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Friday, July 29, 2011

IG visited Kalimpong... Ex-judge to head hill committee... Corruption rankles Gurung... Gangtok show for Prashant film - India premiere to be in sikkim ...Plan to split five districts - Bidhannagar, Barrackpore on list

IG visited Kalimpong
north bengal ig ranvir kumar with cfsl team at motar stand  in kalimpong.JPG
Mukesh Sharma, KalimNews, Kalimpong, 29 July: A 3 member team from Forensic Science Laboratory of Kolkata visited the blast site at Motor Stand of Kalimpong to investigate the stove blast occured in the early morning of Tuesday the 26 July.  North Bengal IG Ranveer Kumar along with Darjeeling Police SP DP Singh also visited the site and gathered information regarding the blast.  
After the investigation the bus in which the blast occured was handed over to the NBSTC department. The report of the investigation is likely to come within a week. IG denied of any responsibility taken by an underground outfit for the blast.
Forensic team at blast spot

TT, Kalimpong, July 29: A three-member team of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory from Calcutta arrived here today to probe into the kerosene stove blast at Motor Stand on Tuesday.
The floor of a North Bengal State Transport Corporation bus was partially damaged in the explosion caused by the stove apparently kept beneath the vehicle’s rear portion. The blast that occurred at 2.45am also shattered the ventilators of the corporation’s ticket counter at the stand.
The CFSL team studied the bus that bore the brunt of the minor blast. Even as the forensic experts were carrying out their investigation, the inspector general of police, north Bengal, Ranbir Kumar, reached the spot and interacted with them.
“The CFSL team is here and investigating the matter,” was all that Kumar told a team of waiting reporters. He refused comment on a report that appeared in a vernacular daily today, saying an obscure organisation had claimed responsibility for the blast. “We have to verify the report. This is unconfirmed now and we can’t comment on it,” he said.
The newspaper said an organisation calling itself the Underground Liberation Association had claimed responsibility for the blast.
A person identifying himself as M. Thehgeem called up the newspaper’s office and said he was the chief of the ULA and the blast had been carried out to protest the betrayal of the people of the hills and the Dooars and the Terai by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha
Intelligence sources, however, were not willing to give much credence to the obscure organisation or the man claiming to be its chief.
“One person calls up a newspaper and makes a claim, and it becomes big news. Both the man and the organisation appear to be fictitious. This appears to be a work of a mischief monger. We are trying to trace the caller,” said a source.
Corruption rankles Gurung
VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, July 29: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung has been campaigning against corruption, reprimanding even his own party leaders, ever since an agreement to set up Gorkhaland Territorial Administration was signed on July 18.
The Morcha chief’s newfound penchant for probity in the administration of the Darjeeling hills is attributed to his purported apprehension about the rerun of events that led to Subash Ghisingh’s exit from the DGHC. Observers say one of the factors that fanned the anti-Ghisingh wave in the region was rampant corruption in the council.
After the agreement was signed, Gurung has addressed at least six public meetings across the hills and in every speech, he highlighted the need to end corrupt practices by the party workers and leaders as well as the officials.
Addressing a meeting at Pintail Village, the very next day after signing the agreement, Gurung told leaders to stop nepotism immediately. “If leaders are only concerned about their family members and relatives, nothing can be achieved. You have to rise above these issues,” he said at Pintail.
In other public meetings at Darjeeling Gymkhana Club (twice), Chungtung near Darjeeling and at Dalgaon in Kalimpong subdivision, Gurung talked about corruption and the need to bring an end to such practices.
“You must stop thinking that everyone can be a contractor. Only those who can work should come forward. My message is also for some members of the Nari Morcha and Yuva Morcha,” Gurung said in Chungtung. He spoke on similar lines at the Gymkhana Club meetings.
In another address, the Morcha chief asked local contractors to be on their guard.
“If they do not work properly, they will be blacklisted. Work properly and you will not have to pay a percentage to the officials in different departments. These practices must stop,” said Gurung.
According to observers, Gurung probably believes that corruption is at an all time high in the hills. Many consider corruption to be the main reason behind the people’s rise against Ghisingh when he was at the helm of the DGHC.
In fact, the council had registered a case against its own officials for embezzling more than Rs 5 crore meant for the construction of primary schools under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.
The observers say the SSA defalcation was just the tip of an iceberg.
“Accountability was at its all time low in the DGHC and Gurung has probably realised that if the new body (GTA) is also steeped in corruption, he will lose the mass support he enjoys at the moment,” said an observer.
There are, however, apprehensions about Gurung’s tirade against corruption. This is largely because of his statement that he would not be involved in the functioning of the GTA but would “only order” to ensure that the body functioned smoothly.
“By not being involved in the GTA, Gurung will not be accountable for any lapses. But given the fact that he is the president of the party, he will take the initiative for a number of projects. This will again provide space for corruption to seep into the new body,” said another observer.

Ex-judge to head hill committee

Shyamal Sen
TT, July 29: Retired high court judge Shyamal Sen was today appointed the chairperson of a 10-member joint verification committee that will examine the demand to bring the Gorkha pockets of the Dooars and the Terai under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
The decision was announced by chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Writers’ Buildings this evening.
“Justice Shyamal Sen has been appointed the chairman of the Dooars-Terai committee,” Mamata said while leaving office today.
Sen has had a distinguished career first as an advocate and then as a judge. He has served as a judge of Calcutta High Court and as acting chief justice of both Calcutta High Court as well as Allahabad High Court.
He was also briefly the acting governor of Bengal.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which has been demanding that the territorial jurisdiction of the GTA be extended to the Gorkha dominated areas of the Dooars and the Terai, has welcomed Sen’s appointment as committee chairperson.
Shyamal sen wants to start work from monday.

“We welcome the development but the more important thing is for the committee to place its report within six months,” said Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri. “We hope that the team will start assessing the ground realities as early as possible.”
The Morcha, which along with the Centre and the state, is a signatory to the agreement for the formation of the GTA, has demanded that 199 mouzas each from the Dooars and the Terai be brought under the new hill set-up.

The party has proposed four names to represent it on the territory committee. They are: former principal secretary of the DGHC L.B. Pariyar, Morcha’s Terai convener Shankar Adhikari and Nepali writers Kitab Singh Rai and Shankar Nath Pradhan.
The district magistrates of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri along with an official of the home department will represent the state government on the committee.
The Centre will be represented by the director of census operations.
Anil Verma, administrator of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, will be the convener of the committee responsible for organising the meetings.
Once the committee becomes functional, the members will visit the areas that the Morcha wants to be included under the GTA, speak to the major stakeholders and consult political parties.
The panel is expected to submit its report within six months.

Training for tourism
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Gangtok,29 July:Capacity Building Training for the Tourism Stake Holders of North East Region is being organized by the Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS) which is sponsored by the North Eastern Council (NEC), Ministry of DONER, Government of India further supported by the Government of Sikkim.
Training dates have been finalized from the 22nd August 2011 and shall continue till the month of December 2011. Theoretical and practical trainings will be conducted in Sikkim entirely.
Trainee has to undergo theoretical, practical trainings, they will be taken to all the tourist destination of Sikkim for eco-tourism and lastly they have to work with Tour Operators for a week to practically experience the ground realities of the tourism industry.
The organizer will be bearing the cost for food, accommodation for the participants in Sikkim. Internal transfers will be provided during the trainings where as all out station trainees will have to report at Gangtok at their own cost.
Each state have been allocated 3 seats each of which one seat is reserved for the female candidate.
Tour operators and Managerial, Secretarial and Hospitality training will begin from 22nd August. Marketing, Promotion, Publicity & Advertising course will start on 9th September where as Air Ticketing, Foreign Exchange, Ecommerce, Banking will kick off on 1st September. Tour, Trekking & Specialized guide Training will start on 10th October. Technical team for Mountain Biking will begin from 9th November . Home stat service Providers and Ecotourism Service Providers training will begin on 1st and 19th December. Trekking cooks training will starts on 15th December. Date for the German Language course will be announced shortly. Last date of submission application form will be be 7 days before each course. If any state fails to provide participants, vacant seats will be given to any state desirous of sending extra candidates. Form can be submitted through post or online. Day to day activities and other details have been given in and
Umpteenth number of letter have been dispatched to various tourism stake holders of the North East Region as well to the Directors of the government tourism departments including Sikkim for further dissemination of information to the general public specially tourism stake holders.
Any tourism stake holders of North East Region that of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh are eligible for the participation. One must provide the organizer the identification proof of the state.

IAS officer promoted
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Gangtok,29 July:Mr. Karma Gyatso, IAS of the 1997 batch has been promoted as Chief Secretary, Government of Sikkim w.e.f. 1st of August 2011. He will also hold the additional charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department. Mr. K. Gyatso started his career with the State Government in 1975 and held many key portfolios such as Department of Tourism, Department of Planning, Economic Reforms and North Eastern Council Affairs, Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, Animal Husbandry Livestock and Veterinary Services Department, Land Revenue Department and Department of Personnel, Administrative Reforms, Training, Public Greivances, Career options and Employment, Skill Development & Chief Minister’s Self Employment Scheme. An experienced administrator, he is widely travelled both within and outside the country and has done a stint on Economic Reforms in Sydney, Australia and Auckland Newzealand. He was also a signatory of the MoU for the Nathula Trade and was instrumental in the opening of the Boarder Trade at Nathula during his tenure as Principal Secretary, Commerce and Industries.

KalimNews:Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran of Sikkim High Court submitted his resignation letter to the President of India as he was facing impeachment charges of corruption since a long time.
Sikkim judge quits
TT, New Delhi, July 29 (PTI): Sikkim High Court chief justice P.D. Dinakaran resigned from the post today. The resignation comes a day ahead of the hearing of the three-member inquiry committee appointed by Rajya Sabha chairman to probe into charges of land grabbing and acquiring of assets disproportionate to his income.
The 61-year-old Dinakaran is understood to have sent his resignation to President Pratibha Patil, sources said. Dinakaran, who failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court after various attempts to stymie the committee proceedings did not succeed, does not have faith in the impartiality of the panel, the sources said adding that was one of the reasons for his resignation.
Farmer shot
TT.Malda: A 39-year-old farmer was shot dead while he was sleeping on the veranda of his house at Ratua on Thursday night. Santosh Mondal’s wife Gita, who was beside him, was woken up by a huge thud. Santosh was bleeding and crying for help. Neighbours took Santosh to the local primary health centre where the doctors pronounced him dead. The police said a bullet had hit Santosh on the ribs and exited the body from the other side. Santosh’s cousins Moti and Bikash, who had an altercation with him few days back, have been picked up.
Jumbo carcass
TT,Siliguri: The carcass of an elephant was found in a village in Nepal and another elephant with bullet injuries was spotted near the Indo-Nepal border on Thursday night. Foresters suspect the animal died around eight days ago because of a bullet injury. Two elephants had been shot at in Nepal’s Bamandangi on July 13. While one elephant remained there, the other returned to India.
TT,Balurghat/Gangtok: Three children died in separate mishaps on Friday. Bikram Pahan, 2, drowned in a pond at Ishwarpara in Balurghat. Biswajit Tirkey, 4, died when he was hit by an autorickshaw at Pransagar near Balurghat. In South Sikkim, a 14-year-old girl drowned in a stream. Binita Gurung, a Class VI student, was a resident of Sumsi.

Four SDF leaders Neema Theing, Kiran Chhetri, Sonam Bhutia and Sonam Sherpa quit the party today.
Gangtok show for Prashant film - India premiere to be in sikkim

TT, Gangtok, July 29: Prashant Tamang’s third Nepali film Kina Maya Ma will premiere in India with a screening in Gangtok on August 27.
Gangtok-based filmmaker Chunnilal Ghimire said the premiere would be at Vajra cinema hall. “After the movie runs in Gangtok for some time, we will take it to Darjeeling and Kalimpong for screening,” said Ghimire. This is the first feature film of Channel Ace Productions run by Ghimire.
Although a love story, the film has references to the Gorkhaland movement in Darjeeling, the hometown of Indian Idol 3 winner Prashant, who plays the lead role.
If Sony’s talent hunt through the music reality show launched Prashant as a singer four years ago, it also sowed the seeds of a new party that now controls the Darjeeling hills.
In 2007, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was born after its president Bimal Gurung cashed in on the strong anti-Subash Ghisingh sentiment that swept through the hills during the campaign to help Prashant win the contest.
The GNLF chief had refused to publicly back Prashant even as the entire Gorkha community in Bengal and across the country put its collective might behind the singer.
Prashant won the September 2007 contest and bagged a Rs 1-crore music contract with Sony.
In Kina Maya Ma (why in love), Prashant is a singer from Nepal who falls in love with a girl from Sikkim. According to the director, in the film, Prashant gets stranded in Sikkim while returning to Nepal because of a “strike” in the neighbouring hills, a reference to Darjeeling and the statehood agitation there.
A dialogue then follows: “The people from Darjeeling and the Indian Gorkha community should get justice as it is a century-year old demand.”
Prashant has two more Nepali feature films to his credit Gorkha Paltan and Angalo Yo Mayo Ko.
But the Kina Maya Ma director feels that Prashant has a long way to go before the audience accepts him as an actor rather than a singer.
“He is a singer in real life and plays the singer in the film. But he has not sung in the film as he was out in Europe during the recording. This is his third film and his acting skills have matured. He can act but people still see him as a singer,” Ghimire said.
He said Kina Maya had attracted good response in Nepal. “We expect even better response from Sikkim and Darjeeling,” he said.
The filmmaker argued that people here should not compare the Nepali films produced in Sikkim or elsewhere with those of Bollywood.
“Our films are made on a humble budget. Kina Maya had a budget of Rs 58 lakh. If the Nepali-speaking community doesn’t want their movies then who will watch the Nepali language movies? Just coming to the movie hall will encourage the local artistes and technicians,” he said.
Plan to split five districts - Bidhannagar, Barrackpore on list

wbMEGHDEEP BHATTACHARYYA, TT, Calcutta, July 29: The Mamata Banerjee government is giving finishing touches to a proposal to split at least five populous districts of Bengal to make their administration more manageable.
Sources said the proposal involves the division of North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, West Midnapore, Burdwan and Jalpaiguri. The population in each of these districts ranges from 59 lakh to 1 crore, barring that in Jalpaiguri.
If the next cabinet meeting scheduled on August 3 clears the plan, the number of districts in the state will go up from 19 to 24.
“The decision is likely to receive sanction by the cabinet on August 3 and the chief minister wants to make the announcement that evening,” said a Writers’ Buildings source.
Although the division of Hooghly is also being considered, a decision on the district has not been taken yet.
If approved by the cabinet, the proposal will be sent to the Union home ministry for statutory sanction. The process is likely to take between six months and a year for completion.
The last time the number of districts went up was in 2002, when Midnapore gave way to the East and West twins. In 1987, 24-Parganas had been divided, and four years later, Dinajpur became the North and South siblings.
The Trinamul Congress, then the principal Opposition party, had opposed the plan to divide Midnapore, citing the importance of regional integrity when the process began in 2001.
“We are now in administration and we have to take some tough decisions to deliver development,” said a minister in Mamata’s cabinet.
The areas that will be separated from the existing districts have been earmarked.
“We will separate the Alipurduar subdivision from Jalpaiguri, the Barrackpore and Bidhannagar subdivisions from North 24-Parganas, the Diamond Harbour subdivision from South 24-Parganas, the Jhargram police district and the Jungle Mahal areas from West Midnapore and the Asansol and Durgapur subdivisions from Burdwan,” the source said.
“If Hooghly is divided, the industrial belt of Serampore and Sadar subdivisions will be taken out to form the new district,” he added.
The number of blocks in Bengal is expected to go up by around 100 from the current 341 and that of subdivisions is likely to rise by 10 to 12.
Administrative buildings have to be set up in the new districts and superintendents of police and district magistrates have to be appointed.
“They are among the most populous districts in the state and are difficult to administer. The division would help the administration reach the people and assist in providing better healthcare and educational facilities. Splitting them into smaller districts makes administrative common sense,” an official said.
Bengal at present ranks 17th among the 28 states on district count. Less populous states like Bihar (38 districts), Orissa (30), Jharkhand (24) and Andhra Pradesh (23) have more districts.
According to a member of Mamata’s cabinet, more districts will also help get more central aid. “At the national level, the number of districts a state has matters, more often than it should, when decisions on financial support are considered. It’s more psychological than practical but the number does make a difference,” said the minister.
“That is one of the reasons why the chief minister wants to split the districts,” he added.
The idea had first come up three years ago. The administrative reforms committee —headed by then chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb — had examined the possibility and submitted detailed proposals, identifying the same areas for division in December 2008.
A senior official said the Left Front government had considered implementing the proposals eventually. But the debacle in the Lok Sabha polls of 2009 discouraged the government from taking such a big initiative.
The names of the new districts are yet to be finalised. The district that will be carved out of Jalpaiguri is likely to be called Alipurduar.
Chief secretary Samar Ghosh, who is also brainstorming to find a new name for the state, will be asked to come up with suggestions on the names of the other new districts, the source said.
Provisional data of Census 2011 show that the five districts have recorded a population growth of 12-18 per cent in 10 years. North 24-Parganas, with a headcount of over 1 crore, and South 24-Parganas, with 81.53 lakhs, are the most populous districts in Bengal. West Midnapore has a population of 59.43 lakhs, Burdwan has 77.23 lakhs and Jalpaiguri 38.70 lakhs.
Except Jalpaiguri, all of them are more populous than Calcutta that has over 44 lakh people.

                                         TODAY’s WEATHER REPORT OF KALIMPONG

              (Source: Science Center, Kalimpong)
                                                                            Rain: 31.3mm

Maximum Temperature

Minimum Temperature

Relative Humidity




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