.
“Shale gas reserves” is a new area India is readying to tap and US companies are waiting with their technology. Shale deposits are found across the Gangetic plains, Assam, Rajasthan and many coastal areas but yet to be explored.
Recently, ONGC announced plans to start a pilot project in 2011. With a memorandum of understanding in place, the two governments can hope to find common ground to explore hitherto untapped sources of energy.
The two governments will look at another pact on ‘energy cooperation programme’. This will broadly cover all sources of energy, including renewable source, and ties in with Obama’s focus on climate change.
A pact on “weather forecasting” is also on the cards. This flows from the commitment both leaders shared last year — when Singh visited the US in November 2009 — that they looked forward to increase agricultural cooperation, promote agricultural research, etc.
A pact on establishing a ‘regional global disease detection centre in India’ and to build a partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also likely to be signed.

No comments:

Post a Comment