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Monday, May 9, 2011

Chinese tax on Indian goods .... Camps for disabled

KalimNews: 33 company of para military forces and 54 observers are coming for the assembly election result of six districts of North Bengal.  Poll countings will be held on 13th May in North point school Darjeeling, St. Alphonsus school, Kurseong, Kalimpong College and Siliguri College.Dr. Harka bdr Chhetri refuted the allegations raised by CPRM and GNLF. Speaking to the reporters he said that GJM is ready to tackle their moves.
Chinese tax on Indian goods

Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Gangtok, May 9: The State government would be writing to Ministry of External Affairs regarding the alleged decision of Chinese authorities to impose tax on Indian goods meant for the Nathu La border trade between Sikkim and Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
Sikkimese traders had stopped participating in the sixth edition of the border trade since Thursday after their goods were not cleared by the Chinese authorities at Nathu La border gate on May 4, as reported in media today. The Chinese authorities also allegedly told the Sikkimese traders that they do not recognize the list of items approved by the Indian government.
This particular move was communicated formally to DC (East) D Anandan, who is also the border trade pass issuing authority, today by the executive members of the newly formed Indo-China Border Trade (Sikkim) Association (ICBTSA) at his office in East district administrative centre here.
The traders also shared their experiences of Wednesday with the DC, industries director K Kafley and deputy secretary Sumita Pradhan. The Mart (Donqingang) in-charge of China side has informed us that they would impose tax per kilogram on our approved items which will be exported to China from India, they said in a memorandum signed by ICBTSA president Nim Phuti.
The DC said that custom duties cannot be imposed on border trade items as per the bilateral agreement of 2006 between India and China when the historic Nathu La border trade was resumed after a gap of 44 years. The border trade has been going smoothly for the past five years and no such issue of custom duty had been raised and we have received no official communication stating that custom duty will be imposed, he said.
The DC assured the traders that the State commerce & industries secretary will be writing today to the Ministry of External Affairs on the issue of custom duty and not recognizing the exportable list of Indian items by the Chinese authorities. Since it is an international subject, the Indian government will take it up with the Chinese government on the issue of custom duty and why our goods were stopped, he said.
While this issue is being sorted out in the highest levels, the DC suggested that the traders to maintain their channel of communication with their border trade counterparts and to resume trade if the Chinese authorities themselves clear the present issue.
Anandan also shared a good piece of news with the members of ICBTSA. He informed that the Centre has agreed to authorize the use of drivers by the traders. One driver can be taken by each trader to cross the border and participate in the border trade, he said. This will be very helpful for traders especially the women traders, he said.
The driver will be issued a pass similar to the trade pass but he cannot do trade.
Too many in charge, less to take care

Vivek Chhetri and Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Mungpoo/Kalimpong, May 9: Too many departments are in charge of the Rabindra Bhawan in Mungpoo.
Yet the bungalow — where the bard celebrated his 80th birthday and penned Janmadin — is the most neglected of all Tagore hill retreats.
A portion of the bungalow is covered with blue tarpaulins. A big signboard on the driveway has been discoloured. The nameplate of the bungalow on its gate has cracked. The shed on the campus is in need of repair and an arch made of cast iron, which ideally should have had creepers running over it, hangs above Tagore’s bust.
Reason? Nobody knows who is supposed to do the repair. Not many government officials in Mungpoo were able to pinpoint who the guardian of the bungalow is.
“Till 1996, this bungalow used to house an activity centre of the West Bengal Labour Welfare Board. Then state urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya made a public announcement that it would be handed over to the information and culture department. Even though there was no written order, we were asked to shift to Rabindra Memorial Model Labour Welfare Centre (an auditorium) adjacent to the museum,” said an employee of the welfare board.
Officials at the information and culture department said they too had not received any written order on the transfer of their office to the Rabindra Bhawan till date.
Sadha Chandra Mondal, assistant labour welfare commissioner, stressed that the museum was still under his department’s jurisdiction. “We look after the museum but there is some hotchpotch,” he admitted, although the labour welfare board had not employed any caretaker for the museum. The current caretaker is paid by the directorate of cinchona and other medicinal plantation, which is under the state’s agriculture department.
“We do not have any allotment for the museum but we try our best to look after it. Earlier, the bungalow was under the cinchona plantations but it was transferred to the labour board many years ago,” said Gyan Chandra Subba, the director of the cinchona plantations in Mungpoo, 35km from Darjeeling town.
To add to the confusion, a committee was formed last year to organise the celebration of Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary. The committee is made up of representatives of the district administration, information and culture department, labour welfare board and the directorate of cinchona plantation.
Perhaps it was because of the involvement of different departments that it took almost 12 days, according to a district official, to remove a tree that had fallen on the museum’s rooftop on April 13.
“We have decided to hold a meeting of the committee that was formed last year on May 25 to look into all aspects. Ideally the museum should be looked after by one department,” said Tamal Das, the sub-divisional officer of Darjeeling, who was the chief guest at a programme held there today on the poet’s birth anniversary.
As far as the repair of the museum’s roof is concerned, Das said funds would be made available.
Rabindranath Tagore had visited Mungpoo four times between 1938 and 1940 because of his love for the place and special bond with Maitreyi Devi, the daughter of his friend Surendranath Dasgupta. Memoirs of his stay here were published by Maitreyi Devi in her book Mungpoote Rabindranath.
The story is no different in Kalimpong. Had Tagore been alive he probably would have penned an elegy on the approaching death of the bungalow from where he had recitedJanmadin (Birthday) live on national radio 70-odd years ago.
The house, which is owned by B.K. Roychowdhury of Calcutta, is located in a scenic hill surrounded by lots of greenery. In fact, there are very few properties in the town with such sprawling premises. However, the bungalow is in need of serious repair.
Thick foliage has sprouted all over the two-storied building and its windows broken. Even the un-metalled approach road, which is part of the property, has seen better years. Wild growths everywhere have all but hidden the road.
Camps for disabled
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Gangtok, May 9: The East district administration has teamed up with departments of social welfare and human resource development and NGOs like Spastics Society of Sikkim to organize four disability camps in the district.
The camps which will cover all the nine BACs in east district aim to spread awareness on the rights of the disabled persons and also to screen the left-outs for providing disability certificates so they can avail the benefits provided by the government, said DC (East) D Anandan today.
The first camp will be held at Rongli PHC covering the targeted people under Reghu and Rhenock BACs on May 20. The second camp is proposed at Pakyong PHC on May 25 covering Parakha and Pakyong BACs and the third camp is at the indoor gymnasium hall of Paljor Stadium here on May 27 for Gangtok and Ranka BACs.
The fourth and final camp will be held at Singtam district hospital covering Rakdong Tintek, Khamdong and Duga BACs, said the DC. The camps will be assisted by three specialist doctors from the STNM hospital.
“The main objective of these camps is to screen people with disabilities so those who do not have disability certificates can get certificates in order to receive government benefits. We will also be updating the condition of those who already have disability certificates”, said Anandan.
During these camps, we will also do awareness programmes highlighting the rights and privileges of the disabled people as many of them are not aware of such rights, said the DC. One particular aspect the camps will focus is creating awareness of the rights of the disabled people especially those with mental retardation about having a legal guardian to take care of their inherited properties, he said.
The involvement of two government departments and NGOs in these camps is to ensure use of larger resources for a single objective. Both social welfare and human resource development department do have their own schemes and responsibilities towards the disabled people and coming together will mean the disable people will benefit in a single camp instead of attending separate camps.
The BACs have been informed about the proposed camps, who in turn have established communications with panchayats for ensuring the participation of the targeted beneficiaries in these camps.
NB News
Constable thrashed for teasing - Lewd gestures at couple, police accused of cover-up
TT, Raiganj, May 9:A police constable who allegedly made lewd gestures at a couple was assaulted by a group of people in the heart of Raiganj town when he threatened to open fire at them.
The constable of Karnajhora police outpost was allegedly drunk and he had to be rescued by other policemen.
Shibshankar Mondal, a resident of Rabindrapalli, said he was going to Raiganj from Barduari on his motorcycle with his wife riding pillion when some men made lewd gestures at them on Friday night.

“I was returning home after meeting in-laws. A car started following us on NH34 and the occupants were flashing headlights and making lewd gestures at my wife. As they were continuously flashing the headlights, I tried to make way for them. But the driver of the car did not overtake us and they kept on making obscene gestures at my wife when the vehicle pulled alongside,” said Mondal.
The scared couple contacted their friends over cellphone and told them what was going on. His friends assembled at FCI More in Raiganj and waylaid the car when it reached there.
“A heavily drunk man, who identified himself as Ganesh Pahan, a constable of Karnajhora police outpost, got off the car. He threatened to open fire at those who had dared to gather on the highway to rescue us from the hooligans,” said Mondal.
Seeing the crowd, three other men who were with him fled the scene.
The constable’s behaviour infuriated the people and he was beaten up severely. A police team patrolling in the area reached the spot after 15 minutes and rescued him.
Mondal later lodged an FIR with Raiganj police station.
Nagen Chowdhury, who owns a shop at FCI More, had witnessed the incident.
“About a hundred people were waiting at FCI More to apprehend the car that arrived at the spot around 9.30pm. The manner in which the constable was behaving infuriated the crowd. Although he was roughed up, three others who were with him managed to escape,” said Chowdhury.
Inspector in charge of the police station, Sujit Ghosh, however, said the whole episode was “not only concocted but also aimed at maligning the police”. “How can one observe from a motorcycle that some persons were making obscene gestures from a car behind? This is technically not possible,” he said.
But Ghosh said an inquiry had started on the basis of the complaint lodged by Mondal. “The constable was making gestures while speaking to somebody on his mobile phone. I am certain that he was wrongly thrashed.”
Pranesh Sarkar, the district secretary of the SFI in North Dinajpur, is a resident of the FCI More area.
“I had come out of my house to see what all the commotion was about. It was apparent that the man who claimed to be a policeman was completely drunk and was throwing his weight around. The constable was thrashed by the public when they lost their composure at his behaviour,” said Sarkar.
Sarkar said he had been told that the police were exerting pressure on Mondal to withdraw the charges. “We are keeping a close watch and should anything happen to Mondal, we will not let the police go. It is a shame that the police should behave in this manner,” said the SFI district secretary.
Bullet death at doorstep 
TT, Siliguri, May 9: A 27-year-old was shot dead at the doorsteps of his home last night, allegedly after he came out of his house when someone called him out.
Police said Nikhil Sarkar was involved in an illegal fuel racket and was shot at point blank range in the rib cage.
The sound of the firing had alerted his wife and neighbours at Bhaktinagar near New Jalpaiguri, who rushed out but did not see the killers. The police, too, are not sure about the number of killers.
For the past three years, Sarkar had been staying on rent on the ground floor of a two-storied building on Mother Teresa Lane with wife Lipika.
He owned a pick-up van, which he let out on rent.
Jaidip Nandi, the councillor of ward-35 of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, is a next door neighbour of the Sarkars and said he heard the shot around 11pm.
“It was like the burst of a cracker. I rushed outside to check out what had caused the noise and saw some people rushing to Kallol Roy’s house (Nikhil’s landlord). I followed them and spotted Nikhil lying in front of his room in a pool of blood. His wife was trying to comfort him. He was alive then but had started gasping,” Nandi said today.
Desha Saha, another tenant in Roy’s house, said she, too, had heard the shot. “We were watching television and suddenly I thought that an LPG cylinder might have burst. I rushed out only to see Nikhil with blood oozing out of his abdomen,” she said.
Sarkar died in a private nursing home in Matigara around 2.30am.
“He was in his senses after he was shot but could not speak much. We are trying to talk to his wife to obtain some information,” said Jalpaiguri police chief Anand Kumar. “He was the owner of a pick-up van but we have information that he had recently got involved in an illegal oil selling racket.”
The police said often fuel like petrol is siphoned off from tankers carrying oil from the terminals of the oil companies that dot the New Jalpaiguri area.
Sarkar’s relatives said they have no clue why he was murdered.
“He was a peace-loving youth, who earned his living by renting out his pick-up van,” said Prakash Choudhury, Sarkar’s uncle-in-law. He denied that Sarkar was involved in any illegal oil racket.
Wife gives up after murder
TT, Jaigaon, May 9: A woman, who with her brother-in-law had allegedly killed her husband last month, surrendered to the Nagrakata police today.
The subdivisional police officer of Mal, Arindam Sarkar, said Motilda Kujur has said in the confessional statement that she had conspired with Rafel Lakra and murdered Joseph.
The 44-year-old worker’s body was found in Bhagatpur garden, in Nagrakata, on April 26. His head was smashed and chest bore marks of stab injuries. Joseph, however, was a worker of Nayasylee tea garden in Nagrakata.
The police said Lakra, who died of a heart attack on May 5, was involved in a relationship with Motilda and Joseph knew about the affair. He used to beat up Motilda often for the relationship.
On April 24, Joseph had a quarrel with his wife and chased her with a knife in a fit of rage. The woman ran away from the house and took shelter in Lakra’s house at the nearby Chharkundu village. The next morning, Joseph went to Lakra’s house looking for Motilda and found her there. The three of them had a long discussion after which they decided to go to Nayasylee.
As the duo reached Bhagatpur tea garden, on way to Nayasylee, Lakra suddenly hit Joseph on the head with a stone. When Joseph fell to the ground, Lakra and Motilda both stabbed him repeatedly with knives. The police said the duo had planned to attack Joseph and were carrying the knives.
After the incident Lakra and Motilda returned to Nayasylee. The next morning, Joseph’s body was recovered from Bhagatpur garden but it remained unidentified until today.
The pradhan of Looksan panchayat and local CPM leader Dilkumar Oraon said Motilda and Lakra’s relationship had become a “gossip” in the area. He said people used to ridicule Joseph over his wife’s relationship with Lakra.
“But no one had ever suspected that she could kill her husband in such a crude manner. Motilda had started suffering from severe depression after the death of her brother-in-law,” Oraon said. Neighbour Sushil Kujur said Motilda could not bear the sense of guilt that she had been suffering from after killing Joseph. When she told the villagers about the incident, they advised her to confess to the crime, he said.
District police chief Ananda Kumar said Lakra’s sudden death had unnerved Motilda. The 45-year-old woman was arrested and produced in the court of the additional chief judicial magistrate in Jalpaiguri today. She has been remanded in judicial custody for three months.
Girl slashed on way back from office
TT, Siliguri, May 9: A 25-year-old girl was slashed on the face, arm and shoulder with a sharp-cutting instrument like a razor this evening while she was returning to her paying guest accommodation after her day at office.
Police said preliminary investigations had revealed that the perpetrator of the crime was a person with whom she had an affair
Sources said Sohini Choudhury was an employee of a private micro-finance company that had its office on Station Feeder Road.
Today, around 7.30pm, while Sohini was returning to her PG accommodation in Subhaspally, a youth attacked her on AJC Bose Road and slashed her face, arm and shoulder with a sharp-cutting instrument, probably a razor or a blade. The distance between the office and AJC Bose Road is around 2km. Sohini may have got off an autorickshaw 300 metres away at Khelaghor More.
Reacting to the attack, Sohini ran a few metres and entered the accommodation while raising the alarm, local people said.
Seeing her bleeding, the girl with whom she shares the accommodation called up the Red Cross Society. Volunteers from the Society took her to Siliguri district hospital.
The doctors said there were multiple cuts on her body. They have stitched the wounds. “She has a major cut on her left forearm and another cut in the right cheek. There are also injury marks on her chin and right shoulder,” said Vivek Sarkar, a surgeon attached to the hospital. “We had stitched up the wound and given necessary medication. She is conscious and in a stable condition.”
Police visited the hospital around 9.15pm and spoke to Sohini, who is from Alipurduar. “On the basis of a complaint, we have started an investigation and are trying to trace the youth who carried out the attack,” said Darjeeling police chief D.P. Singh. “We have come to know that the youth was having an affair with the girl and suspect that the incident is a fallout of some differences between the two,” the police superintendent said. The police are getting in touch with the girl’s family.
Hubby ‘sleeps’ as woman & child burn
TT, Jalpaiguri, May 9: A primary school teacher and her 18-month-old daughter died of burn injuries this morning, with the husband claiming that he had not heard their screams for help while they rolled on the floor in the next room with their clothes on fire.
Neighbours doused the flames on 30-year-old Munmun Pal and her daughter Rankita and took them to the district hospital where they died after some time. Munmun’s family has alleged in an FIR that she was beaten up regularly by her husband, Biltu Pal, a clerk with the public works department.
Pal emerged from his room when the duo were being helped into a car by their neighbours in Patakata Colony, 3km from here.
Munmun’s screams were heard around 6.30 am by her neighbours, who rushed to her house to find the main door locked.
“We banged on the door and her mother-in-law opened it. We entered Munmun’s room and found the bed as well as the handle of a chair on fire. Munmun was clutching her child. The little girl’s clothes too were on fire. We brought buckets of water from the bathroom and poured it on them. We took them to the district hospital around 6.45am,” said Tapan Chakrabarty, a neighbour.
Chakrabarty said Pal emerged from the house just as they were leaving for the hospital. While the child died soon after being taken to the hospital, Munmum succumbed to her injuries around 1.30pm.
Pal was arrested soon after Munmun’s father Basudeb Kundu, a hardware storeowner in Dhupguri, filed an FIR against him, alleging torture.
“My daughter was very unhappy ever since she got married to Biltu in August 2008. She used to be beaten up on the slightest pretext by her husband. My daughter had complained many times to me about her husband. I am certain that he has killed my daughter and grandchild,” Kundu said. Neighbours said they had heard the couple quarrelling frequently.
Baby Pal claimed that her daughter-in-law had committed suicide. “She poured kerosene on herself and her daughter, that is all I can say,” she said.
Pal said last night he and Munmun had quarrelled and he had ended up sleeping in a separate room. “In the morning I woke up on hearing the shouts of neighbours. I came out and saw what had happened. I am innocent,” he said.
“The incident is tragic. I have told the police to make a thorough inquiry and find out whether the deaths were caused by friction in the family or some other reason,” the subdivisional officer of Jalpaiguri Ranjan Jha said.
The twin deaths come a day after a woman in Malda was set afire by her husband for giving birth to a third girl child. The 26-year-old Polly Sil, who has suffered 80 per cent burns, is in a critical condition in Malda district hospital.
Polly’s mother, Lakshmibala Basu, filed an FIR with the police alleging that her daughter was set on fire for giving birth to girls only. Husband Bablu Sil is still at large, the Malda police said.
Train kills teenager on bike
TT, Cooch Behar, May 9: A 17-year-old boy died when a train knocked down the motorcycle he was riding at an unmanned level-crossing near Baneswar railway station this morning.
Bittu Sahu was run over by the Alipurduar-bound Bamanhaat passenger train. Angry people blocked the tracks at Baneswar, 12km from here, for more than three hours, demanding that the level crossing be manned.
Alipurduar divisional railway manager Sachhidananda Singha said the blockade was withdrawn around 4pm after senior railway officials had arrived at the spot and assured the protesters that a manned level-crossing would be set up at Baneswar. Bittu was a student of Baneswar Bhasha High School and awaiting Madhyamik results.
Two run over
TT, Siliguri: A woman and her six-year-old daughter were mowed down by a speeding bus near Naxalbari on Monday afternoon. Police said Swasthi Roy and her daughter Ankita were hit by a Siliguri-bound private bus on NH31C as they were walking by the side of the road after disembarking from another vehicle. Both of them died on the spot, prompting irate residents to raise a two-hour blockade on the highway. The mother and daughter were the residents of Mahasinghjote, 35km from here. Later, the bus driver surrendered at Bagdogra police station with the killer vehicle.
Robber caught
TT, Islampur: A robber who was fleeing after snatching Rs 25,000 from a truck driver was caught and assaulted at Gunjaria on Monday. Md Mustafa had snatched the money from the driver, along with three others. He was chased by truck drivers and cleaners and was caught with the money. The three others, however, escaped. Police took Mustafa into custody and admitted him to Islampur subdivisional hospital.
TT, Islampur: A 10-year-old boy, Amir Hussain, was electrocuted at his house in Golancha near Chakulia on Monday. Police said the boy had accidentally touched a live wire on the terrace of his house and died from electric shock.

Mala Fide - Malvika Singh, TT, 10 May: The forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament will probably be remembered as one of the most shameful ones with no debate whatsoever on any issue. The inability of the Indian political class to articulate ideas and argue cogently makes the people hugely insecure about the quality of their ‘leaders’. The free-for-all tamasha enacted within the halls of Parliament, with members hitting below the belt with abusive innuendoes, shames the constituents of this democracy. The exploitative men and women who fight to win a place in the echelons of power, and who have failed to deliver a decent civil society where the administration is made accountable for the goods and services it is mandated to deliver, leave us with no alternative worth its weight. Will we manage to reinvent our democratic institutions, ensuring a vitality of mind, spirit and action?
The two major national parties will confront each other to secure a place on the treasury benches of the Lok Sabha two-and-a-half years from now if India does not go in for mid-term polls. The reality today is that the Congress is afloat and in one piece because its anchor is one political family, while the Bharatiya Janata Party is so because it abides vehemently by its Hindutva ideology. Both talk of ‘development’, ‘growth’, ‘opportunity’ and so on. This is not extraordinary since these are the primary functions of political dispensations across the world. That is what governments are elected to do. It is their job to administer civil society. Having said that, India needs urgent cleansing and restructuring of its delivery mechanisms and systems. The nation craves for energetic and value-based leadership that can generate change, development and growth within the parameters of honesty and integrity.
Imagine a hypothetical scenario where the BJP decides to put Narendra Modi to bat as the prime ministerial candidate despite all the chatter about him not being acceptable. All he needs to do is apologize for what happened in Gujarat and a magnanimous India will forgive him.
A fresh face
Who will be the counterpoint to Modi from the Congress? Or will the grand, old and tired party revert to the elected-representatives-will-elect-the-leader syndrome and have no viable and charismatic person as potential prime minister in these changed times? If there is a will in the Congress to compete head on, it needs to get Rahul Gandhi as the captain of the team. No other candidate fits the bill for circa 2014. The process has to begin now, halfway through this term, to enable the reinvention of a tired Congress into a liberal party representing a new millennium.
Does Rahul Gandhi have the political will to go in for the kill? Will the failed politicos in the Congress, who have indulged in endless patchwork in lieu of a structural overhaul to deal with changing demands, cease to lobby against the next-in-command in a bid to stall the change of guard? Will the seen-to-be-loyalists engineer a confrontation of factions within the Congress to protect their turf, pretending to protect the present commanders? It is apparent from outside that the sanctum sanctorum has been sealed off from the real world, isolated from the crumbling walls of the house that A.O. Hume, M.K. Gandhi and others built. Does the edifice need to be pulled down or does it need to be taken over by a fresh incumbent raring to transform its moribund state?
To merely stay in power and lose all credibility is stupid strategy in this ‘age of information’. A political party that believes it has a dynamic future role must engage with the people and use every forum to do so. The days of staying away from the public domain are gone and proactive connectivity is the need of the hour.

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