To contact us CLICK HERE
View Kalimpong News at
Citizen reporters may send photographs related to news with proper information to

Monday, August 1, 2011

Santosh in police remand.... पिता छत्र सुब्बा 11 बर्षदेखि जेलमा छोरा सन्तोष सुब्बा केरकारमा -स्टोभबम घटनाको सुई कतातिर ?...26 जनवरी हेलिकप्टरमा टुप्पीले झुण्डेर उड्‌ने... Veteran journalist turned politician passes away... Hills learn from Sikkim - Gangtok shows the way in traffic rules... Letter reaches, tea embargo lifted - Parishad wants wage deal on aug 4... Bullet-hit trader dies, Siliguri bandh today... Passengers seek information, rail officials fumble

Mukesh Sharma, KalimNews, August 1, Kalimpong: Santosh Subba son of Chhatrey Subba has been arrested by Kalimpong Police suspecting him of his involvement in the Stove blast in Kalimpong Motor Stand on 26th July. He was produced in the ACJM's court in Kalimpong and granted seven days police custody.
Santosh was picked by the police from his house at Rousey along with his car on Sunday morning. He is suspected to be involved in the blast and was quizzed by the police. Santosh pleaded guilty but it is learnt that police has collected evidence of his involvement and produced before the court and granted remand for further investigation.
Santosh's father Chhatrey Subba arrested in connection with the attempt to life on Subhas Ghising, the then GNLF Chief is likely to be released as his name is in the list of 52 political prisoners to be freed by the state government.
Lately Raju Gahatraj a resident of Topkhana is also detained by the police on the suscpicion of his involvement in the case.
Cuffs on Subba son over stove blast
RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Kalimpong, Aug. 1: Police today arrested Santosh Subba, the 35-year-old son of jailed Gorkha Liberation Organisation leader Chhatrey Subba, in connection with the kerosene stove blast at Motor Stand here on July 26.
The police had detained Santosh and quizzed him for the entire day yesterday. Santosh was produced in a local court today and remanded in seven days’ police custody.
D.P. Singh, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling, did not disclose much on the investigation. “We have got certain leads from him and are looking for some people. I can’t disclose much (on the investigation),” he said over phone.
The blast had partially damaged the floor of a bus parked at the stand and shattered the ventilators of the ticket counter.
Santosh has been charged with committing mischief by fire or any explosive substance intending to cause damage (Section 435), attempting to commit offence (Section 511), causing mischief (Section 427) and criminal intimidation (Section 506) of the Indian Penal Code.
“He has also been booked under the relevant sections of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Explosive Substance Act,” said a source.
Santosh, however, denied his involvement in the blast. “I can’t fathom for what reasons I am being charged. They have kept my father on grounds of suspicion and similar conspiracy is being hatched against me…Just when my father is about to be released, they have arrested me for no reason,” he told reporters.
There are speculations that the name of Chhatrey will feature in the second list of political prisoners that the state government wants freed. The list is being prepared by the government-appointed Bandi Mukti Committee.
The 62-year-old GLO leader has been in prison since April 20, 2001, after he was arrested from Nepal for allegedly masterminding the attack on GNLF president Subash Ghisingh near Kurseong on February 10 of the same year.
Ghisingh had escaped with injuries while a policeman had died in the incident when the GNLF president’s convoy was ambushed by gunmen on Pankhabari Road, few kilometres short of Kurseong.
Subba had formed the GLO after quitting the GNLF. He and Ghisingh fell out over the GNLF’s decision to accept the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council instead of a separate state of Gorkhaland by bifurcating Bengal.
Santosh had been arrested in the past for being allegedly involved in the supply of arms and ammunition to the hijackers of IC-814 plane of Indian Airlines from Kathmandu to Kandhahar in 1999 .
After spending few years in jail following his arrest in the middle of August, 2002, Santosh has been out on bail and the trial is pending in the court. His close associates said while Santosh was in jail, he converted to Christianity, and since then has been living a quiet life.
“He is an active member of the Presbyterian Free Church of Kalimpong. He also regularly attends the church services. He is basically unemployed, but makes his living by selling water from a spring near his house in Rousay bazaar (near Kalimpong),” said a friend.
Santosh is married and lives with his wife and two minor sons.

Kalimpong Blast: Gorkha militant leader;s son held
Amayava Banerjee, HT:Santosh Subba alias Gorey son of Gorkha militant leader Chattrey Subbas was produced at the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Kalimpong on Monday in connection with the Kalimpong blast. He has been sentenced to 7 days of police remand. On July 26, the Kalimpong motor stand in
North Bengal was rocked by a low intensity blast at around 3am in the morning with a stove, allegedly planted below a North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) bus, having exploded.
The NBSTC guard on hearing the explosion saw fire gushing out from the parked bus, an Eicher and managed to doze the fire. Police rushed to the spot on hearing the news of the blast. Personnel from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) have visited the spot and started investigations.
Two days after the blast, office of a vernacular daily had received a phone call with the caller claiming to be N Thegim, Chief of Underground Liberation Association (ULA). The ULA claimed responsibility for the Kalimpong blast and dubbed it as a protest against the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA- a new administrative mechanism for Darjeeling) and pledged to continue with the struggle for Gorkhaland.
On Sunday the police picked up Santosh Subba, 35, from Reli Road in Kalimpong. Newspaper clips of the ULA claiming responsibility for the blast was recovered from his vehicle.
"We had source information. There were some people who had seen some people moving around the blast site in the wee hours of the morning (before the blast). Their description matched Santosh. We are also trying to trace the calls made to the newspaper offices. There are others on our radar too" said DP Singh, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling. Subba has been charged under Explosive Substances Act and for Damage of Public Property.
Sources state that around 10 Sim cards have been recovered from Subba's possession registered in different names. One of the SIM cards is also registered in the name of a person from Midnapore. Police are trying to verify call records made from these SIM cards on July 28 (the day when ULA claimed responsibility for the blasts).
Raju Ghatraj a resident of Topkhana, Kalimpong was picked up by the police, on Monday, in connection with the blast and is being interrogated.
Subba had been arrested earlier in 2001 along with an AK 47 Rifle, 52 rounds of ammunition and for snatching a revolver from a CRPF jawan in Kalimpong. Intelligence agencies suspected that Kaji Vishwakarma, a gun runner, had supplied grenades and assault rifles through Santosh to the hijackers of Indian Airlines aircraft IC-814, which had been hijacked to Kandahar. He allegedly had links with underground outfits in Nagaland also.
Though this could not be established the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Kalimpong had then convicted Santosh for the possession of the illegal AK-47 and for snatching of the revolver from the CRPF jawan. He was later acquitted by the Additional Sessions Court. "I am innocent. I fail to understand why they have arrested me. My father will be released soon. This could be a political conspiracy" stated Subba to media personnel in the Kalimpong court premises.
Incidentally Santosh's father Chattrey Subba, a militant Gorkha leader was arrested in 2001 as the prime accused in the assassination bid on GNLF President Subash Ghising case. Ghising had been attacked at Saath Ghoomti near Kurseong on February 10, 2001.
Chattrey is still languishing in the Jalpaiguri correctional home and the trial is still not complete.
Chattrey had resigned from the Army Medical Corps in 1983 to join the Gorkhaland movement spearheaded by Subash Ghising and the GNLF. However he fell apart with Ghising in 1988 when Ghising decided to accept the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) "dropping" the Gorkhaland demand. Chattrey then had floated the Gorkha Liberation Organization (GLO) to continue the demand for Gorkhaland.
In 2002 Chattrey had issued an ultimatum to all DGHC Councilors to resign from their posts. Following this Chattrey was once again the the limelight with the Tinkatarey incident in Samsing under the Kalimpong sub division. A heavy exchange of firing had taken place between the police and the GLO in that incident.

पिता छत्र सुब्बा 11 बर्षदेखि जेलमा छोरा सन्तोष सुब्बा केरकारमा -स्टोभबम घटनाको सुई कतातिर ? 
मनोज वोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 1 अगस्त। उत्तरबङ्गाल राष्ट्रिय परिवहन निगमको सरकारी बसमा 27 जुलाई तथा शहिद दिवसको अघिल्लोदिन स्टोभ बम पड्‌किएको ठीक  6 दिनपछि यसै काण्डमा संलग्न रहेको आरोपमा सन्तोष सुब्बालाई कालेबुङ पुलिसले पक्राउ गरेको छ। सन्तोषको पक्राउपछि बसमा स्टोभ बम विस्फोटको घटनाले गम्भीररूप लिएको छ। सन्तोषलाई  हिजो रेलिरोड चर्चछेउबाट नै तिनको निजि बाहन एसके 02,1812 सित नै पक्राउ गरिएको थियो।
पक्रा पर्दा तिनको वाहनमा पुलिसले बसमा स्टोभबम विस्फोटको समाचार छापिएको समाचार पत्र भेटिएको सूत्रले बताएको छ। तिनलाई हिजो दिनभरि नै केरकार गरियो भने आज तिनलाई कालेबुङको एडिसनल चिफ जुडिसियल म्याजिस्ट्रेडको कोर्टमा उभ्याइयो। कोर्टमा नै पुलिसले केरकार गर्नको निम्ति सन्तोषलाई 7 दिनको पुलिस रिमाण्डमा राख्नको निम्ति अपील गरेको छ।
सुबास घिसिङले गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलन गर्दै दागोपाप थापेपछि असन्तुष्ट बनेको छत्र सुब्बाले जीभीसीलाई नै गोर्खा लिवरेशन अर्गनाइजेशन वा जीएलओ नामकरण गर्दै छुट्टैराज्यको निम्ति अघि बढ्‌ने घोषणा गरिएको थियो। दागोपापसित असन्तुष्ट रहेकोले नै जीएलओको गठन गरिएको थियो अनि यसको लक्ष्य गोर्खाल्याण्ड थियो।
गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाले गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलन गर्दै दागोपाप जस्तै जीटीएमा हस्ताक्षर गरेको ठीक 9 दिनपछि अथवा शहीद दिवसको अघिल्लोदिन 26 जुलाईको दिन कालेबुङको मोटर स्ट्याण्डमा स्टेट बस उडाउन स्टोभ बम पड्‌काइएको थियो। पुलिसले विस्फोटकलाई स्टोभ बम हुन सक्ने शंका गरेपछि अहिलेसम्म स्टोभ बमकोरूपले नै चिनिएको त्यो काण्डले सनसनी मच्चाएपछि बम पड्‌किएको ठीक दुइदिनपछि अथवा 28 जुलाईको दिन 23 दिसम्बर 2010 को दिन प्रिन्ट मीडियामा विज्ञप्ती जारी गर्दै गठन गरिएको भनिएको तथाकथित भुमिगत सङ्गठन अन्डरग्राउण्ड लिबरेशन एशोसिएसनका तथाकथित चिफ एम. थेगिमले बसमा बम आफूहरूले पड्‌काएको स्वीकार गर्दै मोर्चाले थापेको जीटीएको विरोध गरेको थियो। जीटीएको विरोध मात्र होइन यूएलएले सार्वभौम गोर्खा राष्ट्रको दाबी पनि गरेको थियो। यसै पनि बम काण्डले चारैतिर सनसनी फैलाइरहेको बेला थेगिमको वयानले अझ सनसनी थपेको थियो।
उता सुबास घिसिङको बेला जीएलओ गठन गर्नै छत्र सुब्बा रहेका थिए भने यता बम काण्डमा पक्रा परेकोले छत्र सुब्बाको छोरा सन्तोष सुब्बा कथाकथित जीएलए प्रमुख रहेको कुरातिर सुई घुमेको छ।
एसपी डी.पी सिंहले बताए अनुसार सूत्रद्वारा पुलिसले धेरै जानकारी उपलब्ध गरेको छ।  पुलिसको सूत्रले बम विस्फोट भएको दिन मोटर स्ट्याण्डमा जुन कद र वर्णका मान्छे घुमिरहेको देखेको थियो त्यो सन्तोष सुब्बासित मिल्यो। तिनलाई शंका गरेर नै पक्राउ गरिएको हो। सन्तोष सुब्बा मात्र होइन यसै मामिलामा केरकार गर्न कालेबुङ पुलिसले आज तोपखानाका राजु गहतराज पनि पक्राउ गरेको छ। राजुलाई पनि सोधखोज जारी छ। सन्तोष सुब्बाको पक्राउपछि सन्तोषको परिवार थाना धाइरहेका छन्‌ तर मीडियामा केही बोलेका छैनन्‌।
सुबास घिसिङलाई सातघुम्तीमा 10 फरवरी 2002को दिन प्राणघातक आक्रमण गरेको आरोपमा 23 फरवरीको दिन छत्र सुब्बालाई भारत नेपालको सीमानाबाट पुलिसले पक्राउ गरेको थियो। तर तिनको दोष सुबास घिसिङ आफै उभिएर पनि न्यायलयमा प्रमाणित गर्न सकेनन्‌। कुनै दोष बिना नै छत्र सुब्बा बङ्गालको जलपाइगढी जेलमा 11 वर्षदेखि बसिरहेका छन्‌।
ममता व्यानर्जीले बङ्गालमा सरकार गठन गरेपछि तिनले बङ्गालभरिका राजनैतिक बन्दीहरूलाई मुक्त गर्न बन्दीमुक्ति कमिटी गठन गरेकी थिइन्‌। यसै कमिटीको जॉंच-रिपोर्ट अनुसार पहिलो चरणमा 52 जना बन्दीहरूलाई मुक्त गर्ने हल्ला चलिरहेको भए पनि यस चरणमा छत्र सुब्बाहरूको नाम आएन। छत्र सुब्बाहरूको निम्ति खटिरहेका सङ्गठन बन्दीमुक्ति कमिटी अनि क्रामाकपाले दोस्रो चरणमा छत्र सुब्बाहरूको मुक्ति हुने आशा गरेको छापामा आइसकेको छ। सूत्रले बताए अनुसार छत्र सुब्बाहरूको रिहाइको निम्ति हुनुपर्ने कानूनी प्रक्रियाहरू सकिएको छ अनि अब केवल मुक्त गर्न मात्र बॉंकी छ। यता छत्र सुब्बाको मुक्तिको करा छिनाफाना भइरहेको अवस्थामा नै तिनको छोरा सन्तोष सुब्बा पक्राउ परेको छ। यससघटनाले अनेकौं शंकाहरूलाई अघि ल्याउने देखिएको छ।
मोटर स्ट्याण्डमा सरकारी बसमा स्टोभ बम पड्‌किएपछि पुलिसले घटनालाई निक्कै गम्भीररूपमा लिएको थियो। सॉंच्ची नै बम नै पड्‌किएको कि पटेका? भन्ने कुरा जॉंच्न तीन सदस्यीय सेन्ट्रल फोरेन्सिक साइन्स लेबोराटोरीका सदस्यहरूले बसको क्षतिग्रस्त भागहरूको जॉंच गरिसकेको छ। तर ती टोलीले बम हो कि पटेका हो भन्ने कुराको रिपोर्ट सार्बजनिक गरेको छैन। अहिलेसम्म घटनाबारे छानबिन गर्न सीआईडीको टोली पनि आइसकेको छ भने एसपी डीपी सिंह, आईजी रणबीर कुमार, स्पेशल आईजी एन रमेश बाबु अनि जलपाइगुड़ी डिभिजन कमिश्नर एके सिंह पनि आइसकेका छन्‌। घटनाको दुइदिन पछि यूएलए चिफ एम. थेगिमले  बम आफूहरूले पड्‌काएको बताएर पुलिस र खुफिया विभागको टाउको दुखाइदिएको थियो भने थेगिमले घोषणा गरेको  तीनदिनपछि बम काण्डमा संलग्न रहेको शंकामा पुलिसले सन्तोष सुब्बा अनि राजु गहतराजलाई पक्राउ गरिसकेको छ। यता एसपी डीपी सिंहले अझ केही व्यक्तिलाई यस काण्डमा संलग्न रहेको शंका गरिएको बताएका छन्‌। सन्तोष सुब्बालाई पक्राउ गरिएको दिन नै एक हिन्दी समाचार पत्रमा अर्को संगठन गोर्खा अन्डरग्राउण्ड लिबरेशन एसोसिएसन अनि यसको चिफ पी. सियागनले जीटीएको विरूद्धमा टिप्पणी दिएको छापामा आएको छ। थेगिमको सङ्गठनको नाम अन्डरग्राउण्ड लिबरेशन एसोसिएसन छ भने सियागनको सङ्गठनको नाम गोर्खा अन्डरग्राउण्ड लिबरेशन एसोसिएसन छ।
यता सन्तोष सुब्बालाई कालेबुङ कोर्टमा उभ्याउन प्रास्थान गरेको समय कालेबुङको मीडियाले सन्तोष सुब्बालाई पक्राउबारे प्रश्न गर्दा तिनले आफूलाई किन पक्राउ गरियो त्यसबारे केही थाहा नभएको बताए। तिनले भने, मलाई केही थाहा छैन, किन पक्राउ गरिएको हो। म निर्दोष छु। मेरो बाबाको रिहाई हुने वाला छ अनि यता मलाई पक्राउ गरिएको छ। मलाई न्याय चाहिन्छ। कुन आरोपमा मलाई पक्राउ गरिएको हो, म केही जान्दिन। हिजो पक्राउ गरिएपछि तिनको मेडिकल जॉंच गरिएको थियो। बस काण्डमा दुइजनालाई पक्राउ गरिएको भए पनि पुलिसले यससम्बन्धमा मीडियालाई केही बताउन मानिरहेको छैन। यता पुसिल सूत्रले नै बताए अनुसार यसकाण्ड भित्र निक्कै ठूलो जञ्जाल रहेको छ। पुलिस मास्टर माइण्डको खोजीमा छ।
उता पिता 11 वर्षदेखि जेलमा छन्‌ भने यता स्टोभ बम पड्‌काएर स्टेट बस उडाउन खोजेको दोषमा शंका गर्दै छोरा सन्तोष सुब्बालाई पनि पक्राउ गरिएको छ। अहिलेसम्म यो घटनाले कुन परिणतितिर संकेत गरिरहेको छ भन्ने कुरा किटेर भन्न नसकिने स्थिति छ। यता सन्तोष सुब्बाको रेकर्ड पनि राम्रो छैन। तिनलाई तिनको पिताको सङ्गठन जीएलओको जङ्गी ट्रेनिङ तिनकटहरेमा गरेको शंका गरेर पक्राउ गरिएको थियो तर तिनी पछि बेलमा छुटेका थिए। यसपछि आफन्तको बन्दुक (लाइसेन्स धारक) चोरेर बेचेको आरोपमा पनि पक्राउ परेर 5 वर्ष जेल बसेका थिए भने त्यसपछि बाइक चोरेको आरोपमा 1 वर्ष जेल परेका थिए। यसबाहेक पनि तिनले घरमा एके-47 राखेको आरोपमा पक्राउ गरिएको भए पनि पुलिसले न्यायलयमा प्रमाणित गर्न नसकेकोले तिनी छुटेका थिए।

26 जनवरी हेलिकप्टरमा टुप्पीले झुण्डेर उड्‌ने

sailendranath-763290मनोज वोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 1 अगस्त। जसरी भए पनि नाम नै कमाउनु हो, मैले रमाइलो गर्दै नाम कमाएँ-2007मा गिनिज बुक अफ वर्ल्ड रेकर्ड बनाउने सिलगढी देशबन्धु पाडाका होमगार्ड शेलेन्द्रनाथ रोयले कालेबुङमा भने। तिनी होमगार्डको नोकरी गर्छन्‌। ट्राफिक डीएसपीको वाहन चलाएर आफ्नो सर-लाई कालेबुङ लिएर आउँदा कालेबुङको मीडियासित तिनको जम्काभेट भयो। कि त असम्भव काम गरेर कित असामान्य काम गरेर मात्र गिनिज बुकमा वर्ल्ड रेकर्ड बनाउन  सकिन्छ।  शैलेन्द्रले टुप्पीले धेरै अग्लो तारमा 270 फिट झुण्डिएर यो रेकर्ड बनाएका हुन्‌‌‌। घिर्लिङ हिँड्‌ने जस्तो अग्लो तारमा टुप्पीमा तुर्लुङ्ग झुण्डिएर वारिदेखि पारि पुग्नु लरतरो काम थिएन। शैलेन्द्रले भने, 2001 मा मैले जुङ्गाले 20 किलोको ढक उचालेर सबैलाई देखाइदिँदा सबैले उस्काए। तैले त वर्ल्ड रेकर्ड बनाउन सक्छस्‌ भन्नेहरू निस्किए। 
सॉंच्चि नै मैले त्यो रेकर्ड भारतको पक्षमा बनाएँ। शैलेन्द्र विहान बेलुकी 1 घण्टा योगा गर्छन्‌। 20 किलोमिटर कुद्‌छन्‌। आफूलाई फिट राख्छन्‌। परर नेपाली बोल्न सक्ने शैलेन्द्रले भने, ढक जुङ्गाले उचालेपछि म टुप्पीतिर लागेँ। मैले टुप्पीले पहिले ट्रक ताने अनि बसहरू। टुप्पीले नै मैले रेल पनि ताने। हेलिकप्टरमा टुप्पीले नै झुण्डिएर देखाइसकेको छु। यसै कारण भारत सरकारले 26 जनवरीको दिन दिल्लीमा मनाउने गणतन्त्र दिवसको दिन भारतको झण्डा बोकेर म हेलिकप्टरमा झुण्डिएर मेरो कला देखाउनेवाला छु। शुरू शुरूमा समाजमा इमेज बनाउन शैलेन्द्रलाई निक्कै गाह्रो पर्‍यो। 
यो। यसपछि टुप्पीले तिनले यति खेला देखाइदिए कि गिनिज बुक अफ वर्ल्ड रेकर्ड नै कायम गरे। तिनले भने, अहिले म जुङ्गाले 50 कलोको ढक उचाल्न सक्छु अनि टुप्पीले रेल त तानी सके अब तान्नुपर्ने कुनै कुरा छ भने त्यो तान्ने छु। तिनलाई सबैले आफ्नो कलालाई रमाएर हेरेको मनपर्छ। तिनी भन्छन्‌, मानिसहरू खुशी बन्छन्‌, अनि म पनि खुशी बन्छु। तिनलाई जुङ्गाले 50 किलोको ढक उचाल्दा , टुप्पीले हेलिकप्टरमा तुर्लुङ्ग झुण्डिँदा दुख्छ तर अभ्यास गरेपछि सबै काम गर्न सकिन्छ भन्ने धारणा शैलेन्द्रको छ। तिनको टुप्पी लगभग एक फुटको छ। टुप्पीमा डोरीले बॉंधेपछि तिनी रेल पनि तान्न सक्छन्‌। तिनी भन्छन्‌, बल गरेर यत्रो ठूलो कुरा एउटा मान्छेले तान्न सकिन्न। यसको निम्ति कला हुनु अनिवार्य छ। ममा त्यो अभ्यास छ।
Veteran journalist turned politician passes away, NEW DELHI: Veteran journalist-turned- politician Inder Jit, who played a pivotal role in negotiating theDarjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Agreement in 1980s, died in New Delhi on Sunday after a prolonged illness.
Inder Jit, 84, passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences after suffering a cardiac arrest. He has been fighting cancer for a long time and was admitted to the AIIMS a week ago.
Beginning his career as a journalist with the Hindustan Times in 1948,Inder Jit was attached with several foreign newspapers including London's Daily Telegraph and The Times.
He joined the Times of India in 1953 and worked as one of its Special Correspondents till 1962 when he joined the India News and Feature Alliance (INFA).
Inder Jit was instrumental in negotiating the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council accord between GNLF's Subhash Ghisingh and the Centre in 1988. The agreement was signed in Kolkata on August 22, 1988.
After the landmark agreement, he was elected to Lok Sabha from Darjeeling constituency in West Bengal in 1989 and 1991 on Congress ticket.
During his stint in Parliament, Inder Jit was part of three Indian delegations to the United Nations General Assembly and took part in its proceedings.
Inder Jit is survived by his wife Darshan and three daughters Poonam, Sabina and Sonia. Poonam and Sabina are journalists.
Hills learn from Sikkim - Gangtok shows the way in traffic rules

VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 1: Darjeeling MLA Trilok Dewan today said residents of the hill town should draw inspiration from its neighbour Sikkim where the traffic situation is “better managed”, probably the first time that a hill leader publicly praised the Himalayan state for its infrastructure.
Addressing an audience at a function at Chowrasta to mark the traffic safety week that began today, Dewan said: “Look at Gangtok today. The traffic is better managed there. The roads are wide and you can park your vehicles properly. There are numerous parking facilities in Gangtok unlike in Darjeeling. The three decade rule of the Left Front has ruined this place.”
The MLA, however, was quick to add that his party, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, was attaching top priority to the traffic management and development of education facilities in Darjeeling.
The Darjeeling municipality was set up in 1850 and the hill town boasts India’s oldest hydel station in Sidrapong that was set up in 1897.
Observers said this was probably the first time that the leaders in the hills were looking at the Himalayan state to draw inspiration to solve their infrastructure woes.
Although Sikkim and Darjeeling enjoy a close relationship, according to observers, there are many people in the hill town who believe that the rapid development that is taking place in Sikkim is one of the factors that is constantly providing fuel to the demand for Gorkhaland.
Dewan’s public admission of Sikkim’s progress was perhaps a reflection of this strong sentiment in Darjeeling, the observers feel.
At least three speakers at the function today referred to the development in Sikkim during their speech.
“I wonder why our people cannot be as law abiding, in terms of traffic, as the people of Sikkim,” said a traffic official in his speech.
D.P. Singh, superintendent of police, Darjeeling, who was perhaps a little taken back at the constant reference to Sikkim, had a word of advice for those responsible to build the traffic infrastructure.
“I would like to emphasise that development can take place here also only if we come up with a plan not just for the next year but for 2020 or 2030,” he said.
The district police chief was hopeful that the new body that would be formed for the region (the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) would work towards achieving this goal.
“I get really scared to see children walking along the busy roads for lack of a proper footpath here. Everyone must join hands to make a difference,” Singh added.
Sherab Lepcha, the traffic officer-in-charge of Darjeeling, said several slogan writing competitions and quiz contests would be held across the town during the traffic safety week.
“School children would assist the traffic police personnel in town throughout the week and haul up those who flout the rules,” said Kunal Aggarwal, the additional superintendent of police, Darjeeling.
Letter reaches, tea embargo lifted - Parishad wants wage deal on aug 4

TT, Siliguri/Jaigaon, Aug. 1: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad-affiliated tea workers’ union today lifted the embargo on the despatch of tea from gardens in the Dooars and the Terai after it had got a letter from the planters’ association, saying a settlement would be reached on the demand for a hike in wages through negotiations.
The Progressive Tea Workers’ Union had yesterday sought a letter from the estate owners to lift the embargo that had begun in 208 gardens in the plains on July 26. The letter was sent by the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA) — the apex body of tea garden owners’ forums.
“We had launched the agitation in the interest of the workers. But we are equally concerned about the well-being of the tea industry,” said Tezkumar Toppo, the general secretary of the Parishad and a union leader.
“We had sought a letter from the planters, requesting us to lift the embargo and promising the consideration of our demand through talks. The letter reached us today and after holding a discussion among senior leaders of the Parishad and the union, we decided to lift the embargo and allow the despatch of tea from the gardens from today.”
Toppo, union chairman Shukra Munda and Parishad leader John Barla discussed the contents of the letter at a meeting in Malbazar this morning.
The decision to withdraw the agitation was announced with a rider. “We want to make it clear that the agitation was withdrawn on the basis of the request made by the planters and north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb,” said Toppo.
“In case, no decision is reached on the wage hike demand at the next tripartite meeting on August 4, we will launch an intensive movement across the Dooars and the Terai and bring normal life to a standstill. There would be blockades, demonstrations and strikes if the talks fail.”
The union wants the daily wage of the workers to be increased to Rs 250 from Rs 67. The duration of a three-year agreement on the wage revision ended on March 31 and a new deal was to have come into effect from the next day. When a new agreement is reached on the wage hike, it will have a retrospective effect from April 1.
The letter written by CCPA secretary general Monojit Dasgupta also says when talks are in progress, such forms of agitation are not desirable. The CCPA urged the union to lift the embargo.
The withdrawal of the agitation brought relief to the planters who had been counting a daily transactional loss of Rs 20 crore since July 26. “It would have been difficult for us to make cash payments to workers this weekend if the halt in the despatch of processed tea had continued,” said a planter in the Terai. “It is a relief to learn that the agitation has been withdrawn. We are keeping our fingers crossed to see that the wage agreement is signed on August 4. Another movement will only cripple the tea sector.”
The Coordination Committee of Tea Plantation Workers’ and the Defence Committee for Plantation Workers’ Rights, two apex bodies of around 30 unions, have jointly called a three-day strike in the tea industry from August 10 to 12, in case no decision is reached on August 4.
Bullet-hit trader dies, Siliguri bandh today.

TT, Siliguri, Aug. 1: The Siliguri regulated market trader who had suffered bullet injuries in an attack by a gang on Saturday breathed his last in a hospital today.
The Left trade unions have called a 12-hour general strike in Siliguri subdivision tomorrow to protest the attack.
A gang of criminals had fired at Rajkumar Yadav and his brother-in-law Surendra Yadav when they were returning home from the market on Saturday night. While the 35-year-old Surendra died on the spot, Rajkumar had been admitted to a private hospital here with a bullet injury on the chest.
The 48-year-old Rajkumar (Raju), who was a wholesale onion trader at the market, succumbed to his injuries this morning. The attack took place near the market, where traders were reported to have faced threats from extortionists frequently.
Raju was the working president of the Citu-backed Siliguri Regulated Market Gadi Workers’ and Employees’ Union. The Citu enforced a strike in the market today and pointed finger at the Trinamul Congress and the Congress for the attack.
The Left trade unions decided to organise a strike in the Siliguri subdivision tomorrow and take out a procession with Raju’s body.
“We want the police to arrest the culprits who are backed by the Trinamul Congress. Raju played a key role in developing the Citu’s organisational base in the market and was the working president of the labour union. The Left trade unions will observe a 12-hour strike in Siliguri subdivision tomorrow to protest the murders,” said former minister and CPM leader Asok Bhattacharya.
The police had yesterday arrested two persons in connection with the firing. The two had been named in a complaint filed by the traders in the regulated market for trying to extort money from them.
North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb today held a meeting with police and administrative officials to take stock of the law and order at the market.
“We have told the police to arrest the attackers, irrespective of their political background. The regulated market has become a den of anti-socials and the police need to take appropriate steps in this regard,” said Deb.
The minister slammed the CPM for politicising the murders.
“We have specific information that Surendra was wanted in several cases in Bihar. Although the market had closed down at 6pm, what were the duo doing till 11pm? Any death is unfortunate, but the CPM’s strategy to score political points is unacceptable.” 

Passengers seek information, rail officials fumble

TT, Aug. 1: The railway officials could not provide proper information to thousands of passengers who thronged ticket counters and enquiry booths at different stations in north Bengal today.
The passengers left stranded by the cancellation of trains erupted in anger when the railway officials failed to come out with right information.
A number of trains were cancelled following damage to two tracks after two trains collided in Malda district last night. Two persons died in the collision between Guwahati-Bangalore Express and the Malda-bound passenger train from Azimganj in Murshidabad.
In Raiganj, people who had reserved berths in the 13146 Radhikapur-Chitpur Express for today resorted to a demonstration when the railway officials failed to say when the train would depart.
“After hearing about the train accident in Malda, I came to the station to know whether the Radhikapur Express would depart. The officials couldn’t say anything,” said Asoke Roy, a resident of Rabindrapally.
“They have neither announced the cancellation of the train nor refunded the tickets. One has to part with a certain amount when he cancels the ticket. But in this case, we are not responsible for the cancellation of the trip,” he added.
Roy has an appointment with a doctor in Calcutta tomorrow.
“I have no idea whether the train would leave in the evening. It looks that we have to go by bus. But given the rush for buss, that option is ruled out,” said Roy.
Jayanta Chanda, the station manager at Raiganj, admitted the confusion and said he had received no intimation from the higher authorities.
“We have been unofficially informed that today’s train has been cancelled. But as no similar decision has been taken by the railway reservation wing, we cannot refund money to the passengers. We have to face the ire of passengers at regular intervals.”
The situation was no less bad in Balurghat.
Chinta Rani Kundu, a supervisor in the state health department, was supposed to travel to Sealdah by the Gour Express yesterday. She returned from Malda with five colleagues when the train was cancelled after the accident.
“We went to the ticket counter in Balurghat station today to seek the refund of tickets. We were told that to get the refund, we had to go to Malda. It is quite strange that we are not getting the refund from the counter from where we had purchased the ticket.”
Railway employees seated at the ticket counters said they could not refund money as no instruction had reached them from the higher levels.
Confusion prevailed in New Jalpaiguri and other stations, but to a lesser extent, as Northeast Frontier Railway announced the cancellation of five trains bound for Calcutta today.
These include Darjeeling Mail, Padatik Express, Kanchankanya Express, Saharsa Junction-Sealdah Hatabazare Express and Saraighat Express. The Guwahati-Calcutta Garibrath Express for August 3 was also cancelled.
When the stranded passengers rushed to the bus stations to board government and private buses, they found that most of the tickets had been reserved.
Many buses increased the fares to cash in on the rush. A number of passengers, finding it tough to obtain tickets, hired vehicles to head for Calcutta and other destinations.
To meet the growing demand and help passengers, the North Bengal State Transport Corporation operated 40 additional buses from different places in north Bengal to Calcutta.
“Along with the usual number of buses that run to Calcutta and other destinations in south Bengal everyday, we have operated 40 additional buses to ferry passengers from different locations of north Bengal,” said Rabindranath Ghosh, the NBSTC chairman.
“If required, 40 more buses would be on roads to clear the passenger rush.”
Eastern Railway authorities said at least one stretch of the tracks would be repaired tonight.
8 injured in car crash
TT,Gangtok, Aug. 1: Eight persons were injured when the taxi they were travelling in collided with a truck on NH31A at 6th Mile and fell into a roadside drain this afternoon.
An injured passenger said the vehicle that was travelling towards Singtam from Gangtok was in high speed and the driver lost control while negotiating a sharp turn on the highway. The injured persons, including the driver, have been admitted to the Central Referral Hospital here at Tadong.
CPM meeting
TT,Siliguri: Left Front chairperson and CPM state secretary Biman Bose held a meeting with Darjeeling district committee members of the party at Anil Biswas Bhawan here on Monday to discuss the poor results in the Assembly polls. Bose also shared the findings of the state committee that had probed the cause of the drubbing in the polls.
Bus strike
TT,Jalpaiguri: Twenty-three super buses plying on the Siliguri-Jalpaiguri route remained off the roads on Monday after an altercation between the bus owners and the NBSTC authorities over departure timings. Jalpaiguri Siliguri Super Bus Owners’ Association said NBSTC buses are plying at the same time when their buses run leading to loss of passengers for them.
Film fest
TT,Siliguri: The Siliguri International Film Festival will be held at the Dinabandhu Mancha here from November 19 to 27. North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb, who is also the chief patron of the film festival committee, said 20 movies would be screened during the fest organised by the Siliguri Cine Society.
Boy drowns
TT, Siliguri: A 16-year-old boy drowned in the Mahananda on Monday. Aneesh Tamang, a Class XII student, had gone to Lalmohan Moulik Ghat near here with two friends to take bath. Around 8.30pm, local people heard the three boys crying for help. While two boys were rescued, Aneesh could not be traced. Later, his body was found floating in the river.

No comments:

Post a Comment