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Monday, July 4, 2011

Crisis in Andhra as 10 Congress & 73 Telangana legislators quit..... Telangana wind could fan the Gorkhaland fire..... Gurung: Tribals reached for land.... अन्तरक्रिया विकास र आन्दोलन संगसंगैःमोर्चा.... Sikkim MPs participate in Lokpal Bill...... Sikkim Post Office enlisted in heritage

Telangana battle of nerves
G.S. RADHAKRISHNA AND SANJAY K. JHA,TT, July 4: Ten Congress MPs and 78 Telangana MLAs, including 43 from the Congress, resigned today to press for statehood but Delhi has not betrayed signs of panic yet.
Its majority intact both in Parliament and a depleted Assembly, the Congress is working to persuade its lawmakers to withdraw their quit letters. The Lok Sabha and Andhra Pradesh Speakers — the latter will return from the US only on Friday — are not expected to accept the resignations in the next few days.
Congress leaders admitted a crisis of sorts but hoped for a solution in the next three-four days. One worry, though, is that a two-day Telangana bandh called from tomorrow may turn violent.
“We would advise the MPs to have patience and let the consultative process continue. The MPs and MLAs had forewarned us... the resignations have not come as a surprise,” home minister P. Chidambaram said. “There is no need to get alarmed. They have given expression to a strongly held view. We will be able to persuade them.”
By evening, the lawmakers were wondering about the relative calm. The cabinet committee on political affairs met in the evening but what it discussed was not revealed.
Senior-most Telangana MP and Union minister Jaipal Reddy did not resign but nine Lok Sabha MPs and one Rajya Sabha member did. They and almost all the MLAs handed their resignations in proper format, contrary to expectations they would link it to their cause, allowing the Speakers to reject the letters. Lawmakers cannot mention political causes for resigning.
But even if the letters are accepted, the UPA will have 311 votes in a 533-member Lok Sabha. With 33 MLAs from the Opposition Telugu Desam Party too quitting today (after four had resigned yesterday), the Congress and allies’ combined strength will be 135 in a reduced Assembly of 212. Two MLAs from Congress ally Praja Rajyam Party too have quit.
Sources said if the Telangana MLAs actually quit in the end, it would make life easier for the government, which wants a solution without dividing the state. The proposals being considered include an autonomous council for Telangana, or such councils for each of the three regions, including Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra.
The lawmakers want a statehood announcement or at least a time-bound promise. Even if this doesn’t happen and the letters are accepted, they are sure to be re-elected.
Telangana wind could fan the Gorkhaland fire
Amitava Banerjee, HT, Darjeeling, July 05: The Telangana wind could fan the Gorkhaland fire. At a point when the government is on the verge of arriving at a settlement with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) over the Gorkha crisis, the sudden vigor in the Telangana movement could well cast a shadow on the ongoing negotiations for the
formation of an autonomous administrative body for the Darjeeling Hills in West Bengal.
The GJM has been agitating for a separate state since October 2007. Following a bipartite meeting between the state government and the GJM in Kolkata on June 7, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had declared that the Gorkha crisis has been resolved in the form of a new administrative arrangement for the hills.
Banerjee had further announced that a Memorandum of Settlement would be signed between the Centre, State and the GJM for the formation of the administrative setup and that it would be signed in a tripartite meeting to be held within June 2011.
The tripartite meeting is yet to see the light of day. Contrary to this, the Centre now claims that some of the clauses in the administrative arrangement are unconstitutional, hence would requires a nod from the legal cell.
Political Observers feel that the dillydallying of the inking of the MOS could result in a political vacuum in Hills. Coupled with this, the sudden rise in the Telangana tempo could jeopardize the plans for a new administrative arrangement. The Hills could once again revert back to the Gorkhaland path.
36 Congress MLAs including 11 ministers tendered their resignations from Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Monday to force the Centre to bend to their demand for separate Telangana state. Following on the heels of the MLAs, 10 Congress Lok Sabha MPs and 1 Congress Rajya Sabha MP from the Telanga region submitted their resignation in Delhi.
The GJM has preferred to adopt a cautious stand on this development. “We will have a Central Committee meeting soon to discuss on this development. Only after the meet can we be specific on our future course of action and our stand” stated Harka Bhadur Chettri, GJM Spokesperson, carefully evading the question.
Adding to this Roshan Giri, GJM General Secretary stated “We are keeping a close watch on the Telangana developments.” However the Hill opposition parties have not failed to pull up the GJM on this sudden development.
“If Telangana is constituted, Gorkhaland has to be constituted too. The GJM should learn a thing or two from the sacrifices made by the Telangana leaders (MP and MLAs.) The GJM MLAs should immediately place a “Gorkhaland” Bill in the Bengal Assembly” stated Govind Chettri, Spokesperson, Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM).
Pratap Khati of the All India Gorkha League stated “Telangana is possible as they are all united and since. In the case of Gorkhaland, Bimal Gurung the GJM President is a counter leader. He is least concerned about Gorkhaland. Those who claim that Gurung can deliver Gorkhaland are either ignorant or have vested interests.”
Interestingly the Gorkhaland and Telangana movements share an unseen relationship, influencing each other at times. The GJM has time and again used the Telangana movement to boost up their own agitation, specially when the party (GJM) has witnessed political lows.
The Srikrishna Committee report on Telangana seemed to have more impact on Gorkhaland politics than in the proposed area of Telangana itself. Though the Report failed to amuse important stakeholders TRS, TDP and the BJP; kilometers away the GJM interpreted it as a positive step in the creation of Telangana. The GJM then had lost no time in announcing a series of agitational programmes.
However the Telangana movement has not been supportive of the Gorkhaland cause. TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao in an interview had stated “I am against Gorkhaland.” He had stated that one cannot have a new state on an international border at a time when the country is grappling with insurgency in north east and militancy in Kashmir.
He had further added that while the demand for Telangana comprises of 10 districts out of the existing 23 of Andhra Pradesh, Gorkhaland comprises of a single district of West Bengal, that too with the people of the plains divided.
Recently the UPA Government had tried to work out a compromise formula for Telangana. The Congress had suggested a Gorkha pattern autonomy for Telangana (on the lines of a new administrative arrangement for the Hills).
However this proposal further angered the Telangana activists, unwilling to settle for anything less than a separate state. “People will come out on to the streets against any compromise formula other than the formation of the state” stated Dr Prithviraj, of the Students Forum for Telangana.
Gurung: Tribals reached for land

TT, Kalchini, July 4: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today claimed that his party was in touch with the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad on the issue of territory.
His claim, however, has been rejected as untrue by leaders of the tribal organisation, which has decided to oppose tooth and nail the Morcha demand to bring some pockets of the Dooars under a new set-up for the hills.
After addressing about 2,000 people who had gathered at the Kalchini thana grounds, this afternoon, Gurung said: “We are in touch with the Parishad and we also have faith in the high-power committee that the state government will constitute to look into the territorial issue.” He, however, did not elaborate on which leaders of the Parishad his party was in touch with.
Reacting to Gurung’s claim, John Barla, the president of the Terai-Dooars coordination committee of the Parishad, said: “Nobody from the Morcha had contacted us. We are determined in our stand not to allow an inch of land from the Terai or the Dooars to be included in the Morcha’s proposed territory. If need be we will take to the streets,” Barla said.
While Gurung did not touch upon the developments in Andhra Pradesh where 78 MLAs resigned today for Telangana, Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said in Darjeeling that the situation in Hyderabad was “being monitored”.
“We are closely monitoring the developments on Telangana and our future stand will depend on the prevailing situation,” said Giri.
Back in the plains, Gurung said that in March 2008, former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had offered the Morcha Rs 1,500 crore for the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council only if the party gave up its agitation for statehood. “I rejected the offer and said we were interested in nothing short of Gorkhaland,” he said.
While addressing the gathering — his second speech in as many days in the Dooars — Gurung said: “I saw hundreds of Gorkhas and Adivasis lined up at the Bhutan gate, waiting to enter Bhutan for work. They will be jobless if that country does not give them work. We will introduce industries in this region so that you have jobs. I will draw Mamata Didi’s attention to this.” 

Climb school at height - global role for hmi in mountaineering training 
VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, July 4: The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute has been nominated as a member of the training commission of the Switzerland-headquartered Union Internationale Des Association D’Alpinisme (UIAA), a global body that frames rules and policies on climbing.

As a member of the training commission, the HMI will have a role in evaluating and certifying training courses and methods of all mountaineering institutes and clubs affiliated to the UIAA across the globe.
The HMI had been made a member of the UIAA, which is also known as the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation, in 2010.
Col. Neeraj Rana, the principal of the HMI, will be a part of the seven-member training committee. “The training commission will have to travel across the globe and evaluate the training schedules of various institutes and certify them according to the norms of the UIAA,” said Rana.
An approval by the training commission will mean that the certificates issued by the institute/club will be recognised globally.
The UIAA also lays down training standards to be followed world wide and recommends equipment for mountaineering and certifies them as safe. All new climbing techniques have to be approved by the UIAA.
“The training commission will also evaluate the training process of the HMI soon. The dates for the inspection of the HMI will be finalised at the UIAA governing council’s meeting which is scheduled to take place in Kathmandu from October 6 to 9,” said Rana.
However, Rana will not be a part of the training commission for the inspection of the HMI as he is the principal of the institute.
The foundation stone of the Darjeeling climb school was laid on November 4, 1954, by the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru following the successful ascent of Mt Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary the previous year.
Darjeeling was chosen for the institute, as it was the hometown of Norgay. The institute was initially started at Roy Villa, which was Sister Nivedita’s house, on Lebong Cart Road and was shifted to the present location on the western spur of Birch Hill in 1958.
An HMI team had successfully scaled Mt Everest in 2003. Members of the institute also became the first Indian team to conquer Mt Makalu, the fifth highest peak in the world, on May 19, 2009.
Rana created a world record by being the first man to paraglide in Makalu — from camp I (6,850 metre) to the advance base camp (5,300 metre) — on May 12, 2009.
राजनैतिक-गैरराजनीति सङ्गठनका प्रतिनिधिहरूबीच अन्तरक्रिया
विकास र आन्दोलन संगसंगैःमोर्चा - चिन्हारीको निम्ति नै आन्दोलन-विपक्ष
मनोज वोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 4 जुलाई।   वर्तमान राजनैतिक शिविरमा चलिरहेको आपसी द्वन्द्, मतभेद अनि अन्योलताहरूलाई विराम लगाउने मुख्य उद्देश्य राखेर राजनैतिक दलका प्रतिनिधिहरूलाई आज कालेबुङको हिमालयन पिपल्स च्यानल(एचपीसी)ले एउटै मञ्चमा उभ्यायो। सरोकार-नाम गरेर राजनैतिक अनि गैरराजनीतिक सङ्गठनहरूका प्रतिनिधिहरूलाई लिएर एचपीसीले एउटा अन्तरक्रियात्मक कार्यक्रम गरेको थियो जहॉं गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाको स्टडी फोरमका सदस्य डा.आरबी भुजेल, मोर्चाको डुवर्स साङ्गठानिक सचिव सामुएल गुरूङ, क्रामाकपाका उपाध्यक्ष जे.बी राई, माकपाका तारा सुन्दास, गोरामुमो-सीका अध्यक्ष कर्णल डीके प्रधान, जिल्ला युवा कंग्रेसका अध्यक्ष दिलिप प्रधान, भागोप गोर्खाल्याण्ड टास्क फोर्सका राष्ट्रिय समन्वयक आर.मोक्तान अनि मीडियाको पक्षमा पत्रकार सन्दिप जैन उपस्थित थिए। 
उनीहरूलाई वर्तमान राजनैतिक परिस्थितिमाथि केन्द्रित गराउँदै दलहरूबीचको मदभेदलाई व्यवस्थित गराउन आलम्बन गरिन सकिने उपाय निकाल्ने कोशिश च्यानलले गरेको थियो। छुट्टैराज्य वास्तवमा नै के को निम्ति मागिएको हो? भारतभरिका गोर्खाहरूको चिन्हारीको सङ्‌कटको कारणको निम्ति हो कि विकासको निम्ति भन्ने कुरामा नै दलका प्रतिनिधिहरूले टिप्पणी राखेका थिए। मोर्चाको पक्षमा डा.आरबी भुजेलले अहिले नै देशमा राज्य गठन हुन सक्ने परिस्थिति नरहेकोले जनता लामो आन्दोलन गर्न सक्ने स्थितिमा नरहेकोले विकास पनि गर्दै चिन्हारीको निम्ति नै छुट्टैराज्यको निम्ति आन्दोलित हुने सोंच मोर्चाको रहेको स्पष्ट पारे। 
तिनले पहाड़मा समस्याहरूको बगुन्द्रो रहेको अनि मुख्यरूपले आर्थिक र शैक्षिक क्षेत्र नै डावाडोल रहेकोले विकासको कार्यलाई राज्य निर्माण कै पुर्वाधार निर्माणको निम्ति लिएको पनि जनाए। तिनले भने, सरकारहरूसित भइरहेको वातचितहरूको अनुभव र  सरकारहरूको परिस्थितिलाई पनि बुझ्दै गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलनलाई नबिथोली जनताको आवश्यकतापूर्तिको निम्ति गोर्खाल्याण्ड अटोनोमस अथोरिटी ग्रहण गर्दा कहॉं गल्ती छ? सबैलाई थाहा छ कि छुट्टैराज्य अहिले नै हुँदैन, यत्रो लामोसम्म पहाड़मा जुन संसाधनहरूको हानी हुन्छ, त्यसलाई ध्यानमा राख्दै छुट्टैराज्यको निम्ति नै यो व्यवस्था ग्रहण गरिने कुरा भइरहेको हो। यो नै चुडान्त पनि होइन, सम्झौता पत्रहरू हेर्ने प्रकिया जारी छ। 
66 वटा विभाग परिषदमा स्थान्तरण भइरहेको छ। सीमानाको कुरा नमिलिञ्जेलसम्म व्यवस्था ग्रहण गरिनेछैन। यता मोर्चा नेता सामुएल गरूङले पनि व्यवस्थाको कुरा मात्र चलिरहेको अनि जबसम्म दाबी गरिएका तराई डुवर्सका भूभाग पस्दैन तबसम्म ग्रहण नै नगरिने बताउँदै भने, राज्यको निम्ति सीमाङ्‌कनको कुरा अनिवार्य हो। हामी राज्यकै निम्ति सीमाना बॉंध्ने कार्य गरिरहेका छौं। 
यता क्रामाकपाका उपाध्यक्ष जेबी राईले आन्दोलन छुट्टैराज्यको निम्ति बताइएको भएपनि अहिले आएर मोर्चाले दुइवटा नाउँमा खुट्टा राखिदिएको मात्र होइन आफ्नै कार्ययोजनामा नै स्पष्ट नरहेको अनि मोर्चाले गरिरहेको राजनैतिक विकास, सम्झौता र बातचितहरूलाई गोप्य राखेकोले शंका उठिरहेको जनाए। तिनले विकास पनि गर्ने गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलन पनि गर्नै कुरा नै शंकास्पद रहेको जनाउँदै भने, भारतलाई जब ब्रिटिशहरूले कब्जा गरे, त्यसपछि महात्म गान्धीले भारतीयहरूको चिन्हारीको संकटलाई अघि राखेर आन्दोलन गरे अनि सफल पनि भए। विकासकै कुरा गर्नु हो भने त ब्रिटिशहरूले जुन विकास गरे त्यस्तो विकास त आजको भारतले पनि गरेको छैन। केवल दार्जीलिङमा आएको व्यवस्थाले गोर्खाहरूको चिन्हारी बन्दैन। भारतीयहरूको चिन्हारीको निम्ति गान्धी लड़े झैं हामी पनि गोर्खाहरूको चिन्हारीको निम्ति लड़ेका हौं। जसरी त्यलबेला ब्रिटिशले गरेको विकासले चिन्हारी बनिएन त्यसरी नै दार्जीलिङमा आएको व्यवस्थाले पनि चिन्हारी बनिँदैन। यसकारण विकासलाई हामीले नकारेका हौ, किन भने विकास गर्ने जिम्मा सरकारको हो। आन्दोलनलाई विश्राम दिने षड़यन्त्र हुनुहुँदैन। 
यता कर्णल डीके प्रधानले मोर्चाले गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति भनेर अहिले विकासमा रोकिएकोले घिसिंगकालीन प्रवृति दोहोरिएको बताए। यता माकपाका तारा सुन्दासले भारतको संघीय प्रणालीमा देशको विचार नै स्पष्ट नरहेको अवस्थामा छुट्टिने र राज्य गठन गर्ने कुरा असम्भव रहेको जनाए। तिनले केन्द्रले भन्ने एकथोक र गर्ने एकथोक बताउँदै भने, दार्जीलिङमा दिल्लीको एम्स हस्पिटल बनाउने घोषणा गरेको भए पनि धनी लगानीकर्ताले लगानी गरे मात्र हस्पिटल बनिने वास्तविकता रहेको  छ। यसकारण केन्द्रले गर्ने व्यवहार केलाएर नै जुनै पनि निर्णय गरिए धोका नहुने जनाए। यता जिल्ला युवा कंग्रेसका दिलिप प्रधानले बङ्गालबाट छुट्टिन र बङ्गालको विकास नगरेको कारण नै छुट्टैराज्यको आन्दोलन भएको अनि आन्दोलन गर्दा विदेशीको लाञ्छना लगाइएकोले चिन्हारीको सवाल उठेको बताए। तिनले विकासलाई नै प्रमुखता दिन पर्ने पनि बताए। 
अर्कोतिर तिनले मोर्चाले राखेको प्रस्ताव मध्येमा सीमाङ्‌कनको कुरालाई केन्द्रले नकारीदिएकोले समस्या चर्किन सक्ने सम्भावनाप्रति पनि सबैको ध्यानाकर्षण गराए। 
भागोप गोर्खाल्याण्ड टास्क फोर्सका राष्ट्रिय समन्वयक आर.मोक्तानले सीमाङ्‌कनको कुरामा ऐतिहासिक कुराहरूले असुविधा उत्पन्न गर्न सक्ने भएकोले सुवास घिसिङले दिएको धोका जस्तै यसपालि पनि धोका हुनु नहुने जनाए। तिनले आन्दोलनलाई चिन्हारीको सवाल बनाएर अघि बढाउन पर्ने अनि यसको निम्ति राजनैतिक अराजनैतिक सङ्गठनहरूको सहकार्य हुनुपर्ने पनि बताए। पत्रकार सन्दिप जैनले दलीय मतभेदलाई हटाएर आपसी सुझबुझ हुनसके आन्दोलनकारीहरूमा विवाद नआउने बताउँदै मुद्दाको निम्ति इमान्दार हुनु हो भने आजको समस्या उपार्जन हुने नै थिएन भन्ने कुरा राखे। तिनले चिन्हारी र विकासको कुरालाई पनि दलहरूले स्पष्ट बुझेर सहकार्य गर्नु आजको परिस्थिति बताए। यता मोर्चाका पक्षबाट डा.भुजेल अनि सामुएल गुरूङले अहिलेसम्म भइरहेको मोर्चाले गरेका जम्मै कुरा जनतामा राख्दै आइरहेको बताए। 
यता जे.बी. राई अनि आर मोक्तानले मोर्चाले राजनैतिक अनि गैरराजनीतिक सङ्गठनहरूमा स्पष्ट कुरा नराखेकोले नै द्वन्द्व बढेको अनि शंकाको स्थिति मोर्चाले नै उपार्जन गरेको भन्दै मोर्चाले सबै कुरा पारदर्शी गर्नुपर्ने पनि बताए।  मोर्चाका प्रतिनिधिहरूले माध्यमको कमीले पनि यस्तो  हुनसक्ने बताउँदै सबैले मोर्चा र अन्य दलहरूलाई जोड्‌ने र मोर्चाले कुरा राख्न सक्ने माध्यम निर्माण गर्नुपर्ने जनाए। दर्शवर्गले पनि दलीय मित्रतालाई नै प्रमुखता दिँदै राज्य र केन्द्रले एउटा दललाई लिएर गरेको कुनै पनि सम्झौताले छुट्टैराज्यको आन्दोलनलाई दखल पुर्‍याउनु नहुने सुझाव पनि राखे।
Crisis in Andhra as 73 Telangana legislators quit
(Congress Telangana MPs shout slogans after their resignation, at the Parliament in New Delhi. PTI Photo)
Congress Telangana MPs shout slogans after their resignation, at the Parliament in New Delhi. PTI PhotoIANS, 4 July, Hyderabad: The Congress government in Andhra Pradesh plunged into crisis Monday with 36 legislators from the party and and all 33 from the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) quitting over the issue of separate statehood to Telangana.
Of the Congress's 36 legislators who have resigned, 11 are ministers. From the TDP ranks, four had quit Sunday, taking the number of legislators from the region who have quit to 73.
Telangana accounts for 119 legislators in the 294-member assembly. The Congress has 52 members, including two of the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), which recently joined with the ruling party.
TDP has 37 members from the region while Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has 11.
All 33 legislators of TDP and 36 of the Congress party submitted their resignations to Deputy Speaker Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka as Speaker N. Manohar is in the US.
Except Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Raja Narasimha, ministers D. Nagender, Mukesh Goud and Shankar Rao have all resigned.
In the 294-member assembly, Congress has 174 members, including 18 from the PRP.
Political observers say the government may be reduced to a minority if the resignations of 36 legislators are accepted by the speaker.
Senior minister K. Jana Reddy, who is leading the Congress ministers and legislators, told reporters that their resignations were not aimed at creating a constitutional or political crisis but to achieve a separate state in tune with the aspirations of the people.
'Today is United States' Independence Day and we hope today will also become Telangana's Independence Day,' the minister said outside the assembly building.
He claimed that their fight was for self-rule and self-respect of the Telangana region.
Twelve Congress members of the legislative council have also submitted their resignations to council chairperson K. Chakrapani.
The legislators said the resignations were aimed at pressurising the central government to carve out a separate Telangana state as promised by it on Dec 9, 2009.
Ministers from Telangana have sought an appointment with Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan to submit their resignations as ministers. However, a minister K. Venkat Reddy said since the ministers have resigned as legislators they no longer continue as ministers.
Reacting to reports that the central leadership has invited them to Delhi for talks, Venkat Reddy told reporters that there was no question of going to the capital unless the centre agreed to form a separate state.
'We have already made it clear that our visit last month was the last visit to Delhi for talks,' he said.
A group of ministers, who submitted their resignations, met Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy to explain the reasons for their action.
Nine MPs of Congress have reached Delhi to submit their resignations to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.
48 hrs Telangana bundh
Normal life in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana is likely to come to a standstill Tuesday and Wednesday even as the government is gearing up to tackle 48-hour shutdown called by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) in a bid to intensify its agitation for a separate state.
Implement your Telangana promise or face protest: TRS
PTI, Hyderabad: TRS President K Chandrasekhar Rao today warned of intensifying the agitation from tomorrow in support of Telangana if the Centre continued to dilly-dally on the issue and demanded that immediate steps be taken for the formation of the separate state.
Sikkim MPs participate in Lokpal Bill
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, GANGTOK, July 4: Lok Sabha member PD Rai and Rajya Sabha member OT Lepcha yesterday represented Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) at the crucial all-party meeting on Lokpal Bill held at the official residence of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
During the deliberations participated by Congress, BJP, CPIM and regional parties, the Sikkim MPs also presented the stand of the SDF on the proposed Lokpal Bill.
“The SDF’s stand on the bill was that the Parliament and Government of India has to respond to the wishes of the people so far as the passing of a strong and effective Lokpal Bill is concerned”, said Rai.
The two MPs told the all-party meeting that the institution of the Prime Minister should not be under the purview of the proposed Lokpal Bill.
“We said that the Centre should also have to take the respective State government’s concurrence on aspects of the Lokpal Bill and that the Bill should be brought in accordance to the set practices of the Parliament. This means drafting and introduction in the Parliament and then referred to the Parliamentary standing committee which scrutinizes it”, said Rai.
The MPs were also of the view that wide consultations should be done on the proposed bill and not restricted to a set of people as it has been done till now.
Sikkim Post Office enlisted in heritage
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Gangtok, July 4: The second oldest post office in Sikkim, the Rangpo post office could be soon declared as a heritage postal building by the Union government following a field visit by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information & Technology.
A 12-member Parliamentary committee led by its chairman MP Achuthan today inspected the wooden post office at Rangpo bazaar, 41 kms away from Gangtok. The team was briefed about the heritage value of the Rangpo post office by Sikkim Lok Sabha member PD Rai.
Rai is also a member of the standing committee on Information & Technology.
“The Rangpo post office has been extending good services to the people. Generally people are satisfied with its services. It is a heritage building in Sikkim and once it is declared as a heritage building, its architecture will be maintained in its original form”, said Achuthan to reporters after inspecting the Rangpo post office and the telephone exchange which is also in the same around 1 acre complex.
Achuthan told media that the Parliamentary committee will be in Sikkim till July 7 for take an overview of the postal and telecommunication services in the border State. The team will also be visiting the Nathu La border to take stock of the telecommunication services being enjoyed by the defense personnel and local population. The committee will be interacting with the State government to get their feedback on the status of postal and telecommunication services in Sikkim during their tour.
The team is accompanied by senior officials from BSNL and Postal Services.
“One of the objectives of the committee’s visit is to inspect the heritage value of Rangpo post office. It will be made as a heritage building by the Ministry concerned and things are under process for the status declaration. It will be in line with the tourism thrust of the Sikkim government. There are already several post office buildings which have been given heritage status”, said Rai.
Rangpo is the main entry point to Sikkim and since its establishment in 1927, the office has witnessed the history of Sikkim especially the border trade with Tibet. Sikkim, at that time, was under a monarchy and the postal services under the British ruled India had set up the post office at Rangpo.
Though the first post office in Sikkim was established at Rhenock in East Sikkim near Kalimpong town in North Bengal, Rai was of the view that Rangpo post office should be first given the heritage status due to Rangpo being the main entry point to Sikkim.
“When it was established in 1927, lot of trade was taking place. The whole history of Sikkim can be interpreted through this post office. Once it is declared as heritage post office, tourists coming to Sikkim through Rangpo will love to visit it and take photographs. There will also lot of development in the post office at Rangpo. We will then make a pitch for Rhenock post office once Rangpo get the heritage status”, said the Sikkim Lok Sabha member.
According to the present staff members, the Rangpo post office when it was established had only 2-3 employees giving postal services in Rangpo town and adjoining areas. There are presently five staff and the scope of Rangpo postal services have expanded to international money transfer, speed post and making payments of MG NREGA and old age pension. It caters to the local population in Rangpo side of Sikkim and also the Rangpo side of West Bengal.
Train-hit jumbo dies
TT, Jalpaiguri, July 4: The second of the two train-hit elephants succumbed to its injuries in the Gorumara National Park this evening.
Two female elephants were injured by the Asansol Express on June 25 near the Banarhat station. The driver of the express, on its way to Siliguri through the Dooars forest, however, had been warned of a herd’s presence along the tracks 15 minutes before the accident.
The other elephant, about 24 years old, had died on July 1 in the Diana forest after it had slumped to the ground close to the spot where the animals were hit by the train.
The divisional forest officer, wildlife, Jalpaiguri, Sumita Ghatak, said the elephant which had died today was around 15 years old. “The animal died around 6pm today. We are going to conduct a post-mortem tomorrow.”
Wife murder
TT, Siliguri: Gouri Das, 50, a resident of Jyotinagar near Bhaktinagar, was hacked to death allegedly by her husband Tarapada on Sunday night. Police said Tarapada, a fish seller, used to get drunk and torture Gouri regularly. On Sunday night, the couple had a fight during which Tarapada allegedly hacked Gouri with a sickle. Gouri died on the spot. Police said Tarapada was absconding.
Power protest
TT, Malda: Around 2,500 residents of Digha Basatpur and Katlamari under Chanchol-I launched an indefinite strike in the two villages from Monday, demanding the electrification of the villages. Banks, post offices and the panchayat office remained closed on the first day of the strike. The residents have threatened to continue the shutdown till they receive an assurance from the authorities on the electrification of the villages.

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