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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Morcha student threat - Ghisingh hill return faces hurdle... Congress too wants poll tie-up with GJM... Tea deadline... Darjeeling tea exporters reel under aftershock... Tribal Leader arrested..Parishad poll list on Sunday ... भोट होइन खाली व्यालेट पठाइनुपर्छ-गोरामुमो-सी ... मोर्चा चुनाउ लड्‌छ भने प्राधिकरण लिखितरूपमा त्याग्नुपर्छ-सोसाइटी... दुइ अमेरिकी नागरिक पक्राऊ... Hills Tibetans get ready to elect PM

Morning Headlines, KalimNews:
ABGL to skip all party meeting convened by GJM on 19 March.
Vidyarthi Morcha stages protest against Sibshu case determined not to allow Ghising in Hills.
ABGL criticises BGP.
Former ABAVP leader arrested and remanded in judicial custody
SFI wins in Jadavpur University.
Case accusing Pawan Chamling as Nepalese citizen dismissed by court.

Morcha student threat - Ghisingh hill return faces hurdle

TT, Darjeeling, March 17: The student wing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today vowed to stop GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh from returning to the Darjeeling hills, a threat which will, in all probability, be thwarted by the Election Commission.
The Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarthi Morcha has issued the threat, saying Ghisingh had spoiled the future of the students in the hills during his rule as the chairman of the DGHC.
Ghisingh had already announced that he would be camping in Darjeeling to campaign for the GNLF after publishing the names of the party’s candidates for the three hill seats on March 22.
“We are not concerned with the stand of our party (Morcha). The students of the hills will, however, stop him from coming to Darjeeling as he has spoiled the future of students during his rule,” Nima Sherpa, the spokesperson for the Vidyarthi Morcha, told a student rally here.
The rally was organised to protest the police firing at Sibchu last month, in which three Morcha supporters had been killed.
“Ghisingh’s return is being orchestrated by the state government and this is a conspiracy to create chaos in the hills. We will not tolerate such a move,” said Sherpa.
The Vidyarthi Morcha’s threat is unlikely to have any impact as the Election Commission has always ensured a level playing field for all parties during the polls.
Sources said the poll panel could take steps if such an atmosphere is not created.
The steps will range from the transfer of government officials who have failed to take action against those who tried to scuttle campaigns to the reprimand of the political party involved in the violation of the model code of conduct. “It has to be seen how seriously the students go ahead with the threat,” said an official.
Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the spokesman for the Morcha, had earlier said the party was not interested in scuttling Ghisingh’s return to his house along Dr Zakir Hussain Road in Darjeeling. He called the once powerful leader of the hills a “non entity”, probably aware of the Election Commission’s mode of operation.
Observers, too, believe that Ghisingh’s decision to climb up to the hills only after announcing the party’s candidates is a calculated move to force the administration into providing him with a safe passage.
“In this way, the administration will be duty bound to ensure his safe passage as he would then be seen as going to Darjeeling to canvass for the votes,” said an observer.
In fact, the GNLF had already written to the Election Commission, the inspector-general of police, north Bengal, and the Darjeeling police chief to ensure a congenial atmosphere in the hills for Ghisingh’s campaign.
The GNLF had chosen not to contest the last parliamentary elections in 2009 and Ghisingh stayed put at his rented residence in Jalpaiguri. He had to flee the hills on July 26, 2008, a day after a Morcha member had been killed by a bullet allegedly fired from the house of a GNLF leader. Since then, Ghisingh has not returned to Darjeeling.
Congress too wants poll tie-up with GJM
TH, KOLKATA: After the Bharatiya Janata Party, it is now the district leadership of the Congress that is looking at an electoral tie-up with the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) in the Darjeeling hills for the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal.
The GJM which is the principal political force in the region will be weighing its options after a meeting with leaders of various other parties and regional political groupings that has been convened by its “fact-finding committee” in Darjeeling on Friday before finalising its stand.
“We are looking at an electoral understanding with the GJM for the three hill Assembly segments of the district”, K B Chettri, president of the Hill unit of the Darjeeling district committee of the Congress told The Hindu over telephone from the district on Thursday.
“Our leaders will be attending the meeting convened by the GJM's committee. We shall propose supporting the GJM in two of the three hill seats on the condition that it backs our candidate in the other”, he said.
The State leadership of the BJP had earlier this week said that it too is working towards an electoral alliance with the GJM in the Darjeeling hills. Its MP from the region, Jaswant Singh, had been elected with the support of the GJM in the 2009 polls.
On whether the Congress high command will be agreeable to the idea of seeking an electoral tie-up with the GJM which is demanding a separate Gorkhaland state, Mr Chettri said the local leadership is already “in favour of Union Territory status” for the hills.
“We must have a political issue if we are to strengthen the party in the region and our central leaders are well aware of this”, he added.
The GJM is yet to decide on whether to put up its own candidates, support an Independent, or back the nominee of a non-Left political party in the hills and in certain constituencies with a substantial Gorkha population in the north Bengal plains,
“The leadership has set up three fact-finding committees – for Darjeeling, the Terai and the Dooars – to seek the opinion of different political parties and groupings as well as a cross-section of the people to facilitate a decision regarding its position in the coming polls”, senior GJM leader and member of the party's central committee, Harka Bahadur Chettri said.
“The committees will be reporting to our president Bimal Gurung with their findings by March 22”, he added.
Though constituents of the Democratic Front, a conglomerate of some non-GJM regional parties in the hills, have also been invited to Friday's talks, their leaders are unlikely to attend. “Why should we attend a meeting being convened by our principal rival?” asked Dawa Sherpa, convenor of the Democratic Front.
Tea deadline
TT, Darjeeling, March 17: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today set a deadline of March 31 for tea planters in Darjeeling to come up with a decision on the party’s demand for a hike in workers’ wages.
The Morcha has been enforcing an embargo on the dispatch of the first flush of Darjeeling tea since March 4 to fulfil a charter of demands, including an increase in the wages from Rs 67 to Rs 120-150.
“We have set a deadline of March 31 for the planters to come up with a decision as the present wage agreement expires on that day. Till then, the embargo on the movement of made-tea from the Darjeeling gardens will be in force,” said Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the spokesperson for the Morcha.
The ultimatum came after no breakthrough could be achieved at a meeting between the Morcha and the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations — an apex body of all tea producers’ bodies in India — here today. The planters said it would be difficult to honour the deadline and no deal could be inked separately from Dooars and Terai gardens.
Parishad poll list on Sunday

Bireswar Banerjee, TT, Siliguri, March 17: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has decided to publish its candidate list for six Assembly constituencies in north Bengal on Sunday as the Congress is yet to ink a deal with the Trinamul Congress on seat sharing for the coming polls.
The tribal outfit had earlier announced that it would fight from five seats in the Dooars and one in the Terai. But the party had said it would wait to see whether the Congress wanted to field candidates in any of these seats.
“After holding talks with the Congress leaders in Delhi, we had declared that we would contest from five Assembly seats in the Dooars and Phansidewa in the Terai and extend support to the Congress-Trinamul alliance. Our supporters were excited about the decision, as if these candidates become MLAs, there will finally be a change in the socio-economic conditions of the community after decades of misery,” Tezkumar Toppa, the state general secretary of Parishad, said today.
“However, the delay on their part to reach on a consensus on the seat sharing has left us concerned. As we cannot wait any more, we have started the selection process. Even if the two parties do not arrive at a decision, we will announce the names of the candidates for the six seats on Sunday,” said Toppa.
The adivasis comprise more than 70 per cent of the voters in the six seats reserved for scheduled tribes. Kalchini, Kumargram, Birpara-Madarihat, Nagrakata and Malbazar are the five seats the Parishad plans to contest from in the Dooars.
Leader arrested
Rajesh Lakra, the secretary of Dooars-Tarai Adivasi Vikas Parishad, was arrested from his home in Nagrakata on Thursday morning and remanded in 14 days’ judicial custody in connection with two arson cases pending against him.
The law caught up with the leader of the breakaway faction of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad after the Election Commission had instructed police to execute all arrest warrants before the polls.
TNN,JALPAIGURI: The former secretary of Dooars Terai regional unit of Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parshad(ABAVP),Rajesh Lakra, was arrested on Thursday in connection with a two-year-old case. He was produced at the CJM court in Jalpaiguri and sent to judicial custody.
Rajesh is accused of leading an Adivasi mob on January 17, 2009 when the tribals in Nagrakata set the houses of some Nepali-speaking people on fire for their alleged hobnobbing with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which aims to carve out a separate Gorkhaland, including the Darjeeling Hills, the Dooars and the Terai.
Earlier, cops did not arrest him fearing a backlash from tribals. But with the Election Commission issuing an order to arrest all miscreants before the polls, police finally nabbed Lakra. 

Master of heights and hearts
SHYAM G. MENON, C. Norbu was senior instructor at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM), Uttarkashi.I wasn’t his student. But over several years spent climbing and trekking in my own small way, I came across many people fondly recalling this affable teacher.
Being an instructor at a government run-institute, Norbu’s students were an eclectic lot, drawn from rich and poor, urban and rural, local and outstation. Some made outdoor work their career.
Norbu had his weaknesses but everyone loved the whole package of this smiling man, who unlike so many mountaineers carried his achievements lightly (he had a list of ascents spanning, 6000, 7000 and 8000m peaks).
The first time I spoke to him was many years after my course at NIM. It was probably late 2009 and there was a wedding in Uttarkashi to attend. The groom was a mountaineer. Some of us who had worked with him in the outdoors got invited, as did the whole faculty of NIM.
At the party ahead of the wedding, I understood what Norbu meant to his students.
Administered in quasi-military fashion, outdoor training at India’s mountaineering institutes often resembles a boot camp. It is common for instructors to be stiff and protocol conscious.
The majority of the instructors enjoyed their share of the evening’s spirits, seated at a table. Norbu sat on the floor where most of the invited former students had clustered.
“C Sir” — that’s how they called him. I was struck by how the students hung around him, hung to his every word and wouldn’t let him go. Somewhere amidst that, Norbu in his characteristic fashion introduced himself to me.
Party over, he gave me a lift on his motorcycle to the dinner venue. The next day, as the groom’s baraat crawled to the marriage venue, I was my usual Malayali wooden self scared of dancing. Norbu didn’t spare me. He got me dancing on the road for the first time in my life. What an unforgettable baraat that was — many of those NIM instructors dancing on the road had climbed a 7,000 or 8,000m peak. I remember wondering where and when I would see another baraat like that filled with climbers. Perhaps in Norbu’s hometown – Darjeeling, a place of gifted mountaineers.
I remember four things Norbu told me over those two days. First, he wished he had better income for all the years of training work at altitude he had done. There were offers to work elsewhere but he felt attached to NIM. In some strange way, the institute was his life.
Second, he was rather tired of everyone’s obsession with climbing Everest.
Third, he felt Uttarakhand was still inward-looking when it came to the larger world of adventure. It appeared a sad observation from the heart, given his roots in Darjeeling and life in Uttarakhand.
Fourth, he overlooked my average scores at NIM and complimented me for continuing to visit the mountains. That remark is the best memory of NIM I have, better than my mountaineering course years ago. It touched me that this man should open up despite meeting me for the first time just the day before.
The last time I met Norbu was in October 2010 at NIM. A trekking team from Bengal had gone missing near Kalindi Khal — Norbu spoke about it. In early 2011, I tried Norbu’s number. There was no response; he was probably in Darjeeling. Then recently, while at an equipment store in Mumbai, I heard of his demise in mid-March following a road accident in Muzaffarnagar.
He will be missed. (The author is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai)
भोट होइन खाली व्यालेट पठाइनुपर्छ-गोरामुमो-सी 
मनोज बोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 17 मार्च।अहिले पहाड़का सबै दलहरूलाई विधानसभा चुनाउले व्यस्त बनाएको छ। माकपा, गोर्खालीग,कंग्रेसले आफ्ना उम्मेद्वारी रणनीति तयार पारिसकेको छ भने मोर्चा, क्रामाकपा अनि अन्य दलहरूले 18 मार्चको दिन नै चुनावी रणनीति घोषणा गर्ने सम्भावना छ। सबै विधानसभा चुनाउलाई लिएर गम्भीर देखापरेका छन्‌ तर गोरामुमो-सी भने सबै दलहरूभन्दा अलग विचारमा बसेको छ। गोरामुमो-सीका अध्यक्ष कर्णल डी.के प्रधानले भने, जुन बङ्गाललाई हामीले चिहान मानेका छौं, त्यही बङ्गालमा चुनाउ लड्छु भनेको के हो? बङ्गाल हाम्रो चिहान हो, बङ्गालमा हामी बस्दैनौं भन्ने दलहरू अहिले कता गए? किन सबै दलहरू बङ्गालको चुनाउ लड्न मरिमेटिरहेका छन्‌?

गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलन गर्ने र निक्कै धाक देखाएर जनतालाई विभिन्न आश्वासन र यातना दिने दलहरूले अघइघि बङ्गालको कुनै पनि चुनाउ लड्‌दिन भन्थ्यो त, फेरि अहिले के पर्‍यो र चुनाउ लड्ने? जब चुनाउ लड्‌दिन भनिसकेको छ भने फेरि चुनाउ लड़ेर के सावित गर्न चाहेको हो? तिनले अहिले सबै दलहरू चुनाउको निम्ति व्यस्त रहेको बताउँदै भने, सबैले आ-आफ्नो रोटी सेकिरहेका छन्‌। वास्तवमा चुनाउ नलड़ेर खाली व्यालेट बक्स पहाड़बाट पठाइनुपर्ने हो। तिनले अझ भने, म सबैलाई आह्वान गर्छु, जसरी प्रान्त परिषद्ले एकपल्ट पहाड़बाट खाली व्यालेट पठाएको थियो, यसपल्ट पनि यसरी नै पठाइनुपर्छ।
मोर्चा चुनाउ लड्‌छ भने प्राधिकरण लिखितरूपमा त्याग्नुपर्छ-सोसाइटी
कालेबुङ, 17 मार्च। गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाले विधानसभा चुनाउमा जुन चासो देखाइरहेको छ, यसलाई धेरैले धेरैपक्षबाट हेरिरहेको छ। पहाड़,तराई,डुवर्स गोर्खा-आदिवासी वेलफेयर सोसाइटीले मोर्चाले विधानसभा चुनाउमा जित आफ्नो पक्षमा पारेर प्राधिकरणको निम्ति बाटो खुल्ला गर्ने रणनीति अप्नाइरहेको शंका गरेको छ। सोसाइटीका महासचिव प्रवीण गुरूङले भने, मोर्चा प्राधिकरण थाप्ने ताकमा छ, यसको निम्ति मोर्चाले जनाधार देखाउनुपर्नेछ जसको निम्ति  मोर्चाले विधानसभा चुनाउलाई प्रयोग गरिरहेको छ। लोकसभा चुनाउमा जसवन्तसिंहलाई गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति भनेर जिताएको हो तर जसवन्त सिंहलाई गलतप्रयोग गर्दै प्राधिकरणको रुपरेखा तयार पार्‍यो। अहिले मोर्चालाई जनाधार गुमाएको आरोप लागको छ। 

मोर्चाले प्राधिकरणको निम्ति जनाधार देखाउन विधानसभा चुनाउमा सक्दो कसरत गरिरहेको छ। तिनले यदि मोर्चा गोखाल्याण्डको निम्ति इमान्दार छ भने पहिले प्राधिकरणलाई खारेज गरेको लिखितरूपमा देखाउनुपर्नेछ। मोर्चाले चुनाउको कुरा गर्छ भने पहिले मोर्चाको केन्द्रिय समितिले प्राधिकरण खारेज गरेको प्रस्ताव पारित गर्नुपर्छ अनि गृहसचिव,प्रधानमन्त्री, चिफ सेक्रेटेरी अनि तृणमूलस्तरमा पुर्‍याइनुपर्छ। यसो नगरी मोर्चाले चुनाउको कुरा गर्छ भने मोर्चा प्राधिकरणको निम्ति चुनाउ लड़िरहेको सबैले बुझ्नुपर्नेछ।
Flower Festival
Gangtok, March 17: Gangtok, Milan Rai from Mirik under Kuresong subdivision has lifted the ‘Sikkim Flower Festival Orchid Award’ for the sixth time in a row by winning the 2011 edition also with his mesmerizing presentation of 70 s brimming with colourful cymbidium orchids in bloom. The exhibition-cum-competition festival is being rganized by Sikkim Flower Festival Committee annually since 1962 during the month of March here at flower exhibition centre at Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal Memorial Park as Sikkim welcomes the tourism season. The cymbidium orchids of the participants are put in display during March, April and May making the centre a prime destination for tourists visiting the hill town during the summer.
The winner of this year’s flower festival was announced today by the selection committee when the festival was declared open for public visit by State forest minister Bhim Dhungel. Rai, 41, had put up 70 pots of cymbidium hybrids in bloom as per the criteria laid down by the committee for Division A entry. Rai’s entry was adjudged first and he will be getting a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakhs on a later date before the festival ends.
 “This is the sixth consecutive time I have won the first prize.
I always come to participate here with a target to win”, said Rai who runs a nursery back home in Mirik. He said that his winning strengths were the 45 varieties of cymbidium orchids in bloom, colour  ombijavascript:void(0)nation and formation.
The bloom will remain for at least one month, said Rai. e is a professional horticulturist selling his orchids and other cut flowers to markets in Kolkata and Delhi.javascript:void(0) The cymbidium presentation of a NGO run by five lady government teachers of Gangtok was adjudged second that carries a cash prize of Rs.50,0“We grow cymbidium orchids as a hobby in our homes. 

We collected our cymbidium pots together and came to participate in the event. We have also won several prizes in other smaller scale divisions under the festival”, said Sarah Manyang, president of Development Women Society.State forest secretary ST Lachunpa said the Sikkim Flower Festival has contributed vastly to the growth of orchid production in Sikkim. “About ten years ago we used to get only 20-30 varieties of hybrid ymbidium orchids but now more than 500 varieties are being displayed. Growers from Sikkim and Darjeeling area participating”, he said. 
All the orchids put by the participants will be put for display so that the tourists and locals can enjoy the floral delights, said Lachungpa. He informed that the increasing number of visitors to the flower one centre has made the unit self-sustainable.  Each visitor has to pay Rs. 10 as entry fees.
Till last year, the flower show organizers were getting the prize money of Rs. 2 lakhs from Nayuma family for the festival. Now we have become self-sustainable and able to raise the prize amount and meet other  expenses through the revenue collected from the ticket sale, said the forest secretary.
During the peak season, we have around 1000 visitors daily at this centre, said Lachungpa.

पश्चिम सिक्किमको उत्तरेमा दुइ अमेरिकी नागरिक पक्राऊ
गान्तोक,17 मार्च।  पश्चिम सिक्किमको भारत-नेपाल सिमाको नजिक उत्तरे गाउँबाट गैरकानुनी रूपमा प्यार ग्लाइडिङबाट नेपालबाट उडेर भारतीय भूमीमा प्रवेश गरेका दुइ अमेरिकी नागरिकलाई सिक्किम पुलिसले पक्राउ गरेको छ।
सिक्किम पुलिसको डीआईजी (रेञ्ज) एन श्रीधर रावले बताएअनुसार अमेरिकी नागरिक इरिक रिड (45) र ब्राड स्यानड्रेस (35)-ले गत 14 मार्चको दिन उत्तरे नजिक ढाप नामक स्थानमा नेपाल तर्फबाट प्याराग्लाइडमा उडेर अवैध रूपमा ल्याण्ड गरेको थियो। उनले भने, सिक्किम प्रतिवन्धित क्षेत्र भएको हुनाले यहाँ प्रवेश गर्न विदेशी नागरिकहरूले इनर लाइन परमिट (आइएलपी)लिनु पर्छ  जुन परमिट रम्फू आऩि मल्ली चेकपोष्ट बाहेक अन्य स्थानबाट प्राप्त गर्ने प्रावधान छैन्।
दुइ अमेरिकी नागरिकले गत 14 मार्चको दिन ढापमा प्यारा ग्लाइडिङ ल्याण्ड गरेको पुलिसले थाहा पाएपछि छानवीन शुरू गर्दै हिजो 16 तारिक दुवैलाई उत्तरेमा घुम्दै गरेको अवस्थामा पक्राउ गरिएको डीआइजी रावले बताए। उनले भने, दुवै अमेरिकी नागरिकको आइएलपी पास छैन यसकारण गैरकानुनी रूपमा सिक्किम प्रवेश गरेको आरोपमा पक्राउ गरिएको हो। उनले भने नेपालबाट क्ग्लाइडिङमा चडेर सिक्किमको प्रतिबन्धित भूमीमा अवतरण गर्ने दुवै विदेशी नगारिकलाई फरेनर्स एक्टको धारा 14 को ए र सी आन्तर्गत पक्राउ गरिएको छभने भारतीय दण्ड संहिताको धारा 465, 468 औ 471 अन्तर्गत मुद्दा दर्ता गरिएको छ।
एसएसबीको देखरेखमा रहेको भारत-नेपाल सीमाकी पश्चिम सिक्किममा 101 किलोमिटरसम्म फैलिएको छ। यत्रो लामो सीमा क्षेत्रमा केवल चिवा भञ्जाङमा मात्र सिक्किम पुलिसको चेक पोष्ट रहेको छ। जहाँबाट पूर्वीय नेपालको च्याङथापु,फेदिम तथा पाँचथर छिर्ने बाटो रहेको छ। यहाँबाट भारत नेपालको सन्धि 1950 अन्तगर्त दुवै देशका नागरिकहरू खुल्ला रूपमा आवतजावत गर्छन्। यद्यपी डीआइडी रावले बताए अनुसार सीमा क्षेत्र पूर्ण रूपमा एसएसबीको निगरानीमा रहेको छ।
हिजो पक्राउ गरिएका दुइ अमेरिकी नागरिकबाट क्यामेरा, प्यारा ग्लाइडिङका सामान तथा केही अन्य वस्तुहरू पनि पुलिसले जफ्त गरेको उनले बताए।
यसबारेमा विस्तृत छानबीन भइरहेको उनले बताए। उनले भने दिएको जानकारी अनुसार गान्तोकको एक प्यारा ग्लाइडिङ कम्पनी सिक्किम प्यारा ग्लाइडिङ एडभेञ्चर स्पोर्ट्स कोअपरेटिव सोसाइटी द्वारा दुवै अमेरिकी नागरिकलाई प्यारा ग्लाइडिङको नम्ति बुकिङ गरेको थियो। जसमा गान्तोकका राजु राई अऩि उत्तरेका गणेश राई संलग्न थिए।
उनले अझै भने यदी आइएलपी छ नै भने पनि मल्ली र रम्फू बाहेक अन्यत्रबाट छिरेको विदेशी नागरिक माथि कार्वाही हुन्छ किन भने राज्यको यी दुइ ठाउँबाटमात्र विदेशी नागरिक प्रवेश गर्न पाउऩे आधिकारी प्रवेशद्वार हो।
दुवै आरोपीलाई आज जिल्ला अदालतमा पेश गरेर पुलिस हिरासतमा राखिएको छ भने मामिलाबारे अझ छानबीन हुँदैछ।

Hills Tibetans get ready to elect PM
Deep Gazmer, TNN, DARJEELING: With the Dalai Lama recently announcing his retirement plans, the Tibetan community Darjeeling has gone into an overdrive, campaigning for two candidates recommended for the post of prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Whether through word of mouth, posters or emails, the Hills is abuzz with names of Lobsang Sangay, 43, and Tenzin Namgyal Tethong, 62, both of whom have roots in the Hills and are, thus, emerging as the favorites here for the coveted post. The third candidate in the fray is Kasur Tashi Wangdi, 64.
The Tibetan government-in-exile will go to the polls on March 20 to elect the next Kalon Tripa (prime minister), after the Dalai Lama announced his desire to retire from active politics a few days ago. Tibetans in Darjeeling are elated that two of the candidates have their influence in the Hills. "We want such a person to head the exiled government who has been a part of the ups and downs... one who has all the qualities required for the post," said Dicky Dolkar, who will be casting her vote for the third time.
Sangay was born in 1968 in a Tibetan refugee settlement in Lamahatta, near 6th Mile in Darjeeling. He completed schooling from the Central School for Tibetans (CST) in Sonada and Darjeeling. He currently serves as a senior fellow at Harvard Law School and resides in Boston, US. He is known among Tibetans as a dynamic and dedicated person.
There are around 1,45,150 voters in Bhutan and the rest of the world all of whom will exercise their franchise the same day. Those above 18 years, possessing the dhanglang chathel (green card) and registered will be eligible to vote.
"More than 2,000 Tibetans in Darjeeling Hills will cast their vote," said Tsewang Tashi Karleg, the Tibetan settlement officer of Central Tibetan Administration in Darjeeling. Centres will be set up in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Sonada, Ghoom, Pokhriabong, Sukhiapokhari, Mirik and 6th Mile. The polls will start from 9 am.
Counting will start from March 21 and continue till March 31. "We may finish counting in Darjeeling in two to three days because of the small number of voters. We will then send the figures to our head office in Dharamshala," said Karleg.
Tethong is the other strong contender, who originally hails from Utsang (central) Tibet. He completed schooling from Mt Hermon School in Darjeeling, graduating with a first division in science. A Distinguished Fellow at the Tibetan Studies Initiative,Stanford University(he played a key role in establishing the programme), Tethong is the founding member and president of the Dalai Lama Foundation and Board Chair of the Committee of 100 for Tibet.
"The candidate must be patriotic and willing to work tirelessly for the cause of Tibetans," pointed out 25-year-old Tenzing, who will vote for the first time.
Wangdi, being projected as Mr Clean, is the third candidate. Born in Sangag Choeling, Tibet, he had escaped to India with his parents in 1959. He was selected from among the first batch of 25 students from the main refugee camp at Missamari, Assam, to attend the first school for Tibetan refugee children set up by the Dalai Lama at Mussoorie.
The Kashag (cabinet), chosen for a term of five years, is the highest executive office of the Central Tibetan Administration. The Kashag runs and fulfils all its executive and administrative responsibilities under the guidance of the Dalai Lama.
Darjeeling tea exporters reel under aftershock
Amitava Banerjee, HT, Darjeeling, March 17, 2011: The aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last week are being felt in far off Darjeeling. Tea buyers from Japan, one of the largest importers of Darjeeling tea, have cancelled orders leaving exporters in this West Bengal hill station high and dry. "The Japanese are high-end tea buyers. Prices of Darjeeling tea usually go up owing to Japanese bidding in the international markets. But with buyers backing out, Darjeeling tea will fail to fetch the usual prices," predicted a senior manager of a tea garden.
Japan is the third largest importer of Darjeeling tea after Germany and Britain. In 2010, Darjeeling produced 7,500,000 kg of tea, 70% of which was exported. Darjeeling Tea Association figures reveal that Japan alone imported around 1,000,000 kg of Darjeeling tea. the March 11 tsunami, the most devastating natural disasters of recent times, has ensured that this year is going to be different.
Japanese authorities say more than 13,000 people are dead or are missing as a result of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeastern part of the country.
The country's economy has also taken a beating.
"Japan is my main buyer. A major chunk of my export orders stand cancelled," said Rajiv Mitra of Rajiv Tea Exports.
To make matters worse, dealers have not been able to send samples as many courier services have discontinued services to Japan post tsunami.
"Darjeeling tea being a luxury item will not feature in the priority list of the Japanese at this juncture. It will take years to regain the old business quantum. More than 60% of my total exports is to Japan," explained Sailesh Sarda of the Nathmull's Tea Room in Darjeeling.
"The overall situation is grim. Japan buys Darjeeling tea all year round," said Sandeep Mukherjee, secretary of the Darjeeling Tea Association. 

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