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Friday, August 5, 2011

नशालु पदार्थसहित युवक पक्राउ.... Morcha plea for tax-free hills...Buddha queries for Mamata on hill treaty.... Planters reject daily wage of Rs 130 ... HOME AWAY FROM HOME - A challenge to understand and address.... Soccer line-up for Kalimpong.... Foreign culture boost for college

नशालु पदार्थसहित युवक पक्राउ           
मनोज बोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 4 अगस्त। रम्फू चेकपोस्टबाट आज पुनः भारी मात्रामा नशालु पदार्थसहित एक युवकलाई रम्फू थानाले पक्राउ गरेको छ। पक्रा परेका युवक 23 वर्षीय सुकदोर्जे शेर्पा रम्फू गोसखान सिक्किम निवासी हुन्‌। रम्फू थानाको सक्रियतामा पक्रा परेका सुकदोर्जे शेर्पाबाट प्रशासनले 100 बोटल रेकोडेक्स अनि 35 फाइल प्रोक्सिवन फेला पारेको छ। 
रम्फू थानाका प्रभारी विजय तामाङले बताएनुसार ती नशालु पदार्थहरूलाई युवकले सिक्किम भित्राउन चाहन्थे। तर सुत्र मार्फत नशालु पदार्थ सिक्किम लैजॉंदै गरेको थाहा पाएपछि आज रम्फू चेक पोस्टमा तिनलाई पक्राउ गरिएको हो। चॉंड़ै पैसा कमाउने प्रलोभनमा फँसेर नशालू पदार्थहरू वेचविखन कार्यमा यस्ता युवाहरू लागिपरेको अनि नशालू पदार्थहरू सिक्किम लगेर त्यहॉंका कैयौं युवाहरूलाई कुलतमा फँसाउनलाई यस्ता नशालू पदार्थ विचविखन कार्य भइरहेको तिनले जनाए। अझ पनि यस्ता धेरै कुकार्यमा संलग्न व्यक्तिहरू रहको अनि यस्ता व्यक्तिहरूलार्ई रोक्न जरूरी रहेकले प्रशासनले तीब्र रूपमा पहल गर्दै आइरहेको जनाए। पक्रा परेका युवकलाई ड्‌ग्स एण्ड कस्मेटिक एक्ट अन्तर्गत मुद्दा दर्ता गरिने भएको छ। राजमार्ग क्षेत्रमा नशालू पदार्थहरू वेचविखन कार्य हाल तीव्र रूपमा बढ़ेर गएको छ। राजमार्ग क्षेत्र नशालू पदाथर्र्हरू ओसार पसार गर्ने मुख्य बाटो बनेपछि पुलिस प्रशासन अनि स्थानीय युवाहरूले नशालू पदार्थ वेचविखन कार्यमा रोक लगाउन सक्रिय भुमिका निर्वाह गर्दै आइरहेका छन्‌ भने लगभग दुइ महिनाभित्रमा धेरपल्ट ड्‌ग्सखोरहरूलाई पक्राउ गर्न पनि सफल बनेका छन्‌।
Morcha plea for tax-free hills
VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 5: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has asked the Centre to extend tax benefits, similar to the ones enjoyed by the northeastern states, to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
The plea for special tax benefits was on the list of four demands placed by the Morcha before Union home minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi today. Later in the evening, the four-member Morcha delegation repeated the same set of demands before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “The Prime Minister told us that he would extend all possible assistance to the GTA and look into all our demands,” Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri told The Telegraph over the phone from New Delhi.
The Morcha also told Chidambaram that the GTA, the new administrative set-up for the Darjeeling hills, should have the authority to issue Gorkha certificates. Such certificates are needed for recruitment to the army, paramilitary and police as the Gorkha community is entitled to exemptions in terms of height and weight. The certificates are currently issued by the sub-divisional officers.
The Morcha also wanted the Centre to immediately announce the setting up of a Central University and an IIT in Darjeeling. The GTA should also be given authority over reserved forests, the Morcha said. This demand had been placed before the state government earlier.
Morcha president Bimal Gurung and central committee members Jyoti Kumar Rai and Diwarkar Gurung were also part of today’s delegation
The eight northeastern states, including Sikkim, enjoy special benefits for development of the region. “Our area (the territory under the GTA) is as backward as the Northeast, hence these benefits should also be extended to our area as well,” said Giri.
The Centre’s department of industrial policy and promotion has several incentives for the Northeast. For example, under a special transport scheme, subsidies ranging from 50 to 90 per cent are given to entrepreneurs to meet expenses incurred while moving raw materials and finished goods from the designated rail-heads to locations of industrial units.
Such are the benefits, that former municipal affairs and urban development minister of the state, Asok Bhattacharya, had also once demanded that north Bengal be brought under the NorthEast Council.
About the right to the reserved forests, Giri said: “We told the home minister that Bodoland Territorial Council was allowed to administer the reserve forests. In the hills, the reserve forest is spread over 1,115sqkm which accounts for nearly 38 per cent of the total area in the hills.”
Planters reject daily wage of Rs 130

tea embargo back
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 5: The despatch of tea from gardens in the Terai and the Dooars was stopped once again this afternoon after talks between trade unions and planters over revision of wages broke down.
An apex body of trade unions has also called a 48-hour strike in the tea sector next week if their demand for a daily wage of Rs 130 a day is not met.
Labour minister Purnendu Bose said another round of tripartite meeting might be called on August 9.
“I might attend the meeting. If the planters remain rigid on their stand, I will have no option but to seek the intervention of the chief minister,” Bose said.
At a tripartite meeting in Calcutta today, planters rejected the demand of the Defence Committee for Plantation Workers’ Rights, which wants Rs 130 as daily wage for the garden labourers.
The Defence Committee is one of the apex bodies of tea trade unions in north Bengal.
The Progressive Tea Workers’ Union (PTWU), which had initially demanded a daily wage of Rs 250 brought it down to Rs 130 during yesterday’s talks, said intimation to stop the despatch of tea had been sent to the 208 gardens of the region this afternoon.
“We had asked for a daily wage of Rs 130 and were ready to negotiate but the planters insisted on bringing it down further,” said Samir Roy, convener of the Defence Committee.
“So, we have decided to go ahead with our previously announced programme — the strike in the industry on August 10 and 11.”
The Defence Committee has also called a general strike in north Bengal on August 12. “We will appeal to political parties to support us and our strike on the 12th,”said Roy.
The planters admitted that the strikes next week would hit the industry hard.
“We are aware of the demands and we were ready to negotiate today if they had asked for a rate lower than Rs 90. Buy they stuck to their demand of Rs 130. We made it clear to them that it was not possible for us to pay at that rate and the discussions had to stop,” said Prabir Bhattacharjee, the secretary of the Dooars Branch of Indian Tea Association.
The workers in the Dooars and the Terai are currently paid Rs 67 a day. The tea union of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which had managed to clinch a deal of Rs 90 a day for garden workers in the Darjeeling hills earlier this year, is supporting the agitation of the trade unions in the plains.
Business worth Rs 20 crore is expected to be hit daily if the PTWU goes ahead with its embargo.
The PTWU had imposed a similar embargo on tea delivery from July 26 to 31 when an earlier round of talks on wage revision had failed.
The announcement of strike in the tea sector has also put 25,000 small growers in a spot.
“Around 20 per cent of our produce is sold to the bigger gardens. If the strike starts, we will be left at the mercy of the bought-leaf factories. If the gardens stop production, the BLFs would be the only ones manufacturing tea. We will not get a chance to bargain. At other times, we could at least go to the gardens if the BLFs did not give us the price,” said Bijoygopal Chakraborty, chairperson of the Confederation of Small Tea Growers Associations of India.
Tezkumar Toppo, a PTWU leader, said his union would support the strike called by the Defence Committee.
Buddha queries for Mamata on hill treaty
TT, Calcutta, Aug. 5: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today criticised the Mamata Banerjee government for the first time since it assumed office on May 20, questioning the hill accord and the plans for Jungle Mahal and advising the administration to rethink its policies on the two issues.
“I would like to speak on two issues that are of concern to us. First is Darjeeling. What is happening there and what’s the accord? How could the government include in the treaty (to form the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s point that they are not giving up the Gorkhaland demand?” the former chief minister said.
He was referring to the inclusion of the word “Gorkhaland” in the name of the set-up for the hills.
“Is the government agreeable to the demand for a separate state?’’ Bhattacharjee asked at an event in Mahajati Sadan to observe the 123rd birthday anniversary of Muzaffar Ahmed, one of the founding fathers of the CPM.
“Secondly, a committee has been set up to see if some regions in the Dooars and the Terai can be included in the hill administration. Why will the adivasis join the new body? Unrest against such a move has already spread in the plains. We want to ask the government not to invite trouble in the hills,’’ Bhattacharjee said.
Referring to Mamata’s development package for Jungle Mahal, he said the Maoists were the “bigger problem” in the tribal-dominated area than the issue of growth.
He said the Left government had “done a lot” in terms of creating infrastructure in Jungle Mahal but the biggest challenge was to tackle the rebels.
“Our government had set up schools, distributed lands and sunk deep tubewells in Jungle Mahal. But that’s not the issue there. The bigger problem finding ways to tackle the Maoists. They don’t believe in the country’s Constitution but only in bloodshed,’’ Bhattacharjee said.
“According to information available with our party, the Maoists have made rapid advances in Jungle Mahal in the past two months. What will the government do now? How far will they allow the rebels to march forward? That’s the big question,’’ he added.
Soccer line-up for Kalimpong

RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Kalimpong, Aug. 5: Twelve teams from different parts of India and the neighbouring countries will lock horns in the blue ribbon event of Kalimpong football season, the Independence Shield, which kicks off here tomorrow.
Former Indian captain and co-owner of the Sikkim United Football Club Bhaichung Bhutia will be the chief guest at the inaugural match at the Mela Ground.
Pakyong XI and Salua Football Academy will clash in the first match tomorrow. The semi-finals will be held on August 12 and 13, followed by the final on August 15.
Urgen “Mini” Lama, the president of the Kalimpong Sports Association which is organising the event, said the winning team would be richer by Rs 50,000, while the runner-up would go home with Rs 25,000. “The winner will also get the Independence Shield,” he added.
The current holder of the shield is local team, Apex XI. The team hopes it will lift the trophy this time also, riding on the overwhelming home support. But they are expected to face tough competition from outstation teams, especially four clubs from the armed forces and Nepal’s CFC.
Soccer enthusiasts are also looking forward to two relative young teams, Salua Football Academy and the Gorkha Boys Football Club from Delhi.
Vijay Kumar Henry, coach and co-founder of the Gorkha Boys FC, said over phone from Delhi: “We have been training hard for the last 10 days. We will be coming with a 23-member squad that will be captained by Jhaman Thapa.” The team, Henry said, plays in the B Division in the Delhi league.
The Salua academy also hopes it will give other teams a run for their money. “Ours is a young team. In sports, nothing can be predicted. What I can say with certainty is that my wards will play good football,” said Mohan Thapa, the coach and the owner of the academy.
The team will be captained by Laxman Kutchery. “Laxman is a stopper and a player the fans are looking forward to. The other boy who is really talented is our striker Bikash Chhetri,” said Thapa.
The Independence Shield over the years has become very popular and draws fans from across the Darjeeling hills and Sikkim.
Mid-August marks the culmination of the local football season. The final of the Mini League (Under 14) will also be held on August 15, just before the Independence Shield final takes place. And the following day, the finals of three different tournaments will be held. They are the Women’s League, C Division and inter-school tournament. 

Foreign culture boost for college

TT, Siliguri, Aug. 5: Gyanjyoti College has become the first institution in north Bengal to accommodate foreign students under a scholarship offered by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations to foster good relations between India and other nations through culture and education.
The college admitted three Bangladeshi students, allotted by the ICCR which comes under the ministry of external affairs.
“We are happy to provide three Bangladeshi students to this college under ICCR scholarship to foreign students this year. All formalities have been completed and the students have got a clearance from North Bengal University. They will join the institution soon. Gyanjyoti is the first institute in six north Bengal districts to admit such students,” Prosanta Banerjee, the ICCR programme director, said today.
Banerjee was speaking at the 7th foundation day celebration of the collage that was established in 2005. North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb was present as the chief guest at the event.
The programme director said he was impressed by the infrastructure, academic quality and administration of the college. The Bangladeshi students will pursue BBA in the college.
At present, the college has 600 students and offers BA (honours) in English, economics, geography, mass communication and BBA, BCA and BCom. BSc micro-biology was introduced in the college this year.
The ICCR gives scholarships to students from 58 countries to pursue different courses, barring medical streams.
“We provide scholarship to 4,000 foreign students every year. The scholarship is extended to all courses, including engineering. However, we do not provide scholarships for medical courses. Currently, 13,000 foreign students are studying in India under the scheme,” said Banerjee.
He said the main aim of the scheme was the exchange of different cultures.
“Foreign students bring with them their culture, which can be exchanged with students of India. In turn, they will learn and understand the traditions and educational systems in India. In this way students will be able to bridge the cultural gap between different countries.”
According to Banerjee, around 275 foreign students are pursuing different courses in other colleges in Bengal under the scheme.
The programme director said two Afghan students allotted for Gyanjyoti under the scheme were awaiting clearance from NBU. “Once the Afghan students get the clearance from the varsity and other formalities are completed, they will join the college. We are interested in offering more students to colleges under NBU if the authorities take an initiative and recommend some institutions to us,” he said.
The Gyanjyoti College authorities were happy with the development. “Having foreign students will certainly help our students, as they will get to learn more about customs in other countries. We are interested in admitting more such students to the college,” said Jayaraman Suresh, the principal of the college.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME - A challenge to understand and address
Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, TT: Our dear friend Karuna — Maharajkumari Karuna Devi Mahtab of Burdwan — never forgave me for calling her, only half in jest, a Punjabi. “Five hundred years in Bengal and we’re still Punjabis!” she exploded. “And not even a word of Punjabi!” her brother added. The protest seemed logical save that, barring exceptional love matches, all Mahtab spouses came from Punjab in those 500 years. A similar conversation with Ralph Ellison, the Black American author of Invisible Man, was more definitive. Ellison nursed no memory, individual or folk, of his African forebears. His consciousness had been shaped in the crucible of the American Dream.
Both conditions were reflected in the forgotten Subash Ghising’s perspicacious reference to “the ‘identity problem’ of the nine million Gorkhas in the country”. His admission also suggested less dogmatism than the angry and emotional response of some Nepalese readers to my Gorkhaland article (“Genie out of the bottle”, July 23). How long does one have to live in a terrain to be regarded as indigenous, one asked. The answer can’t be measured in years or even generations. As the Rastafarian movement and the Black girl flirting with Nigerian names and attire in that magnificent film, A Raisin in the Sun, demonstrated, belonging is a state of mind even more than physical fact. I have seen German-origin Soviet families squatting for days on airport floors with their boxes and bedding like refugees at Sealdah station waiting for flights to “return” to a Germany some had never seen. I also know ethnic Germans who despite Germanic names and appearance, regard themselves and are regarded by others as entirely Russian.
With passports of convenience readily available, legal citizenship is only a small part of identity. Nor is identity constricted by politics which is why many Nagas seek union with their fellow tribesmen in Myanmar. People who knew Dorjee Khandu, the late chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, say he was loyally Indian to the core but completely Tibetan in lifestyle. A Malaysian bumiputera (son of the soil) is usually born Malay and Muslim, but Malayali settlers in dhoti and angavastram have also been accorded bumiputera status. Karuna Mahtab proved that choice takes precedence over history and ethnicity.
The Nepalese fanned out along the Himalayan foothills, all over India and into Sikkim and Bhutan, long before the world’s only Hindu kingdom surrendered to revolutionary turmoil. Readers who deny that the British introduced Nepalese labour are right only to the extent that migration existed before Sikkim ceded Darjeeling to the East India Company in 1835. But it’s fanciful to claim (as one reader did) that the Nepalese came as long ago as the 1600s. Darjeeling had only 1,900 people in 1850 (2,200 in 1869) and many of them must still have been Lepchas and Bhutiyas. British rule gave migration an impetus. Leo Rose, Lopita Nath and other scholars regard the treaty of Sugauli and establishment of recruitment centres at Ghoom and Gorakhpur as the start. The 1950 India-Nepal treaty was another major landmark. Did the Nepalese share of Darjeeling’s population rise from 54 per cent in 1901 to 58.4 per cent in 1971 only because of natural growth or did already settled families invite their kin to join them, as migrants do worldwide? Rajiv Gandhi’s refusal in 1986 to countenance citizenship for post-1950 immigrants seems explicable in view of the reported growth of over 700 per cent between 1951 and 2001 in Darjeeling’s Nepalese population.
This eastward push by a vigorous and hardworking community was bound to have consequences on the ground. Indigenous Lepchas and Bhutiyas were reduced to minorities in their own homeland. Ethnic strife erupted periodically in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and — most of all — Meghalaya. Darjeeling suffered grievously. The diaspora’s most dramatic impact was in Sikkim which had only 2,500 Lepchas, 1,500 Bhutiyas and 1,000 Tsongs in 1873. When the troubles began a century later, the Nepalese were about three-quarters of the population and played a decisive part in changing the status of a Tibetan-Buddhist kingdom with which they could not relate. Typically, the Janata Congress president, Krishna Chandra Pradhan, demanded a Nepalese Hindu king to balance the Bhutiya Buddhist Chogyal! It’s no secret that Bhutan began to be wary of its non-Drukpa population after the Sikkim agitation in which many Darjeeling Nepalese participated. Allegations of Darjeeling Nepalese agitators in Bhutan, too, revived the “greater Nepal” spectre.
Bhutan’s actual Nepalese population may exceed the official 20 per cent. The government began recruiting Nepalese contractual labour (tangyas) in 1900 to work in the tropical forests, allowing them to stay on as tenant farmers with Bhutanese nationality after the 1958 Nationality Law was enacted. Setting a precedent for Ghising, indigenous Drukpa officials avoided calling them Nepalese. They felt absorption would be easier if the Nepalese were called Southern Bhutanese or Lhotshampas. Benign accommodation changed when waves of illegal migrants started taking advantage of Bhutan’s planned growth, empty land and porous borders. The evictions from Bhutan, refugee camps in eastern Nepal, militant organizations, terrorist activity and assisted migration to North America and Europe are another story.
Believing that Gorkhaland would “solve” the “identity problem” he discerned, Ghising made another contribution to the solution by calling his people Gorkha (replacing the “u” of the Indian army’s seven regiments and Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas with “o”) because Nepalese recalled Nepal and invited comments such as Morarji Desai’s. Prem Poddar claims in Gorkhas Imagined that “the word ‘Gorkha’ (or the neologism ‘Gorkhaness’) as a self-descriptive term... has gained currency as a marker of difference for Nepalis living in India… While this counters the irredentism of a Greater Nepal thesis, it cannot completely exorcize the spectres or temptations of an ethnic absolutism for diasporic subjects.” Despite his acumen, Ghising may have aggravated those fears by sending the Gorkha National Liberation Front’s memorandum to King Birendra of Nepal, Prince Gyanendra and Queen Elizabeth, and by making periodic unpublicized trips to Nepal. The Karuna Mahtab and Ralph Ellison assimilation analogies seemed even less applicable when it was recalled that the All India Gurkha (no “o” then) League referred to Nepal as the “motherland” in its founding constitution.
Several readers have retorted that Bengalis are equally foreign because they are really Bangladeshis. True, many of those who live in Calcutta and West Bengal have ancestral roots in East Bengal (there was no Bangladesh then) just as many Tamils in Chennai may come from villages in Tanjore and other districts. The metropole always attracts aspiring manpower, and internal migration in undivided Bengal followed this universal pattern. The movement since 1947 falls into two categories. The first is a staggered and long-delayed (because of a number of political reasons, not least the 1950 Nehru-Liaquat Ali pact) counterpart of the exchange of population that happened all at once in Punjab. The second is the influx of Muslims from East Pakistan and later Bangladesh which is often abetted by elements in West Bengal. There can be no question that these illegal migrants should be tracked down and deported. But neither category can be compared to the millions of Nepalese who have over the decades crossed the open 500-mile border into a foreign country and made it their home. I doubt if there is a global parallel.
Gorkhaland will be India’s second Nepalese-majority state. It will be bounded by Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and China. The Nepalese are delighted, witness pictures of a triumphantly dancing Bimal Gurung. But Darjeeling’s sitting member of parliament, Jaswant Singh, tempers pleasure with circumspection. “I am, of course, glad that this ‘Genie’ is finally free and roaming, it was long overdue,” he wrote. “The challenge is to understand: ‘what hereafter’ and to address that.” Since Mamata Banerjee denies that the tripartite agreement, whose signing Jaswant Singh attended, will lead to statehood, she may not even realize there is a challenge to understand and address. 

Headlines: KalimNews.
PR Pradhan Merit Award is conferred upon the meritorious students of this year.
CPRM will hold dharana in Delhi on August 12.


  1. It cannot be bad that someone from Calcutta takes an informed historical stand on this. He even quotes from a local global citizen Poddar who edited a book on I. B. Rai which is concerned with many of the issues that Ray raises. Many of our own intellectuals (so-called) mostly recycle ethnic bullshit all day.

  2. It cannot be bad that someone from Calcutta takes an informed historical stand on this. He even quotes from a local global citizen Poddar who edited a book on I. B. Rai which is concerned with many of the issues that Ray raises. Many of our own intellectuals (so-called) mostly recycle ethnic bullshit all day.