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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hill team demands bill changes - Morcha leaders meet chief secretary, raise objections to clauses in GTA bill ... Illegal timber glare on gardens ...BRO promises to fast-track highway repair.. Metro call for rock stars - Bangalore & Mumbai on itinerary.. Vacant house raiders caught...Anti-Gorkhaland bodies oppose area inclusion...इन्दिरा गान्धीबाट ताम्र पत्र पाउने लालबहादुर ओझलमा 'हाम्रा बाजेलाई कसैले पनि नभुलिदिउन्‌'....फेरबदल गरिएको जीटीएको खेस्रा मोर्चाको पक्षमा नरहेको स्टडी फोरमको दाबी...कालेबुङमा इद-उल-फितर पालन...नाचेर पालन गरिन्‌ महिलाहरूले तीज

Hill team demands bill changes - Morcha leaders meet chief secretary, raise objections to clauses in GTA bill  
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri (left) and spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri on their way to meet chief secretary Samar Ghosh at Writers’ on Wednesday. Telegraph picture
VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 31: A Gorkha Janmukti Morcha delegation today met the chief secretary at Writers’ Buildings to point out clauses in the Darjeeling hill bill to which it had objections and sought his intervention to get them altered. 
Morcha MLA and spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri, who was part of the delegation that met chief secretary Samar Ghosh, said the preamble of the bill should have mentioned that “ethnic factor” was one of the reasons for the creation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration for the hills. 
He claimed that Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Bill was “unclear” about the financial independence of the new body and the repeated reference to the new authority as the GTA Sabha, diluted the status of the GTA. 
He also said the bill should not have mentioned “incompetence” as one of the reasons that empowered the state government to supersede the new administrative set-up for the Darjeeling hills. 
Emerging from the meeting with the chief secretary, Chhetri said there was “no question” of getting into a confrontation with the government on these issues and the Morcha was “satisfied” with the interaction with Ghosh. 
“We sit on the treasury benches so there is no question of getting into a confrontation with the government,” Chhetri, the MLA from Kalimpong, said. “The government is ready to bring about amendments to resolve the matter, so everything should work out fine. We will make a written submission regarding our objections to the bill tomorrow.” 
Elaborating on the party’s objections, Chhetri said: “The preamble of the bill states that the objective is to bring about socio-economic and linguistic development of the people. But ethnicity is a major issue and there is no mention of it.” 
The Morcha also believes the bill is not clear about the financial powers of the GTA and does not “adequately reflect” mention of this in the tripartite agreement signed between the Centre, the state and the hill party on July 18. 
“The GTA does not appear to have been given as much financial powers as we had expected. The bill gives an impression that we have to go to Calcutta every time we want a project to be sanctioned. We should be allowed to envisage a project and clear it as well without having to run to Writers’ all the time. 
“Also, the bill clearly states that the GTA has the power to recruit people but is not so clear on the authority to create posts.” 
The Morcha also said the word “incompetent” should not have been mentioned while empowering the government to supersede the new hill set-up. 
“How can the state government judge whether an elected member is incompetent or not? It is the people who will elect the members and only they can say whether a body is incompetent or not,” said Chhetri. 
The Morcha also believes that the bill is self-contradictory in certain aspects. 
“Section 66 states that the GTA can frame rules, but Section 67 says the state government can also frame rules for the GTA. We believe that this section provides for overlapping of powers, which we don’t want as the GTA is supposed to be an autonomous body,” said Chhetri. 
He said the Morcha had serious objections to the quorum for the GTA Sabha. 
“The normally accepted quorum for any body is one third of its members. However, in the GTA they have fixed the quorum at more than 50 per cent. This is not acceptable to us,” Chhetri said. 
The Morcha also objected to the “repeated use” of the word “Sabha” while referring to the GTA. 
“The bill gives the impression that the GTA is only a ‘sabha’ as if it is a local body and not an administrative set-up,” said Chhetri. For the Morcha, the GTA is a stepping stone to statehood. So the frequent use of “sabha” in the bill undermines the status of the GTA, the party feels. 
Chief secretary Ghosh refused comment on the objections. 
“The bill is with the Assembly now. The Morcha did raise some concerns, but it is up to the legislature to address them,” he said. 
Home secretary G. D. Gautama said the option of amendment was open though he wasn’t sure if the government was going to introduce any changes. 
Government chief whip Sobhandev Chattopadhyay said decisions on amendments to the bill were yet to be taken. “If there are any changes that need to be made, they can be made. We will do it in consultation with the Morcha,” said Chattopadhyay.
GTA Bill runs into trouble - Bill deviates from agreement, says GJMM
SNS, KOLKATA/DARJEELING, 31 AUG: The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Bill 2011, which is scheduled to be placed in the Assembly on Friday to pave the way for creation of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), has run into rough weather after the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) leaders raised several questions over the draft of the Bill.
GJMM leaders, including Mr Roshan Giri and Mr Harka Bahadur Chhetri, today met the chief secretary, Mr Samar Ghosh and made known their grievances over the Bill. The GJMM leaders also said they discussed the issue with Mr Partha Chatterjee, the state commerce and industries minister.
After the meeting with the chief secretary at Writers' Buildings, Mr Roshan Giri said there are discrepancies in the Bill when it is compared with the contents of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) which was signed between the GJMM, the state government and the Centre in Sukna near Siliguri in July. "As per the MOA, the GTA was supposed to be delegated financial, administrative and executive power. But, the Bill that has been circulated among the MLAs states that only executive power would be delegated to the GTA, which is a clear shift from the MOA, " said Mr Giri.
He also added that the MOA states that if 17 members of the 50-member GTA attends a meeting, decisions could be taken or approved. "But the Bill states that no decision could be taken by the GTA if less than 26 members attend the meeting. This is also a clear shift from the MOA. This apart, the ethnic identity of the Gorkhas was not mentioned in the Bill," he added.
The GJMM leaders said they have raised all these issues during the meeting with the chief secretary and the chief secretary has assured them that the state would try to rectify these issues.
Meanwhile, senior state government officials said members of the Assembly have every right to oppose any part of the Bill and that is the reason why it is circulated among the MLAs in advance so that they can raise their points during the discussion on the Bill in the Assembly. As the Bill has already been circulated among the members of the Assembly, the final call on the Bill would be taken by the House itself.
They also said after the MOA was signed more than a month ago, it has been translated into the Bill. The Bill has been prepared by the state judicial department in consultation with the state home department. As the language of the MOA and the Bill is different, it might be misinterpreted, said officials.
Mr Samar Ghosh, the chief secretary, said, "The Bill is now the property of the Assembly and I won't be able to comment on that. I had a discussion with the GJMM leaders and they have drawn the state's attention in some areas."
Speaking in Darjeeling, the Kalimpong MLA and GJMM spokesperson, Dr Harkha Bahdur Chettri, said the word “Sabha” is used in the name of the new body in the Bill, of which no mention was made in the MOA. “It is clearly mentioned in the MOA that the autonomous body for the Hills shall be called the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. However in the Bill the nomenclature is given as the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Sabha. There was no need to add the word Sabha. We are not happy over this.”
“Regarding the powers to be transferred in the new body, it has only been vested with executive powers in the Bill on GTA. The words financial and executive has been removed,” said Dr Chettri. The party is also seeking  the views of legal experts in this regard. The other provision in the Bill that has been opposed by the GJMM is nomination of members to the GTA’s executive body “Whereas it is stated in the agreement that the executive body of the council will have a chief executive who will  nominate 14 members as executive members from the 50 elected/nominated GTA members, the Bill says only twelve members will be nominated by the chief executive and the other two will be nominated by the Governor,” added Dr Chettri.

Morcha unhappy with clauses in GTA Bill
TNN , Sep 1, 2011: KOLKATA: Unhappy with the way the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Bill 2011 has been framed, a delegation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) called on chief secretary Samar Ghosh at Writers' Buildings on Wednesday and told him about their objections. The Bill has already been circulated in the assembly and will be placed for discussion on Friday.
The GJM said that there are several discrepancies between the Bill and the memorandum of agreement signed on July 18, and asked for amendments before the Bill comes up for discussion.
The GJM team - comprising Roshan Giri and MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri - that met Ghosh and parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee was advised to place their demands and objections in writing. Chhetri said that the objections will be placed on Thursday.
The Bill will pave the way for the formation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) in Darjeeling, but there are at least four to five key areas which GJM is objecting to. While the Bill mentions socio-economic and linguistic development of the Hills, there is no mention of the ethnicity of the Gorkhas, which is a very sensitive and perhaps the main issue for the people in the Hills.
The Bill also mentions that the state government can supersede the GTA if it feels it is not functioning properly and this is where the GJM thinks the autonomous nature of the GTA will be compromised.
Also, the agreement mentioned transfer of financial, administrative and executive power to the GTA, but the Bill only mentions of executive power, he said. "Even there, it is not too definitive," he said. According to the Bill, the GTA will only be able to appoint people, but won't be allowed to create posts, said Chhetri. Even the financial power is not specified which leads to the impression that they have to rush to Kolkata every time they need a clearance.
The Bill mentions that the state along with the GTA will have the power to make rules and regulations, which, the GJM feels, is "unnecessary overlapping".
There is also trouble over the nomination of members. While the agreement mentions 14 persons will be nominated by the chief executive of the GTA and one by the governor, the Bill mentions the figures as 12 and two.
According to Roshan Giri, the word "sabha" has been used to indicate the GTA, and the Morcha has objection to that as well. Chhetri said the mention of the word 'sabha' belittles the GTA and does not give it due importance.
Chhetri had earlier said that the state government has introduced a number of controls through the backdoor which had hampered the notion of the autonomy.
The state government though, lobbed the ball in the court of the assembly. The chief secretary Samar Ghosh said: "The GJM has drawn my attention to some issues they have objections to. However, I have nothing to do in this regard. The assembly will decide." Home secretary G D Gautama, who also handles the hills affairs department, said: "The Bill has been circulated among MLAs and the GJM has some objections.
They feel that the language of the Bill does not correctly reflect the agreement and the assembly will take the call.
Chhetri made it clear that GJM was not in a hurry to get the Bill passed in the assembly in its current form. "We have on our shoulder the burden to fulfil the aspirations of the people of the hills."
According to government chief whip Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, GJM can move amendments to the bill during discussion on September 2, the government may adopt them if these are acceptable. Or else, the government can move the amendments, but in that case there must be a prior understanding between the government and GJM on the changes. In case the Bill is not passed on September 2, or else referred to the standing committee, its passage could be delayed till the next winter session as Friday is the last day of the current session.
इन्दिरा गान्धीबाट ताम्र पत्र पाउने लालबहादुर ओझलमा
'हाम्रा बाजेलाई कसैले पनि नभुलिदिउन्‌'
हे वीर बालक हो, जातिलाई सुधार
हिम्मत गरी अघि बढ़ी बैरीलाई लघार
मौका हेरी लाभ उठाई देशको गर उद्धार
तब होला हाम्रो जातिको सुधार
हे वीर बालक हो, अब हिम्मत नहार
सबै मिली अघि बढ़ी जय हिन्द पुकार, जय हिन्द पुकार.....
मनोज वोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 29 अगस्त: देशमा भित्रिएर देशवासीलाई शासन र शोषण गर्ने अङ्‌ग्रेजी शासनको विरूद्ध नेताजी आजाद हिन्द फौजमा रामसिंह ठकुरीको यो गीत लामबद्ध भई गाउने अनि देशलाई स्वाधीन पार्न योगदान गर्ने सिन्देबुङका स्वाधीनता सेनानी लालबहादुर बस्नेतलाई आफ्नैहरूबाट ओझेल हुन्छु भन्ने कुरा थाहा थिएन। आज स्वाधीनता सेनानी लालबहादुर बस्नेतको दुइ नाती अनि एक बुहारीले बाजे अनि ससुरालाई कसैले पनि अहिलेसम्म सम्झना नगरेकोमा आफूहरू दुःखी रहेको बताएपछि स्वाधीनता सेनानीलाई पुज्नेहरूबीच एक महत प्रश्न खड़ा भएको छ। स्वाधीनता सेनानीको रूपमा केवल जङ्गबीर सापकोटा, दलबहादुर गिरी, दुर्गा मल्ललाई मात्र चिन्ने अनि पूजा गर्ने तर अन्य सेनानीहरूलाई भने ओझेलमा पार्ने परम्परा कालेबुङ भित्रभित्रै बॉंचिरहेको सत्य आज अघि आएको छ।
कोही सेनानीलाई काख, कोही सेनानीलाई पाखा पार्ने परम्परा हुर्काउनेहरूबीच अब गम्भीर प्रश्न खड़ा भएको छ, के स्वाधीनता सेनानी पनि साना र ठूला हुन्छन्‌ र? के सेनानीहरूको योगदान बराबर होइन र? त्यसो हो भने किन अन्य सेनानीहरूलाई भने कालेबुङमा जहिल्यै पनि भूल्ने गरिएको हो त? यस्तो प्रश्न उठेको छ लालबहादुर बस्नेतलाई अहिलेसम्म ओझेलमा राखिएको तिनको परिवारको गुनासोले।
परिवार अनुसार कालेबुङमा 15 अगस्तको दिन स्वाधीनता सेनानीहरूलाई सम्झना गर्ने गरिन्छ। तर लालबहादुर बस्नेत बितेपछि तिनलाई सबैले चटक्क बिर्सिदिएका छन्‌। यसरी बिर्सिदिँदा परिवारलाई लालबहादुर बस्नेत स्वाधीनता सेनानी हो कि होइनन्‌ भन्ने कुराले सधैँ पिरलो पार्ने गरेको छ।
शुरूमा अङ्‌ग्रेज पल्टनमा भर्ना भएका लालबहादुर बस्नेत अङ्‌ग्रेजकै विरूद्ध नेताजी सुवासचन्द्र बोसको आजाद हिन्द फौजमा भर्ना भएका थिए। त्यसबेला भारतीय राष्ट्रिय सैनिकमा दार्जीलिङ खरसाङ अनि कालेबुङका एघाह्र जना गोर्खाहरू पनि थिए। उनीहरूमा कृष्णबहादुर सुनुवार, तेजबहादुर सुब्बा, लाखमान लिम्बू, तारसिंह लेप्चा, भीमबहादुर खड्का, सित्तल छेत्री, भैरवसिंह लामा, डिकबीर लामा, भीमबहादुर छेत्री, भक्तबहादुर छेत्री अनि लालबहादुर बस्नेत रहेका थिए। नेताजी बोसले आजाद हिन्द फौज गठन गरिसकेका थिए जसले गुञ्जाएको इन्क्लाब जिन्दावादको नाराले तानेर लालबहादुर बस्नेतलाई पनि देशको निम्ति लड्ने योद्धाको रूपमा निर्माण गरेको थियो। 1943 मा सिङ्गापूरलाई जापानले कब्जा गरेपछि लालबहादुर बस्नेतले अङ्‌ग्रेजी पल्टन त्यागेर आजाद हिन्द फौजमा स्वयं सेवकको रूपमा भर्ना लिएका थिए। ताकतले भ्याइञ्जेल तिनी यसै फौजमा रहे अनि 15 अगस्त 1947 को दिन भारत स्वाधीन भयो। भारत स्वाधीन गर्नमा लालबहादुर बस्नेतको पसिनाको पनि योगदान थियो। अहिले स्वाधीन भएको 65औं वर्ष बित्यो। देश स्वाधीन भएको जति वर्ष बित्दै गयो त्यसरी नै बिर्सँदै गयो लालबहादुर बस्नेतलाई पनि। तिनको परिवारले बाजे जिउँदो हुँदा मात्र सबैले कदर गरेको तिनको मृत्युपछि भने सबैले बेवास्ता गरेको गुनासो गरेको छ।
लालबहादुर बस्नेतले देशको निम्ति दिएको योगदानको कदर गर्दै 15 अगस्त 1972 को दिन इन्दिरा गान्धीले ताम्रपत्र प्रदान गरेकी थिइन्‌। ताम्रपत्र प्रापक तिनै सेनानीलाई भने कालेबुङको हरेक 15 अगस्तमा बिर्सिदिएको गुनासो परिवारको रहेको छ। लालबहादुरका नाती सन्दिप बस्नेतले सरकारले पनि बाजेको योगदानको कदर नगरेको अनि कालेबुङवासीले पनि बिर्सिदिएको गुनासो गरे। सन्दिपले भने, बाजेका दुइ छोराहरू छन्‌ एकजना भोटाङमा छन्‌ भने एकजना लापत्ता छन्‌।
लापत्ता रहेका लालबहादुर बस्नेतका छोराकै आफू छोरा रहेको बताउँदै सन्दिपले भने, मेरो बाबा समाजले बाजेको कदर नगरेको कारण नै डिप्रेसनले भौतारिएको हो कि भन्ने हामीलाई लागेको छ। तिनले आफ्नो पिता 2000 सालदेखि नै कालेबुङबाट हराएको बताए। अर्का नाती शङ्‌कर बस्नेतले पनि भने, स्वाधीनता सेनानीको परिवारले पाउन पर्ने सहुलियत हामीले पाएनौं तर यसमा हामीलाई दुःख लागेको छैन, दुःख लागेको छ भने अरू स्वाधीनता सेनानी सम्झना हुँदा हाम्रो बाजेलाई किन सबैले बिर्सिदिन्छन्‌ भन्ने कुरामा लागेको छ। सेनानी बस्नेतको बुहारी चन्द्रकला बस्नेतले भनिन्‌, बाबा जिउँदो हुँदा सबैले उनको कदर गर्थे। उनी बितेपछि सबैले चटक्क बिर्सिदिँदा हामी छक्क परिरहेका छौं। हामी चाहन्छौं अरू सेनानीको सम्झना गर्दा स्वाधीनता सेनानी लालबहादुर बस्नेतको पनि सम्झना गरियोस्‌।
फेरबदल गरिएको जीटीएको खेस्रा मोर्चाको पक्षमा नरहेको स्टडी फोरमको दाबी
नोज वोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 29 अगस्त: हस्ताक्षरित जीटीएको खेस्रामा केन्द्रिय कानून मन्त्रालयबाट फर्किएपछि धेरै कुरा यताउता भएकोमा मोर्चा सन्तुष्ट छैन। हस्ताक्षर गरिएको खेस्रा अनि कानून मन्त्रालयबाट फर्किएर राज्य सरकारकोमा आइपुगेको खेस्रामा आकास पातालको फरक रहेको शंका मोर्चाको स्टडी फोरमले गरेको आशय आज कालेबुङ आइपुगेका स्टडी फोरमका सदस्य अमर राईले बताएका छन्‌। तिनले भने, के के फेरबदल भएको छ, हामीले विस्तृतरूपमा हेर्न पाएका छैनौं, तर फरबदल भने भएको कुरा हामीले थाहा पाएका छौं। हामीले ठानेका थियौं कि जुन सम्झौता भयो त्यसमा राज्य अनि केन्द्र सरकार राजी छ तर अहिले बील पारित हुनमा धेरै बाधा गर्ने विषय खेस्रामा रहेको कुरा अघि आएको छ। हामीले थाहा पाएसम्म अहिले विधायकहरूको हातमा आएको खेस्रामा सरकारी नियन्त्रण राखिएको छ जो हाम्रो पक्षमा छैन। तिनले अझ के भनेका छन्‌ भने जीटीएलाई अटोनमी दिएको छ तर त्यसमा सरकारी नियन्त्रण रहने हो भने अटोनमीको अर्थ रहँदैन। तिनले भने, अहिले विधायकहरूको दौडधुप चलिरहेको छ।
कानून विशेषज्ञहरूसित भेटेर व्यापक छानबिन गर्ने काम भइरहेको छ। तिनले बताए अनुसार दुइदिन अघि मात्र विधायकहरूको हातमा खेस्रा दिएकोले मोर्चाको स्टडी फोरमले त्यसमाथि छलफल गर्न पाएको छैन। तिनले भने, निक्कै विवादास्पद कुरा अघि आइरहेको छ, बीललाई लिएर पार्टीको स्ट्याण्ड के हुन्छ भन्न साह्रो छ। फोरमका सदस्य राईले के पनि शंका गरेका छन्‌ भने विधानसभाको ग्रीष्मकालीन सत्रको अन्तिम दिन फेरबदल गरिएको बील ल्याएर ममताको सरकारले हतार गरेर पारित गराउने सोंचेको हुनसक्छ। किन भने हतारसाथ विधायकहरूको हातमा खेस्रा दिइएको छ अनि अहिले विधायकहरूले कानून विशेषज्ञहरू लगाएर त्यसलाई अध्ययन गर्ने काम गरिरहेका छन्‌। मोर्चासित हातमा समय छैन। यता पेरबदल गरिएका विषयहरू मोर्चाको पक्ष वा त जनताको पक्षमा छैन। यसकारण विधायकहरूले हातमा नै छ कि बील पारित गराइनुपर्ने हो अथवा होइन। तिनले महिनादिन अघि नै सम्झौता भइसकेको जीटीएको खेस्रालाई सदनको अन्तिम दिन आपातकालीन अवस्थामा फेरबदलसहित बीलकोरूपमा ल्याइनु शंकास्पद रहेको आफूहरूले ठानेको पनि बताएका छन्‌। यसरी ढिलो अनि फेरबदल गरि सदनमा जीटीएको बील ल्याइनुलाई तृणमूल पार्टीको राजनैतिक इच्छाशक्ति रहेको पनि राईले बताए।
अर्कोतिर स्टडी फोरम कै सदस्य विनोद प्रकाश शर्माले जीटीए मोर्चाले मागेको विषय नरहेको कुरा बताए। तिनले भने, हामीले त देश, काल र परिस्थिति अनुसार सरकारले दिएको सुझाउलाई मानिलिएका मात्र हौं। तिनले सम्झौता भइसकेपछि फेरि बील पारित गर्ने बेला खेस्रामा धेरै विषयहरू छुटेकोले असमाञ्जस्यता उपार्जन गरेको पनि बताए। तिनले भने, अहिले विधायकहरू लागिपरेका छन्‌, यसलाई स्टडी फोरमले कसरी निर्क्यौल गर्ने हो त्यसबारे मोर्चा अध्यक्ष विमल गुरूङसित बैठक गरेर निर्णय लिइनेछ। स्मरणीय कुरा के छ भने गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाले छुट्टै राज्यको आन्दोलन गर्दा गर्दै राज्य र केन्द्र सरकारका शीर्षस्थ नेताहरूले दिएको सुझाव मान्दै पहिले विकास गर्ने अनि त्यसपछि राज्य माग्ने कुरामा सहमति दिएको थियो। मोर्चा, राज्य सरकार अनि केन्द्र सरकारको सहमतिपछि नै जीटीएको बीलमा हस्ताक्षर गर्ने काम भएको थियो। अहिले सम्झौता गरिएको खेस्रा र बीलकोरूपमा आएको जीटीएको खेस्रामा व्यापक हेरफेर भएकोले मोर्चा नै असमञ्जमा परेको छ।
कालेबुङमा इद-उल-फितर पालन
मनोज वोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 29 अगस्त: कालेबुङमा मुश्लिम समुदायले आज इद-उल-फितर पालन गरे। अन्जुमन इस्लामियाको आयोजनामा ठाकुरबाडीस्थित मस्जिदमा कालेबुङ, पेदोङ, अलगढा, लाभा अनि टिस्टा मल्लीका मुश्लिम समुदायहरू भेला भएर एकार्कामा अंगालो मारेर प्रेम अनि भाइचाराको सन्देश आदान प्रदान गरे। इद-उल फितरलाई मुश्लिम समुदायले मात्र होइन अन्य धर्मावलम्बीहरूले पनि पर्वकोरुपमा पालन गर्ने गरेका छन्‌। आज पनि मुश्लिम समुदायहरूसित नै अन्य धर्मावलम्बीहरूले पनि इद-उल फितर पालन गरेका थिए। एक महिनादेखि नै रमजानको परिवेश कालेबुङमा छाएको थियो। रमजानको महिनालाई मुश्लिम समुदायका मानिसहरूले पवित्र महिनाको रूपमा मान्ने गरेका छन्‌ भने उनीहरू अनुसार हजरत मुहम्मद अल्लाहले आकाशबाट वाणी गरेर कुरानको जन्म भएको मान्ने गरेका छन्‌। यसै महिनादेखि नै उनीहरूले रोजा अथवा वर्त एक महिनासम्म पालन गर्ने गरेका छन्‌।
आज एक महिनादेखि गरेको व्रत खोल्दै मुश्लिम समदायले आकापासमा भाइचाराको सन्देश बॉंडे। आज मस्जिदमा सबै मिलेर नामाज पाठ पनि गरे जसको शुरूवात हापिस मञ्जरुल आलमले गरेका थिए। यसै अवसरमा मौलाना सिजगले इदबारे सबैलाई अवगत गराए। अन्जुमन स्लामियाका सचिव अमन चिस्तीले यस पर्वमा सामेल भएर प्रेम र भाइचाराको निम्ति सहभागी हुने सबैलाई कामना पनि व्यक्त गरे।
नाचेर पालन गरिन्‌ महिलाहरूले तीज
मनोज वोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 29 अगस्त: नेपालमा झैं नेपाली भाषी गोर्खाहरूले भारतमा हर्षोल्लासपूर्ण तीज पालन गरेको प्रायः नदेखिए पनि विस्तारै तीज पर्व घरबाट निस्केर आगनमा आइपुगेको छ। अघि अघि तीज त पालन गरिन्थ्यो तर यसरी सबै भेला भएर रमाइलो हुने गरी पालन गरिएको थिएन-ठाकुरवाडी मन्दिरमा भेला भएकी स्थानीय एक महिलाले यसो भनिन्‌। लगभग तीस चालिस जना महिलाहरू भेला भएर नाचगान गर्दै रमाइलो गरिरहेकी एक महिलाले अझ भनिन्‌, तीनवर्षमा माइत घर आएकी हुँ सिक्किमबाट। साथीभाईहरूसित यसरी भेटेर खुशी लागेको छ। तीज पर्व चेलीहरूको जीवनमा महत्वपूर्ण रहेको छ। चेली माइतीबीचको प्रगाड माया, लोग्नेको निम्ति कामना अनि सुख शान्तिको निम्ति हामीले व्रत गरेका हौं। अर्की एउटीले पनि भनिन्‌, केही वर्षदेखि यसरी कालेबुङमा महिलाहरू बेला भएर यो पर्व पालन गर्ने परम्पराको विकास भइरहेको छ। हामीलाई आशा छ यसले विशालरूप लिने छ। ठाकुरबाडी मन्दिरमा विहानदेखि नै पुजापाठ गर्ने महिलाहरूको भीड देखिएको थियो भने स्थानीय गणेश मन्दिरमा पनि महिलाहरूले पुजापाठ गरे। अर्कोतिर कालेबुङको हाटबजार व्यापारी सङ्गठनले पनि गणेश मन्दिरमा तीज पर्व पालन गरेको थियो।
Illegal timber glare on gardens 
TT, Alipurduar, Aug. 31: Forest minister Hiten Barman has ordered his department to file complaints against directors of tea gardens if illegal timber was seized from their plantations. It is not clear if the directive has already come into effect as till date complaints have been lodged only against individuals in whose homes the timber was found. In the past 15 days illegal timber worth more than Rs 5 lakh was seized from Chinchula, Bhatpara, Atiabari, Haldibari and Bhatkhawa gardens in the Buxa Tiger Reserve. 
Eight persons accused of smuggling the timber have fled the area. According to officials, if timber is seized from an individual, then a complaint is filed against that person. But most often, foresters recover illegal wood from near tea bushes. In these cases, no complaints can be lodged. 
“I have instructed the divisional forest officials to start cases against the directors of the gardens from where illegal timber is seized. 
We will invite the owners of the Dooars gardens for a meeting soon where we make our decision clear,” Barman said. Samir Majumdar, an assistant prosecutor in the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court in Alipurduar, said the garden management could be booked on two aspects: physical possession and conscious possession. 
“In physical possession, the smuggled wood might be found in a person’s home. In conscious possession, it has to be seen if the garden owner or the management was aware of the existence of the smuggled goods on its grounds,” said Majumdar. Rajendra Jakhar, the deputy field director of the Buxa reserve, confirmed that he had received the new directive. 
“The forest minister has asked us to file complaints against the directors of the companies of the tea gardens from where timber is seized. We will act on it as soon as possible.” Amitangshu Chakroborty, the adviser to the Indian Tea Planters’ Association (ITPA), Jalpaiguri, said the garden directors had nothing to do with timber smuggling and complaints should not be filed against them. “If illegal timber is seized from a garden, the company can do nothing. 
The managers are busy with their own work and it is not possible for them to keep track of illegal timbers. If anybody is found guilty then the foresters should take action against that particular person instead of lodging a case against the garden directors,” he said. Sajal Biswas, the manager of Tashati tea estate, said: “Legal proceedings against garden directors is meaningless. The foresters should file complaints against individuals from whom timber is seized. The owners have nothing to do with it.” 
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KalimNews: Civic strike in Darjeeling withdrawn.
An unidentified body is recovered by Rangpo police.
BRO promises to fast-track highway repair
RAJEEV RAVIDAS,TT, Kalimpong, Aug. 31: Permanent work on potholed stretches of NH31A damaged in the rains will start this weekend and a smooth ride is expected by the end of September, the Border Roads Organisation has said. Officials of the BRO said they would also speed up the widening work on the highway that is already going on A source in the BRO, which maintains the road linking Siliguri to Kalimpong and Gangtok, said there are plans to create three diversions on NH31A so that vehicles can avoid stretches that are prone to landslides and sink zones and populated areas.

“We will construct a 490 metre-long viaduct near Lohapool,” said the source. Once the bridge is built, vehicles can avoid the Lohapool village, a congested area that is prone to sinking.
The viaduct and a proposal to construct a new road from Reang to Ravi Jhora are awaiting clearance from the union ministry of forest and environment, officials said.

“The Reang-Ravi Jhora diversion will be about 16-18km long and it would be on a higher but (a more) stable gradient. Which means the distance between the two points will increase by about 10km since the length of the existing alignment is 8km,” said the source.

Although the route will be longer, but the new stretch will avoid the two major landslide-prone zones at 27 Mile and Likhubhir.
Officials said vehicles would also ply the existing stretch after the new road is constructed.
“There is also a proposal for a 1.4km diversion to avoid the narrow stretch at Melli Bazar, which is a very busy area,” the BRO official added.
Sources said all craters along the highway will be filled up in about three weeks.
“We will fill up all the potholes along the highway between Teesta and Rangpo from September 3 to 10 and cover the stretch between the Coronation bridge and Teesta from September 10 to 20,” said the source.
The BRO had taken up patchwork in many parts of the highway during the monsoons.
But no major repair started during the rainy season.
“Once the potholes are filled up, dense bitumen macadam (blacktopping) work will be carried out on the Reang-Teesta stretch sometime in October. The work will be undertaken by a private firm to whom we have outsourced the job,” said the source.
The BRO has already started widening the highway to ensure two-way movement of vehicles throughout the stretch that runs from the Coronation Bridge to Gangtok.
“We have started road widening work at three-four points on the highway. The work will have to be carried out at 13 different places totalling about a 3-3.5km (stretch),” said the source.
Most of the places where such work would be carried out are between Melli and Rangpo.
“We have already sounded the police on the road widening work and have sought their help in managing the traffic as and when required. While widening the road, some traffic disruption will take place and it is always wise to put a plan in place to regulate vehicles,” said the source. 
Metro call for rock stars - Bangalore & Mumbai on itinerary
TT, Gangtok, Aug. 31:Sikkim rock band Girish N The Chronicles (GnC) is set to scorch the night clubs in Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune from tomorrow during a month-long tour. < 
The band is headed by Girish Pradhan, who emerged as the champion of the Indian leg of Yamaha Asian Beat 2011 in Bangalore on Saturday. He will be touring the metros with other members of the band — Yogesh Pradhan (bass guitar), Suraz Karki (lead guitar) and Nagen Mongrati (drums). 
Girish and the team will perform at Hard Rock Café outlets in Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai. They will also stage a performance at Blue Frog in Mumbai. 
“All the band members have reached Bangalore and their programme will start tomorrow. The GnC will be taking a three-day break and come back to Sikkim to headline the final of Pang Lhabsol festival at Rabongla in South Sikkim on September 12,” said band manager Shyam Pradhan. 
“The tour is being managed by a Bangalore-based event management company. We usually believe that rock music is dominant in the Northeast only. But in southern and western parts also, rock music is popular and has a bigger platform. 
The GnC is the only band from Sikkim to have been invited to play in these areas. It will be a platform to showcase their talents to a bigger audience and it means bigger opportunities in future,” said Pradhan. The Gangtok-based rock outfit has already performed all over India and won an award in the 2010 Summer Music Fest at Montenegro, Europe. The GnC was the only Indian band that took part in this international music festival. 
“Having won the Indian leg of Yamaha Asian Beat 2011 in the final at Kyra amphitheatre in Bangalore on August 27, Girish is now eligible to participate in the continental level final in Seoul on November 14,” said band bassist-cum-sound engineer Yogesh Pradhan. The 25-year-old Girish said reaching the continental final was not his final aim. 
“It is just the beginning of a world tour, which I used to dream about when I was introduced to rock music in my childhood days. The hills are full of talents and we can prove ourselves at international levels,” he said over phone from Bangalore. Girish was in Class VII when he staged his first solo performance. 
“Undoubtedly, my hard work and passion for music brought me to this level and credit also goes to my parents, friends and fans for their blessings and support,” added Girish. The GnC lead vocalist participated in the final of Yamaha Asian Beat with his side band Silver Tears, based in Guwahati. Girish will play in Seoul with the same band. 
“The GnC did not participate in the qualifying round as the other band members were busy preparing for their debut full-length album,” said Yogesh. Tomorrow’s Bangalore event will be the 50th performance of the band this year. 
Vacant house raiders caught
Items recovered from gang members in Siliguri on Wednesday. (Kundan Yolmo
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 31: Police today claimed that they had busted a gang which used to break into vacant houses in and around Champasari in Siliguri and take away home appliances and other articles.
Four persons were arrested and a number of items, ranging from utensils to LCD televisions, were recovered from them in raids conducted by the Pradhannagar police in the past three days. They had allegedly targeted at least 10 houses in the past one month. Amit P.Javalgi, the additional superintendent of police, Siliguri, said today Nandu Rangchand, Gangey Kisku, Sunil Dubey and Raju Roy had been picked up three days back.  
“Acting on a tip-off, we picked up the gang members from different areas of Pradhannagar. Nandu and Gangey are residents of Salbari, while the other two are from Pokaijote and Samarnagar near Champasari. We have recovered four television sets, two DVD players, two water pumps, several brass articles, sanitary fittings, other utensils and four bicycles, all stolen from different houses,” said Javalgi.
He said the seized items were worth around Rs 3 lakh. The police are probing if more members are involved in the racket. “The quartet could be tracked after we conducted raids in a number of locations and collected information from various people. The four men seem to be a part an organised criminal racket and we are trying to find out whether more people are involved in the robberies.” 
Elaborating on the modus operandi of the gang members, the ASP said they would target houses which were found locked from outside. “The members used to survey localities during day time and spot houses which are locked from outside. They would break open these houses at night and steal electronic items and utensils. Among the arrested, Gangey is known to have expertise in breaking locks,” said Javalgi.  
The police are trying to trace the people who had bought the stolen items from the robbers. “There are some people who would keep the items with themselves and sell them later. Our men are now trying to find them,” said the ASP. “As the Durga Puja is only a month away, we have plans to carry out more raids to arrest miscreants to curb thefts and snatching.” The police will also form special teams to keep a watch in busy commercial areas during the festival season. 
Anti-Gorkhaland bodies oppose area inclusion
SNS, SILIGURI, 31 AUG: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad and eight other anti-Gorkhaland groups would jointly resist the proposed survey in the Terai and Dooars over the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha’s territorial demand.
The leaders of the newly-formed forum, the Dooars-Terai United Movement Committee, are now busy formulating strategies to counter the state government’s move to identify areas in the region vis-à-vis the GJMM claim. The first meeting of the joint land survey committee was held in Kolkata yesterday.
Notably, the GJMM leaders have submitted a list of 196 moujas in the Terai and 196 moujas in the Dooars to the state government, demanding their inclusion under the GTA jurisdiction.
Sources said the panel would publish notification in the newspapers, inviting applications in favour of the proposed transfer of the additional areas and also objections against the proposal. The locals would have to send their views on the matter to the committee’s office in Kolkata or to the district magistrate’s offices in Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri or to the Siliguri SDO office within a stipulated time following the publication of the notification.
The committee would conduct hearing on the subject after receiving the locals’ views, the sources said. The committee has asked the director of the Census Board to furnish data-based details of the demographic positions in the region as based on the Census 2011 report.
The ABAVP state general secretary, Mr Tej Kumar Toppo, said: “We would oppose any move that would be based on the Census report, 2011. We would demand that the 1951 Census report should be taken as the base for the identification of the areas spread across the Terai-Dooars. It is well-known that taking advantage of certain clauses in the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty, the Nepali-speaking migrants have swamped the demographic equations in their favour in a number of areas across the region.”
The Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee president, Dr Mukunda Majumder, said they would paralyse life in the Terai-Dooars if the panel would go ahead with any survey on the ethnically sensitive matter. The Terai-Dooars Nagarik Mancha convenor, Mr Larry Bose, said  they would move to Calcutta High Court soon to stall the proceedings regarding the matter. “Any attempt to transfer tribal land is against the law of the land and unconstitutional,” he said.  
Plea to army to wall off water tanks- Management to be booked if smuggled wood is found on tea estates

TT, Siliguri, Aug. 31: Environmentalists have urged the forest department and the army to take joint measures to prevent the recurrence of elephants falling into water reservoirs near the field ordinance depot at Bengdubi.  
The nature lovers said the army should erect fences or build walls around the reservoirs to stop the elephants from falling into water.Three elephants fell into the water tanks in August and it required massive mobilisation of manpower and machines to rescue the animals.  
The Siliguri-based Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation (HNAF) cited the positive role played by the army in forest protection while urging them to take steps to save the lives of elephants.“The Indian Army has contributed to a large extent to the conservation of wildlife and natural resources in north Bengal. 
It is because of the presence of the military personnel that the Bengdubi forest remains pristine and undisturbed even today. Besides, the army has played a lead role in the creation of a small colony of white-backed vultures at Bengdubi,” said Animesh Bose, the programme co-ordinator of the HNAF.  
The army had built around 30 reservoirs at Bengdubi to deal with any accidental fire at the ordinance depot. “The army requires the water tanks to extinguish fire at the depot. They can in consultation with the forest department erect a fence around all the reservoirs so that elephants and other animals do not slip into water,” said Bose. The foresters said they had got extensive help from the army to pull the elephants out of the reservoirs.  
“The army had engaged their fire engines (to pump water out of the tanks) and excavators to dismantle a portion of the structures to help the elephants climb out of the reservoirs. However, considering the frequency of incidents, we feel it is high time that certain measures are taken to stop the animals from falling into the water tanks,” said an officer with Kurseong forest division. A six-year-old elephant had fallen into a tank yesterday. 
The fire brigade was called in to draw water out of the tank and an excavator pressed into service to help the animal crawl out of the reservoir. Similar measures had to be taken when two elephants fell into the tanks on August 8 and 28. R. Krishnamurthy, the chief conservator of forests (wildlife), north Bengal, said he had taken up the matter with the chief wildlife warden of the state. “We have talked to the chief wildlife warden in Calcutta. We requested him to talk to the army’s Eastern Command headquarters at Fort William in Calcutta and ask them to take measures to protect the elephants,” said Krishnamurthy.

Opinion, TT : Nepal’s new prime minister, Baburam Bhattarai, has the reputation of being a moderate Maoist. That may make him better suited to the job than his comrade and party boss, Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The two most important tasks before any government in Kathmandu — the drafting of the new constitution and the conclusion of the peace process — require the prime minister to avoid confrontational strategies. Mr Dahal, better known as “Prachanda”, had done the opposite during his stint as prime minister. He was involved in avoidable conflicts with both the president and the army chief.
His tenure raised disturbing questions about his commitment to the peace process and to democracy. Not just other political parties but also large sections of the people started questioning the Maoists’ ability to run a democratic government. Mr Bhattarai needs to prove that he has a more inclusive approach to political and administrative issues. The support he received for his election to the post, especially from the ethnic groups, suggests that he enjoys the confidence of a wide cross- section of the people. His tasks are not easy, but he has better chances of succeeding than Mr Dahal ever had.
Mr Bhattarai’s election as the prime minister should be good news for New Delhi for several reasons. His moderate views on important issues, including India’s relations with Nepal, have always been welcomed in New Delhi. An alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University in the Indian capital, his politics has been familiar stuff to policymakers in New Delhi. Above all, he has been the key Maoist interlocutor during the peace negotiations that ended the 10-year-long insurgency in Nepal. Mr Bhattarai’s long associations with political leaders and officials in India could help strengthen relations between the two countries. But he should also guard against a possible danger. His adversaries could use his rapport with Indian leaders in order to obstruct his policies. Nepal’s domestic politics always had plenty of room for India-baiters. Mr Bhattarai should be wary of stepping into their trap. New Delhi should also take care to avoid giving the impression that it is using Mr Bhattarai to further its interests in Nepal. Instead, the new prime minister can try to use the mutual trust between him and New Delhi to open up new frontiers of bilateral co-operation and understanding.

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