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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dramatic changes in Interactive programme of GJMM

KalimNews: Till late in the evening GJMM didnot make any preparation to organise an interactive programme on the pros and cos of proposed Interim Setup GRA to be held on 24 November. It had earlier announced to have called an interactive programme in Kalimpong for the people and political parties to put forward queries and express their opinion regarding the proposed Setup. Dr. Harka Bahadur Chhetri too during his speech had invited opposition parties including Prof. Mahendra P. Lama in the plenary session for open discussion. He even said that organisation like Kalimpong Press Club may organise such an open discussion.  
But today Vision Kalimpong an organisation which earlier organised campaign for Prasant Tamang came forward and announced that it is organising the interactive session by the name Roadmap to Gorkhaland. It also mentioned that it is to discuss on the pros and cos of the Interim setup body proposed by GJMM as an alternative and interim body. Vision Kalimpong had stated that Advocate Pravakar Dewan will mediate the session.
People of Kalimpong were surprised to find Vision Kalimpong a dormant body to have suddenly revived only for the interactive session. All the anti GJMM partes like ABGL, CPRM, CPI(M) have stated in unison that hey doubt on the proposal of Vision Kalimpong and think that it may be the pseudo GJMM to fool the people.  ABGL leader Pratap Khati said that if Bimal Gurung will be in the panel then only their party will take part in the session.
Core banking system inaugurated
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Pakyong. 23 Nov:Central Bank of India today inaugurated its Core Banking System here at Pakyong Branch through the hand of BDO Parkha and Pakyong (BAC) Mr. JP Rai who was presented as the Chief Guest.  Through this inauguration the central Bank of India has achieved cent percent core banking system anywhere in the state of Sikkim. In the program, other special guest presented were Regional Manager Siliguri Mr. AK Rath, Branch Manager Pakyong Mr. A Karthak, Branch Manager Ranipool Mr. Uttam Kumar Chettri, staffs of the Bank and local dignitaries. The program started with welcome speech from Branch Manager Pakyong Mr. A Karthak followed by inauguration of Core Banking system by cutting of ribbon through the hand of Chief Guest and ceremonial lightning of the lamp in the portrait of Sir Sorabjee Pochkhanawalla who had started the first Swadesh Banking system in India which is now Central Bank of India.
Regional Manager Siliguri Mr. AK Rath in his speech said that through this Core Banking system the peoples may get many benefits like in depositing cash, withdrawal, checking of personal account through internet, banking and inter link with other bank etc. He told that if the peoples may take benefits from the bank if they get attached with the bank. He further said that the core banking system is introduced in order to give more benefits to the peoples of Sikkim especially who have troubles while transportation.
The chief Guest in his speech thanks the Bank authorities for bringing such facilities in place like Pakyong. He thank the authorities for opening bank even in the rural areas. He told the presented peoples to get benefits from the bank. The program concluded with vote of thanks from staff of the bank Mr. Pinsto Bhutia.

Hold talks or face statehood agitation, says GJM
TH, KOLKATA: In a move construed as a tactic to put pressure on the Centre to convene, without further delay, tripartite talks at the political level to formalise a settlement for an interim regional authority for the Darjeeling hills, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leadership has threatened to renew its demand for a separate “Gorkhaland” State, if the agreement is not finalised by the second week of December.
“We expect that the talks will be held in the first week of next month”, Roshan Giri, GJM general secretary, told The Hindu over telephone from Darjeeling on Monday.
Bimal Gurung, the GJM president, has said that his party will wait till the second week of December and be forced into renewing its Statehood demand, ifan agreement on the set-up is not reached by then.
It will make public its future course of action at a rally to be addressed by Bimal Gurung, GJM president, in the hill-town on November 28.
Elections due
Mr. Gurung has been insisting that the agreement for the setting up of the regional authority should be finalised before the election process for the Assembly begins next year.
The talks are being considered to be critical as they could well finalise the agreement for the setting up of regional authority for the Darjeeling hills, even though the GJM leadership said that it will not climb down from its demand for the inclusion of certain Gorkha-dominated pockets in the Terai and the Dooars of north Bengal.
Bringing these areas within the jurisdiction of the proposed regional authority is a contentious issue though – one that the West Bengal Government is opposed to.The State Government has expressed its reservations to extending the jurisdiction of the administrative set-up to beyond the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong.
Most tea gardens in the hills observed a strike during the day following a call by the GJM.

Civic curbs on cellphone towers
TT, Siliguri, Nov. 23: The Siliguri Municipal Corporation has set 14 conditions for mobile service providers to curb the “mushrooming” of cellphone towers in town.
The move was made after the SMC leaders held a meeting with officials of the BSNL and representatives of the trade body of Siliguri at the civic body yesterday.
Deputy mayor Nantu Pal, who issued the set of conditions, asked the cellular service providers to fulfil them (see chart below) before installing towers in the civic area.
“Considering the mushrooming of cellphone towers in the civic area, we have decided to initiate some measures to be followed by the mobile network operators so that random construction of towers can be checked. Our aim is to stop any accident or untoward incident while setting up towers without maintaining proper measures,” Pal said.
A source in the SMC said the previous Left Front-led board had once tried to take similar initiatives but the plan did not materialise. The mushrooming towers indicate that the issue had so long been overlooked, the source added.
The Congress deputy mayor, however, refused comment. “I don’t want to comment on why the matter was overlooked by the previous board. But we are not going to allow further installations without fulfilling the conditions,” Pal said.
According to sources in the SMC, more than hundred towers have been set up by the cellphone operators in the 47 wards of the civic body. Of them, over 50 towers have been erected by the state-run telecom company.
“Whenever we have installed towers in the civic area, we have taken the permission of the civic authorities. In yesterday’s meeting, some instructions were handed to us which we will follow,” said A. Dakua, the deputy general manager (communication mobility) of the BSNL’s Siliguri division.
The SMC will also conduct a drive to check whether any irregularity had been committed while erecting the towers.
“A team will be formed shortly to keep tabs on the service providers. If the rules are not followed properly, necessary steps will be taken immediately,” Pal said.
Structural stability certificate
Agreement between the land owner and cellular company
Registration certificate from the ministry of communication
NOC from the airport authority
Sanctioned building plan
NOC from the ward councillor and the local people
Actor in jumbo saviour role
- Sabyasachi tells rail to regulate train runs

TT, Siliguri, Nov. 23: Feluda today joined the bandwagon of protesters and raised his voice against alleged nonchalance of the railways and the state forest department in stopping elephant deaths on tracks passing through forests in the Dooars.
Sabyasachi Chakraborty, who inaugurated the Siliguri International Film Festival yesterday, joined representatives of seven-eight NGOs and demanded halt to the running of goods trains between Siliguri Junction and Alipurduar at night.
“We plan to carry out the movement jointly and raise voice against the railways’ negligence in checking such incidents. We have also learnt that the state forest department has not done much in this regard even after the death of so many elephants and demand effective steps from that end as well,” Chakraborty told journalists outside Siliguri Junction station.
“There is a need to have a more intense and consistent movement to ensure that both the railways and the forest department take steps to protect the precious wildlife.”
The movement against the railways and the forest department gathered momentum after a goods train had mowed down seven elephants near Banarhat on September 22. Even when wildlife activists were putting the heat on the railways to take measures to save animals in the Dooars forests, a makna was run over by Mahananda Express near Binnaguri on November 15.
Chakraborty — who played the character of detective Feluda, one of Satyajit Ray’s creations — took long and confident strides with wildlife activists and reached the office of the station manager of Siliguri Junction. He sat down and talked to railway officials about the measures needed to be taken to protect animals crossing the tracks in the Dooars. He asked the officials to regulate the speed of trains and make drivers aware of the need to drive slowly on forest stretches.
“We are not against development but want a complete halt to the movement of goods trains through the Dooars forests at night. Also, passenger trains, which do not have any stops in the Dooars and are not directly serving the residents of the region, should be diverted through another route,” said the actor, who is also a wildlife photographer.
“We also want the railways to limit the speed of all trains to 30kmph. Otherwise, it will take more time for drivers to stop trains when they spot animals on tracks.”
“Most of the train drivers are cautious and keep this fact in mind, but some don’t. We want the railways to keep a check on the drivers,” said Chakraborty, who is also the member of the state wildlife board.
After the deaths of seven elephants on September 22, the railways have been keeping train speed below 50kmph at night.
The state forest department has identified 10 spots where elephants cross the tracks. “The department has sent details to the Union ministry of environment and forests, seeking funds to build watchtowers in these zones,” said an officer.
Debapratim Saha, an environmentalist who co-ordinated today’s event, said a memorandum had been submitted to the state forest department also, seeking measures for animal protection.
TV duo in school bash

TT, Siliguri, Nov. 23: Delhi Public School will organise its annual cultural event on Sunday and Meiyang Chang of the Indian Idol fame and Dharmesh Yelande of Dance India Dance will entertain the audience
The performers will be in town for Unison III — Annual Cultural Extravaganza hosted by the school along with Surendranath Institute of Engineering and Management (SIEM). Both the institutions at Dagapur, 5km from here, are run by the Bidya Bharati Foundation.
“We have been holding annual concerts on the campus since the school was established seven years ago. For the past three years, we have been organising the fest in a grand manner. Hussain Kuwajerwala, a popular television host and actor, had performed at the first Unison in 2008. This year, we have invited singer Meiyang Chang and dancer Dharmesh Yelande to the school,” said Sharad Agarwal, the director of DPS, today.
According to Agarwal, who is also the chairperson of the SIEM, the performers were chosen on the basis of suggestions given by the students.
Chang was one of the popular participants of Indian Idol 3 and Dharmesh was among the four finalists in the second season of reality show Dance India Dance.
“We had an interaction with the students who wanted these two artistes to take part in the event as they found them to be friendly and ready to mingle with the crowd. While Dharmesh will be performing a couple of hip hop dance numbers, Chang will sing popular Bollywood songs,” said Agarwal.
According to the authorities, more than 500 students from the school and the college will perform at the event.
“In all, there will be 21 items at the show and 15 of them will be presented by students. There will be folk dances, sitar recitals, a musical drama,Shoemaker and the Elves, and a play, Mother’s Day. The students will pay tribute to Michael Jackson by singing and dancing to some of his songs,” said S.P. Das, the principal of DPS.
School band, The Celestials, will perform A.R. Rehman’s Bande Mataram.
State urban development Asok Bhattacharya will be the chief guest at the programme that will start at 4pm.
“We expect around 13,000 people, including guardians, to attend the event. We hope the event will be a hit like in the previous years,” said Agarwal.
Cry for funds in closed Radharani
TT, Jaigaon, Nov. 23: The workers and their families in Radharani tea estate are yet to get any financial help from the government, nearly two years after the garden was abandoned by its management.
The Kalchini garden was declared lockout on January 16, 2009. Workers of closed estate can claim a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 under the Financial Assistance for Workers of Locked-out Industries scheme a year after its closure was notified.
On February 10 this year, the garden had sent a list of 399 workers to the additional labour commissioner in Alipurduar.
“The ALC came for an inspection in March but still we are not getting the money. Enquiries at the Alipurduar office reveal that the file has been sent to Calcutta,” said B. Pal, the head clerk.
Magnu Gore, 25, a garden worker, was worried over the uncertainty especially in the winter when there would be no leaves to sell. “We are spending sleepless nights wondering what lies in store for us in the next four months. I am thinking of looking for work elsewhere,” he said.
Political leaders have claimed that they have been trying their best to get the funds.
“I have taken up the matter more than once with the labour department. I will send a fax with details of the workers’ hardship to the chief minister’s office,” said Pamkumar Lama, the RSP zilla parishad member.
Rajat Pal, the deputy labour commissioner in Jalpaiguri, said he had sent the file concerning the financial assistance to Writers’ Buildings four months ago but the approval was yet to come.
Block development officer of Kalchini Thendup Sherpa said he was arranging for relief to be sent to Radharani. “We will sit with the panchayat and draw up a plan to provide drinking water, healthcare and relief for the workers.”
Hounded, Surjya cuts short hospital tour 
- Minister hauled up by relatives of dead newborn

TT, Malda, Nov. 23: A crowd protesting the death of a newborn at the Malda district hospital today hounded health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra, all the time shouting at him about the pathetic condition of the health system and the hospitals in the state.
The minister had to dodge the protesters for one hour while they tried to block his way, alleging that indifference of the doctors and unhygienic condition of the labour room had killed the baby.
Enraged by the demonstration, Mishra cut short his “sudden unannounced visit” and beat a hasty retreat.
The health minister had walked into the 600-bed hospital around 9am along with health secretary Manabendranath Roy, district magistrate Pramal Kumar Samanta and chief medical officer of health of Malda Srikanta Roy. Hospital superintendent Himadri Kumar Anri was also with him when he toured the wards.
Only a few policemen were around when the protest was going on. The minister’s face-off with the crowd began at the gynaecology ward. Then on, they trailed him around the hospital.
“Whatever you are doing is not right. If you have any allegations against the hospital, give it to us in writing,” an uncomfortable Mishra told the crowd. At one point, unaware of the hospital superintendent tugging at his arm, he turned around to Sheila Topdar, the grandmother of the newborn who died, accusing her of manhandling him (see picture sequence). While Topdar denied the charges, Mishra threatened to call police.
With the shouting and badgering continuing, Mishra abruptly cut short the hospital tour and left.
Topdar said her daughter Priya Roy was admitted to hospital yesterday and was told by doctors that she should be taken to a nursing home, if they wanted a Caesarean section. “She was writhing in pain. We asked the doctor if she needed a Caesarean section. The doctor replied that for a Caesarean section we would have to take her to a nursing home. This morning we were told that the baby was still born,” she said.
The woman alleged that all the while they were discussing her daughter’s pregnancy, Dr Sudhir Ranjan Sarkar, who was attending to Priya, had not told the family that she was carrying a dead baby. “The baby suffocated because they did not do a Caesarean. Moreover, the condition in the labour room is most unhygienic. I had asked the minister to visit the labour room but he did not,” she said.
Reacting to Topdar’s charges in front of the minister, hospital superintendent Anri said it was difficult for him to say offhand if the family had been told to take the expectant mother to a nursing home for Caesarean section. “Now that this incident has happened, there will be many sorts of allegations. I will have to find out if the charges are true. An inquiry has to be conducted.”
But Priya’s husband Bappa Roy shouted at Mishra: “Your doctors and nurses do not take proper care of expectant mothers. The doctors take their jobs lightly and misbehave with us. This is not the first time that a baby has died here after birth.”
Later, the minister, who had come to Malda for a review meeting with health officials of north Bengal, said he had ordered an inquiry. “I have asked the chief medical officer of health and the hospital superintendent to lead a four-member team to probe into the baby death. They will probe the circumstances that led to the death. If anyone is found guilty, steps will be taken.”
That the health minister had to face an angry protest from around 60 people has come as a major embarrassment for the district police which had no inkling about the demonstration. Additional police superintendent Kalyan Mukherjee, however, said an adequate force had been deployed at the hospital. “Relatives of a mother who had lost her baby met the minister and expressed their grievances before him,” he said.
The Congress karmadhakshya in charge of health in the zilla parishad, Safizuddin Ahmed, alleged the district hospital was run in a slip-shod manner.
“There are frequent demonstrations by relatives of patients alleging medical neglect. We are not told about them at the meetings. The doctors are irregular in attending to their duties. But today they were all present as they knew that the minister was visiting,” said Ahmed, a member of the district health and patient welfare committee.
A doctor at the district hospital said the staff members were always under pressure. “The number of doctors here is far less than the sanctioned strength. Against the 72 sanctioned posts, there are only 46 doctors. Of them, seven are on contract,” he said.

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