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Friday, July 15, 2011

Darjeeling tripartite accord on July 18 in Pintail ..... Centre announces Rs 600 crore economic package for Darjeeling hills.... Last-minute give & take.... Gorkhaland interim set up opposed, shutdown in Siliguri.... विषय होइन शब्दमा आपत्ति....

Darjeeling tripartite accord on July 18: Mamata
IANS, Kolkata, July 15 The tripartite agreement on Darjeeling involving the West Bengal and central governments, and the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) will be signed July 18, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced Friday.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram would attend the programme in Sukna in Darjeeling district, Banerjee said.
'Due to the untiring efforts of our officers led by the chief secretary, the central government and my brothers and sisters from Darjeeling, there is now a consensus on signing the tripartite. We will sign it on July 18,' Banerjee told mediapersons here.
She said Sukna in Kurseong sub-division near the plains of Siliguri was chosen for the programme following a request from the central government.
The spot was chosen following a request from the central government to hold the programme in an area where the union home minister, who will be coming by air, can reach easily in view of the monsoon.
'They wanted to ensure that the programme was not derailed by the rains,' she said.
Centre announces Rs600 crore economic package for Darjeeling hills
PTI, Jul 15, 2011, New Delhi: The Centre will provide a Rs600-crore economic package to the proposed Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in Darjeeling to carry out development activities under its jurisdiction.
The funds will be released by the central government in three years -- Rs200 crore each -- beginning this fiscal as part of the much-awaited tripartite agreement to be signed on July 18, official sources here said today.
The pact will be signed by the representatives of West Bengal government and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha while a senior official of the home ministry will sign it as a witness.
Home minister P Chidambaram and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will be present at the function to be held at Sukna which falls within the jurisdiction of Darjeeling.
Last-minute give & take
VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, July 15: Last-mile negotiations appear to have ironed out “a few” outstanding points in the Darjeeling deal.
Sources said although the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was keen that the elected House of the territorial administration be called “Assembly”, the Centre as well as the state government persuaded the outfit to settle for “Sabha”.
Both the governments wanted to avoid creating an impression that the new autonomous body was being granted symbols of statehood such as an Assembly.
The Centre was also averse to the Morcha’s demand that the House be headed by a Speaker and a deputy Speaker. Instead, it has been decided that a chairman and a deputy chairman will conduct the business of the House.
The Morcha had already been handed a big selling point with the government agreeing to prefix the word “Gorkhaland” to the new body that will govern the region, the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri, however, said the chairman would not head the GTA. “The only to conduct the proceedings of the House,” he added.
The Morcha leader declined to reveal the name envisaged for the head of the new body. The hills are rife with speculation that the head would probably be given the status of “a cabinet minister” of the state.
With the Morcha trying to make the new body sound more like a “state” than an autonomous body, the Centre had raised objections to use of the word “Assembly” in the draft.
Samar Ghosh, Bengal chief secretary, had yesterday said even though Delhi was eager to sign the agreement, there were a few points that needed to be sorted out.
In less than 24 hours after the chief secretary’s statement, the Morcha today announced that all the differences had been ironed out. “Everything has been sorted out and we are happy with all the provisions,” Giri said. The Centre and Bengal seems to have deftly handled the issue, which was well reciprocated by the Morcha.
“The body will be called the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration,” Giri said, hinting that the Morcha had scored some brownie points.
Reacting to remarks about the nomenclature of the GTA, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said today: “Again, I ask, what’s in a name? Some people say shuprabhat while others say good morning. Some people are playing a narrow political game over this minor issue.
Hill deal to be signed in Pintail - Centre lines up Rs 600cr package
TT, July 15: A milestone agreement aimed at creating the autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and bringing peace to Darjeeling is scheduled to be signed in Pintail, a cluster of bungalows near Siliguri, on Monday. event, which marks a turning point in the troubled history of the hills, will be attended by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Union home minister P. Chidambaram and Gorkha leader Bimal Gurung.
The agreement itself will carry the signatures of others but the choice of venue reflects some of the twists and turns and the tightrope walk that eventually led to the deal.
Pintail was in the news earlier when fallen Gorkha leader Subash Ghisingh took shelter in a bungalow there after being driven out of the hills. It was also from Pintail where Nickole Tamang, the prime suspect in the Madan Tamang murder case, fled while he was in police custody.
The choice of Pintail also means that Mamata’s wish to have the agreement signed on Bengal soil will be fulfilled. Her original pick was Darjeeling town but weather-fuelled logistical uncertainties surrounding Chidambaram’s itinerary prompted the chief minister to decide on Pintail.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, one of the three parties involved in the deal, wanted the agreement to be signed in the “grandeur” of Delhi but did not oppose the choice of Pintail.
Sources in Delhi said the Centre has agreed to a Rs 600-crore “special package” for the development of the hills. The funds will be released in three years in Rs 200-crore tranches. The Morcha had asked for a Rs 1,500-crore package, excluding plan and non-plan expenditure.
Sources said the signatories to the memorandum of agreement are expected to be state home secretary G.D. Gautama, Union home secretary R.K. Singh and Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri.
“The date and place of signing the agreements have been decided,” Mamata said at Writers’ this afternoon. “A village (Pintail) near Sukna was picked keeping in mind the inclement weather in the hills. If it was held in Darjeeling and the weather made roads inaccessible for three to four hours, there would have been problems. More so because the Union home minister is also going to attend.”
Chidambaram is keen to leave the same day because of which the state government did not want to take chances. At this time of the year, rain in the hills sometimes causes landslides. Pintail, about 2km from Siliguri in the plains, is a safer option.
Sources in the government said Mamata was determined that the signing should happen in Bengal.
“The chief minister wanted to prove a political point,” a source said. “By signing the agreement in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee wants to put out the message that it is an internal matter of the state and that the agreement was arrived at during meetings in Writers’ Buildings, not in Delhi. She does not want Delhi to take the credit for the agreement.”
Giri said: “Our party president Bimal Gurung, along with the MLAs from the hills and the MP from Darjeeling, will be present at the event. The Union home minister and the chief minister will also be present.”
All ministers and MLAs from north Bengal and members of the North Bengal Development Council will be invited.
Mamata said she had asked chief secretary Samar Ghosh to invite Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra.
The GTA, an autonomous administrative body that will replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, will be formed through direct elections following the enactment of a law in the Assembly.
Asked how she managed to find a solution to the hill problem, Mamata said: “The credit goes to the people of the state. My brothers and sisters from Darjeeling also helped us. We want the hills to remain as they are, with us, and the people there to live in peace.”
Sources in the government said the territorial jurisdiction of the GTA would be decided by a tripartite committee that would give its recommendation within six months of being constituted. Mamata today said: “I want to reassure the people in the Terai and the Dooars that they mustn’t worry.”
She asked “some organisations” which are protesting the proposed tripartite agreement to desist from doing so. A few outfits, such as Amra Bangali, have called a bandh in north Bengal on July 18 – the signing day.
“Some little-known organisations have been spreading baseless rumours. They are separatists. They do not want the agreement to be signed because they know that this will solve the problem. They are against development in the hills. I would like to ask them to give up (their protest),” Mamata said.
GJM bags more riches for Hills
IE, Madhuparna Das , Jul 16 2011, Kolkata: Even though the GJM had to settle for an arrangement very close to the previous one — Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council — it has managed to secure a quantum jump in the financial package as offered by the Central government. According to the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has been allotted a financial package of Rs 600 crore in three years. The GTA will be given Rs 200 crore per year for the next three years. After three years, the government will review and revise the package.
The GJM had sought a package of Rs 1,000 crore for five years.
A deserted Siliguri road on Friday during a bandh called by pro-Bengali groups against Hill accord
A deserted Siliguri road on Friday
In contrast, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) was entitled to get a grant of Rs 30 crore per year. “We have been able to achieve almost 70 times greater package then what the GNLF got for the people of the Hills. Moreover, the grants for every department in the DGHC has to be proportionate with planned budget of the state for that department. But we do not have any such restriction. We can make our own budget for our departments,” said a member of the GJM study forum who has been associated with the negotiations.
The GJM had demanded that the election for the GTA should be held under the purview of the Election Commission of India. However, the draft agreement states that the state election commission will conduct the polls.
While the DGHC had 30 departments that did not include important ones like land and land revenue and tourism, the GTA will have 64 subjects, which will be clubbed into several departments. 
The GTA, however, will have no legislative powers. “The state cannot delegate legislative power without a constitutional guarantee to a local body. But the GTA can frame rules and regulations according to the requirements of the hills,” said GJM sources.
In addition, the GTS will have power of recruiting group B, C and D staff, which the DGHC lacked. Moreover, the GTA is entitled to have its own offices of provident fund and insurance and separate school and college service commissions.

Gorkhaland interim set up opposed, shutdown in Siliguri
ANI. July 15, 2011 - Siliguri: The non-political outfits have called for a 12-hour shutdown here on Friday to oppose the proposed agreement between the West Bengal Government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to finalise the newly agreed interim set-up in the disputed Gorkhaland region.
The non-political outfits have called for a 12-hour shutdown here on Friday to oppose the proposed agreement between the West Bengal Government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to finalise the newly agreed interim set-up in the disputed Gorkhaland region.
The groups Janajagaran, Bangla Morcha, Odlabari Nagarik Mancha and Janajagaran Malbaza have given the shutdown call protesting the agreement to be signed between the West Bengal Government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha scheduled on July 18.
The shutdown has instilled a sense of fear among the people, who have chosen to stay in the safety of their homes.
Consequently, the local markets wore a deserted look along with roads and streets, which remained desolate, with very few people venturing out in the open.
The deal between the GJM leaders and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee aims to finalise the newly agreed interim set-up in Gorkhaland.
Expressing their reservations on the proposed Gorkhaland agreement, the activists of regional outfits said they would not allow the GJM to divide West Bengal by creating a separate state.
"We are against the agreement between Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJM) and the state government, which is going to be finalised on the 18th of this month. The people here are opposed to the agreement and do not want to see it coming through. To protest this agreement, we have called for a shutdown in this region for 12 hours," said Tapan Dutta, Secretary of the Bangla Morcha group.
Meanwhile, the local police have immediately tightened security across the town, by deploying special vehicles and personnel at sensitive areas to prevent any eventuality.
"We have all security arrangements in place. We have deployed security personnel across the town. We have also provided special vehicles at every police station," said Anil Javalgi, Additional Superintendent of Police.
A renewed demand for a separate Gorkhaland region, which would include Darjeeling and some contiguous areas of Jalpaiguri District, has created fresh turmoil over the past few months.
The Gorkha population in West Bengal estimated to be around a million has been demanding a separate state.
Siliguri busy like any other day - Minister takes up cudgels against strike

TT, Siliguri, July 15: Gautam Deb today picked up an SBI official from his home so that he could open the bank and dropped an official of an insurance company at the airport so that he could take a flight to Calcutta — all part of an effort to instil confidence in people who wanted to ignore the bandh today.
The Trinamul Congress minister might not have been successful in warding off the shutdown across north Bengal totally but his example worked in Siliguri where party workers took to the streets asking transport owners and drivers to bring out the vehicles.
The strike did not affect the tea estates in the Dooars and the Terai or the three districts of North and South Dinajpurs and Malda.
Eight outfits, including Amra Bangali and Bangla Morcha, had called a 24-hour shutdown across north Bengal today to protest the agreement to form the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) for the Darjeeling hills. The minister, who made elaborate arrangements yesterday in consultation with the administration and different organisations of transport owners, tour operators and businessmen, started work at the New Jalpaiguri station today.
By 8am, Deb was at NJP, assuring passengers that transport would be available. “You need not to worry as policemen have been posted across the town. Transport is available and government buses are plying from the station. A large number of cabs are available to take you to your destinations,” Deb told waiting passengers on the platforms.
He also convinced reluctant cab drivers outside the station to ferry passengers.
“As I had told you yesterday, elaborate security arrangements have been made and you have no reason to fear,” he told taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers. “We need to prove that north Bengal is not a place known for strikes.”
Since the morning, police had been patrolling the Siliguri subdivision. Three bandh enforcers were arrested at Hashmi Chowk, when they tried to stop some vehicles, Darjeeling police chief D.P. Singh said. Singh himself toured the town extensively. “We were somehow confused about what to do but the manner in which the minister spoke, made us confident,” said Atul Das, a cab driver.
By 8.30am, the NJP station premises were bustling like any other day.
Deb then made his way to the Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminus in Siliguri. Long distance buses had come in as usual and rickshaws and autos were ferrying passengers. “We appreciate the way the transporters, rickshaw pullers and passengers had responded to our appeal,” he said. “It is good to see that people have defied the strike which was called to vitiate the peace and harmony in north Bengal.”
While touring the town, the minister came to know that a number of employees of the State Bank of India were waiting outside their Siliguri branch office located on Hill Cart Road. “I called up the AGM who is in charge of the bank and asked him to open the establishment, particularly because this branch also works as the clearing house. He stays in Sevoke Road and told me that he was not getting transport. I reached his place, picked him up and dropped him at the bank,” Deb said.
“I was also told that a senior divisional manager of LIC needed to go to Bagdogra to take a flight to Calcutta for a meeting. I picked him up, and dropped him at Bagdogra.”
Siliguri MLA Rudranath Bhattacharya has also visited the airport in the morning.
In Jalpaiguri district, shops and establishments were shut in Malbazar, Nagrakata, Dhupguri, Mainaguri, Banarhat and Alipurduar. Private vehicles did not ply while some schools were open.
Some Trinamul supporters tried to persuade businessmen to open their shops in Malbazar, but the bandh enforcers drove them away. In Cooch Behar, the strike was partial with schools, banks and offices remaining open. But the main markets were closed and private vehicles kept off the roads.
Deb, however, admitted that it would take some more time to convince the business community to keep their establishments open. “We will also talk to schools and other educational institutions to keep their campuses open. Also, banks and some commercial establishments would be requested to open their units during strikes like some banks did today,” he said.
The minister also requested the Parishad and other forums which have called strikes from tomorrow till Tuesday to withdraw them and instead discuss with the government their demands.
A case against strikes filed by lawyers Moumita Pal and Pritam Ghosh in the court of the Siliguri civil judge was heard today. Representatives of Amra Bangali and Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee, parties to the case, have been told by the court to submit by tomorrow in writing why they have called a strike.
The Bhasha Banchao Committee has called a two-day strike from July 18 to protest the formation of the GTA. The Parishad has called a 48-hour strike from tomorrow to protest the formation of a committee that would look into the Morcha demand to bring some of the plains mouzas under the GTA.

विषय होइन शब्दमा आपत्ति
मनोज वोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ,15 जुलाई। राज्य सरकार र मोर्चाबीच मोर्चाले दाबी गरेको जम्मै कुरामा सहमति भएपछि पनि राज्य र मोर्चाले फेरि आ-आफ्नै सम्झौता पत्र तयार गरेर त्यसमा पनि दुवैपक्षको सहमति भएपछि केन्द्रलाई पठाइएको सम्झौतापत्रका केही बुँदामा केन्द्रले आपत्ति जनाए पनि आज दिनभरि नै यसैको चर्चा चारैतिर चल्यो। केन्द्रले व्यवस्थाको नाम र जीएलपीलाई अर्धसैन्य बलमा भर्ना गर्ने विषयमा लगायत अन्य केही बुँदामा आपत्ती जनाएको राज्यका मुख्य सचिव समर घोषले बताएका थिए। 
यता मोर्चाका स्टडी फोरमका सदस्य डा.आर.बी.भुजेलले केन्द्रले मोर्चाले दाबी गरेको विषयमा होइन ती दाबी विषयका नाममा मात्र आपत्ति जनाएको स्पष्टिकरण दिएका छन्‌। संवाद माध्यमलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै तिनले भने, मोर्चा र राज्य सरकारबीच भएको सम्झौतापत्र केन्द्रलाई पठाइएको हो। केन्द्रले केही विषयका नामलाई लिएर आपत्ति जनाएको हो। मोर्चालाई हतार छैन अनि थाप्नैपर्छ भन्ने छैन। कुरा नमिलेको खण्डमा मिलाउने दायित्व राज्य सरकारको हो। तिनले अझ स्पष्टसित के भनेका छन्‌ भने मोर्चाले दाबी गरेको कुनै पनि विषयमा केन्द्रको सहमति भएन भने जीटीएको मार्गमा बाधा आउनेछ अनि सम्झौता हुनेछैन। 
तिनले केन्द्रले राज्य र केन्द्रको कानूनसम्मत विषयमा अवरोध र विचलन नहोस्‌ भनेर नै  केही विषयको नाममा आपत्ति जनाएको हुनसक्ने बताउँदै भने, मुख्यगरी व्यवस्थाको नाममा आएका शब्दमा, मोर्चाले दाबी गरेको जेनरल एसेम्ब्ली-को एसेम्ब्ली शब्द अनि एसेम्ब्लीभित्र माग गरिएको स्पीकर अनि डिपुटी स्पीकर शब्द यसबाहेक जीएलपीको पर्सनल शब्दमा आपत्ति भएको हो। चिज त्यही हो, केवल नाममा आपत्ती भएको हो। यसकारण ती शब्दहरूको ठाउँमा सुहाउँदा शब्दहरू लगाइन सकिन्छ। मोर्चाले यसप्रकारको आपत्तिलाई ठूलो समस्या मानेको छैन।  टेबलमा मिल्ने कुराहरु हुन्‌। जे भए पनि सम्झौता त हुने नै छ। तिनले मुम्बई काण्डको कारण केन्द्रले वार्ताको निम्ति समय दिन नसकिरहेको जनाउँदै मोर्चा र राज्य सरकार तयार रहेको अनि अब केवल केन्द्रले समय दिनुपर्ने मात्र बॉंकी रहेको पनि जनाए। 
केन्द्रले जीएलपीलाई सैन्यमा भर्ना गर्ने सम्बन्धमा नै केन्द्रको आपत्ति नरहेको स्पष्ट समाचार देखिएको सम्बन्धमा प्रश्न गर्दा तिनले यदि जीएलपीको नियुक्तिमा आपत्ति हुन्छ भने सम्झौतालाई यसले बाधित गर्ने बताए। तिनले भने, नाममा आपत्ति हुनु भिन्नै कुरा हो तर दाबी गरिएको विषयमा नै आपत्ति हो भने यसले सम्झौता हुन सक्नेछैन। तिनले अशोक भट्टाचार्यले राज्य सरकारसित गरेको आपत्ति तिनको फ्रष्टेशन रहेको बताउँदै भए पनि अशोक भट्टाचार्यले जुन युनियन टोरिटोरीको कुरा गरेको छ, यो मोर्चाको समर्थनमा रहेको बताउँदै मोर्चाको यो व्यवस्थाको लक्ष्य पनि युनियन टेरिटोरी अनि राज्य रहेको तिनले जनाए।
Day 24 of Sikkim CM visit
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Gangtok 15th July: After completing the South and West district the Chief Minister started the village to village tour of East district from Tumin Lingee constituency from today. This was the 24th day of the village to village tour of the state government. At his first stop at Makha Secondary School the Chief Minister met the people and had one to one interaction with the public at the shed meant for the public for about fifteen minutes. Later addressing the mamoth gathering at the School premises the Chief Minister stressed on the dream of making Sikkim an eco city state by providing urban like facilities and opportunities in the rural areas.
The Chief Minister while talking about the policies and programmes of the government on the upliftment of the rural areas visa vis the development of cooperative movement in the state announced to allot works upto the value of two crores to cooperative societies of the state.
At Lower Tumin the chief Minister while talking about the health policy of the state government announced to introduce Cervical Cancer vaccination to girl child.
At Tumin Barang the Chief Minister while declaring to construct Ramayana Village at Tumin Barang said that this project will be first of its kind in the entire world. For this purpose 15 acres of land has been identified in the village which will be purchased by the government and the work will be started within this year, he said.
The Ramayana Village so constructed will be having the statues of the characters of Ramayana telling the story of the epic. The government has the plans to convert this constituency into a pilgrimage tourism centre but the people should be ready to opt for the new profession. In future this place will be a major tourist hub and will be visited by people from across the globe. In this way we are preparing a strategy for sustainable development of the state, the Chief Minister added.
HC gives nod to fill up hill teacher slots

TT, Calcutta, July 15: Calcutta High Court today gave its seal of approval to the decision taken by the Darjeeling school board to start again the process of filling up the vacancies of around 15,00 primary school teachers.
The board was also directed to send appointment letters to 120 candidates who had been chosen for the posts in 2002, but not given the placements.
During the hearing of a petition moved by a candidate Uday Chandra Rai, the board informed the court that the process of appointment of teachers had started again. “The candidates who were selected in 2002 have been asked to come to the board office and collect their appointment letters,” the board counsel told Justice Biswanath Somadder.
Rai was among 120 candidates who had been chosen for jobs after exams and interviews, but not issued appointment letters.
The court also ordered the board to complete the recruitment process in four months as a large number of “primary schools were facing problem due to lack of adequate number of teachers”.
The judge asked the board to publish advertisement in a largely circulated English newspaper and at least three local dailies, asking the 120 candidates to collect their appointment letters.
Bhushan Thapa, a member of the district school board since 2008, said he had no idea why the process to recruit primary school teachers had stopped midway.
“We are unaware why the appointments of the primary school teachers were stopped by the earlier dispensation (read GNLF). They probably had some politically vested interests in stalling the process,” Thapa said in Darjeeling today.
He said some candidates had even been empanelled after conducting interviews. “But appointment letters have never been released. We were later told that five candidates had approached the court on the issue,” said Thapa.
The Gorkha Primary Teachers’ Organisation said 13 primary schools were functioning without full-fledged teachers in the Darjeeling hills and around 4000 posts were lying vacant.
“The recruitment has been stalled for the past 13 years. That is why we want 4000 teachers to be taken in. I think the 2002 interview was only for 120 vacancies,” said a leader of the GPTO, affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
The GPTO had organised a series of strikes across the hills recently to press for the appointment of more teachers.
CM to open secretariat
TT, Calcutta, July 15: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today said she would inaugurate the secretariat for north Bengal on Tuesday.
Sources said at Writers’ Buildings that the chief minister’s secretariat would function for the six districts of the region. They added that Mamata would also flag off the rail-bus service between Bagdogra and Siliguri.
According to them, the chief minister also might launch a few other initiatives for the development of north Bengal during her tour.
“Calcutta High Court’s circuit bench in Jalpaiguri may also start functioning in her presence. A direct flight also could be launched between Calcutta and Cooch Behar,” a source said.
Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi will accompany Mamata during the visit.
Symbolic opening of airport
TNN , Jul 16, 2011, KOLKATA: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will be present at the symbolic inauguration of the Cooch Behar airport at Siliguri during her north Bengal trip next week. According to sources, she will ink a pact on behalf of the government with non-scheduled chartered airline Northeast Shuttles, which will fly aircraft between Kolkata and Bagdogra six days a week.
The government will subsidise eight seats in the 18-seater Dornier aircraft

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