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

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

GJM versus Jalpaiguri administration on day two continues ...Electricity generation from Rammam stopped... Morcha entry plea rejected again.... .600 travellers forced to return to Siliguri Terminus for Gangtok buses shut in protest

KalimNews, 19 January: The 2nd day of the 8 days' bundh of 27 days' bandh completed without any report of untoward incident. As entire Darjeeling Hills is shivering with intense cold, people too seems to be freezing with cold. But Samsing where GJM President Bimal Gurung with his associates and party supporters had  stationed since yester-afternoon had heated moments with the district administration throughout the day. 
GJM insisted that they may be allowed entry to Jaigaon and pass through Samsing TE of Jalpaiguri, Matelli. But huge contingent of police armed with all types of weapons and batons with tear gas shells lead by Arvind Kumar Police super of Jalpaiguri restricted GJM's movement within Darjeeling District. Though the number of GJM supporters is 5 times more than the police personnel GJM is not in a mood to violate the law by force but  trying to sneak through easy paths. Dr Harka Bahadur Chhetri spokesperson of the GJM said that abiding by the law GJM will make its way to Jaigaon. Bimal Gurung also said that he will not return but continue his Padyatra and head towards Jaigaon to reach there .
Late in the evening the GJM procession whisked its route towards Khumani forest through Samsing Tea garden entering Jalpaiguri area using Tea garden byelanes. While Dr Chhetri was negotiating with the police Gurung led his way through Rocky island, Suntalay and Kumai to Khumani Check post. But at Khumani in the Darjeeling district border they were again stopped by police and forced the GJM team to halt on their way to Khunia that leads to NH 31C on their way to Jaigaon near Nagarkatta.  
Meanwhile 144 CrPC in Japlaiguri district that was clamped till Thursday is extended for two more days.
In the hills the strike was completely successful. National Highway 31A is completely open but picketers are restricting movement of vehicles having West Bengal registration number. Tea gardens and Cinchona plantation is open along with emergency services.
People preferred to remain indoors in their houses to avoid chilly weather and dense foggy streets. Most of the town people were seen glued to their computers and chatting in the internet while villagers enjoyed to complete their household works.
Electricity generation from Rammam Hydel Project stopped
KalimNews: A report from Darjeeling said that Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha a women's wing of GJM has stopped generation of electricity at Rammam Hydel Project from Tuesday. At about 11 am of 18 January GJNM members of Lodhoma unit forced the workers to stop the generation of 11.9 megawatt electricity. 
On 14 and 15 January too they had forced the WBSEDCL workers to stop the generation and we had informed higher authorities about it said  a staff of the Rammam Hydro electricity Project. It usually produces 51 megawatt electricity during the monsoon and had never been stopped due to any political movement. GJNM leaders said that this Hydel Project also should observe bundh as others.
Morcha entry plea rejected again
TT, Kalimpong, Jan. 19: The standoff between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the administration continued for the second day with police stopping the nearly 1,500 marchers at Kumani More this afternoon.
The Morcha marchers had been camping at Samsing on the border of Jalpaiguri district, about 100km from here, since yesterday.
Early this morning, hundreds of Morcha supporters gathered in front of the gates leading to the bungalow of the Samsing tea garden director, demanding that the padayatra from Gorubathan to Jaigaon should be given unhindered passage.
The police, however, refused to budge, maintaining that their entry would create a law and order problem in the Dooars.
Morcha supporters led by members of the Nari Morcha, the party’s women’s wing, shouted slogans in favour of Gorkhaland and against the state government. In between, they burst into songs.
Yesterday, the marchers arrived in Samsing, trekking 22km from Gorubathan after aborting the plan to enter Jalpaiguri district through Malbazar. This afternoon, Morcha vice-president Kalyan Dewan and spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri tried to convince the police officers to allow them entry through Samsing but the request was rejected.
All this while, the Morcha marchers numbering about of 1500, including party president Bimal Gurung remained in the Samsing forest area, which falls in Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling district but borders the Dooars.
By 3pm when it was clear that the huge police force with commandos would not budge from Samsing, the marchers started moving towards Kumani tea estate and the forest village by the same name on their way to Khunia More. Khunia in Jalpaiguri district is about 22km from Samsing and is another of the Dooars’s entry points.
The police said the marchers might try to enter the Dooars through the Khunia More either late tonight or tomorrow.
In the evening, the Morcha spokesperson said they had reached Kumani More. Asked about their plans, Chhetri said they were continuing the march.
However, Jalpaiguri police chief Anand Kumar said the marchers had made an attempt to move towards Khunia More but were stopped at Kumani More. “We will not allow them to enter the district at any cost as there is apprehension of trouble,” Kumar said.
Jalpaiguri district magistrate Vandana Yadav said prohibitory orders under Section 144 has been extended in the Dooars to the whole of Friday. 
TH, KOLKATA: The Darjeeling hills of West Bengal faced a shutdown for a second day on Wednesday because of the seven-day second phase of bandhs called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leadership to press for a clarification from the Centre on its stand on the GJM demand for a separate Gorkhaland State.
Tension continued to prevail in the Dooars area where a large contingent of police personnel prevented GJM president Bimal Gurung, his associates and supporters from continuing on their “padayatra” to Jaigaon in Jalpaiguri district – the scene of clashes on Sunday between GJM activists and supporters of rival local outfits opposed to the Statehood demand.
“We have decided to extend by another two days the prohibitory orders under Section 144 Cr PC which are already in force in the region. To ensure peace we shall not allow any processions or meetings there,” District Magistrate of Jalpaiguri Vandana Yadav told The Hindu over telephone.
Mr. Gurung and his followers were stopped by the police from proceeding any further at the border separating Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts. “They have been trying to make a detour to reach Jaigaon but we have all the roads leading to the town covered”, she added.
Benoy Tamang, the GJM assistant general secretary who is accompanying Mr. Gurung, said that they had been prevented from continuing their ‘padayatra' by a “large contingent of about 2,500 policemen on the highway” leading to Jalpaiguri.
“The authorities have imposed prohibitory orders in the region but we are determined to find a way through to Jaigaon in the next few days”, Mr Tamang said.

Meanwhile, life remained paralysed for the second successive day in the Darjeeling hills where the bandh was “total”. Shops, commercial establishments and offices remained closed but tea gardens have been exempted from the bandh. A rally was held in the hill town where GJM leaders told the congregation “to be prepared to go to the Dooars where the situation is grim in the wake of police high-handedness on our supporters there”. 
The anti-GJM Democratic Front criticised the bandh call “which is counter-productive as it is affecting the local economy and the livelihood of the people”. 
Doubts over bandhs 
“How is the daily wage-earner expected to survive such frequent and prolonged bandhs? We are also doubtful what the bandh is going to achieve even though the GJM claims to have re-intensified its movement for a separate Gorkhaland State,” said Dawa Sherpa, convenor of the Democratic Front, when contacted in Darjeeling.
There were no tourists in Darjeeling to celebrate a rare bout of snowfall yesterday. For the people living there, it was a cold, dreary day spent on desperate preparations for another weeklong bandh. But the people’s suffering does not seem to bother their political leaders or the administration. For the politicians, shutting down everything is the easiest way to demonstrate their strength. 
Politics in the Darjeeling hills has been reduced to a naked show of muscle power by whichever party reigns there at any given time. For 20 years, it was Subash Ghisingh’s Gorkha National Liberation Front whose word was law there. For the past four years, it has been Bimal Gurung’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. 
The administration’s only worry is to ensure that the protests do not get too violent. The demand for statehood or some other form of self-rule may have once inspired the people’s hopes for a better life. But violent, disruptive politics everywhere destroys such hopes. It has been no exception in Darjeeling. The result is an unending cycle of bandhs, violence and intimidation that has made normal, peaceful life in Darjeeling a rare experience.
The GJM’s latest protest plans have yet another disturbing dimension. In addition to the bandh in the hills and the Terai, Mr Gurung plans to go on a march through the Dooars. His plans are linked to the GJM’s demand for the inclusion of large parts of the Dooars in the Gorkhaland state that the party has been demanding. Neither the Centre nor the West Bengal government wants the Dooars to be part of any autonomous set-up for Darjeeling. That seems to have made Mr Gurung desperate to try and spread the GJM’s sway to the Dooars. 
But his plans have prompted fierce opposition from not only the Communist Party of India (Marxist) but also from several groups representing the tribal people of the Dooars. Unless the politicians rein themselves in, there is real danger of a divide between the hills and the plains. No matter how the politicians try to exploit this to their petty ends, such a divide would be disastrous for the social and economic stability of the entire region. The administration needs to be extremely careful so that this does not happen. Darjeeling’s statehood cause too will suffer if the Dooars burns.(TT, 19 January 2011)

600 travellers forced to return to Siliguri Terminus for Gangtok buses shut in protest

TT, Siliguri, Jan. 19: Nearly 600 people travelling to Gangtok through NH31A were today forced to return to Siliguri after alleged threats by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, prompting tour operators and transporters to block the entrance to the Sikkim Nationalised Transport terminus here for two hours.
The transporters alleged that CRPF personnel were not seen on the highway to Sikkim and police presence did little to stop bandh supporters from blocking NH31A at three points between Sevoke and Rangpo. All the vehicles that were sent back had Bengal number plates.
According to the Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators’ Association, which spearheaded the protest at the terminus, ever since the Morcha started its 27-day strike on January 12, its supporters have been issuing threats to vehicles registered in Bengal.
Bimal Gurung’s outfit had claimed that it would keep NH31A, Sikkim’s only road link with the rest of the country, outside the purview of the strike.
“The drivers have been regularly complaining to us about threats. Stones were thrown at some vehicles on the first day of the strike. Since then, vehicles registered in Bengal have stopped plying the route to Sikkim. Yesterday, we met the IG to apprise him of the problem,” said Raj Basu, an adviser to the association, today.
“It was on the basis of his (IG) assurance that vehicles resumed travelling to Sikkim today. But the bandh supporters stopped them at Lohapul, Kirne and 27th Mile, and asked them to return to Siliguri. The drivers, after returning here, have specifically said they could not see any CRPF personnel on the highway but only a couple of policemen, who did not intervene to stop the bandh supporters from blocking these vehicles.”
As 33 vehicles returned to Siliguri with around 600 passengers including 150 tourists who had set out for Sikkim, association members and transporters blocked the entrance to SNT terminus on Hill Cart Road.
“It is shameful on the part of the police administration, which has miserably failed to maintain traffic on NH31A. Tourists coming from different parts of the country had to change their itineraries and many of them have expressed anguish. The halt of vehicles on the highway has also led to losses, both on our part as well as of tourists,” said Samrat Sanyal, the president of the association.
Hundreds of passengers and many SNT buses were left stranded in the terminus during demonstrations. The protesters dispersed around 1.30pm, two hours after they had started demonstrating, after the police assured them that vehicles travelling to the hill state would be escorted to and from Rangpo on the Sikkim border.
Vijay Kumar, who had come from Thane in Maharashtra and was forced to return from Lohapul, 35km from here, submitted a written complaint to the inspector-general of police of north Bengal, Ranvir Kumar.
In the complaint, Vijay Kumar said he was stopped on his way to Gangtok by some local people who threatened him with dire consequences if he did not return to Siliguri. “This has caused my family an additional burden and a loss of Rs 60,000. Please take appropriate action to avoid any such incident and also to safeguard the name of the state,” the complaint read.
The IG, however, said he had not received any complaints from the tour operators. “We have information that some vehicles were sent back to Siliguri but there has been no formal complaint so far. We are thinking of providing escorts (till Rangpo, 80km from Siliguri). The CRPF is patrolling the highway.”
The additional superintendent of police of Kalimpong J. Dorjee said certain preventive arrests were made in Lohapul today. Fifteen bandh supporters have been arrested from the site.
Scramble for Sikkim vehicles to beat bandh designs
TT, Gangtok, Jan. 19: Authorities here are planning to press into service Sikkim-registered trucks to prevent the shortage of essential commodities as vehicles with Bengal number plates face “subtle threats” along NH31A during the ongoing bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
The Sikkim government has also requisitioned vehicles belonging to private power developers as traffic on the highway has come down by 70 per cent despite an assurance by the Morcha that NH31A would be left out of the purview of the strike.
Transporters said most of the private trucks that carried essential items from Siliguri bear Bengal number plates and some “unidentified” groups had been giving “subtle warnings” to the drivers at places like Melli and Teesta along NH31A.
“Our drivers reported that there were some people who were noting down the registration numbers of trucks coming to Gangtok from Siliguri yesterday and today. The drivers were told that they were being let off this time, clearly hinting that there could be trouble if the vehicles hit the road again,” said a transporter.
The East Sikkim collector, D. Anandan, said he had met a delegation of Sikkim transporters and urged them to operate their vehicles to ferry essential commodities from Siliguri to the Himalayan state.
“We have assured them that if they co-operate to ply their vehicles, we will provide security along the highway from Rangpo to Melli,” said Anandan. “It is necessary that items for daily use are adequately stocked given the long duration of the strike.”
The strike in the Darjeeling hills had resumed yesterday after a two-day break and will extend till February 12 with four days of relief in between. The shutdown hasn’t affected the supply of the essentials to Sikkim yet, though the number of vehicles has gone down.
“The highway is open, but traffic is thin. Around 1,000 vehicles move up and down on a normal day, but this has come down to 200 to 300. But there have been no untoward incidents along the highway,” said B. K. Sundas, the subdivisional police officer of Rangpo.
NH31A is the only road link between Sikkim and the rest of the country.
Transport department officials said private power developers in the state had been asked to send their trucks to ensure smooth supply of goods during the strike.
“We are trying to run only Sikkim-registered vehicles along the highway to avoid any problems,” said a transport department official.
Sikkim Democratic Front spokesperson and MP P.D. Rai said the chief minister would raise the hardships faced by the people of the state during bandhs at a meeting on internal security called by the Prime Minister in New Delhi on February 1. 
Sukna scam: Lt Gen P K Rath's petition rejected
IE, Jan 19 2011, Shillong:The Army Court trying Lt Gen P K Rath in the Sukna land scam on Wednesday rejected his petition to examine private realtor Dilip Agarwal, saying the defence was given ample opportunity to put questions to the dealer when he was a court witness.
Presiding officer I J Singh, however, took on record the letter purportedly written by Agarwal to the court claiming that Rath was innocent.
"The court has examined the letter. All issues stated in the letter were brought out when he (Agarwal) was a court witness. No additional clarification is needed," Singh ruled.
He said the court had given full opportunity to the defence to put questions to Agarwal but they declined to avail the opportunity at that time.
Rath had petitioned the court seeking to recall Agarwal and examine him to clarify "certain missing links that may have a direct bearing on the case".
Rath's petition came after Agarwal wrote a letter to the General Court Martial (GCM) blaming Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali for issuing No Objection Certificates for construction on a piece of land adjacent to the military station.
Rath, former 33 Corps Commander, contended that in his previous appearance as a court witness, "Agarwal was not allowed to give any statement nor he was given any chance to produce any document that he claims to have possessed. So he might have resorted to write this letter to the GCM."
However, the GCM had refused to take cognisance of the letter after receiving it last week.
Responding to Rath's plea, the Army opposed it saying that there was no such precedence of accepting last minute petitions during GCMs, sources said.
Meanwhile, the judge advocate of the court is likely to commence his summing up this evening.

Hira Devi dies of burn injuries
TT, Siliguri, Jan. 19: Nepali folk singer Hira Devi Waiba died at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital this morning, where she was admitted yesterday with severe burns that she suffered while warming herself by the fire at her home.
Waiba, 71, lived by herself at her residence in Kadamtala on the outskirts of Siliguri. She is survived by her 92-year-old mother and a son and a daughter who stay in London and in Hong Kong.
At the time of the incident around 10am yesterday, family members said, Waiba was alone in the house except for the caretaker.
“With her back against a fire that had been lit in a pot on the balcony, she was making a list of groceries for the caretaker to fetch. The flannel gown she was wearing caught fire. The caretaker tried to douse the flames by draping her in garments strung outside but in vain,” a family member said.
Neighbours rushed to Waiba’s house on hearing her screams and took her to NBMCH, 2km away. Doctors there said she had suffered 60 per cent burns on her lower limbs, abdomen, chest and arms. She died at 5.30am today.
Waiba originally belongs to a family of musicians from Ambootia in Kurseong and is hailed as the pioneer of Nepali folk songs in the country. She has sung nearly 300 folk songs during her musical career spanning 40 years.
The funeral will be probably held on Friday. “Her son and daughter are supposed to come tomorrow. We have not informed her mother of her death as yet,” Waiba’s nephew Asim Moktan said.
Contemporaries remember Waiba as the pioneer of folk song in the country, whose career catapulted to international level when she recorded three songs for Radio Nepal in 1966.
“Hira didi recorded three songs for famous composers of Nepal in 1966. The recordings were done in Kurseong and as soon as they were played over the Royal Nepal Radio in 1966, she became an instant hit,” recalled Lakshman Srimal, a Nepali writer and composer.
The songs were phariya lyaidiachan tehi pani man parenawara dauri jada, para dauri jada and mayalu binti cha hai mero. Waiba also worked as an announcer for the All India Radio in Kurseong from 1963 to 1965.
As a tribute to her father Waiba had opened SM Waiba International Music and Dance Academy at her home in 2008.
She was given the Mitrasen Purashkar by the Nepali Akademi of Darjeeling in 1986, the Mitrasen Smriti Puraskar in 1996 (by the Sikkim government) and the Agham Singh Giri Puraskar in 2001.
The Nepal government had given her the Sadhna Samman and the Madhurima Phul Kumari Mahato Award.

Rhinos raid forest village
TT, Siliguri, Jan. 19: Two one-horned rhinos strayed out of Lataguri forest today but till late in the evening, 40 forest personnel have been on tenterhooks trying to keep away a mob from the animals in a forest village.
The animals were first spotted near Dakhshin Majhgram, 70km from Siliguri, around 6am.
“At first when I saw the moving object, I thought it was cattle roaming in the area. As there was dense fog, I could hardly see anything clearly. But later when I checked from a closer distance, I saw an animal running towards me. I realised that it was a one-horned rhino,” said Kalyan Das, a resident of Odlabari. Das is a contractor and has been working on a project in Kranti village, near Dakhshin Majhgram.
Das ran for some distance and crossed over a ditch to flee the animal. It was then that he spotted another one-horned rhino, following the first. But while one went towards Jhappara, the other started moving towards Dhantola, both in Kranti, 66km from here.
When the villagers spotted the animals, they started shouting. Within minutes a mob had gathered on a field trying to get a glimpse of the rhinos. Some of them also started throwing stones at the animals to scare them away.
“Elephants and bison often raid the fringe villages and the residents are habituated with such incidents. But the villagers panicked when they saw rhinos,” said Abu Taher Ali, a resident of Dhantola. When Ali, a member of the Jalpaiguri zilla parishad, saw that the crowd was swelling, he informed the officials of the nearby Kathambari range. Around 8am, 40 foresters from Kathambari, Targhera and Apalchand ranges, under Baikunthapur division, reached the village. Throughout the day they tried to keep the mob away from the animals.
Although the divisional forest officer Dharamdeb Rai said nobody was injured, Ali said Prafulla Sen, a resident of Dhantola, was hurt when he fell to the ground while running away from one of the animals. He has been admitted to the Jalpaiguri district hospital with injuries on the head and hands. Rai said the rhinos had come from Lataguri forest near Gorumara National Park. “The two rhinos had entered the village perhaps after losing direction. They have not attacked anybody till now. We will try to steer them back into the forest.”
However, till late in the evening, officials could not say if the animals had returned to the forest because of the darkness.

No comments:

Post a Comment