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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Three terorists in Siliguri..... Plains package to match hills bounty..... Protest at ‘raw deal’ for plains... Promise to banish bandhs CM tells traders to defy calls for strike.... Hill boss spots a mother in Mamata... Gorkhaland demand remains: Bimal Gurung..... GTA clause recognises demand for seperate state of Gorkhaland: GJM... Mamata announces projects for N Bengal...... Trust, the new change in Darjeeling.... Gorkhaland pact: Chidambaram credits Didi, Gurung with deal..... c‎ ..... No real autonomy for the Darjeling hills post agreement..... Shutdown in Siliguri, Dooars over Gorkhaland pact..... Subash Ghisingh: Leader then, loner now.... DRAFT OF GTA -MOA

Three terrorists in Siliguri; police alerted
PTI, Kolkata Jul 19 : All police stations in around Siliguri have been alerted after a central intelligence agency alerted the West Bengal Police that three terrorists have sneaked into the key North Bengal town.
"We were informed by a central intelligence agency on July 16 that three terrorists have entered Siliguri. We have alerted all police stations," a top IB official told PTI today.
He said two terrorists were from Bangladesh and one from Pakistan.
A close watch is being kept on market places, shopping malls and public places in the town, the official said.
IB sources said Bangladeshis Habib Khan, a resident of Comilla, Golap Rasul Miyan, a resident of Gobra, and Pakistani Md Soukat entered Siliguri ten days ago.
TT, July 19: A central intelligence agency has warned the state home department that three militants have crossed the border and entered Siliguri.
The alert, which comes a week after Mumbai was rocked by triple explosions, said while two of the militants are from Bangladesh, one is from Pakistan.
The warning was issued by the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau on July 17 after a tip- off from the Border Security Force.
“The report says three people, Shaukat Hussain from Pakistan, and Habib Khan and Ghulam Rasul Miyan from Bangladesh had sneaked into the Indian territory in the second week of July. They have already done a reconnaissance in parts of the Siliguri sector,” said an intelligence officer.
The intelligence agencies, however, have not mentioned anything about the insurg ent groups to which these men belong.
“Places like New Jalpaiguri railway station, Tenzing Norgay bus terminus and the Mahananda Bridge have been mentioned as the probable targets,” the officer said, quoting the report.
The warning follows an earlier information that said militants belonging to different outfits, including those based in the Northeast, are trying to create tension in the region by planning acts of sabotage and bomb explosions.
The last alert that was sounded in north Bengal was almost a fortnight ago when director general (railways) Dilip Mitra said there was apprehension of insurgents belonging to the National Democratic Front of Bodoland triggering explosions at the NJP station.
“We had received a general alert ahead of the chief minister’s visit. The alert had said some persons had entered the region and might try to carry out sabotage in the district in her presence. Since then we had beefed up security and are had been taking all necessary steps,” said D.P Singh, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling.
No GTA poll until area addition: Gurung
Mmanas Ranjan Banerjee, SNS, PINTAIL VILLAGE (SUKNA)/KOLKATA, 19 JULY: In an apparent move to put pressure on the Mamata Banerjee government, the GJMM president, Mr Bimal Gurung, today made it clear that there would be no Gorkhaland Territorial Administration election until some Gorkha-majority areas in the Terai-Dooars region are included in the autonomous council.
Addressing a GJMM's rally at Pintail Village, Mr Gurung said that his party would go for the GTA election after making sure that the additional areas in the Treai-Dooars are included in the council's territorial jurisdiction. “Make no mistake that we would not allow elections until our demand is met,” he said, amidst thunderous applause from GJMM followers who have assembled in thousands to listen to the leader after the signing-ceremony involving the GTA that was held yesterday.
The well-timed move is likely to upset the state government, as the chief minister looks euphoric, claiming that the long lingering impasse has been resolved within less than three months since the new government assumed the reins of the state.
“An impression is being deliberately created that the GTA would comprise only the three Hill sub-divisions. This is mischievous propaganda. The GTA is by no means an exclusive Gorkha body. It is rather an inclusive instrument involving the interests of all the backward communities in north Bengal like the Adivasis, Mech, Rava and the like. We agreed to the proposed set up after ensuring that the state government would constitute a high-powered committee to look into our territorial expansion demand. There is no question of going back at this critical juncture,” he said.
Alluding to Mamata Banerjee's categorical rejection of the Gorkhaland demand during yesterday's signing ceremony, Mr Gurung said that she had been under tremendous pressure from the parochial elements within her community. “She would have given us the statehood had the matter been left exclusively to herself. We know that a section of our workers are upset with the chief minister's anti-Gorkhaland affirmation. She deserves our support and sympathy in view of her predicament. The chauvinistic elements have already started crying wolf,” the GJMM president said.
Reiterating that the statehood demand is very much on their agenda, he said that they would keep begging for it from the chief minister whom he addressed as ‘mother.
The chief secretary, Mr Samar Ghosh, however, said: “The agreement says that the election to GTA would be held on the basis of the existing territorial jurisdiction of the present Darjeeling Gorkha Autonomous Hill Council. The question of territorial expansion of GTA is not linked with the holding of elections.”  

Gorkhaland demand remains: Bimal Gurung
PTI, July 19, 2011: Darjeeling/Siliguri: A day after the signing of the tripartite agreement on Darjeeling, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung on Tuesday said its original demand for Gorkhaland still stands.
"The original demand for Gorkhaland remains. We have never said that we have withdrawn our demand for Gorkhaland," Gurung told a press conference in Darjeeling.
When told that Chief Minister Minister Mamata Banerjee had categorically said that there would be no division of West Bengal, he said, "That is absolutely her personal and political opinion."
He, however, added "at the same time we will work for the development of Darjeeling."
On Banerjee's announcement that elections will be held within six months to the new council, Gorkhaland Territorial Authority, Gurung asserted this could only be held after GJM's demand for inclusion of 196 mouzas in the Terai and Dooars in the plains was conceded.
Meanwhile in Siliguri, CPI-M leader and former minister Ashok Bhattacharjee alleged that the GTA has sowed the seeds for long-term discord.
He said his party had always been against the GJM's demand for inclusion of areas in the Terai and the Dooars in the jurisdiction of the hill council.
He also questioned how the state government would find land for a 1,000-acre proposed SEZ in north Bengal.
"The Trinamool Congress came to power on the plank of anti-land acquisition and I wonder how it will acquire the land for the special economic zone," he said.
GTA clause recognises demand for seperate state of Gorkhaland: GJM
Shine Jacob, Business standard / Kolkata/ Siliguri July 20, 2011:A day after the historic tripartite agreement on the hills was signed creating the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), representatives of the Gorkha front reiterated the fact that they are not going back on their demand for a separate state.
“We are not going back on the earlier demand of a separate Gorkha state. In fact the agreement for GTA has a separate clause recognising the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland, signifying that we are not going back on our earlier demand,” said Roshan Giri, Morcha general secretary.
The clause, Giri is referring to, is being interpreted by the opposition that Gorkhaland has found official recognition for the first time, by virtue of its inclusion in the GTA, which for now will have administrative control over the Hills of West Bengal, along with part of the plains.
The GTA was signed between the West Bengal government, Union government and the (GJM), in the presence of chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Union home minister, P Chidambaram. At the signing, Banerjee had stated that the GTA does not mean Gorkhaland.
“Bengal will not be separated and Darjeeling will smile inside the state. There will be no division of Bengal (Bangla bhag hochchhe na). Darjeeling is not outside West Bengal. It is the heart of West Bengal. We will stay together,” she told audiences comprising primarily of Gorkhaland supporters.
The GTA has since found support from members of the GJM, who have come to regard the accord as a victory, and have reiterated that the GTA is not the end, by the first step to Gorkhaland.
“Right now, we will concentrate on the GTA, the election process and selections to the jurisdictional committee. That in no way means we are ignoring the ultimate creation of Gorkhaland,” Giri said.
That the GTA is a success for the GJM, is proven by the fact that celebrations continued unabated in Darjeeling, while Siliguri and surrounding regions remained paralysed for the second consecutive day on the back of the 48 hour bandh called by anti-Gorkhaland organisations today in the foothills of the Darjeeling Himalayas and Dooars and Terai.
Some sections of the GJM however chose to take a more guarded stance. Harka Bahadur Chetri, the party spokesperson and the MLA from Kalimpong constituency, while reiterating the fact that the GTA wants Rs 1,000 crore by way of assistance, said that the demand for Gorkhaland is up for debate.
Mamata announces projects for N Bengal

IANS, Siliguri, 19 July: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday launched a host of projects for north Bengal and slammed the main opposition Left Front for trying to ignite problems in the hills. The projects include air service between Cooch Behar in northern West Bengal and Kolkata. She also laid the foundation stone for a new chief minister's secretariat between Siliguri and Matigara of Darjeeling district.She announced an enhanced budgetary allocation of Rs 200 crore for the North Bengal development board.

"All development work for North Bengal will be monitored from the new secretariat," said Banerjee at a function in Kanchenjungha Stadium in Siliguri.
"I will also come every three months to sit with the North Bengal development board to monitor the progress of development work," Banerjee added.
Launching the Cooch Behar-Kolkata air service, the chief minister said trial flights will now be run on the route. From September, regular flights will be operated on six days of the week, except on Sunday, for facilitating better communication between north Bengal and Kolkata.
Banerjee also laid the foundation stone and inaugurated various railway projects, work for which had been launched during her stint as railway minister.
She laid the foundation stone for a table tennis academy in Siliguri, flagged off a rail-bus service from Siliguri junction to Bagdogra, launched a first broad gauge train service on Siliguri-Aluabari section after gauge conversion. She also dedicated to the nation the remodelled New Jalpaiguri station.
Banerjee slammed the state's main opposition Left Front for trying to ignite trouble in North Bengal.
"Many people understand that the solution to the hill problem means solution of many problems of North Bengal. It will open new corridors of development. That is why they (Left Front) are creating problems in the hills to stop the process of development," she Banerjee.
"But let me tell you (Left Front) that you won't be able to do anything as people here want development. You were given a time of 34 years. You couldn't do anything. Now allow us to work," she added.
A tripartite agreement on the trouble-torn Darjeeling hills in northern West Bengal was signed Monday between the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), and the state and central governments, triggering euphoria in the hills, but also evoking protests in the plains.
"Nepali and Gorkhas are our brothers. I would tell the CPI-M (Communist Party of India- Marxist) not to back those organisations that are creating problem in the hills and plains. Let me solve the problem," Banerjee said.
Mamata criticises CPI-M, regional parties for opposing treaty
PTI, Siliguri (WB) Jul 19: A day after the historic Darjeeling treaty was signed, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today (Jul 19) lashed out at the CPI-M and regional parties based in north Bengal for opposing the treaty.
"We want to rebuild Bengal. We are for friendly bond between the hills and the plains. When we are at work to achieve this... these parties are up in arms against us and trying to misguide people," she said at a function here.
The Chief Minister said the landmark Darjeeling agreement would go a long way in establishing a link between the hills and the plains of north Bengal.
Banerjee and Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi today flagged off a number of state and railway projects aimed at all-round development of north Bengal among whom there is a mini-secretariat for the region.
"This is in accordance with my pledge for a government of Ma, Mati, Manush which is installed in West Bengal," Banerjee said.
Coming down heavily on the CPI-M for "misguiding and confusing" people on the Darjeeling agreement, the Chief Minister said, "It is amazing that this party, which neglected the hills for 34 years, has been raising a hue and cry over the treaty and also at a time when we are ushering in development in the hills".
Asking the CPI(M) "not to play with fire and not to try to create a division between the plains and the hills," the Chief Minister said, "I am a soft person. But I will not tolerate any move to stall development work. I will not apply force against these parties. I will deal with them by going in for development."
Banerjee also slammed regional outfits Kamtapur People's Party, Amra Bangalee, Greater Coochbehar and others for opposing the Darjeeling agreement.

Cooch Behar on air map

MAIN UDDIN CHISTI, TT, Cooch Behar, July 19: A Northeast Shuttle flight left for Calcutta from here this afternoon after Mamata Banerjee “flagged off” the service — that resumed after 18 years —via a video conference.
The fare for the Cooch Behar-Calcutta route is Rs 5,000 for each person. The government will have eight reserved seats on each of the six flights that will operate to and from Calcutta every week to give a boost to the airline.
For Mathabhanga Trinamul Congress MLA Binoy Krishna Barman, who was aboard the Dornier, it was the first time that he ever flew in an aircraft.
An hour before the Dornier aircraft landed here at 12.06pm, Barman had arrived at the airport along with Natabari MLA and NBSTC chairperson, Rabindranath Ghosh.
There was a thin drizzle at that time and when the drone of the aircraft’s engines could be heard, Barman’s eyes lit up.
“You can say that a long-cherished dream will be fulfilled today. The day Mamata Banerjee announced on July 19 that air services would resume from Cooch Behar, I had immediately told Rabindranath Ghosh that I would love to be on that flight. Today will forever remain in my memory and it is also an historical occasion and I am proud to be part of it,” a beaming Barman said.
The 51-year-old legislator comes from a farming background and despite being a BSc with a BEd, Barman said he still preferred to till the fields.
Mamata, who could see the Cooch Behar airport on a screen set up at Kanchenjungha Stadium in Siliguri, waved a flag which was then conveyed to the Airports Authority of India here. The Cooch Behar airport, too, had installed a screen for the video conference but a last-minute snag spoilt the show. The screen at the passenger lounge, where the journalists and the district officials had gathered, became blank.
The aircraft took off from Cooch Behar at 12.50pm and arrived at Dum Dum at 2pm. “I am overwhelmed. Let me first thank our leader Mamata Banerjee for allowing me to fly through clouds and watch the landscape passing below, the rivers and the fields and the ant-like vehicles on the highways. It was very thrilling. Can you believe that we reached Calcutta in one hour and ten minutes?” Barman said from Calcutta.
Another person who was all excited was a 76-year-old businessman from here, Srichand Jain. “I am very happy that I could see the reintroduction of flights. The business community will be immensely happy,” he said.
The last commercial flight to and from Cooch Behar had landed and taken off in 1993 when the now defunct Vayudoot, a subsidiary of Indian Airlines, used to operate services between here and Calcutta. Jain recalled he had availed of the air services then too.
Today, the Northeast Shuttles flight took seven passengers from here, including the two MLAs and Jain. Among the others were the managing director of the NBSTC, D.B. Lepcha, additional district magistrate Sudip Mitra, deputy magistrate Sajjad Sissique, and businessman Ajay Gupta.
District magistrate Smaraki Mahapatra, who was present at the airport, said the new service was a joint venture between the state government and the Northeast Shuttle. “The regular flights will begin from the first week of August as some official formalities, including the setting up of an office of the service provider here, have to be completed. The service will now be on the Cooch Behar-Calcutta route,” she said.
Earlier, the service was planned for the Cooch Behar-Calcutta-Guwahati route.
“We are happy with the facilities here,” said Captain Phizo Nath, who flew the 18-seater Dornier with Captain Gurban Singh.
Northeast Shuttle will use a Dornier 228 aircraft for its Calcutta-Cooch Behar operations. Dornier 228 is a twin-turboprop engine aircraft with a cruising speed of 200 nautical miles or 370 kilometres per hour.

Opinion, Editorial, TT, 20 July: The agreement on Darjeeling’s new administrative set-up holds out a big promise and a bigger challenge. It promises to marry the local people’s aspiration for a distinct political identity with their hopes of economic development. The Gorkha community has been looking for official recognition of its political identity ever since the Hillmen’s Association raised the demand for some form of self-rule for Darjeeling in 1907. Mamata Banerjee can justifiably take credit for giving the people of Darjeeling what is perhaps their best chance so far of making a new beginning. Two things distinguish the agreement signed on Monday from the one that created the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in 1988. The earlier agreement between the Centre, the state government and Subash Ghisingh’s Gorkha National Liberation Front followed a violent agitation in the hills that resulted in scores of deaths and widespread destruction of homes and government property. Despite frequent bandhs and other disruptions, the movement by Bimal Gurung’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has not been half as violent. More important, unlike the previous Left Front government, Ms Banerjee did not allow politics to cloud the issue of the new set-up for Darjeeling.
However, both the chief minister and Mr Gurung now face a challenge that may test their administrative and political skills. Ms Banerjee has made it clear that Darjeeling would continue to be part of Bengal. The GJM’s movement had demanded a separate Gorkhaland state, but Mr Gurung now has to work for implementing the agreement that gives Darjeeling a new administration but no separate state. Its powers and responsibilities are much wider than those of the DGHC. Both the name — Gorkhaland Territorial Administration — and the powers of the new set-up can go a long way to meet the local people’s aspiration for self-rule. But Mr Gurung and the state government have to ensure that the deal does not end up dividing the people in the area.
Reviving some traditions and old practices could help in the building of Darjeeling’s future. Darjeeling’s past glory, like that of several other hill towns in India, had much to do with the social and economic profiles of the plains people, who had temporary homes and other establishments there and were regular visitors. The West Bengal government too functioned from Darjeeling for a certain period every year. It was a legacy of the British rulers who shifted their governments to hill towns like Simla and Darjeeling in summer, and the practice helped sustain the economy of the hill regions. Reviving this old system could restore the lost trust between Darjeeling and Calcutta at administrative and other levels.

Rivals heap scorn on pact
RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Darjeeling, July 19: The opponents of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the hills have reacted with scorn to the agreement to form the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, terming it as nothing more than a development agency like the DGHC.

The CPRM announced that it would launch a movement for Gorkhaland from end-July since only a separate state would meet the aspirations of the Gorkhas.
“Like the GNLF, the Morcha has also settled for a development agency in the form of the GTA. Subash Ghisingh had accepted DGHC, which is nothing but a development agency. Likewise, the Morcha has settled for another development agency,” said CPRM president R.B. Rai.
He, however, noted that unlike Ghisingh who had dropped the Gorkhaland demand while signing the DGHC deal, the Morcha had specifically said while accepting the GTA that it was not dropping the demand for a separate state. “What the Morcha should have also done was to clearly mention in the agreement that in the event of the formation of any other new state in the future, Gorkhaland should also be created,” Rai added.
Bharati Tamang, the president of the ABGL, alleged that the Morcha had settled for the new arrangement at the altar of her husband Madan Tamang, who was assassinated on May 21, 2010. “My husband always used to warn that these people (read the Morcha leadership) will eventually settle for such an arrangement, and not Gorkhaland. That is why they conveniently killed him. The Morcha has accepted the GTA over the dead body of my husband,” she said.
The ABGL president seemed to be hurt by the support the Morcha had got from the people. Asked if her party would start a campaign against the GTA, she retorted: “The people should know. They voted for the Morcha. Now it is for the people to introspect.”
The ABGL, unlike the CPRM, had contested from all the three constituencies in the hills in the Assembly elections, but drew a blank. In fact, all its candidates forfeited their security deposits as the Morcha romped home with huge margins.
Announcing a series of programmes for the separate state, the CPRM said a blood donation camp would be held in Kalimpong on July 27, which is observed in the hills as Saheed Diwas in memory of the 1,200 people who lost their lives during the GNLF-lead agitation in the eighties.
Rai said the blood donation camp would be followed by a dharna to be held in Delhi before or after Independence Day. “Around end-August, we will organise a padayatra to Siliguri from different parts of the hills. And in September, we will organise a seminar on Gorkhaland in Calcutta where we will invite intellectuals from non-Gorkha communities to discuss the issue,” he added.

Celebration plan

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will organise a rally in Darjeeling on Thursday to celebrate the signing of the agreement to set up the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha, said the rally would be taken out from Darjeeling station to Chowrastha. He asked tea garden workers to take a day’s leave and join the march.
No real autonomy for the Darjeling hills post agreement
Anirban Roy, India Today,  Kolkata, July 19, 2011: Darjeeling hills in West Bengal was in a festive mood on Monday over the tripartite Gorkha agreement , without realising that they did not get a lot of powers, which the other autonomous councils in the north-eastern states enjoy.
With the signing of the agreement, the new Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has been vested with powers to regulate 54 subjects, including land, forest, education and tea plantation. It would also levy local taxes.
The power to control tea plantation is definitely a shot in the arm for the Gorkhas. A major portion of the state's revenue in the Darjeeling hills flows in from the tea sector.
The Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) had control over only 19 subjects.
The DGHC did not have powers to regulate tea plantation and higher education.
But, it is clearly evident that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders were in hurry to sign the tripartite agreement and failed to realise that in their bargain over more subjects and territory, they missed out on negotiating for legislative and judicial powers for the new GTA. Drawing a comparison with the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), it is clearly evident that the new GTA has missed out on its legislative powers. Constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, BTC covers five districts in Assam, and is believed to be the strongest autonomous council in India. It enjoys legislative powers as well.
All the three autonomous councils in Meghalaya - Khasi, Jaintia and Garo - also enjoy judicial powers, in addition to its executive and legislature authorities.
All the judgments awarded by the courts of the autonomous councils in Meghalaya are respected by even the high courts and the Supreme Court of India.
The GJM leaders are apparently euphoric with the nomenclature of the new power arrangement for Darjeeling . With the prefix "Gorkhaland ", the Gorkha leaders are buoyant that its demand for a separate state is "half- achieved". Even the Gorkha leaders are yet to realise that their dependence on the state overnment is still not over. Though the GTA would draft its own budget, a large portion of the money will be allocated by the state government.
In case of GTA, New Delhi has promised a development grant of 200 crore per year. But, for other expenses, the Gorkhaland administration will have to look at Mamata Banerjee's government.
The GJM leadership should have tried to understand that autonomy can only be achieved with financial independence. As long as they depend on the state government for funds, the Gorkhas of Darjeeling, or the GTA can never be self governing in the true sense.

Protest at ‘raw deal’ for plains
AVIJIT SINHA, TT, Siliguri, July 19: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has said since the Dooars and the Terai have been excluded from the development programmes announced by the chief minister, it is planning to launch a movement to get a fair deal from the state government.
The tribal outfit said Mamata Banerjee had just sent a message of peace and amity for the people in the plains whereas she had bombarded the Darjeeling hills with promises of new projects.
“It seems that we have to launch an intensive movement throughout the region to draw the attention of the state government and ensure that specific welfare projects are taken up for the tribal populace in the foothills,” Tezkumar Toppo, the general secretary of the Parishad, said today.
“It is unbecoming of the chief minister to refrain from making any announcement for the development of the Dooars and the Terai when she addressed a public meeting in Siliguri today. This is contrary to what she offered the Darjeeling hills yesterday.”
The Parishad complained that the government had meted out an unfair treatment to the plains though the outfit adopted an attitude of non-confrontation. “We had called a 48-hour strike on Saturday and Sunday but withdrew it on Sunday after north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb assured us that the government had specific plans for the Adivasi-populated areas,” said Toppo.
“Since the new government has taken charge, we have tried several times to meet the chief minister. But we could not get an appointment. We could have organised protests yesterday in the Terai where the agreement to form the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration was signed. But we refrained from any such activities.”
Toppo said the Dooars were in no better condition than the hills and if Mamata didn’t announce any plan to improve the lot of the Adivasi population, the Parishad would have no other option but to organise an agitation.
Observers say Mamata is unlikely to take the Parishad into confidence since the outfit campaigned against the Trinamul Congress in the Assembly polls. “It is obvious that the Parishad which had wanted to enter into an electoral understanding with the Congress and keep Trinamul out of fray in the five Assembly segments in the Dooars would not be rendered equal importance like the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha,” said an observer.
He said there was also a chance that the government would announce projects for the Dooars without keeping the Parishad in loop as Trinamul had plans to consolidate its base in the tea belt.
The north Bengal development minister sought to assuage the Parishad’s worries.
“We have just initiated a move to develop north Bengal. It is only a matter of time before projects are taken up and implemented in the Dooars and the Terai,” said Deb. “We will soon hold a meeting with the Parishad leaders and listen to their grievances.”

Trust before posture
Hill boss spots a mother in Mamata

Bimal Gurung in Pintail Village on Tuesday; and Mamata Banerjee at Kanchenjungha Stadium in Siliguri on Tuesday. Pictures by Kundan Yolmo and Pradip Sanyal
VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Siliguri, July 19: Bimal Gurung today assured his supporters that the chief minister’s announcement yesterday that Bengal would not be divided was a result of “political compulsion”. He also emphasised that no one would be allowed to destroy the “mutual trust” between the state government and his party, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
At the same venue in Pintail Village where the hill accord was signed yesterday, Morcha chief Gurung said: “I know a lot of people were disenchanted by the chief minister’s statement that there would be no division of the state. She was just making a political statement, a personal speech. She has her own political compulsions, in the same way we, too, have our own compulsions in demanding statehood. The state government must understand our demand.”
Gurung said the Morcha would continue to demand statehood. “She (Mamata) is our mother and children will always ask from their mother. If they don’t ask, how will the mother know about their problems?” he said.
At the same time Gurung made it clear that he would not allow a shadow to be cast over the bonhomie between the Morcha and the state government. “We trust each other and I will not allow anyone to destroy this mutual trust.” The hill leader said the memorandum of agreement was “historic”. “It is a historic agreement, a commendable effort, it (the signing ceremony) was good and sweet.”
In the same spirit, Gurung signalled that there would be no acrimonious agitation in the Darjeeling hills against the state government in future. “We must demand what we want, but it does not mean that it should be through killings and arson. We must be able to ask through love and respect.”
In fact, the Morcha president even defended Mamata’s assertion yesterday that it was the Left Front government that was responsible for inserting the word “Gorkhaland” in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, the name of the new administrative set up for the hills.
“Some people are raising a controversy on the inclusion of the word Gorkhaland in the name of the new hill body,” Gurung said. “But I would like to clarify that this word was coined by the CPM during the tripartite talks we had with the previous government. From Gorkhaland Autonomous Authority, the name finally changed to the GTA. This word, ‘Gorkhaland’, was not inserted by Mamata Banerjee,” said Gurung.
He also praised Mamata for being a leader who implements what she promises. “The previous government said one thing but did another,” he said. “But here we have found a leader (Mamata) who does what she says. The CPM only tried to create a divide between the hills and the plains.”
Gurung also said he was “certain” that Gorkha dominated areas of the Dooars and Terai would be brought under the GTA. He told his audience, mainly drawn from the Dooars and the Terai: “We were together yesterday, we are together today and will remain together tomorrow. The agitation did not take place only in the hills, so how can the new body be only for Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong?”
The Morcha chief said the elections to the GTA would be held only after the issue of the territorial jurisdiction of the new body was sorted out.
He also asked the Morcha’s supporters in the Terai and the Dooars to plant the party’s flags on their rooftops. “You say you want Gorkhaland, but you can’t even plant a flag on roofs of your homes?” he asked. “You should do this so that the committee working on the issue of the territorial jurisdiction of the GTA knows that people from these areas want to come under the new body.”

Surjya questions content of Gorkhaland agreement
SNS, KOLKATA, 19 JULY: The CPI-M today expressed strong reservations over the state government's reported admission of Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha's (GJMM) demand of a separate state of Gorkhaland in the tripartite agreement signed yesterday between the Central government, state government and the GJMM.
“The government has not officially informed us about the text of the agreement yet, neither is it available in the public domain. However, we have learnt that the agreement kicks off with the words ~ the GJMM has been demanding for quite sometime past a separate State of Gorkhaland for the hill areas of Darjeeling district, including some areas of Siliguri, Terai and Dooars,” said Dr Surjya Kanta Mishra, Leader of Opposition.
“In the following paragraphs, another of our apprehensions has also come true. The agreement reportedly states, after several round of tripartite discussions between the Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and the GJMM, an agreement was reached in respect of all the issues. Now, therefore, the Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and the GJM, keeping on record the demand of the GJMM for a separate State of Gorkhaland agrees
to form an autonomous body called the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). By stating this and recording it in an agreement, the state government has not only succumbed to the demands of the GJMM, but also has paved the way for more categorical demands of a separate state,” alleged Dr Mishra.
Dr Mishra also questioned the reasons behind formation of a high-power committee
to look into the aspects of inclusion of areas from the Dooars and Terai in the proposed GTA. “We do not understand the reasons behind formation of such committee. If the state government has no intention of including any additional areas in GTA areas, then where was the need to form this committee?” he asked.
Dr Mishra said there is already confrontation brewing among GJMM frontal organisations over their leadership's inability
to come out with a concrete assurance on Gorkhaland.
“There is discontent in the plains and uncertainty in the Hills. Darjeeling being a border area, is strategically sensitive. We think, this agreement will act as a catalyst
to destablise the entire region,” added Dr Mishra. 

Shutdown in Siliguri, Dooars over Gorkhaland pact
TNN & Agencies, Jul 19, 2011,SILIGURI: The tripartite agreement on Gorkhaland council has triggered tension between the Hills and the plains. Bengali outfits and Left Front ally, RSP, on Monday protested against the "plan to divide West Bengal".
The Bangla O Banglabhasha Bachao Committee called a 48-hour bandh that disrupted life in Siliguri subdivision in Darjeeling district and the Dooars in Jalpaiguri. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha wants the inclusion of Nepali-dominated areas of the plains and the Dooars in its proposed Gorkhaland. This has often led to clashes and deaths in the bordering areas of the two districts.
In the morning, 20 RSP cadres were arrested from near the Tenzing Norgay bus stand in Siliguri where they were observing 'Black Day' against the tripartite agreement. Shops and schools were closed in Siliguri and private buses were not seen on the roads. Very few vehicles ventured out, said a police officer.
The Nepali population may be happy with Mamata Banerjee, but there are some in the Dooars and Terai who feel betrayed and believe that the government should have considered their views before signing the agreement. "We've undergone as many hardships as the Nepali population. Why should they get preferential treatment? Let the (new council) members come here, we will teach them a lesson," a non-Nepali youth said.

Gorkhaland pact: Chidambaram credits Didi, Gurung with deal
Jayanta Gupta, Deep Gazmer & Pinak Priya Bhattacharya, TNN , Jul 19, PINTAIL: Union home minister P Chidambaram hailed the tripartite agreement on the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), but had a word of caution for Bimal Gurung and GJM. "You have a stupendous task ahead of you and will have to build brick by brick. Both the Centre and the state government will be by your side. You will also have to bear in mind that the area under the GTA will be a plural society. People living here belong to different communities, religions, cultures and races. The new administration will have to respect this plurality. We shall be watching you carefully as you rebuild Darjeeling," he said.
He attributed the signing of the treaty to two "wise" persons - Mamata and Gurung. "I would like to compliment both of them for their wisdom, sagacity, foresight and love and compassion for the people. There will be many hurdles but none that can't be sorted out through dialogue and determination," Chidambaram said.
Gurung thanked Mamata and called the accord a victory of the people's identity struggle. He asked the government to pay attention to the committee that will demarcate parts of the plains that are to be brought under GTA. He added, "Our Gorkhaland movement is on. But GTA is a positive step." Unlike the 1988 accord, the new pact was silent on whether the GJM had formally dropped the Gorkhaland demand.
Contrary to popular expectations, the GJM chief didn't sign the accord. It was GJM state general secretary Roshan Giri who did it on his behalf. The two other signatories were state home secretary G D Gautama and Union home joint secretary K K Pathak. Bengal chief secretary Samar Ghosh said: "Under this agreement, maximum possible autonomy has been given to the GTA within the framework of the Constitution and the central and state Acts."
In contrast to the jovial mood in the Hills, Siliguri observed a bandh in response to anti-accord outfits. Shops and establishments along Hill Cart Road and Sevoke Road were closed.
Warning people against some dalals (touts) who are raising the Greater Cooch Behar issue to foment trouble in the area
, Mamata said these same people would not hesitate to turn the Rajbongshis against the Bengalis.
"I will solve the problem of the enclaves in Cooch Behar soon. The GTA will work with the state government for development of the area under it. We have prepared a complete economic package for the area. North Bengal will not be deprived.
Kanchenjungha has started smiling once again and you will be successful," Mamata said.

Plains package to match hills bounty
ARNAB GANGULY, TT, Siliguri, July 19: The chief minister today played the development card for the rest of north Bengal, a day after she handed out to Darjeeling an attractive growth package wrapped in the agreement to set up the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
Announcing a slew of projects here, Mamata once again reminded the dissident voices in the region — the finger of accusation pointed to the CPM — not to disturb the fabric of peace. “We want to create an atmosphere of development in north Bengal. Those who don’t want north Bengal to develop, are trying to create trouble. I am warning them not to play with fire. A turnaround is possible in tourism, tea and herbal plantation. Don’t try to stop the development wagon. Let the hills live, let the plains live. I am soft at heart but I can be strong if anybody tries to stop the development process,” she said, her message meant for the forces that have been calling bandhs to protest the signing of the tripartite agreement on the Darjeeling hills.
The Bangla Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee that is opposed to the hill deal had called a 48-hour bandh from yesterday. On Friday, eight outfits had called a 24-hour bandh across north Bengal to protest the agreement. The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad too had called a two-day shutdown from Saturday, but ended the protest after 24 hours after a government assurance that the outfit would be heard.
At Siliguri’s Kanchenjungha stadium, Mamata waved the green flag while reeling out a stream of railway projects but switching over to the chief minister mode to announce her plans for north Bengal . Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, a number of state ministers and MLAs and government officials were present.
The trial run of the Calcutta-Cooch Behar air service was also “flagged off” by the chief minister. For the first six months the state government will provide a daily subsidy of Rs 80,000 to the airline operating the service. “Balurghat and Malda are next on the list of towns from where air services will start.” Reminding the audience of her promise to make north Bengal a Switzerland, Mamata said she has started the groundwork for the survey to find out how the target could be achieved. “You wait and see how we are going to do it. Once it is ready, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Siliguri, Dooars, Terai, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar will smile,” Mamata said.
Trust, the new change in Darjeeling
TNN , Jul 19, 2011,KOLKATA: There is not much difference between the two tripartite agreements, signed 23 years apart, to bring peace to Darjeeling. The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, 2011, sounds much like an extension of the 1988 DGHC Agreement, only that the word Gorkha has been replaced with Gorkhaland. Why then are the people in the Hills celebrating a treaty that is far short of what they dreamt about?
What's new is that GTA marks the building of a trust that was missing during the Left Front rule. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Harka Bahadur Chhetri had aptly expressed the sentiments of the Hill people a few days ago: "Earlier we had a Bengali chief minister (read Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee). Now we have the chief minister of Bengal (read Mamata Banerjee)."
Chhetri's comment bears out how the Left Front government failed to touch the hearts of the Hill people. So, when former Left Front minister Asok Bhattacharya refused to part with parts of the Dooars, Terai and Siliguri during earlier tripartite meetings, the GJM dubbed him and the Left government as anti-Gorkha, and the people in the Hills believed it.
However, the 1988 agreement reveals that chief minister Jyoti Basu had agreed to the inclusion of 13 Gorkha-dominated mouzas in Siliguri subdivision in DGHC. Taking a cue, chief minister Mamata Banerjee took a flexible stand and agreed to set up a high-power panel under the director of census operations, Delhi, to examine the Morcha demand of including fresh areas in the Dooars, Terai and Siliguri. At the same time, she ruled out the Gorkhaland statehood demand, saying in her speech "there would be no division of Bengal".
As on date, the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration's jurisdiction is the same as those under the DGHC. until the expert panel comes up with its recommendations of fresh inclusion on grounds of "contiguity of areas, homogeneity of population and ground realities."
GJM leaders made it clear that elections to the new set-up can't be held without the inclusion of fresh areas, but they accepted the agreement. To them it is a step forward not just in the name - Gorkha to Gorkhaland, but also in the working autonomy. DGHC had 28 members in a council of 42, with Left Front nominees packing in a third of the seats. GTA will have 50 councillors, of which only five would be state nominees.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose may grumble over the new name, but when his party in power it had agreed to a similar name - Gorkhaland Autonomous Authority - as suggested in the draft of the Union government during discussions in the last tripartite meeting in Delhi. "It was not our suggestion. I have the copy of the draft. The Centre suggested the name for discussion. However, we did not insist on the nomenclature to turn into a breaking point in the discussion," Bhattacharya said.
In the new agreement, the Centre and the state have agreed to consider applications from sections of the non-scheduled castes Gorkha population for their inclusion under the scheduled tribe category. But the process is not easy. Once the GJM or any other Gorkha outfit forwards an application for ST status to the backward classes department, the government will send it to the Cultural Research Institute, Kolkata that will examine it and send its recommendation to the state government. Valid applications will be sent to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. The process is the same for people in the plains.
How far this deal will succeed in bringing peace to the Hills and the plains in North Bengal will depend largely on how the new government honours the genuine sentiments of the Adivasis, Rajbonshis and the Bengali and Bihari population in the plains who are apparently opposed to the new agreement. However, the development promised by Mamata Banerjee, along with central support, may help bridge the gap. It may backfire only if the new government tries to use GJM leader Bimal Gurung like the earlier Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee administration did with GNLF supremo Subash Ghisingh for political gains.


TNN: Reports of violence on the day of accord signing came in from a few places.
At Oodlabari, nearly 15 vehicles carrying GJM supporters from Gorubathan were stopped by members of the Bangla O Bangla Bhasa Bachao Samity and the Janajagaran. The GJM supporters were forced to remove their flags and posters from the vehicles. Before more damage could be done, the police arrived at the spot and arrested three persons. The vehicles were escorted to Bagrakot, nearly 10 km away, from where they turned towards Sukna. Nearer to the spot, close to the Panchnoi bridge, a GJM supporter had his vehicle smashed by an unruly group.
Political observers believe that these could be the first rumblings before a major incident. Now that the agreement has been signed, the GJM leadership will have a greater responsibility to bring leaders of other communities into confidence and convince them that any change in their lives would only be for the better. At the same time, the non-Nepali population will have to accept reality and try and mend bridges with the Gorkha leaders.
Bandh cripples life in plains of north Bengal
PTI, Siliguri, 19 July: Life remained crippled on the second day of the 48-hour bandh called by several anti-Gorkhaland organisations today in the foothills of the Darjeeling Himalayas and Dooars and Terai.
Markets remained closed, only skeleton transport services were operating and office attendance was minimal. The bandh was called mainly by Jana Jagaran with moral support from other similar outfits, the police said.
Mr Mukunda Majumdar, chief of the organisation, claimed total success for the bandh which, he said, was being observed to protest against the government's “move” to include areas of Adivasi-dominated Dooars and Terai under the jurisdiction of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
The GTA was born yesterday under a treaty signed by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha, spearhead of the Gorkhaland agitation, the West Bengal government and the Centre at picturesque Pintail village near here.
The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP), the voice of the Adivasis in the Dooars and Terai, has also given its support to the bandh.
ABAVP secretary, Mr Birsa Tirkey, had said before the start of the bandh that they were not against the tripartite agreement but against inclusion of areas of the two regions which the GJMM is pressing for.
Meanwhile, the Opposition All India Gorkha League leadership has lambasted the GJMM president, Mr Bimal Gurung, for asserting that there would be no GTA election until the Gorkha-majority areas in the Terai-Dooars are included in the council. “This is a cheap ploy to keep his foot soldiers tethered to his party,” said the AIGL general secretary, Mr Laxman Pradhan, today.
Notably, addressing a party meeting at Pintail Village, Mr Gurung warned that there would be no GTA election until and unless the 196 mouzas spread across the Terai- Dooars are included in the council.
The AIGL general secretary, Mr Pradhan, said that the Gurung- rhetoric was nothing but melodrama to keep the party's image unsullied by the GTA-betrayal.
He ridiculed the GJMM president for not raising his voice when the chief minister had made it categorically clear that there would be no division of West Bengal during the accord-signing ceremony.
“He kept sitting pretty with a beaming smile when Miss Banerjee cleared her government's stance vis-à-vis the statehood demand. Now, when everything is over he has made bold to assert that the GTA election would not be held until the additional mouzas are included. This smacks of the typical Bimal Gurung melodrama,” he said.
“Had he been sincere he should have waited for six months till the additional areas were included. We are convinced that elections would be held within the stipulated six months and the state government would keep dithering on the issue ad infinitum,” the AIGL leader said.

Subash Ghisingh: Leader then, loner now
TT, 19 July 2011, Jalpaiguri: The man who once called the shots in the Darjeeling hills for over two decades confined himself to his rented house on Monday when a tripartite agreement was signed for the formation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
Banished from the hills and isolated in politics, GNLF chief and former DGHC chairperson Subash Ghisingh was glued to the television for hours watching the signing ceremony. Ghisingh refused to come out of his room and his close aides said he would meet the media only after studying the agreement carefully.
"Unlike other days, the leader took an early bath and sat in front of TV, watching the live telecast of the signing ceremony. There were some visitors and a few media persons who wanted to talk to him. But he refused to meet any of them, saying he would speak to the journalists only after he studied the tripartite agreement in detail," said an aid.
The GNLF chief, who was a signatory to a tripartite agreement in 2005 to grant autonomy to the Darjeeling hills under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, has raised questions about the legal validity of the new deal.
"He wanted to know how the Centre and the state could enter into a new agreement without scrapping the 2005 deal. He might approach the court with a plea to invalidate today's deal. The GNLF chief has also decided to write to the state and the Centre, reminding them of the 2005 agreement and seeking clarification from their ends," said a source close to Ghisingh.
Like every other day, four-five GNLF supporters reached Ghisingh’s house and wanted to know his opinion on the agreement.
"But we couldn't meet him and were told to come after a few days. It seems he is too shocked that an agreement on the hills has been signed without his presence, though he was the first person to raise the demand for Gorkhaland and achieve the DGHC," said a GNLF member.

AAGSU to begin severe democratic movement for Gorkha Autonomous Council in Assam. –Dewan
8th Biennial conference of Golaghat Dist Gorkha Students’ Union Concluded at Chandanpur
Sr. ULFA leader Mrinal Hazarika at the conference
KalimNews,Golaghat 19th July 2011: The long standing demand of creation of Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) within the geographical territory of Assam that is expected resolve the issues of identity, ethnicity of Gorkhas of Assam dwelling since time immemorial thereby brining integrity and prosperity to the Gorkha community in particular and the state at large, is once again reiterated b the All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union (AAGSU) , said Nanda Kirati Dewan, Information and Publicity Sec retary while interacting with mediapersons at Chandnapur along the sensitive Assam Neagaland border of Sarupani Goan Panchayat under Merapani police station, after the open session of 8th Biennial conference of Golaghat Dist. Committee of AAGSU on 13th July 2011.
Dewan outlined that demand for formation of Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) is almost a decade years now and Govt. have in many ways blindfolded the Gorkhas of Assam by formation of the Gorkha Development Council (GDC). ‘We accept GDC but make it loud and clear that it is never in lieu of GAC and the strategic democratic movement for GAC shall continue with bigger mandate in days to come’, he added speaking in sidelines of the outcome of conference. At the open session held on the concluding day eminent personalities of the state graced Sahitya Academy Awardee from Darjeeling Mr. Kiran Kumar Rai graced the occasion. 
The meet was attended by Mrinal Hazarika Sr. Leader United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) as Spcl Guest of Honour, Padum Boraili, Member of Gorkha Development Council, Birendra Subba Vice President AAGSU, Chittaranjan Doley, Oraganising Secretary of All Missing Students’ Union, Mr. Romeo P Narzary, Education Secy. All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), Nanda Kirati Dewan, Information and Publicity Secy. AAGSU as Guest of Honour while Mr. Dil Bahadur Limbu, Chief Adviser of AAGSU graced the open session as Chief Guest and Mr. Keshab Sharma, Gen Secy All Assam Gorkha Students’ Uniion (AAGSU) as appointed speaker Mr. Raju Phukan President, Golaghat Dist. Students Union and President/Secretaries of other community students organization attended as distinguished invited guests.
Addressing the crowd who attended despite torrential overnight rain Mrinal Hazarika the sr. ULFA leader spoke at length on Assam and arm revolution of ULFA wherein he pointed out the contribution of Gorkhas. He made it clear it was AAGSU leaders under the leadership of Mr. D B Limboo who established direct contact with ULFA after they declared unilateral ceasefire and informed the history of Gorkhas presence and contribution in Assam and its legitimate demand of formation of Gorkha Autonomous Council. Differentiating the Nepali nationals and genuine indigenous Gorkha population of Assam he extended his moral support towards the formation of a Gorkha Autonomous Council under the democratic support of umbrella organization United Peoples’ Federation of Assam (UPFA) of which AAGSU is an integral part. 
‘We want Gorkhas to be part of ULFA’s democratic movement in the process of getting full regional autonomy from centre through proper and strategic dialogue. ULFA reposed its faith on AAGSU leadership for co-ordianted efforts in making Assam-land of ethnic and indigenous people only.’ added the Sr. ULFA leader. All the speakers applauded the holding of the conference at the sensitive area of Assam-Nagaland border and recalled that Gorkhas have always been peace loving and brave community throughout the globe. The leaders appealed Gorkhas to be part of socio-cultural, socio-political and economical movements of Assam.
Addressing the open session as chief guest Mr. D B Limboo assured the speakers that Gorkha would always be part of any movement for prosperity, intergrity and safeguarding geographical territory of Assam as state and development of composite Assamese society inclusive of the Gorkhas. Limboo further highlighted the contributions of Gorkhas for the nation at large and Assam in particular and stepson attitude by both centre and state govt to the son of the soils and pride of the nation. AAGSU Gen Secy. in his key note address stressed on unification of students community organisation on public demand and constitutional grounds. 
He informed organizational activities of AAGSU which has taken a series of democratic movements and initiatives to forfeit the community and place the demand in the right way and raised voice on discrimination and violence. A souvenir cum mouthpiece of AAGSU Glgt Dist. Unit named ‘Doyang Darpan-Jiyallo Adivesan issue’ was released by literaturer Kiran Kr. Rai. In his address Rai recalled contribution of literature in community building process and paid homage to Acharya Bhanu Bhakta the great Gorkha poet on his 197th birth anniversary who made Nepali language common tongue of the Gorkhas. The two day 8th biennial conference of All Assam Gorkha Students Union(AAGSU) Golaghat Dist. Committee and 7th Biennial conference of Doyang Regional Committee and 197th Bhanu Jayanti concluded on last Wednesday. 
The reception committee headed by Binod Kr. Subba and Anjal Limboo as President and Gen secy. bagged applause for successfully holding three programs in just 20 days time in such a grandway in a remote interior tension prevailing location. Besides the speakers the delegate session also applauded the warm reception and successfully organizing of the conference which was not expected. Both the leaders expressed their content and thankfulness for giving them the opportunity to extend hospitality of Sarupani-Simanta region to the Gorkhas of the district and high profile guests. 
Even literary and cultural programs were of high standards. Cultural troupe of Bodos, Assamese, Adibasi, Missing, Karbi performed in previous cultural nite besides various Gorkha cultural group. Young talented Guest artist and Himalayan Idol Sushma Limboo of Uriamghat performed along with AAGSU Golaghat Colleges’ Unit band on the main cultural nite. Admist worst weather more than 15000 thousand people thronged the venue at night, CRPF and police personnel had a tough time managing the swelling crowd.
The huge Doyang Regional AAGSU was bifurcated into Sarupani Simanta Regional Committee and Doyang Regional Committee and new district committee too was formed by the auspicious delegate session on 12th July 2011 at Chanpanpur L P School. Sarupani Siamta Regional committee will be formed with a population of not less than 10,000 Gorkhas and Doyang Regional Committee will cater need of more than 15,000 Gorkhas. Approximate undivided population of entire Doyang region is estimated to be 25000 Gorkha voters for 95 No. Golaghat LAC.
The bifurcation resolution was adopted by AAGSU Doyang Regional Committee’s delegate session on 12th July 2011 and approved by Dist. and Central observer. AAGSU Organising Secretary.
Shri Digambar Chetri formally declared formation of the new regional unit of AAGSU and accorded constitutional grant. The charge handover and swearing ceremony is expected to held on 23rd July 2011 at Merapani.
The key members of newly formed 35 member Golaghat Dist. Committee AAGSU are Prem Newar, President from Doyang Region, Vice President Sita Devi Dewan (Ganga) from Golaghat, Moni Kr. Limboo Gen Secy. from Uriamghat region, Chabit Bista from Bokakhat region, Biraj Chetri cultural secy from Sarupani-Simata region, Puspha Alley sports secy. from Naojan region, Ratan Thakuri office secy from Chungajan-Nambor region, Sanju Puwar VP from Sarupathar region, Bhuban Kotuwal from Barpathar region.
Promise to banish bandhs CM tells traders to defy calls for strike
AVIJIT SINHA, TT, Siliguri, July 19: Mamata Banerjee had a word of assurance for the business community crippled by frequent strikes.
The chief minister told the traders here today that elected representatives of people would come forward with help if they found difficulties in opening shops during the bandhs called by little-known organisations.
She also asked the traders to defy strikes and launch a campaign against bandhs to ensure normal life.
Mamata sought to win the confidence of the traders on a day Siliguri was paralysed by a strike called by the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee to protest the tripartite agreement to form the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
“The chief minister asked us to discourage the bandh culture in Siliguri. We appreciated her view and submitted to her a memorandum, mentioning how frequent strikes were affecting the businessmen and town as a whole,” said Omprakash Agarwal, the president of the Siliguri Merchants’ Association.
He was talking to journalists after a delegation of the traders met Mamata at an enclosure in Kanchenjungha Stadium.
The chairman of Siliguri Municipal Corporation, Nantu Pal, was also present at the meeting.
“Pointing at us, she told the traders that they could take the help of people’s representatives in case they faced any inconvenience to run their shops and establishments during strikes. The businessmen were also asked to carry out a campaign against bandhs so that more and more people could ignore the calls for strikes,” said Pal.
Observers say the chief minister sought to keep the traders by her side, as there would be questions on her credibility if strikes continue to hamper life in the wake of the agreement reached with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
“Mamata has found that life in Siliguri and certain parts of Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts has been hit by the strike called by the Bhasha Banchao Committee today and yesterday. The organisation doesn’t have a strong base, but it is riding on the anti-Morcha wave. She needs to show the world that the decision to establish the GTA was a right one and the anti-Morcha forums do not enjoy people’s support,” said an observer.
He noted that the state government had announced a slew of projects for the development of the Darjeeling hills and the plains. “If the strikes called by such forums continue to affect life, investors will turn away from north Bengal. So, the chief minister is driving home the point that the government is solidly behind the business community and unnecessary strikes will be dealt with strongly,” said the observer.
Told about Mamata’s assurance, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, North Bengal (Focin), said the traders had already been extended all possible assistance by police, administration and people’s representatives to fight the bandhs.
“However, it is entirely the discretion of each individual businessman to decide whether to open the shop on a bandh day as we cannot issue a diktat to the traders to defy the strikes,” said Biswajit Das, the general secretary of the Focin.
“We are against any strike as it means a daily loss of Rs 12 crore in north Bengal and a proportionate revenue loss for the government. We appreciate the chief minister’s initiative and want to co-operate with the government.”
Mamata spoke at length on the perils of bandhs at a meeting in the stadium. “Some organisations without any base have called strikes and are trying to create a rift among people. The business community and people in general should come forward and defeat such strikes to prove that the irrational demands of these organisations have no support,” said the chief minister.
On the second and the final day of the 48-hour strike called by the Bhasha Banchao Committee, educational institutions, shops and other establishments and a few banks were shut in Siliguri. Private buses kept off roads in Jalpaiguri and Cooch Beahr districts and Siliguri subdivision.
In the morning, the police arrested Bhasha Banchao Committee president Mukunda Majumdar and a woman from Pakurtala More in Siliguri when they tried to set on fire copies of the tripartite agreement in public as a mark of protest.

Memorandum of Agreement
Whereas the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) has been demanding for quite sometime past a separate State of Gorkhaland for the hill areas of Darjeeling district including some areas of Siliguri Terai and Dooars (hereinafter referred to as the Region) ; And
Whereas both the Government of India and the Government of West Bengal have
repeatedly emphasized the need for keeping the region as an integral part of the State of West Bengal ;
Whereas after several rounds of tripartite meetings at the ministerial and at the official
levels, the GJM, while not dropping their demand for a separate State of Gorkhaland, has agreed
to the setting up of an autonomous Body (hereinafter referred to as the new Body) empowered with administrative, financial and executive powers in regard to various subjects to be transferred to the said Body for the development of the region and restoration of peace and normalcy there at;

Whereas the objective of this Agreement is to establish an autonomous self governing
Body to administer the region so that the socio-economic, infrastructural, educational, cultural, and linguistic, development is expedited and the ethnic identity of Gorkhas established, thereby achieving all round development of the people of the region ;

Whereas all issues including issues relating to transfer of subjects to the new Body have been agreed in various tripartite meetings at the official level;
Whereas after several round of Tripartite discussions between the Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and the GJM, an agreement was reached in respect of all the issues;
Now, therefore, the Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and the GJM,
keeping on record the demand of the GJM for a separate State of Gorkhaland, agree as follows:-

1) An autonomous Body, which shall be called the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), will be formed through direct election. A Bill for this purpose will be introduced in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly ;
2) While under the provisions of the Constitution transfer of legislative powers to the new Body is not possible, the power to frame rules / regulations under the State Acts to control, regulate and administer the departments / offices and subjects transferred to the new Body will be conferred upon the new Body ;
3) The administrative, executive and financial powers in respect of the subjects transferred will be vested in such a way that the new Body may function in an autonomous and effective way ;
4) The subjects alongwith all Departments / Offices to be transferred to the new Body is appended as Annexure – ‘A’.
5) The area of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration shall comprise the areas of the entire sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong with extended areas of Kurseong. In regard to transfer of additional areas of Siliguri Terai and Dooars to the new Body, a High-Powered Committee will be formed comprising four representatives of GJM, three representatives of the State Government (one from the Home Department; the District Magistrate, Darjeeling; the District Magistrate, Jalpaiguri); the Director of Census Operations representing Government of India, apart from the Chairman of the Committee to be appointed by the State Government. The Chairperson of the Board of Administrators, DGHC will be the convener of this Committee. The Committee will look into the question of identification of additional areas in Siliguri Terai and Dooars that may be transferred to the new Body, having regard to their compactness, contiguity, homogeneity, ground level situation and other relevant factors.
The Committee will be expected to give its recommendations within a short period, preferably within six months of its constitution.
6) The work of this High-Powered Committee will run parallel to the electoral process which will be based on the existing area delimitation. However, the empowering statute will have a provision for transfer of the additional areas from Siliguri Terai and Dooars that may be agreed upon, based on the recommendation of this Committee.
7) In regard to transfer of all forests including reserved forest, it was agreed that the State Government will make a reference to the Central Government on the issue of reserved forest as the power delegated to the State Government under the Central statute cannot be delegated to any other authority straightaway. However, all offices catering to the unreserved forests under the jurisdiction of GTA would also be transferred to GTA.
8) Regarding Tribal status to Gorkhas except the Scheduled Castes, the GJM or any organisation representing the Gorkhas will make an application to the Backward Classes Welfare Department of the State Government, which is the authority to process such claims. The Department, upon receiving such application supported by necessary documents will conduct a study through the Cultural Research Institute, Kolkata. After examination by the Department, the matter will be referred to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. The recommendations already submitted to the National Commission will be followed up by the State Government. The  Government of India will consider for granting ST status to all the Gorkhas excepting SC.
9) In regard to regularization of all ad-hoc, casual, daily wage workers of DGHC, regularization by way of outright absorption is not feasible due to the current legal position as enunciated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. However, those employees who have put in 10 years of continuous service would be guided by the Finance Department’s order of 23rd April, 2010. Those outside this ambit would be extended an enhancement in wages. This would be equivalent to 75% of the remuneration admissible under the order of the Finance Department subject to a minimum of 5,000/- per month for those who have not completed 10 years of continuous service.
As and when they complete 10 years of continuous service, they will be eligible for the full benefit in terms of the order of 23rd April, 2010. The employees will, however, have the liberty to apply for normal recruitment to any other posts of State Government. It was also agreed that the State Government will make necessary financial provisions for bearing the additional non-plan expenditure for this purpose.
10) There shall be a GTA Sabha for the GTA. There shall be a Chairman and Deputy Chairman to conduct the business of Council. The GTA Sabha shall consist of fortyfive elected members and five members to be nominated by the Governor to give representation to members of SC, ST, women, and minority communities. The M.Ps, M.L.As, and Chairpersons of municipality(s) of the region shall be Ex-officio Members to this GTA Sabha. The term of the GTA shall be five years.
11) The Executive Body shall consist of a Chief Executive who will nominate fourteenmembers out of the elected / nominated members as Executive Member. One of them shall be the Deputy Chief to be nominated by the Chief Executive.
12) Every member of the GTA shall before taking seat make and subscribe before the Governor or one of the elected members appointed in that behalf by him an oath or affirmation. The Chief Executive shall be administered an oath or affirmation by the  Governor.
13) There shall be a Principal Secretary of the GTA, who shall be of the rank of the Principal Secretary/Secretary to the State Government and who shall be selected by the Chief Executive from the panel sent by the State Government and shall be paid from the GTA Fund such salaries and allowances as may be fixed by the State Government. The Principal Secretary once deputed to the GTA shall not be ransferred for a period of at least two years without the consent of the GTA.
14) The Government of India and the Government of West Bengal will provide all possible assistance to the GTA for the overall development of the region. The Government of India will provide financial assistance of Rs. 200 crore (Rupees Two Hundred Crore) per annum for 3 years for projects to develop the socio-economic infrastructure in GTA over and above the normal plan assistance to the State of West Bengal. A list of projects which may be considered to be taken up by the GTA is at Annexure ‘B1’. List of projects to be separately taken up by the GTA with the State/Central Government is at ‘B2’.
15) The Government of India/ State Government will provide one time financial assistance required for development of administrative infrastructure viz., GTA Sabha House, Secretariat Complex and the residential quarters for the elected members of GTA and the senior officers.
16) The allocation sanctioned in the budget of GTA and all funds sanctioned by the State or the Union Government which remain unspent at the close of the financial year shall be taken into account for the purpose of providing additional resources in the Budget of the following year or years and the fund requirements will be met on a yearly basis.
17) The Government of West Bengal shall provide formula based plan fund with 60 per
cent weightage on population and the balance weightage on area backwardness, hill areas and border areas in two equal installments every year for executing development works.
18) The Government of West Bengal shall provide Non-plan grant including provisions
for bearing the additional Non-plan expenditure for existing employees payable in two installments in respect of the offices / departments transferred to GTA.
19) The fund received from the Government of India shall not be diverted and the State Government shall release the fund in time.
20) The GTA will have the power of creating Group B, C and D posts with the approval of Governor. The recruitment to Group B, C and D posts will be through a Subordinate Service Selection Board to be set up for this purpose.
21) The State Public Service Commission shall be consulted for the recruitment of Group ‘A’ officers.
22) The State Government will set-up a separate School Service Commission, College Service Commission; open an office of the Regional Pension and Provident Directorate; and set up an office for Registration of land, building etc., marriage, society etc. in the GTA area, subject to extant rules and regulations.
23) The Governor of West Bengal shall obtain a report on the functioning of the GTA and cause that report to be laid on the table of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly annually.
24) The Government of West Bengal will initiate action to re-organize / re-constitute the territorial jurisdictions of sub-divisions and blocks.
25) The GTA, once established, will separately take up the issues relating to grant of incentives, subsidies, waiver of taxes and tariff and other benefits as appropriate to the region’s backwardness, with the Central and State Governments.
26) A three-tier Panchayat will be constituted by elections in the GTA region, subject to the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution of India. Notwithstanding anything contained in the West Bengal Panchayat Act 1973, or the West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993, the GTA shall exercise general powers of supervision over the Panchayats and the Municipalities.
27) Since the formation of new authority will take some time and since the developmental works in the hills, which have already suffered badly, cannot be allowed to suffer further, there will be a Board of Administrators in DGHC which would be fully empowered to exercise all the powers and functions of the Chief Executive Councilor under the DGHC Act, 1988 and to decide on the much needed developmental works in the hills. The Board of Administrators will comprise MLA, Darjeeling; MLA, Kurseong ; MLA, Kalimpong ; District Magistrate, Darjeeling and Administrator, DGHC in keeping with the provisions of the sub-section (1) of Section 17 of the DGHC Act as amended vide Kolkata Gazette Notification of 22nd March, 2005.
28) The GJM agrees to ensure that peace and normalcy will be maintained in the region.
29) A review will be done by the State Government of all the cases registered undervarious laws against persons involved in the GJM agitation. Steps will be taken in the light of the review, not to proceed with prosecution in all cases except those charged with murder. Release of persons in custody will follow the withdrawal of cases.
30) The GTA youth would be considered for recruitment in the Police, Army and Para Military Forces subject to their suitability for such appointment.
31) The implementation of the provision of the Memorandum of Agreement shall be periodically reviewed by a committee representing the Government of India, Government of West Bengal and GJM.
32) The Government of West Bengal shall repeal the DGHC Act, 1988 along with formation of GTA to be constituted by an Act of the legislature.

Signed on 18th July, 2011 at Darjeeling in the presence of Shri P. Chidambaram, Hon’ble Union Home Minister and Mamata Banerjee, Hon’ble Chief Minister, west Bengal. 

(Dr. G.D. Gautama)                                                            (Shri Rooshan Giri )
Additional Chief Secretary,                                              General Secretary,
Home & Hill Affairs Department                     Gorkha Janmukti Morcha
Government of West Bengal                                       for and on behalf of the
for and on behalf of the                                              Gorkha Janmukti Morcha
Government of West Bengal

                                                    (Shri K.K. Pathak)
                           Joint Secreatry to the Government of India
                                            Ministry of Home Affairs
                        for and on behalf of the Government of India

Annexure ‘A’
List of Subjects to be transferred to the GTA
(1) Agriculture, including agricultural education and research protecting against pest and prevention of plants diseases; Horticulture, Floriculture and Food processing;
(2) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, that is to say preservation, protection and improvement of stock and prevention of animal diseases, veterinary training and practices, cattle pounds; Dairy development;
(3) Cooperation;
(4) Information and Cultural Affairs
(5)School Education including primary education, secondary education, higher secondary education (including vocational training): Physical Education; Government Schools.
(6)College Education including Agricultural and Technical Colleges, Local Management of Government sponsored Colleges; Mass Education and Physical Education; Engineering, Medical, Management, and Information Technology with Government and Government sponsored colleges for which wings /cells shall have to be created by the GTA for the area under its jurisdiction;
(7) Adult Education and Library Services;
(8) Fisheries;
(9) Irrigation, drainage and embankments, floods and landslide protection;
(10) Food and Civil Supplies; Consumer Affairs;
(11) Management of any forest, not being Reserved Forest; [Explanation – ‘Reserved Forest’ shall mean a reserved forest as constituted under Indian Forest Act 1927 (16 of 1927)];
(12) Cottage & Small Scale Industries including sericulture, handloom and textiles; handicrafts and Khadi and Village industries;
(13) Cinchona plantation and settlement of land in possession of the plantation inhabitants: management of lease of cinchona lands etc. under it.
(14) Woman and Child Development and Social Welfare;
(15) District Sainik Board;
(16) “Health including Public Health and Family welfare” including hospitals,
dispensaries, health centres and sanatoriums, establishing a Nurses Training School;
(17) Intoxicating liquors, opium derivatives subject to the provisions of Entry 84 of List I of the Seventh Schedule; distilleries – control and regulation, Bonded House and raising of revenue;
(18) Irrigation;
(19) Water Resources Investigation and Minor Irrigation;
(20) Labour and Employment;
(21) Land & Land Revenue including allotment, occupation or use, setting apart of land other than land with reserved forest for the purposes of agriculture or grazing or for residential or other non-agricultural purposes to promote interest of the people; 
(22) Library services (financed and controlled by the State Government);
(23) Lotteries (subject to the provisions of the Entry 40 of the List I of the Seventh Schedule);
(24) Theatre, dramatic performances and cinemas (subject to the provisions of the Entry 60 of List I of the Seventh Schedule); Sports; entertainment and amusements;
(25) Markets and fairs;
(26) Municipal corporation, improvement of trust, district boards and other local authorities; Fire Services;
(27) Museum and archeology institutions controlled or financed by the State, ancient and historical monuments and records other than those declared by or under any Law made by Parliament to be of national importance;
(28) Panchayat and Rural Development including District Rural Development Agency(DRDA);
(29) Planning and Development;
(30) Printing and Stationery;
(31) Public Health Engineering;
(32) Public Works Department including work relating to State Highways as well as the responsibility discharged by the State Government for maintenance of National Highways within the jurisdiction of GTA;
(33) Publicity and Public Relations including Regulation of Media – both Print and Electronic media;
(34) Registration of births and deaths;
(35) Relief and Rehabilitation, establishing a branch of disaster management in consultation with NDMA under the extant laws/rules.
(36) Sericulture;
(37) Small, cottage and rural industry subject to the provisions of Entries 7 and 52 of List I of the Seventh Schedule;
(38) Social Welfare; including part of SC & ST Development and Finance Corporation under GTA area;
(39) Soil conservation;
(40) Sports and Youth Welfare;
(41) Statistics;
(42) Tourism: Tourism infrastructure within the jurisdiction of the GTA catering to the area of GTA would be transferred to GTA. However, GTA may set up its own wing of Tourism Development Corporation for the area under its jurisdiction;
(43) Transport (roads, bridges, ferries and other means of communication not specified in List I of the Seventh Schedule, municipal tramways, ropeways, inland waterways and traffic thereon, subject to the provision of Entry 40 of List I and List III of the Seventh Schedule with regard to such waterways, vehicles and other mechanically propelled vehicles);
(44) The State Government will consider opening an RTO Office in the GTA area however; powers vested with the DM at present would remain with him only.
(45) Tribal research institution controlled and financed by the State Government;
(46) Urban development – town and country planning;
(47) Weights and measures subject to the provisions of Entry 50 of List I of the Seventh Schedule;
(48) Welfare of plain tribes and backward classes subject to the area being under GTA only;
(49) Welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes;
(50) Welfare of Minorities;
(51) Management and settlement of land including markets and market sheds controlled by the Darjeeling Improvement Fund;
(52) Minor Minerals and Mineral development (subject to the provisions of Entry 23 of List II of the Seventh Schedule);
(53) Rural electrification;
(54) Renewable sources of energy including water-power (subject to Entry 56 of List I and Entry 38 of List III of the Seventh Schedule);
(55) Sharing electricity with GTA subject to evolving a mutually agreeable formula with the State government.
(56) Pounds and prevention of cattle trespass;
(57) Management of burial grounds and cremation grounds;
(58) Regulation of Cable channels; to the extent the powers of Central Act, i.e. the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2002 vests with the State government;
(59) Tauzi: Tauzi Department of the Collectorate.

Annexure ‘B1’
1. Comprehensive water supply system in the new body area;
2. Multi-super specialty Medical College and Hospital;
3. Establishment of Hospitality and Tourism Management Institute;
4. Establishment of a College of Nursing;
5. Establishment of a Gorkha House at New Delhi;
6. Establishment of an Institute for Research and Development of the Nepali Language;
7. Establishment of a Cultural Institute to preserve, promote and develop culture, tradition, heritage of the people of the region;
8. Establishment of Research and Development Institute for Tea and Cinchona;
9. Research and Development Institute for Horticulture, Floriculture;
10. Balasan Drinking Water Project to be taken up by the Union Government and be declared as a National Project;
11. Sidrabong Hydro Project has been declared a National Heritage but neglected. Funds for its maintenance and upkeep;
12. Food processing, agro-processing complex and cold storage;
13. Creation and development of the IT industry in this region;
14. A new bridge connecting Dooars to be constructed over the Teesta River as the only Coronation Bridge has become very old and it may collapse any time;
15. Mini and Micro Hydro Projects in GTA;
16. Establishment of Eight Multi disciplinary College different areas of the Region;
17. Establishment of Veterinary Hospitals;
18. High School/Higher Secondary School for every twenty-five villages;
19. Processing plants for Cinchona at Mungpoo;
20. Establishment of Polytechnics for all subdivisions;
21. 2 ITIs / Vocational Institutes in each subdivision;
22. Construction of Multi storied Car Parking at Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong;
23. Construction of Circular Road connecting Darjeeling Town-Lebong-Pandam-
Jorebunglow-Darjeeling Town;
24. Construction of Rope way at Kalimpong( Delo – Relly), at Darjeeling (Tukvar-Singla) and (Batasia-Roack Garden), at Mirik ( Mirik – Kurseong), at Kurseong (Giddeypahar- Rohini);
25. Special Fund for the construction of Super-speciality Hospitals in every Sub-Division;
26. Creation of an Industrial zone in an area of at least 1000 acres in the plain areas of the proposed GTA and to be accorded status of special economic zone;
27. Institute of Capacity Building & Livelihood School.

Annexure ‘B2’

1. Establish a Central Institute of Technology.
2. Establishment of a Central University;
3. National Institute of Technology (NIT) including IT and Bio-technology;
4. Construction of an alternative National Highway from Siliguri via Mirik along Balasan
River to Darjeeling;
5. Establishment of a Fashion Technology Institute;
6. Establishment of a Sainik School;
7. Establishment of National Games and Sports Academy;
8. Establishment of a Tea Auction Centre at Darjeeling;
9. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway to be revitalized for boosting Tourism sector;
10. To establish a Broad-gauge Railway Terminal Station at Sukna;
11. Strengthening and Widening of National Highway 55 and 31 A;
12. Central Government Engineering College funded by GOI;
13. Revival of Trade route to Tibet via Jelep-la from Kalimpong;
14. Reservation of seats for students of this region in College/Institution of higher educationincluding Engineering, Technical, Medical and Management etc all over India;

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