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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dalai Lama arrived in Gangtok.. Only a red pullover to stop speeding monster - Presence of mind averts tragedy .. Jaswant Singh hopeful of positive outcome

KalimNews: His Holiness the Dalai Lama was received by KT Gyaltesen the Speaker of the Bidhan Sabha. The Governor of Sikkim called on His Holiness the Dalai lama at State Circuit House shortly after he arrived Gangtok. The Governor B.P.Singh also met Lama and presented two books to Dalai Lama during their exchange Of pleasentaries .
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Dalai sermon at science & wisdom meet
TT,Gangtok, Dec. 19: The Dalai Lama will address the inaugural session of an international conference here tomorrow, a seminar that the organisers claimed will be the first ever effort in the country to blend traditional wisdom with modern science.
The Tibetan spiritual leader reached Gangtok this morning. He has been touring the South and West districts of Sikkim since December 15.
The four-day event organised by the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology under the Sikkim government aims to introduce lessons in “morals and ethics” with a scientific approach in schools across the state, said the organisers.
Scholars and spiritual leaders from different parts of the world will attend the conference, Science, Spirituality and Education.
The programme will be held at Chintan Bhavan here in Gangtok.
The Dalai Lama will address the inaugural session tomorrow and he will also take part in an interactive session during the event on December 22, said Pema Wangchuk Dorjee, the media consultant for the seminar.
Governor B.P. Singh and chief minister Pawan Chamling will also address the opening session of the international conference that will end on December 23.
According to the organisers, during the two-hour interactive session, the spiritual leader will deliberate with the panellists and impart guidance on how “moral ethics” can be introduced into the modern education system.
Around 22 scholars on mind and life sciences would present papers during the seminar that has been divided into seven sessions.
The effort to blend science with spirituality and its adoption as a curriculum for schools follows from the Dalai Lama’s role in encouraging a dialogue between science and religious philosophy, said the organisers.
According to them, the spiritual leader desired life science as a subject in which the two themes of science and religious philosophy are not in conflict, “rather they collaborate with each other to deliver intelligence with compassion”.

TitBits: KalimNews:Bangla bandh called by SFI protesting against death of a SFI supporter student and Siliguri bandh called by Bangla O Bangla bhasa bachao Samity was reported effective in the certain areas of Siliguri in the morning of Monday 21st Dcember. BOBBC called the bandh in protest against the formation of GRA and tripartite talks is supported by Shiv Sena and Bangla Morcha.
Dawa Norbula former MP of Congress speaking to a Nepali daily said that Gorkhaland is not possible without the help of Congress part. He further said that GJM is playing with the sentiments of Gorkhas. He commented that GJM is like a falling wall and at the moment nobody wants to go near it.
Meanwhile Gaulan Lepcha, MLA Kalimpong said that the legal status of GRA is controversial, it should be settled first. He stressed that the relation of GJM with the state should be reconciled and made afresh which has been the hindrance in the talks.
Anup Pradhan a resident of Kurseong and student Mizoram University received Gold prize from President Prativa Patil. His topic of thesis was Condensed matter in physics.

i) Anup Pradhan, Mizoram Central University topper awarded with Swarna Padak by Dr. Pratibha Devi Patil, President of India for his excellence.
ii) Despite GJM's respite to the 48 hrs bundh from 21 Dec all offices in the hills to continue to remain shut down. However, working in financial institutions, post offices and insurance sectors not to be affected till 27 Dec.
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Christmas shopping in Gangtok
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Self employment in South Sikkim
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Finger at food crunch for less birds - Canal & picnickers take their toll on Kulik survival
TT, Raiganj, Dec. 19: An expert from the Zoological Survey of India has said the number of avian visitors to the Kulik bird sanctuary has gone down possibly because of lack of food arising out of altered natural surroundings.
Gopinathan Maheswaran of the ZSI has studied the birds and their habitat in the sanctuary for four days and made several observations that might help increase the numbers. He arrived at the sanctuary on December 15 at the invitation of the state forest department to investigate the reasons behind the reduction in the avian population.
The ornithologist said he had gone through the records of bird count conducted by the foresters in the past 12-14 years and studied the condition of trees and the availability of food for the birds.
“I have not yet arrived at any (specific) reasons that have caused the dwindling of the avian population, as I have to observe the birds and their habitat for some more years. But I can say there are several probable reasons that had contributed to the disappearance of the birds,” said Maheswaran.
One of the possible reasons, the ornithologist says, lay in the canal that flows to the sanctuary from the Kulik river. “Most of the birds which come here are waders feeding on molluscs and fish. But the canal is too deep for the birds to swoop on the fish. I have also observed that in the farmland around the sanctuary, instead of paddy that provides a muddy milieu where snails and other molluscs thrive, villagers are growing crops like wheat and mustard which do not require standing water. The result is that birds are being deprived of food,” he said.
The ornithologist was called in after the number of birds — mostly herons, egrets and cormorants — fell to 50,000 from 1 lakh last year.
Another factor that the expert pointed out was the disturbances the nesting birds face in the sanctuary. He said the nesting birds preferred some quiet and the sanctuary was open for picnickers. “I have told the forest department to look into these factors and prevent tourists from entering the sanctuary during nesting season,” said Maheswaran.
According to him, in the case of migratory birds, nothing could be said for certain after observing their nesting only once. “We need to study for years to come to a definitive conclusion,” said the expert before leaving for the ZSI office in Agartala today.
The divisional forest officer of Raiganj, Apurba Sen, said steps were being taken in tune with Maheswaran’s observations. “To give a variety of roosting options to the birds, we will prune the tops of the trees where the open-bill storks nest. We will also plant 10,000 saplings on a vacant plot in the sanctuary, regulate the level of water in the canal and ban the entry of tourists during the breeding season. I am also sending the recommendations to the government.”
Jaswant Singh hopeful of positive outcome from Gorkhaland talks
Neena Vyas, TH, New Delhi: After negotiations spreading over 15 months and more and meetings with some senior Congress leaders, Darjeeling MP and senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh on Saturday said talks on the Gorkhaland issue were moving in a “satisfactory direction” and he was optimistic of a positive outcome.
Flanked by leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, Mr. Singh told journalists that he was convinced that an early resolution of the issue would be in the national interest. He noted that the area around Darjeeling borders four different countries, including China, and finding a solution to the 103-year-old demand for Gorkhaland was of “very high national importance.”
The GJMM had agreed to defer its agitational plan that included the call for a 48-hour bandh in Darjeeling and surrounding areas that was to take place in a few days from now. A delegation of the GJMM, including its president Bimal Gurung, has been here for the last few days.
It had met senior Congress leader and chief troubleshooter for the government Pranab Mukherjee, who had requested them to defer their agitation plan as talks were going on. On Friday, the delegation members also had a meeting with Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, said Mr. Singh. He added he was “satisfied” with the talks and was optimistic of an early resolution of the problem.
Mr. Singh said he viewed the Gorkhaland demand as one that would “bind” rather than “divide” (‘yeh sawal jodne ka hai todne ka nahin' – it is question of binding people together, not dividing them). And Mr. Gurung said his group's demands were within the framework of the Constitution and it did not want to indulge in anything that could only be used by its detractors for creating mischief. “We [Gorkhas] have shed a lot of blood for the country ... our demand is linked to our identity.”
In response to questions, Mr. Singh said the press should not take for granted that his own party, the BJP, or the Congress or even the Left would continue to oppose the Gorkhaland demand. While he did not spell out concretely where the talks were placed, he said they were “delicately poised.” He also suggested that some resolution could be in sight even “before the Assembly polls” due in West Bengal in about four to five months.
“There is every indication that the talks are moving in the right direction. We have no indication that they will fall flat,” Mr. Singh said.
Only a red pullover to stop speeding monster - Presence of mind averts tragedy
TT, Jalpaiguri, Dec. 19: A mason’s presence of mind averted a disaster at a level-crossing this morning when he managed to flag down with his red pullover a passenger train that was speeding towards the open gate defying the signal.
More than 20 people on foot, besides rickshaws and other vehicles, were crossing the tracks at that time.
Sheikh Sultan, too, like some others, spotted the 649 Up New Jalpaiguri-Haldibari Passenger approaching Goomty Number 3 — the level crossing 300 metres from Jalpaiguri town station — around 10.50am. The scheduled time for the Haldibari-bound train at the Jalpaiguri Town station is 10.30am
A rickshaw puller, Harish Roy, recounted that the level-crossing gates were open and the red signal was on. “There were about 20 persons on the tracks on foot and on bicycles. I had just crossed over. Most people did not react as they could not imagine that the train would defy signal,” Harish said. Among those who realised with horror what was happening was 28-year-old Sultan on his way to work on a bicycle at an under-construction house in Pandapara.
Harish said he saw a cyclist (Sultan, whose name no one knew then) suddenly get off the saddle and take off his black jacket. “Underneath, he was wearing a high-neck that he took off and waving it frantically began running on the tracks towards the approaching train, at the same time shouting out to those on the level-crossing.”
Alerted by the shouts of warning, the people, too, began running away from the tracks and stopped an ambulance from getting on to the tracks. “The man with the red sweater managed to make the driver of the train brake just about 100 metres from the level-crossing,” Harish said.
As soon as the train halted, local people rushed to the Goomty at the level-crossing and demanded to know from the gateman, Pesh Mohammad, why he had not lowered the gates.
“I had not received any instructions from the Jalpaiguri Town station to close the level-crossing and that is why I did not do anything,” Mohammad said.
The manager of the station, Jiban Krishna Bala, also confirmed that no instructions had been communicated to the gateman to lower the gates. “We did not give any instructions because at that time a goods train that had arrived from Haldibari was being shunted (moved to one track form the other) and we cannot give the green light to any other train at that point of time,” Bala said.
He explained the green signal to a train was given only after the gateman closed the gates and the key was deposited with the control room at the station. “I have already sent a report to my superiors in the Northeast Frontier Railway. Despite being a ‘no signal’, the motorman of the train, R.K. Raj, assistant motorman N.K. Roy, and guard S. K. Roy, tried to enter the station.” Bala said he had also mentioned in his report the role of Sultan.
Repeated calls to the NFR’s area manager in New Jalpaiguri, B.K. Mishra, went unanswered. But later in the afternoon, the NFR’s divisional railway manager in Katihar, B.L. Patil, said a full inquiry into the incident had been ordered. “We are probing why the driver tried to enter the station despite the signal being red and at what speed the train was approaching the level crossing,” he said.
A railway official at the town station said the speed of the train at that time was at least 40km/hour. “It was enough to crush a truck or a bus full of passengers,” he said.
Sultan said he was happy that he could prevent an accident. “But I will not take the sole credit as there were others who prevented cars and people from getting on to the tracks while I was trying to catch the attention of the train driver,” he said.
Rail employees killed
Two railway employees were killed and another injured this morning at Khalitpur station in Malda’s Kaliachak while repairing a signal.
GRP sources said the trio were working on the down line when a goods train came along that track. “It was foggy and they tried to jump on to the Up line, but were crushed by the speeding Radhikapur Express,” Biplab Sarkar, who was injured, told the GRP. They were unaware that the express train was running two hours late.
Rule flout charge against ragging probe
TT, Siliguri, Dec. 19: Five members of the executive council of North Bengal University have alleged that the varsity had formed the anti-ragging committee without following UGC regulations and demanded its re-constitution.
Four of the five members had voted against the recommendation of the anti-ragging panel to rusticate six PG seniors of the philosophy department for “physically and mentally torturing” 17 junior students at a hostel on the campus. Suspension and ouster from the hostel were mooted for eight other seniors. However, all the recommendations were turned down in a vote at a council meeting on December 16.
“The varsity authorities hand-picked the members of the anti-ragging committee without considering UGC rules. The UGC has suggested that the committee be a broad one and shall include representatives of police, NGOs, parents, media, junior and senior students, faculty members and other staff at the varsity. But the existing panel has just faculty members, a varsity officer and a student representative. We want the committee to be re-constituted to include all the required members as mandated by the UGC,” Malay Karanjai, a council member, said here today.
The council members also said there was no evidence of physical torture by the senior students in the inquiry report submitted by the anti-ragging panel. They also alleged that the committee’s constitution had not been discussed at the council.
The varsity said the 22-member anti-ragging committee had been formed complying with the UGC regulations and the council members had raised the charges to protect the students involved in the ragging. An NBU official also said the panel had substantial evidence to prove that the freshers had been subjected to physical torture.
New cottages
TT,Jaigaon: State forest minister Ananta Roy inaugurated two cottages at Lankapara range in Titi forest on Sunday. The forest department has spent Rs 10 lakh to built Sonartari and Geetanjali that have two double bedrooms each.
Antler arrest
TT,Siliguri: Officials of Baikunthapur forest division arrested a person on Saturday evening and recovered the antler of a deer from him. Dharamdeb Rai, the divisional forest officer of Baikunthapur, said Victor Burman, a resident of Falakata in Jalpaiguri district, was picked up from Matigara, while he was looking for a buyer.
Jawan suicide
TT, Siliguri: BSF jawan Susanta Burman, 25, a resident of Mainaguri in Jalpaiguri district, shot himself dead at the Salugara Training Centre on Sunday. The body has been sent for post-mortem.
Enter: ‘evil forces’ and body politics:CM barb at Trinamul
SUBHAJOY ROY AND ARNAB GANGULY, TT, Calcutta, Dec. 19: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee can hear “the footsteps of an asuva shakti (evil force)” in educational institutions.
At a gathering of CPM-supporter schoolteachers today, the chief minister’s allusion was an indirect admission of the increasing clout of the Trinamul Congress in what once used to be a Left fief. But he finds competition “evil”, much in the same vain he had found evil in the opposition to his candidate for a cricket body election in 2006.
“Our state is going through a period of evil (asuva shomoy). An evil force is rearing its head in our society. Now its footsteps are being heard in our educational institutions also,” he said after unveiling the bust of a former leader of the All Bengal Teachers’ Association.
The chief minister was referring to the instances of violence this week at Asutosh College and Howrah’s Prabhu Jagadbandhu College. The SFI has called a students’ strike tomorrow to protest “Trinamul-sponsored atrocities”.
Not to be left behind, Trinamul supporters will walk from Netaji’s statue in Shyambazar to Esplanade tomorrow. Both the SFI and Trinamul Chhatra Parishad have also planned street protests, which could paralyse Calcutta streets.
At the Curzon Park event today, Bhattacharjee said he believed “the evil force will eventually be defeated.”
None from the CPM would comment on whether the many empty chairs at the venue on a mild December morning were also a result of the “evil force”. At least a third of the 450 red chairs were empty.
“What is happening in the colleges never happened before. One student lost his life, another lost vision in one of his eyes,” the chief minister said. Second-year BCom student Swapan Koley died after being beaten up by alleged Trinamul supporters and second-year English student Souvik Hazra’s left eyeball got ruptured in stone-pelting by rival unions at Asutosh College.
A beleaguered CPM pushed its student supporters to the frontline during the subsequent protests, trying an image makeover. Bhattacharjee iterated today the CPM’s reliance on students to turn the tide months before the Assembly elections. “The students are fighting these evil forces and they will win,” he said.
Branding adversaries “asuva (evil) is an old habit of the chief minister. He had dubbed cricket administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya’s victory in the Cricket Association of Bengal elections in 2006 “a victory of evil over good”. The chief minister had wanted Dalmiya to end his 14-year reign at Eden Gardens “for the sake of Bengal cricket” and foisted his own candidate, the then police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee, for president.
Four years later, addressing reporters at Alimuddin Street ahead of the civic polls in May this year, Bhattacharjee had likened Trinamul to “evil”. “Trinamul represents the forces of backwardness. I believe the people, particularly the youth, will defeat these evil forces,” he had said.
Although “evil” is an expression mostly associated with the chief minister, he has no monopoly on it in the CPM. State CPM chief Biman Bose had said during Trinamul’s Singur agitation: “The evil force that is opposing this (the acquisition of land for the Tata Nano project) does not want development of the state.”
Trinamul leaders smirked at the chief minister’s latest outburst. “We don’t know what will make him happy. Yesterday, he wanted the Opposition for cooperation, today he is calling us an evil force,” said Partha Chatterjee.
‘Kings’ told to leave
Bhattacharjee today asked CPM functionaries who think they are “kings” and treat the people as their “subjects” to leave the party, days after offering the same advice to “bossy people in the party”. His comments today came at a rally in North 24-Parganas.
Carol & coffee with Mamata at Xavier’s

RITH BASU, TT, Kolkata:Mamata Banerjee spent half an hour at a Christmas get-together organised by the St Xavier’s College alumni on Sunday evening, enquiring about the health of aged teachers, listing her favourite Christmas songs and requesting the band to play her a carol after it had packed up.
“I like to listen to Bengali songs even at this time of the year. But right now I feel like listening to an English song,” the railway minister told principal Fr Felix Raj as the band, Violin Brothers String Orchestra, reassembled their instruments on the dais on the Xavier’s playground to perform her choice: Silent Night, Holy Night.
Song over, Mamata proceeded to enumerate to the principal her playlist for the season. “I like Vishwapita tumi hey prabhu and Mangaldeep jwele. Yesterday, in the car, I was asking Derek (O’Brien) to give me a list of songs they sing on Christmas. He said he would give me a CD today but hasn’t kept his word,” smiled the Trinamul chief.
She refused to eat but insisted that the St Xavier’s fathers begin their dinner while she kept them company. After much coaxing, Mamata agreed to a cup of coffee.
When an alumni member asked her if she would like her coffee black, without sugar, she feigned anger and said: “Kalo coffee khabo keno? Khachhi jokhon sadai khabo, puro sada, dudh diye, chinio diye, kintu chinita ektu kom (Why will I have black coffee? Since I am having coffee, I might as well have it with milk and sugar, though not much of sugar). ”
Then it was her turn to be introduced to members of the alumni and some teachers, including the oldest, M.M. Rehman of the commerce section, who has been teaching for 51 years.
While being introduced to Fr Xavier, who teaches environmental science, Mamata quipped: “We’ve got a lot to learn from you. You must teach us sometimes too,” to a roar of appreciative laughter from those around.
When Rehman asked her if she was feeling nervous sitting amidst so many teachers, pat came the reply, punctuated with a smile: “No, I am not feeling nervous. I have a lot of respect for all of you and am wondering how to express it.”
Before leaving, Mamata did not forget to apologise for reaching the programme, to which many eminent Calcuttans had been invited, late. “I got delayed at a prize distribution ceremony. They had any number of prizes and wouldn’t let me leave until I had distributed all of them even though I was fretting about getting late here.”
When she was preparing to leave the campus around 9.30pm, mayor Sovan Chatterjee and party leaders like Madan Mitra in tow, Fr Felix Raj wanted to escort her to the gate but she would have none of it.
“Apni khub senior. Apni ashben na. Ami ek doure chole jabo (You are such a senior person. You don’t have to come. I will run along),” she said and set off on her customary brisk walk across the playground towards the Park Street gate of the college.
Special Train
PTI, SILIGURI, WEST BENGAL: A weekly winter special train between New Jalpaiguri and Kolkata will be introduced for clearing the winter rush of passengers, Northeast Frontier Railway officials said. 
The train 03143 Kolkata-New Jalpaiguri winter special will leave Kolkata every Saturday at 23.55hrs on 25.12.2010, 01.01.2010 and 08.01.2010.
The train 03144 New Jalpaiguri-Kolkata winter special will leave New Jalpaiguri at 12.45hrs every Sunday on 26.12.2010, 01.01.2010 and 09.01.2011.

copy of Letter of GJM to Rahul Gandhi
Shri Rahul Gandhi
Hon’ble General Secretary
All India Congress Committee
New Delhi
Hon’ble Sir,
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) makes an earnest appeal to the Central Government and to your esteemed authority to show empathy and understanding towards the justified demand of Indian Gorkhas for a separate state of Gorkhaland. The demand, originating in 1907 enjoyed the popular support of the people in the Hills and Dooars. It is a demand based on our identity and political aspirations for self-rule within the framework of the Indian Constitution. In the past, several political parties, groups and leaders have reiterated the demand which culminated in 1980’s in the form of violence, bloodshed, loss of lives and property. but all proved to be futile due to misunderstanding, misinterpretation, misrepresentation and disinformation as orchestrated by the scheming left front government of West Bengal. A separate state of Gorkhaland has been the political aspiration of the Gorkhas for more than 100 years. The late Prime Minister Sri Rajiv Gandhi was well aware of the plight of Gorkhas and the ambiguous status that they suffered at the hand of the State Government hence was sympathetic to the cause.
The struggle for Gorkha identity within the Indian Union must not be misconstrued or misinterpreted. It is not a movement to secede but to belong to this great country. The Gorkhas must be recognized as equal stake-holders in governance of the country and its future. Recognition of Gorkha “identity” will fortify the nations security and their assimilation into the mainstream of Indian life and enhances the process of nation-building. A separate state will emotionally integrate the Gorkhas with the rest of the country which will go a long way in strengthening the ethnic fabric of this great nation.
To-day, the GJM has adopted a non-violent and Gandhian mode of agitation. It has become a model for the rest of the country to follow. In fact GJM has brought back the lost political value to the fore..
A separate state of Gorkhaland in no way implies “partition” of Bengal as is campaigned by Bengal since Darjeeling and its contiguous areas were never a part of Bengal. Our Movement is an emphasis of the fact that we are historically, culturally, linguistically, ethnically, socially different from the people of Bengal.
Since Independence especially under the Marxists, we have suffered due to the misgovernance and the politics of discrimination perpetuated by the West Bengal Government and this has made our resolve even stronger. The State Government’s “step-motherly” treatment has made us feel like “second-class” citizens in our own country.
The Central Government is seriously contemplating on conceding the demand of carving out a separate state of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh. Telangana , in all probability, seems to be a reality soon. A careful study of the Gorkha issue will show how the case of Gorkhaland is the strongest and in the best interest of the National. We make an earnest appeal to your charismatic, young and dynamic leadership to consider the demand of Gorkhaland also along with the demand of Telangana.
Meanwhile Morcha also likes to inform your generous authority about the ongoing tripartite talks between Union Government, the State Government of West Bengal and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. Eleventh round of tripartite talks has already been held and only a couple of issues have remained to be contentious. The State Government of West-Bengal seems bent upon dragging the issue for its own political advantage giving no heed to the gravity of the problem in the overall interest of the Nation.
We also take this privilege to extend our invitation to your gracious self to pay a visit to the queen of hills and witness for yourself as to what the State Government of West Bengal has done to an otherwise the natural haven that it used to be.
Thanking you
Yours sincerely
Bimal Gurung
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha

(source: GJM Media)

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