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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Striking the right chords: Kalimpong kids score
Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kalimpong, Nov. 12: The Kalimpong gharana of western classical music: are there any takers?
Well, that could well be a possibility in years to come, going by the scores of local children, especially those from underprivileged families, who have been training in two music schools here.
Of the two schools, Gandhi Ashram at 6th Mile has by now become very well known, churning out fine violinists like the teen sensation Prayash Biswakarma.
My Peace Music Institute (MPMI), a non-profit initiative, too, has been imparting quality music training to 70-odd students — 35 of them free of cost — for three years. The MPMI is located below Flower Patch on Melli Road.
The students of MPMI have fared exceedingly well in the two exams conducted jointly with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), London. During the first exam last year, of the 21 students, 11 secured distinction. In exams conducted last month, 11 of the 30 students got distinction.
“The ABRSM sends its representative to conduct exams here. Of the 30 students, five cleared the fourth grade, while the remaining others passed either first or second grades. The certificates are also awarded by the ABRSM,” said Dawa Tamang, the director of the institute.
The MPMI imparts lessons in four instruments: violin, piano, cello and viola. Set up in 2007 by Chogyal Rimpoche, a Buddhist monk, the school was opened by Hanns Stekel, the director of Johann Sebastian Bach Music School Vienna, Austria.
Gandhi Ashram was established by the late Jesuit priest Father Ed McGuire from Canada. As with Gandhi Ashram, the MPMI aims to introduce young people from weaker section of the society and orphans to local and western classical music and train them to become music teachers or musicians. Both the schools also provide free regular education to underprivileged children.
“The training they receive in our school will enable them to find jobs in institutions linked to the MPMI or elsewhere. In the case of students with outstanding abilities, he or she will get the chance to study further abroad,” said Avinash Chhetri, the secretary of the MPMI
Tamang said experts, including some from the Vienna school, had been impressed by the talents of local boys and girls. “My own experience tells me that our kids are far more talented than the ones I saw in the west. The difference is in the training; while theirs is far more structured and superior, ours is not so. If our children have access to the same kind of training, they would definitely learn faster and become better musicians,” he added.
Rs 102 crore to regularise jobs Delhi funds for council staff: Gurung
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Nov. 12: The interim authority for the Darjeeling hills will be directly funded by the Centre to regularise the jobs of the ad-hoc workers of the DGHC, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung claimed today.
Interacting with The Telegraph at the Morcha’s Singamari office, Gurung said the Morcha had demanded Rs 105 crore per annum from the Centre to pay the salaries of the 6,321 casual workers of the council after they were regularised.
“We had worked out this amount and had demanded Rs 105 crore from the Centre,” Gurung said. “However, the Centre agreed to provide Rs 102 crore per year.” The Morcha president said the funds would be paid directly to the interim authority, the Gorkhaland Regional Authority, for the disbursal of salaries to the permanent workers.
Gurung said unlike the current DGHC, which has to depend on the state government for funds to pay the salaries of its workers, the interim authority would totally bypass the Bengal government and pay the workers’ salaries from its funds received directly from Delhi.
He added that the annual release of Rs 102 crore as salary grant would not be part of the Rs 1500-Rs 2,500 crore that the Centre had promised to pay to the interim authority for two years for the development of the hills. “In fact, this Rs 1,500-2,500 crore does not even include the budgetary allocation under the plan and non-plan heads which we will receive according to norms,” said Gurung.
Expressing concerns over the lack of professionals in the hills, especially in technical fields, Gurung said: “I want people who have gone out of Darjeeling to return. During the two years of the interim authority, we have to demonstrate how well we can govern ourselves and I will ensure that the area is administered efficiently.”
Gurung said the Centre’s salary grant would bring “immense relief” to contract workers who had been agitating since 2007 under the banner of the Morcha-affiliated Janmukti Asthahi Karmachari Sangatan (JAKS).
Following a hunger strike by the workers, the state government had on September 17, 2009, given a written assurance that the process of regularisation would start soon.
A fax sent by then state home secretary Ardhendu Sen had said: “The government has authorised the DGHC to start the regularisation process against the sanctioned vacancies in all categories…”. Assured by this, the workers had lifted their hunger strike.
However, when by the end of October nothing was done, the workers again started agitating. B.L. Meena, the administrator of the DGHC, gave a written assurance to JAKS on October 30, 2009, that the regularisation process would start from November 17, 2009. But the state government later said the frequent closure of government offices was delaying the process. “Lets now hope that everything works out fine,” a Morcha leader said.
Union home ministry sources refused comment on the funds to be provided to regularise the contractual workers. A senior ministry official, however, said “so far, no funds have been disbursed”.
Plains tell govt to wait till election
TT, Siliguri, Nov. 12: The Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee has asked the CPM-led government to refrain from attending talks on the interim set-up for the hills till next year’s Assembly polls.
“Results of elections to the Lok Sabha and local bodies have proved that people of Bengal have lost faith in the state government. The CPM, which will be in power for maximum six months, doesn’t have the moral right to attend the tripartite talks and take any decision on major issues like the formation of the interim set-up in the Darjeeling hills,” said Mukunda Majumdar, the president of the Bhasha Banchao Committee, today.
“So, we want the CPM leaders to refrain from attending the meetings. The talks should resume after the new government comes to power in 2011.”
Football back, memories also - Gurkha gold cup kicks off
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Nov. 12: The All India Brigade of Gurkhas Gold Cup kicked off today after 25 years, bringing back a bygone generation’s memories, many of which are part of the folklore in this football crazy town.
“The craze for this tournament was mind-boggling. The stands would always be packed and even when I went to other parts of the country to play football, players used to enquire about this tournament,” said Mahendra Subba, a state level player who also played in the Darjeeling tournament.
Old timers recalled how people would come in droves, sometime even on horsebacks, from places like Bijanbari, 35km from town, with a hamper to watch the show. “It was a common site to see people carrying a foldable mini-table so that they could enjoy their meals properly during the match,” said Suraj Lama, an octogenarian from Darjeeling.
The blue ribbon tournament, which used to see the participation of the country’s best footballers of those times, had started in 1975 with the Brigade of Gurkhas (British Army) based in Hong Kong presenting the trophy to the Darjeeling District Sports Association.
“Such was the energy among the spectators that during the inaugural tournament, the then chief minister of Bengal chose to kick the ball towards the stands, and not the goal post, while declaring the tournament open,” recalled Lama.
Today, P.M.K. Gandhi, the Darjeeling district magistrate, declared the tournament open. The tournament was last played in 1985, when East Bengal emerged as the champions.
“At times we could not see the match on the other side of the field because of dense fog. But many of us always carried a radio and used to listen to the running commentary on All India Radio, Kurseong,” said Dawa Rai, an old timer.
The inaugural match between Darjeeling XI and the Indian Football Association (IFA) XI today, too, had its share of excitement stored for the spectators who braved a rather chilly evening and fading lights to watch the match. The Darjeeling team consolidated its position early in the game scoring a brace through Subesh Rai and Pranesh Dewan in the first half.
Although the Darjeeling team displayed a better show, they missed a couple of opportunities to seal the game, only to see Surajit Das of the IFA XI scoring two penalties in the second half to equal the score sheet in the normal time.
The lights were fading and K. Banerjee, the match referee, decided to play the extra-time to get a result. At the dying moment, Nikash Tamang of Darjeeling scored a stunner and after a few moments, the IFA players started complaining of the lights. The referee would have none of it and the game was awarded to Darjeeling team, two minutes before its scheduled end.
Zakhir Hussian Malla, manager of the IFA, said: “I had told the referee at the end of the normal time that there could be problems with lights . He, however, told me that everything was fine and he ensured that the game ended despite bad light. We have no plan to file a complaint against the organisers.”
Club eyes trophy for Calcutta league
Bireswar Banerjee, TT, Siliguri, Nov. 12: Techno Aryan Football Club is aiming to take home the All India Brigade of Gurkhas Gold Cup so that the team’s morale goes up ahead of four crucial matches left in the Calcutta Premier Division Football League.
East Bengal currently leads the Calcutta league table with 33 points and Mohun Bagan comes second with 31. Techno Aryan is the third team in the league with 28 points. Both East Bengal and Techno Aryan have four matches left in the league.
“We are looking forward to lifting the cup as it will inspire our boys to play better in the rest of the matches in Calcutta league,” Raghu Nandy, the chief coach of Aryan, told The Telegraph today before his departure for Darjeeling.
Techno Aryan is the sole Calcutta club to take part in the All India Brigade of Gurkhas Gold Cup which kicked off in Darjeeling today.
This is the second time Nandy is visiting the hill town as a football coach and is aware of the ground condition and the weather. He had been to Darjeeling about 10 years ago when he was the coach of George Telegraph, a team based in Calcutta.
“We have come to play in Darjeeling to increase the morale of our boys. Although we are unbeaten in 12 successive matches, the club is third in the league. There are four matches left to be played by us in the league. If our boys perform well in the Darjeeling tournament, I think that will help them play better in the rest of the league matches in Calcutta,” said Nandy.
The average age of Techno Aryan’s players is 21. Goalkeeper Shivram Dey and stopper Anupam Sarker are the only team members who are in their 30s. The club also has two Nigerian strikers — Baba Tundey and Stanley, who have scored eight and five goals respectively in the league matches so far.
Nod for 12 posts on new campus
TT, Siliguri, Nov.12: The state government has approved 12 teaching posts for the second campus of North Bengal University, the first lot of posts to be sanctioned for the proposed institution in Jalpaiguri.
According to varsity sources, the letter for sanction reached the university last month.
“The NBU authorities had applied to the University Grants Commission for 24 teaching posts for the technical departments at the varsity last year. The posts were approved about eight months back. The state government, too, had been approached and they intimated us of their approval in October. Of the 24 posts, 12 are for the second campus at Jalpaiguri and the rest for different departments on the NBU campus,” a source said.
“These are the first set of posts to be sanctioned for the new campus. However, we are going to need more teachers for the seven post-graduate courses that will be offered there,” said Sushanta Das, the varsity’s controller of examinations.
The initiative to start the new campus was taken after repeated demands from the residents of Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts.
The varsity received the sanction for the second campus in November last year and a 36.18-acre plot was transferred to the authorities from the Jalpaiguri Government Engineering College.
The NBU authorities plan to start seven post graduate courses on the new campus — MA in Hindi, education and social welfare, MSc in food and nutrition and geography and MTech in food processing and pharmaceutical technology — from the 2011-2012 session. The authorities have applied to the state government for more teachers .
“We require five teachers for each course. The 12 posts have already been sanctioned. But we had applied for 23 more teachers to the state government a couple of months back but are yet to receive the approval,” the source added.
In July, the state government had sanctioned Rs 28 lakh for building a boundary wall around the plot of the new campus.
However, according to the varsity authorities, the estimated cost of Rs 77.16 crore including the construction cost of the new building is still pending with the state government.
“The funds for constructing the boundary wall has been sanctioned but there has been a delay in approving the money for the construction of the campus building. We expect the approval to come within the next couple of months. It is necessary that we get the funds soon so that the building is ready and we can start the classes for the next academic session.” said Das.
The money would be used to build different departments, an administrative building, a library and quarters for the staff members.
Pension hope for widow after 39 years
TT, Jalpaiguri, Nov. 12: A 67-year-old widow of a primary school teacher was today promised by the district inspector of schools that all her husband’s dues would be settled after she arrived at the DI’s office armed with a high court order.
The court order instructed the school education department to hand over to Namita Mishra her husband’s pension and other benefits that she had been denied for 39 long years.
Namita’s husband Nirupamlal Mishra was 29 years old when he was hacked to death during the turbulent Naxal era in 1971.
After decades of neglect and with relatives unwilling to help her for such a long period of time, Namita appealed to Calcutta High Court last year asking for the pension due to her. But a single-bench judge did not admit the case saying that she had filed her claim late.
Giving up all hopes, Namita, who has been tending a local Kali temple in Shantipara here for the past 20 years for Rs 200 a month, met Monojit Dutta, an officer of the Life Insurance Corporation of India. Dutta worked in an office across the road from the temple which he frequented.
The 46-year-old LIC officer came to know about Namita’s plight and in September this year, helped her file another appeal before the division bench of Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice Sombuddha Chakraborty. This time the case was admitted. Sripantha Dutta represented Namita in court.
On October 5, the division bench quashed the order of the single-judge court and directed the school education department to clear her dues by December 5.
Today, at the hearing conducted at the DI’s office, Namita and LIC officer Dutta were present along with the current head teacher of Saripukuri Primary School in Jalpaiguri Sadar block where Mishra worked, and the district treasury officer.
The acting inspector of primary schools, Kalyani Chakrabarti, said the hearing was held according to the high court order. “It will take us a few days to process the dues and we will try to do that in a day or two and send it to the directorate of pension and gratuity for the final processing,” Chakrabarti said, unable to tell the amount she would receive.
“I was very upset when she told me about her plight. Even though I am not related to her I thought it was my responsibility to stand beside the helpless woman. If she gets what is her rightful dues, I will be as satisfied as she will be,” Dutta said after the hearing.
Namita said of her three daughters, two had got married on their own. “My second daughter, Tapasi, works as a domestic help and has not married, so that she can look after me. If we get the money, we will not have to toil the way we are doing now,” said Namita.
Ray's film on Sikkim surrendered
HT, Kolkata: The DVD containing the unauthorised version of Satyajit Ray’s documentary, Sikkim, was handed over to the Kolkata film festival authorities by the late filmmaker’s cameraman on a request from West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. A local court in Sikkim gave an interim stay on the film's screening, and the order arrived on Thursday just after the documentary was shown at the Kolkata Film Festival. The verdict was issued after the documentary’s rights-holder, Art and Culture Trust of Sikkim (ACT), moved the court. 
ACT bought the rights of the film in 2002 (10 years after Ray's death) from the Chogyals, the rulers of the state before Sikkim merged with India in 1975.

“The chief minister asked me for the film and I couldn’t refuse him,” cameraman Soumendu Roy said on Friday. Roy said he got the print from Ray himself.
Roy had worked as Ray’s cameraman in 21 films over almost 30 years.
“I wasn’t aware of the legal angle to the film and its screening but I am putting everything on record,” he said.
On November 9 and 10 HT reported that the Kolkata Film Festival’s decision to screen Sikkim might lead to a legal wrangle because it was done without the producer’s approval. The stay has come as a personal blow to Bhattacharjee, who took the initiative to screen the documentary at the festival.
Since 1995, the year of its inauguration, Bhattacharjee has been the moving force behind the festival.
Complete Shutdown  observed in trouble torn areas decrying NDFB’s Brutal Killing
10-11-10 Posters Condemning Brutal Killing-NDFB Massacre-Fancy Bazar (2).JPG
Posters Condemning Brutal
Killing-NDFB Massacre-Fancy Bazar
Guwahati, 10 Nov:- (GT Ghy News Bureau)A complete shut down from dawn to dusk was observed for immediate restoration of peace and normaly in most of the trouble torn areas due to the NDFB’s Monday’s massacre whose death toll this evening reached two dozen. Even the capital city Guwahati observed partial bandh however the market hub of entire North East in Guwahati Fancy Bazar remained shutdown.
As many as 24 innocent people most of them devanagiri script speaking community have so far killed in the brutal violence  in the name of arms struggle. The shut down was called by several democratic organizations that includes the influential All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union (AAGSU), All Assam Bhojpuri Yuva Chatra Parishad (AABYCP), Purvottor Hindu Yuva Chatra Parishad, All Assam Bengali Yuva Chatra Parishad and others and support extend by opposition party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and BJP Assam State Unit.
 Nagaon district in middle Assam has been witness to rail and road blockade as a mark of protest against the barbaric killing of innocent people by NDFB terror mongers in various parts of the state on Monday and Tuesday. As a result the Silghat-Guwahati train was stranded for three hours. Activists of All Assam Bhojpuri Yuva Chatra Parishad also staged a road blockade on National Highway 37. A bandh was also observed in Nagaon since morning and bandh supporters were seen to be enforcing the call with gusto. A number of protesters engaged in road blockade were also arrested by the police. On the other hand, the impact of the '12 hours Assam Bandh' in Bodo Territorial Council(BTC) region and Sonitpur district the highly affected areas, called by influential All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union (AAGSU) against the savagery let loose by the NDFB terror mongers was almost total in Kokrajhar district, bringing normal life to a standstill. It may be recalled the so far 24 persons have died in NDFB terror strike while many others were critically injured. Amidst tight security only a handful of private vehicles were seen to be plying on National Highway 31. AAGSU, BTC Zone Committee in its statement haveheld both state and union government responsible for today’s state of affairs in BTC region and Assam at large. Madhab Chetri President AAGSU BTC region condemned the incident in strong words and called for immediate restoration peace and tranquility in the state.
Road blockade was also staged at Bandardowa along Assam-Arunachal border by the activists of Bengali Yuva Chatra Parishad, Bharatiya Yuva Morcha and Bandardowa Business Association in protest against the barbaric killings by the NDFB while demanding security for the people of the area. The situation took an ugly turn following a physical bout with Arunachal Pradesh Police. Presently, the Assam Police is patrolling the area. Meanwhile, the organisations protesting the killings by NDFB terror mongers have alleged that loaded trucks coming from Arunachal Pradesh were not checked, enhancing the possibility of transportation of arms and ammunition by terror outfits. Today’s bandh also paralysed normal life in many parts of upper Assam.
Home Minister visit to Assam
The Union Home Minister P Chidambaram expressed concern over the present law and order situation in Assam following mass killing of innocent people by blood hungry NDFB terror mongers. The Home Minister expressed his concern to a delegation of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) MPs who met him in New Delhi on Wednesday (Nov 10). The delegation comprising three AGP MPs, namely Birendra Prasad Baishya, Kumar Dipak Das and Joseph Toppo, met the Union Home Minister and apprised him about the present situation in Assam. They also requested the Home Minister to take appropriate action against the culprit so that peace could return to the trouble torn state at the earliest. In reply the Home Minister said that he too was worried over the present situation and the hope of visiting the state soon -- possible by next Sunday (Nov 14). Chidambaram said that the security forces have been directed to take stern action against the miscreants and restore normalcy in the state.

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