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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rivals meet for poll talks... Immigration rules flouted... विधानसधा चुनाउ- त्रिकोणीय लडाई?.... Embargo threat to tea samples... GJMM to help Cong, Trinamul candidates... Walkover for Siliguri strongman?

Morning Headlines, KalimNews:
All party meeting called by GJM ended inconclusively but with positive proposals from different ends. 10 different parties participated in the meeting held in Darjeeling.
3 person arrested in Singtam of Sikkim for possessing fake Indian currency.
76 Khukris seized from Morcha leader's house.
TMC announced 228 candidates, offered the Congress 64 seats. Out of 6 seats of Darjeeling 4 and out of 12 seats of Jalpaiguri,5 seats are offered to Congress.
Heavy rain in and round North Bengal and Sikkim with thunder squall wind speed between 50-60 kmph may occur during next 24 hours.
Rivals meet for poll talks

VIVEK CHHETRI TT, Darjeeling, March 18: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today managed to bring most of the political parties in the hills to a common platform where discussions on the need to field “consensus” candidates in the three hill seats took centre stage.
The meeting suggested that most parties were eager to bury the hatchet.
Nine parties, including the CPRM, attended the talks held at the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club. The GNLF and the CPM were not invited for the talks, while the ABGL abstained from the meeting.
Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the spokesperson for the Morcha, said: “We wanted to hear other political parties and it emerged during the meeting that everyone was in favour of fielding consensus candidates (in Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kurseong). We will place our report before the central committee and will take a decision after March 22.”
Dawa Pakhrin, the president of the newly floated Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Morcha, was also present at the meeting. Pakhrin had been hounded out of the hills by the Morcha but today’s meeting seemed to have smoothened ruffled feathers. Even Ajay Dahal, the self-styled chief of the United Gorkha Revolutionary Front, and someone who was not seen to be sharing a good rapport with the Morcha, attended the meeting.
“We welcome the Morcha’s decision to call a meeting. It is a right step towards (restoring) democracy,” said Pakhrin.
Sawan Rai, a central committee member of the CPRM, the second largest political party in the hills after the Morcha, said: “We have also told the Morcha that there should no longer be negativity among the parties and the responsibilities lay with them.”
The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisang, an apolitical organisation, also attended the meeting.
During the course of interaction, which was also attended by Congress and BJP leaders, there was a general feeling that the Morcha should take other political parties into confidence as far as the polls were concerned.
“We told Morcha leaders that in the name of a consensus candidates, the Morcha should not field its nominees and seek our support,” said Rai.
Jyoti Kumar Rai, a central committee member of the Morcha, said the Congress had also desired to sit with the hill party separately. “If they want to hold talks with us, we have no problems. Our exercise is essentially to hear out all parties,” he said.
The Morcha said attempts were being made to hold a similar meeting in the Terai and Dooars.
Immigration rules flouted too - US paragliders claim they were ‘misguided’ by local duo
TT,Gangtok, March 18: American paragliders Eric Reed and Brad Sander violated immigration rules when they flew in from Nepal without coming through any checkpost, a must for all foreigners entering the country.
The Himalayan state that shares border with three countries does not have any immigration checkpost. For Reed and Sander, the nearest checkpost, in this case, would have been Bagdogra in Bengal’s Darjeeling district. They were, however, arrested on March 16 for travelling in Sikkim without the inner line permits, mandatory for foreigners visiting the state.
“Besides entering Sikkim without any ILP (inner line permit) through the designated check points of Melli and Rangpo, the two American citizens have violated immigration rules. Any foreigner coming to India has to pass through an immigration checkpost. Sikkim does not have any immigration checkpost and the nearest is at Bagdogra where they did not go. So, there is a violation on this count also. Further, investigations are on,” said deputy inspector general (range) N. Sridhar Rao over the phone from Uttarey, more than 150km from Gangtok and the entry point to the famous Singalila trek.
Rao will interrogate the foreigners, who told police they were international paragliding champions, during their five-day remand till March 21. The Himalayan Odyssey website lists Reed as the national paragliding champion of the US in 2003. Last year, according to the site, he held first place by completing the first four tasks of the Mexico world championships. The site said Sander had sailed higher than anyone in Pakistan and further than anyone in Asia.
“We have got enough ingredients to charge the two Americans under Foreigners Act and the two locals for abetting the crime,” said Rao.
Sources said Reed and Sander had told the police they were “misguided” by two locals and that they had received “assurances” that their ILP formalities would be processed once they landed in Sikkim. They also claimed that this was their first visit to Sikkim.
The vice-president of the Sikkim Paragliding Association, Raju Rai, and a member of the rhododendron tourism festival organising committee, G.K. Rai, have been arrested by Sikkim police for “abetting” the illegal entry of the foreigners.
Apparently, Raju Rai and G.K. Rai gave the impression to the Indian paragliding Association based in Goa — through which Sander and Reed had communicated — that the two Americans could sail straight from Nepal into Uttarey and that they would take care of the ILP.
In fact the ILPs had been issued on March 16, the day the foreigners were arrested. State tourism secretary S.B.S. Bhadauria said someone had come to Rangpo to apply for the ILPs for the two Americans that day. “While applying, it had been mentioned that these two would be coming from Nepal through the Kakarvitta border and enter through Rangpo,” he said. “We have already initiated a departmental inquiry into the incident and will take strong action against those involved in this incident,” he said.
Sander and Reed had glided for some 30km from Changthabhu village in Nepal before landing near Uttarey. Sources said they were part-time instructors in Nepal’s Pokhara before they decided to venture out into the Sikkim side of the Himalayas. They flew from Pokhara to Taplejung and then into Changthabhu, the nearest human settlement in East Nepal, before entering Sikkim.
Paragliding experts here said flights from the Nepal border to West Sikkim — in this case around 35km — is possible provided the gliders are experienced, have GPRS to map their route and advanced equipment.
Sikkim is strategically important as it shares borders with China, Nepal and Bhutan. The Sashastra Seema Bal guards Sikkim’s 101km long border with Nepal. “Most of the details are with the police. We are also inquiring into the incident. There are two local individuals who seem to have misguided the two Americans despite knowing the fact that foreigners need ILPs to enter Sikkim,” said SSB 19th Battalion commandant D.K. Sinha.The state tourism department has passed strict directions that from now on all foreigners have to apply for ILPs in person at Rangpo or in Melli. Earlier, tour operators could apply for the ILPs after submitting copies of Indian visas and passports of their foreign clients.
Embargo threat to tea samples
TT, Darjeeling, March 18: The Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union has threatened to stop even the dispatch of tea samples if the managements failed to settle the wage hike issue by March 24.
Yesterday, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-affiliated union during a meeting with the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations had demanded that the issue should be settled by March 31. Today, the union brought the deadline forward by six days.
“We wrote a letter to the Darjeeling Tea Association today maintaining that we would even stop the dispatch of tea samples of the first flush if the issue was not solved before March 24. We are ready to go in for a stronger agitation,” said Suraj Subba, general secretary of the union.
Planters said buyers had started cancelling orders. The embargo on the first flush was imposed on March 4.
Khukuris seized
Darjeeling police seized 76 pieces of khukuris allegedly from the residence of Morcha leader Satish Pokhral near Bijanbari today. “Since a warrant had been issued against Pokhral, a raid was conducted. Even though we could not arrest Pokhral, we recovered 76 pieces of khukuris from the premises,” said a police official.
विधानसधा चुनाउ- त्रिकोणीय लडाई?
मनोज बोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 18 मार्च विधानसभा चुनाउको निम्ति पहाडमा राजनैतिक हावा निक्कै गर्मिएको छ। पहाड़को तीनोटा आसनमा तानातानी र राजनैतिक वर्चस्वको खेलले दिनोदिन नै नयॉं मोड ल्याउने छॉंटकॉंट देखाएको छ। उसैपनि विभाजित विचारधारामा बगेर दिशाहीन रहेको पहाड़का राजनैतिक चरित्रमा विधानसभा चुनाउले अर्को अध्याय थप्ने पनि स्पष्ट बन्दै गइरहेको छ। राष्ट्रिय दलहरूबीच अन्तरविरोध र अव्यवस्थित राजनैतिक चरित्रको कारण पहाड़का जनतामा बनिरहन सकिरहेको छैन भने क्षेत्रीय दलहरूबीच रहेको शत्रुता र वेमेल कार्यचरित्रले जनविश्वास र जनसमर्थन कायम गर्न सकिरहेको छैन। अहिले विधानसभा चुनाउमा तीनपक्षमा धमासान हुने लक्षण पाइएको छ। एकातिर छ माकपा, जो गोर्खाल्याण्डको विरोधीको रूपमा डटिरहेको छ भने अर्को छ गोरामुमो, जोसित केवल छेटौं अनुसूचीको मुद्दा छ।
माकपाले गोर्खाल्याण्डको विरोध गर्दै भोट बटुल्ने रणनीति अप्नाएको छ। बङ्गभङ्ग होवेना-माकपाको मूल नारा रहेको छ, यसकारण राष्ट्रिय कुनै पनि दलले पहाड़का क्षेत्रीय दलसित गठजोड गरे उसलाई बङ्गभङ्ग शक्तिकोरूपमा प्रचार गर्न माकपाले दाउ हेरिरहेको छ। यसको कारण कुनै पनि राष्ट्रिय दलले पहाड़का क्षेत्रीय दलसित मिलेर पहाड़ र तराईका आसनमा बिजयको मोहर ठोक्ने रणनीति बुन्न सकिरहेको छैन। यता गोरामुमो दह्रिलोसित चलमल गरिरहेको छ। जसले छैटौं अनुसूचीलाई चुनावी मुद्दा बनाएको छ। गोरामुमोले अझसम्म केही प्रतिशत समर्थकहरूलाई पहाड़मा बँचाएरै राखेको छ, जसको प्रयोग गर्दै पहाड़को भोट गोरामुमोको पक्षमा तानेर अन्य प्रतिद्वन्द्विलाई कमजोर बनाउने रणनीति हातमा लिएको छ।
उता गोर्खालीग छ जसले मोर्चालाई शुरूदेखि अहिलेसम्म नै कुनै पनि कुरामा विश्वास गरेको छैन। लीगले ठानेको छ, मोर्चाले प्राधिकरण छिराउनको निम्ति जनमत बटुलिरहेको छ। किनभने मोर्चाले आफ्नो वर्चस्व देखाए अनि जनताको आकांक्षा मोर्चा नै रहेको प्रमाणित गरे प्राधिकरणको निम्ति अल्झिएका विषयमा चुडान्त निर्णय गर्ने बाटो खुल्छ। यसकारण लीगले प्राधिकरणको विरोधमा नै एक्लै तीनैवटा आसनमा प्रतिद्वन्द्विता गर्ने बताएको छ। मोर्चाले लीगलाई जनताविनाको दल र पेपर टाइगरहरूको समूह भन्ने गरेकोले यसपल्टको चुनाउमा मोर्चाको यो आरोपको जवाब दिनमात्र होइन प्राधिकरणको विरोध नै चुनावी प्रचारको मसला बनाउने पनि स्पष्ट पारेको छ।
गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति कहिल्यै एक हुन नसकेका पहाड़का दलहरूलाई यसपल्ट विधानसभा चुनाउले एकपार्ने देखिएको छ। गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति गरिनुपर्ने कार्यहरूको पहाड़ नै छ, जो सबै दलको एकताबिना सम्भव छैन। अहिलेसम्म गोर्खाल्याण्डकोे निम्ति दलीय एकताको आवश्यकता खटि्‌करहेको भएपनि यसदिशामा कुनै दलले पनि काम गरेन। भागोपले भर्खरमात्र यो दिशामा काम गरेको भए पनि भागोप जस्तो राष्ट्रिय सङ्गठनले विधानसभा चुनाउको वकालत गर्नथालेकोले भागोपको दलीय एकताको चहलपहल यहीँसम्मको निम्ति पो हो कि भन्ने कुरा पनि अहिले राजनैतिक महलमा चलिरहेको छ।
जे होस्‌ विधानसभा चुनाउको निम्ति नै भए पनि मोर्चालाई सबैदलको सहयोगको अनुभव भयो। मोर्चाले आज गरेको बैठकमा साझा उम्मेद्वारिताको कुरा चलेको छ। यही कुरा रह्यो भने यसपालीको विधानसभा चुनाउमा तीनपक्षको लड़ाई निश्चित छ। माकपा र गोरामुमोको एक खेमा, गोर्खालीग एक खेमा अनि साझा उम्मेद्वारिताको वकालत गर्ने दलहरूको एक खेमा। यी तीन खेमामा विभाजन भएको मतले आखिरमा कस्तो परिणति दिने हो, त्यो खुबै चाखलाग्दो हुने सम्भावना रहेको छ। हेरौं यसपाली पहाड़का दलहरूको रणनैतिक कौशलले पहाड़लाई कस्तो फाइदा प्रदान गर्ने हो।
Photo selected
KalimNews: Sony World Photography Awards 2011 shortlisted or commended Samiran Paul's Photo in the competition organised by Sony World. Paul is a photographer of KalimNews as well as freelance photographer. Sony World is organising this Photography Awards 2011 winners exhibition at the World Photography Festival in London. Paul's several other photographs were selected and exhibited in different national and international photo exhibitions and competitions and some were ranked in the first ten category.

Samiran Paul's selected photo
DIVINE MARRIAGE - SAMIRANGREAT GAMBLER Didi damper and deadline for Congress
TT, Calcutta, March 18:Mamata Banerjee today named on her own 228 Trinamul Congress candidates, offered the Congress 64 seats and set a take-it-or-leave-it Monday deadline in a manoeuvre that rivalled the nerve-jangling capers of a poker game.
Mamata said the 64 seats would be distributed to supporters from the sections she had been wooing assiduously if the Congress did not respond by March 21.
If the Congress accepts the “deal”, it will amount to an abject surrender. Nearly half of the 64 seats are considered “unwinnable” and not a single seat has been given to the Congress from among the 11 in Calcutta.
The “unilateral” announcement that muddied the alliance waters came after a deceptive night during which a “surprise settlement” was learnt to have been reached between Mamata and Pranab Mukherjee over phone.
According to Congress sources, the two leaders were convinced that they had arrived at a consensus but their interpretations of the formula appear not to have tallied.
A source said Mukherjee got the impression that the Congress would be allocated 65 seats, following which he gave a conditional nod. He was also given to understand the seats would include at least one of the two Calcutta constituencies, Metiabruz and Calcutta Port.
However, the Trinamul camp interpreted the deal as a “consensus” on 64 with one remaining outstanding. It was on the basis of this conclusion that Trinamul formally announced on its website late last night that the alliance would fight the elections together.
If Mukherjee were to compare notes with Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the chief minister is certain to draw a parallel with the Singur talks. On a fateful evening at Raj Bhavan, Mamata had announced that the Singur issue was resolved, waving an “agreement” brokered by governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
The Singur “deal” unravelled the next day when Trinamul interpreted the words “to the maximum” in the agreement to mean that “maximum” land from the Tata complex would be returned. The hair-splitting killed the agreement and buried the Tata project.
State Congress leaders woke this morning to the news that the alliance was almost finalised but realised later that the 64 did not include any Calcutta seat. They scrambled to contact a Congress leader close to the high command, who requested Mukherjee to take up the matter with Mamata.
Against the backdrop of last night’s “misinterpretation”, Friday’s discussions did not yield any result and Mamata’s list was out by 5pm, casting a shadow on the future of the alliance.
The Congress-Trinamul relationship has not yet hit the Nano path but a remote chance does exist that the alliance might fall through if Mamata does not budge.
Although fuming after the unilateral announcement by Mamata, the Congress is reluctant to precipitate matters when a fresh stand-off has crystallised in Parliament over the WikiLeaks revelations. The UPA leadership also wants to ensure that the Left does not get any leeway because of the developments in Bengal.
The Congress is still keen on an alliance, which it feels can be salvaged if Mamata makes some concessions. Key on the Congress wish list are two more seats, including one in Calcutta.
The quality of seats is also an issue. “We are still assessing which 64 have been given to us — the ones that can be won or those that cannot be,” a Congress leader said.
Sources said in Calcutta that Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel requested Mamata tonight to offer at least two more seats to the Congress in addition to the 64.
Trinamul leaders said Mamata’s announcement could not be termed “unilateral” as it was based on an understanding. Setting the Monday deadline, Mamata added with a smile: “We have been asked to wait. We have been waiting. We could have waited till the results were declared…. But we can’t do it.”
Asked if she was upset with the Congress, Mamata said: “Who said that?”
Rain fear lurks around Holi splash
TT, Siliguri, March 18: Holi celebrations will be washed out tomorrow if the weathermen’s predictions are proved right.

The prediction of bad weather has dampened the spirits of those who planned to splash their friends with colours.
The Regional Met Office in Jalpaiguri today forecast that squall followed by heavy showers would hit Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Cooch Behar districts in the next 24-hours, dampening the spirit of people who wanted to make merry under clear blue skies on Holi.
“We are in the middle of March and it is natural for the region to experience thunderstorms and light to moderate rain. Currently, there is an upper air trough over north Bengal and Sikkim and it will cause an incursion of moisture from the southern part of the state and is likely to bring rain to the region,” said Indranil Sengupta, the assistant meteorological officer at the Regional Met Office.
A cyclonic circulation has further increased the chances of rain.
“There was a cyclonic circulation over eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It moved east towards Bihar and will cause squall and heavy showers in Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Darjeeling districts in the next 24-hours,” said the Met officer.
“The wind speed will range between 50 and 60km per hour,” he added.
The forecast of bad weather has cast shadow on all plans of revellers.
The Marwari Yuva Mancha, like every year, is organising a cultural programme at Hindi High School on SF Road tomorrow.
“Holi and Diwali are the two occasions celebrated by our community and we usually enjoy the festivities to the hilt. We have lined up a cultural programme with songs and dance, after which we will play with colours on the school ground. Hundreds of people attend our programme every year. But if the weather plays a spoiler, people would prefer to stay indoors rather than come to the venue to enjoy the festival,” said Sushil Rampuria, the secretary of the Marwari Yuva Mancha.
The cloudy weather is expected to bring down the temperature during the day and increase it at night.
“Although the maximum temperature hovered two degrees above the normal in the past few days, it will be lower for the next few days because of the cloudy condition. The night temperature will go up as the clouds will not let the heat escape,” said Sengupta.
The minimum temperature in Siliguri today was 19.5 degrees Celsius — a deviation of two degrees from the normal minimum of 17 degrees Celsius.
The day’s maximum temperature was 24.6 degrees Celsius, 5.4 degrees Celsius below the normal maximum of 30 degrees Celsius.
Youngsters are most unhappy with the prediction of a gloomy weather. “We usually have dry weather during Holi and it is so much fun to play with our friends in the street. If it rains, we all will be confined to our homes,” said Alok Singh, a 15-year-old boy of Pradhan Nagar.
GJMM to help Cong, Trinamul candidates
SNS, SILIGURI, 18 MARCH: The GJMM Terai-Siliguri unit has decided to launch a campaign against the CPI-M candidates in four Assembly seats.
The GJMM leaders have started dialogue with both the Congress and Trinamul Congress leaders in Siliguri sub-division for extending political support to their candidates in the upcoming Assembly election.
The GJMM Terai-Siliguri unit convener, Mr Shankar Adhikari, said: “To defeat the CPI-M candidates, we have been continuing dialogues with the Congress and the Trinamul Congress district-level leaders to formulate a strategy for electoral alliance.”
Mr Adhikari, who was the CPI-M party member and elected as panchayat member from CPI-M ticket in last 15 years, said: “We are determined to defeat the CPI-M candidates in the Terai at any cost.”
Mr Adhikari, former sahakari sabhapati of CPI-M led Matigara panchayat samity, said: “Nothing has been finalised. But we would extend support to anti CPI-M political party candidates in all four seats - Siliguri, Phansidewa, Matigara-Naxalbari and Dabgram-Jalpaiguri, who would fight for us to obtain our constitutional rightsin future”. According to former CPI-M leader, Mr Adhikari, who is at present the GJMM central committee leader, said: “The GJMM leaders working in the Dooars have started dialogue with regional parties and other national party leaders to extend support to them with a same objective.”
Walkover for Siliguri strongman?
SNS, SILIGURI, 18 MARCH: Trinamul Congress activists looked crest fallen with the announcement of the party's candidate list this afternoon. The party has fielded Dr Rudra Narayan Bhattacharya, the Dean, North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, to challenge the redoubtable Marxist minister, Mr Asok Bhatttacharya. “This is incredible. We cannot even believe that the party has put up such a non-entity for this crucial constituency. This amounts to a walkover to the most powerful man in north Bengal,” said an important Darjeeling district Trinamul leader on a condition of anonymity.  The speculation kept doing the rounds for long as to the probable candidates for the seat which has kept returning Mr Bhattacharya since 1987 Assembly elections. The gossip kept swinging from the district Trinamul president, Mr Goutam Deb, to the matinee idol Prasenjit to the former Indian Army colonel, Sabyachachi Bagchi.
Mr Bhattacharya won the seat with the highest margin in the state in the last election held in 2006. He defeated his nearest Congress candidate, Mr Nantu Paul by over 75,000 votes.  But waters have flown down the Teesta since the Left Front landslide in 2006. The politically ascendant Congress-Trianmul alliance trounced the Left Front in the Siliguri Corporation election held in 2009. The alliance won 30 out of the 47 wards, leaving the Left far behind with a mere 17 wards in its kitty.  Another drama befell Siliguri as the Congress secured the mayor's post by taking support from the Left Front, leaving its ally, the Trinmaul Congress high and dry.  The stalemate continues regarding the relation involving the allies with mutual acrimony bursting out time and again to the amused glee of the beleaguered Left Front. With the long impregnable redoubt showing signs of cracking in the face of the anti-incumbency torrents sweeping across the state, the Trinamul Congress activists had remained hopeful till this afternoon that the party would throw a stiff challenge to the state minister by way of selecting a right candidate.
“This is tantamount to throwing in the towel,” said several party activists, looking downcast with disappointment.  Dr R N Bhattacharya is, however, a well-known name in Siliguri thanks to his intimate association with several social welfare projects. He leads several organisations dedicated to the cause of fighting against the leprosy and the AIDS menace.  “But this cannot be criterion for candidature for a high voltage constituency when the sun seems setting for the mighty Marxist satrap,” is the common refrain in the Trinamul camp.

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