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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

We’ll cling to Darjeeling till death: CM.... CM woos Hills with cheques & charm...Unity on lips, CM serenades Dar(jee)ling...... Mamata refuses to meet Tamang....Development projects for hills announced...अब भित्तामा मात्र गोर्खाल्याण्ड...Chamling visits secretariat building...Morcha sees a caring CM...Demolition men from Hyderabad arrive - Experts take charge of quake-hit structures, NGOs focus on repair...‘Mamata should visit plantations’...Ignoring heritage and history...

We’ll cling to Darjeeling till death: CM

SNS, Dipankar Bose, DARJEELING, 11 OCT: “The state government will fully support all development work and initiatives of the newly-formed Gorkhaland Territorial Authority (GTA), but will never part with Darjeeling. At any cost, we will cling to Darjeeling till death and will turn it into a people’s dreamland,” said chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee today while addressing a gathering on the Darjeeling Mall-Chowrasta crossing.
Significantly, Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) president Mr Bimal Gurung and other senior GJMM leaders were present on the dais when Miss Banerjee was delivering her address. Interestingly, Mr Gurung, who was scheduled to address the gathering before Miss Banerjee, chose to remain mum.
Instead, it was GJMM general secretary Mr Roshan Giri who delivered a short speech, merely reiterating what the GJMM delegation had demanded from Miss Banerjee during their last night’s meeting at Richmond Hill guest house. Minutes before Mr Gurung and Miss Banerjee arrived at the programme venue, from where the state government and the Railways launched a slew of projects aimed at development of Darjeeling and adjoining sub-divisions, a senior GJMM central committee member Mr P Arjun described the GTA as a springboard to achieve Gorkhaland.
“We expect a positive attitude from the sate government as the GTA is a concrete move towards our final goal, to which we will progress step-by-step,” he told the gathering. Describing Darjeeling as the state’s heaven, the chief minister today left no stone unturned to project her government as a friend of the Hills.
“The Union home minister, Mr Gurug and I ~ all have come together for the sake of a better Darjeeling. Three important aspects of the GTA are already underway and election for forming an authority under the GTA will surely be held,” said Miss Banerjee. Mr Gurung, however, has already warned that the GJMM will not allow any poll till its demands of inclusion of areas in Terai and the Dooars are fulfilled by the state government.
“After all, both Mr Gurung and we (the state government) have finally come closer. We will carry on the cooperation amongst ourselves,” said Miss Banerjee.
Finally, during a programme in memory of Gorkhaland martyrs, organised by the GJMM, Mr Gurung briefly took to the dais and thanked Miss Banerjee.
“She has won our hearts and has addressed all our demands. We had continued with a 44-month long agitation, but in a peaceful manner. We all want peace. The Left Front government was dubious in nature, but the government, led by Miss Banerjee, is forthright,” said Mr Gurung. He, however, said that the dreams of the Gorkhaland martyrs are yet to be achieved.
We will not part with Darjeeling: Mamata- 
Gorkhaland demand has not been dropped: GJM
ANANYA DUTTA, TH, DARJEELING, October 11, 2011: Even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday emphasised that the West Bengal government would not part with Darjeeling, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha maintained that the demand for a separate State of Gorkhaland had not been dropped.
The government was willing to provide all support to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration for developmental activities, “but we are not ready to part with Darjeeling,” Ms. Banerjee said at a function at Chowrasta in Darjeeling.
“Ms. Banerjee has said so because, as of now the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration [GTA] is part of West Bengal. But the demand for Gorkhaland is definitely there. It is a part of the tripartite agreement,” Roshan Giri, general secretary of the GJM, told The Hindu over telephone from Darjeeling.
This is Ms. Banerjee's maiden visit to Darjeeling after a tripartite agreement, paving the way for the setting up of the GTA, was signed on July 18.
With the emphasis of her address firmly on “working together” and that “development will secure the future of both the hills and the plains,” Ms. Banerjee said she had made three visits to the district in the four months that she had come to power — an indicator of how committed she was to the development of the Darjeeling hills.
A day after the GJM leadership had pressed for a special package of Rs. 1,000 crore for restoration and rehabilitation of the victims in the Darjeeling hills in the wake of last month's earthquake in Sikkim that also rocked the Darjeeling hills, Ms. Banerjee assured that she would pursue the matter of Central assistance.
CM woos Hills with cheques & charm
Nirmalya Banerjee & Deep Gazmer, TNN | Oct 12, 2011, DARJEELING: Mamata Banerjee has spared no effort to win the heart of Darjeeling in her first visit to the Hills as chief minister, signing cheques generously, discarding decades-old security practices for visiting CMs to mingle freely with the people, and obliging local leaders by telling them exactly what they wanted to hear.
Her cheque-and-charm drive on Tuesday turned the mood from cautiously optimistic to celebratory as she announced sops and grants for projects that ranged from school education to road repairs , and even promised to seek an additional 500 crore from the Centre for earthquake rebuilding.
"Darjeeling has suffered worse damage than Sikkim in the earthquake (of 6.8 magnitude on September 18 with its epicenter in north Sikkim)," she declared while inaugurating a cultural programme organized by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). She also announced a spot assistance of 20 crore as house-building grant. The state government has already requested the Centre to sanction 495 crore for earthquake relief. "I will make it 500 crore," Mamata said, adding, "I will write to the Centre for an additional 500 crore," On Monday, when she arrived in Darjeeling, the GJM had sought an assistance of 1,000 crore for an "earthquake ravaged" Darjeeling . "The CM is like our mother. We are like her children . We can make demands of her," GJM chief Bimal Gurung had said.
The chief minister seemed more than keen to oblige. Calling Darjeeling her "darling" , she stepped on the dais set up for her at the Mall without the bulletproof shield customary for her predecessors and reiterated her vision to convert the Queen of the Hills into a Switzerland through a slew of civic and infrastructure projects that she said would improve quality of life. "If Kashmir is the heaven of India , Darjeeling is the heaven of Bengal," she said amid cheers. "Just having the heart and love does not help, work has to be done for those you love for their betterment. Darjeeling will be a healthy and wealthy baby, and jobs will be provided so that people don't have to go outside. This will help realize my dream of turning it into a Switzerland."
State to give spot assistance of 20 crore as house-building grant CM to increase quake relief demand from Centre to 500 crore from 495 crore. Says she will demand another 500 crore 50 lakh from CM's relief fund for earthquake-related damage for Dr Graham's Home Spot assistance of 2 crore to solve drinking water shortage woes 8 crore sanctioned for irrigation facilities in villages 20 crore sanctioned for repair of roads 56 crore sanctioned for Balason water supply project 10 crore and 28 crore, respectively, for beautification of the Mall and Chowrasta CM to request Centre to subsidize 90% of Plan funds for Darjeeling and north Bengal Planters Club and Gymkhana Club to be refurbished International research centre on Rabindranath Tagore and a Bhanu Bhakta Nepali Academy in Mungpoo CM announces slew of projects
Darjeeling: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee made it clear on Tuesday that Darjeeling would continue to be an integral part of West Bengal. "The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) should march ahead. The state government will give it all the backing it needs. We will be with you, but you will be with us," she said. Mamata did not dwell too long on political hurdles in the way of the formation of the GTA, saying an ad hoc council had already started functioning , a high-powered committee for identification of areas in Dooars and Terai for inclusion in the GTA was doing its job and work on delimitation of constituencies for holding GTA elections was under way, too. She focused, instead, on development projects, tourism, and civic issues like drinking water and roads.
While the Left Front government wasn't in favour of a proposal to make north Bengal a part of the Northeast Council, Mamata said she would write to the Prime Minister and the home minister, requesting that 90% of Plan funds for Darjeeling and north Bengal be subsidized by the Centre, like in the northeast. She also announced her vision to make Darjeeling an IT hub, sanctioned Rs 20 crore for road repairs, 17 new primary and 30 upper primary schools and a master plan for the development of tourism. For Lepchas, she announced the setting up of a development council under the Backward Classes Welfare Department.

Unity on lips, CM serenades Dar(jee)ling
Arnab Ganguly, TT, Darjeeling, Oct. 11: Mamata Banerjee today took a bouquet of promises and sobriquets to the Darjeeling Mall, reaching out to the hills with an effervescence rarely displayed by any chief minister and keeping in mind the concerns of the plains.
The chief minister — the first one to address a public meeting at the Mall in five years — said she was willing to give up her life for Darjeeling but not Bengal’s claim to the “Queen of the Hills”.
Mamata not only announced several projects, ranging from tourism (see chart) to education to infrastructure development, but also assured the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leadership that she would seek more funds from the Centre to deal with the earthquake aftermath. (Other promises on Page 7)
More than once referring to Darjeeling as a “baby”, deploying her rhyming skills by picking words like “darling” and drawing now-familiar parallels with Switzerland and Kashmir, Mamata squeezed the unity message into her 35-minute speech.
“Whatever you ask from me, I will give you. If you ask for funds, government’s support, love, I am ready to give you…. I am ready to give up my life. But I am not ready to give up Darjeeling. The Centre, state and the Gorkha Territorial Administration will work together,” Mamata said at the Mall, packed with residents and tourists.
From the dais, the chief minister could not have missed the signboards on the shops displaying the word “Gorkhaland”.
But she kept stressing how indispensable Darjeeling is for Bengal. “If Kashmir is the heaven in India, Darjeeling is like heaven for Bengal…. My darling place, my charming place.”
“I want to see Kanchenjungha smiling. If we are with you, why won’t you be with us?” Mamata asked.
The listeners, perhaps unused to the chief minister’s style of eloquence, initially remained silent but responded with gusto once Mamata urged them to make it a participatory affair.
This was Mamata’s first meeting at the Mall as chief minister. A Bengal chief minister had last addressed a meeting there in 2006 when Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee laid the foundation stone for a drinking water project.
The new chief minister strove to bridge that gap — an eventful interlude during which Subash Ghisingh fell from the pedestal, the Morcha was born, the pent-up frustration in the hills flared up and a series of talks led to a pact after the change of guard in Bengal — by promising to nurse the “baby” back to health.
“This is my Switzerland baby…. My heart lies with Darjeeling. The masterplan for Darjeeling tourism is under way. We are working on a priority basis on Destination Darjeeling. Our eco-tourism policy is ready…. Once the masterplan is ready, the face of Darjeeling, Terai, Dooars will change. It will be a healthy baby,” Mamata said.
When the Morcha delegation went to meet Mamata last night, it submitted a demand for Rs 1,000 crore to rehabilitate earthquake victims and highlighted the pathetic condition of roads in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling MLA Trilok Dewan raised the same point at today’s meeting. Mamata then admitted in public that she agreed with the Morcha’s assessment of the impact of the earthquake.
“Darjeeling was affected worse than Sikkim. Around Rs 495 crore from the national disaster relief fund is being provided. I will pursue with the Prime Minister and the home minister to ensure that another Rs 500 crore is provided to Darjeeling.”
As in Jungle Mahal, Mamata promised to recruit Darjeeling youths to the police force.
Morcha president Bimal Gurung thanked Mamata for her offer. In the five minutes that Gurung spoke during a cultural programme held in Mamata’s honour, he was all praise for the chief minister. “She has given us what we thought, what we expected. She has won our hearts,” he said.
Morcha sees a caring CM
TT, Siliguri, Oct. 11: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today said it was “happy” and “satisfied” with Mamata Banerjee’s visit to Darjeeling, seeing in her announcements a promising gesture from a chief minister who took the trouble of touring the hills twice in four-and-a-half months.
The chief minister, according to the Morcha, took care to cover all diverse fields through the projects.
“We are very happy with the initiative she has taken in bringing development to the Darjeeling hills,” Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said in the evening. “She is giving priority to Darjeeling, which had been deprived by the previous government. It is indeed a promising gesture on the part of the chief minister to visit the hills twice in the past four-and-half months.”
Giri said the chief minister had ensured that the development schemes covered education, communication and tourism. “We are looking forward to the projects being implemented. They will contribute in a major way to improving the situation in the hills and making life better for the people here,” he said.
The Morcha leadership, which had expressed confidence that the chief minister would not come to hills “empty handed”, said it was happy that she had lived up to the expectations of the people of Darjeeling. But despite this “happiness”, the Morcha is not ready to tone down its key demand for Gorkhaland.
“We had co-operated with the chief minister and her government and accepted the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. Today’s announcements have further strengthened our belief in her and her government,” Giri said. “However, our main demand for a separate Gorkhaland state remains and under no circumstances would we give it up. The chief minister is aware of it and we have made it clear that we will always press for our principal demand.”
Giri said that the formation of the GTA and the demand for statehood were separate issues. “We see the GTA as a step forward to statehood and not a dilution of that demand,” he said. “However, we shall ensure peace and prosperity of the Darjeeling hills under the GTA and not resort to any agitation.” Giri, however, warned that the party was aware that the demand for the creation of a Telangana state was in focus again and that the Morcha would take an “appropriate decision” on its statehood movement if and when Telangana is formed.“We are aware that the Telangana demand is coming up again,” Giri said. “We are keeping a close watch on the situation and will take decisions on the direction of our movement for statehood based on the changed situation. There has been no change in our statehood demand.”
The Morcha MLA from Kurseong and a central committee member of the party, Rohit Sharma, too appreciated the chief minister’s visit but said it would have been better had she announced reservations for hill students.
“Over several years, the hill students have been deprived of appropriate opportunities. It would have been great if the chief minister had announced reservations for them in the medical and engineering colleges of the state,” Sharma said. The MLA said there was no question of dropping the statehood demand. “It would wrong to interpret our appreciation for her initiatives as backtracking on our demand. Gorkhaland is still on the top of our agenda. We are waiting for the right time and opportunity,” Sharma said.

Several development projects for Hills announced
Dipankar Bose, SNS, DARJEELING, 11 OCT: Laying the foundation stone for a tourist lodge and rural marketing complex in Jorepokhri, BPHCs in Mirik and Rambi, a multi-level car parking facility in Darjeeling and integrated development and beautification of the Darjeeling Mall Road-Chowrasta crossing, chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee today virtually turned a wish-tree for the Hills.  “We want to develop Darjeeling as an IT-hub. For 20 years, Darjeeling was ignored and deprived. We will surely try to set up colleges in Gorubathan and Pedong. I have assured the Lepcha delegation, which met me today, that the new office of the Lepcha Development Council under Backward Classes Development department will be set up in Darjeeling. Finally, we will recruit the youths of the Hills in the state’s police force on the same lines as we are doing in Junglemahal,” said the chief minister amid loud cheers and a personal note of thanks from Mr Bimal Gurung, while addressing a gathering at Darjeeling Mall. 
“Darjeeling Hills are identical to our North-eastern states and I do not see any reason why this area will not be included in the Central government’s special financial package policy for the NE states. We will take up the matter at the highest level of the Central government. The National Disaster Management team has arrived here today from Sikkim and taking stock of the destruction caused by the recent earthquake. We have already sought around Rs 500 crore from the Centre for reconstruction and relief work. An additional Rs 500 crore will also be demanded,” said Miss Banerjee.  
Announcing that a master plan for tourism development in Darjeeling was under preparation, which will focus on the theme ~ Destination Darjeeling and declaring that a draft eco-tourism policy for the Hills was ready, the chief minister said: “These are stepping stones towards transforming Darjeeling to Switzerland.” 
“The Planters’ Club, St. Andrew’s Church and Gymkhana Club will be renovated. A new international tourist centre will be set up along with two academies in Mongpu, one dedicated to Tagore and the other, a Nepali Academy in the name of poet Bhanu Bhakta. Tea and orange festivals will be held in the winter and four new ropeways will be constructed on a PPP-mode. Darjeeling, Kurseong, Ghum, Sonada, Mirik and Sandakphu will be re-developed. A new bus stand will be set up jointly by the transport department and the GTA. Landscaping of Tiger Hill will also be done soon,” she said. Stressing on the need for better road connectivity, Miss Banerjee sanctioned Rs 50 crore as immediate funds for road repairing, building destroyed houses, setting up irrigation networks and reconstruction of damaged drinking water pipes.
Mamata refuses to meet Tamang
TT: The chief minister refused to meet All India Gorkha League president Mrs Bharati Tamang today despite several attempts made by the leadership of the oldest Hill-based party. “I felt humiliated and it is difficult for me to express my feelings in words,” Mrs Tamang said.

SNS, SILIGURI, 11 OCT: The chief minister, Miss Mamata Banerjee, refused to meet the All India Gorkha League president, Mrs Bharati Tamang, today despite several attempts by the leadership of the oldest Hill-based party. “I felt humiliated and it is difficult for me to express my feelings in words,” Mrs Tamang said.  
It has been learnt from AIGL leaders that Mrs Tamang sought an appointment with the chief minister today through the Darjeeling district magistrate, Mr Saumitra Mohan.
Notably, Mrs Tamang, the widow of the slain AIGL president, Madan Tamang, has been seeking an appointment with Miss Banerjee since she became the chief minister in May this year. “I have been trying tirelessly to meet the chief minister to seek justice for the daylight assassination of my husband. The CBI probe seems to have got stuck at a point perhaps owing to political intervention from the highest levels. I went to Kolkata around two moths back and sought an appointment with the chief minister. But the same indifference befell me. But I am determined to carry on with my struggle for justice, come what may. I would not rest till the criminals involved in the murder are brought to justice,” she asserted.  
She said that the Darjeeling district magistrate had told her that the chief minister was too pre-occupied to talk to her. “Is this democracy? The chief minister has no time to talk to the president of the principal Opposition party in the Hills while staying in Darjeeling. This smacks of bad manners and the trend is dangerous for participatory democracy,” she said.  
Taking strong exception to the development, the senior CPI-M leader and Rajya Sabha MP from the Darjeeling Hills, Mr Saman Pathak, said that the present government’s undemocratic style of functioning had been exposed. “The ruthless face of the chief minister has come out from the façade of democratic pretension. The refusal to meet the leader of the oldest political party in the Hills amounts to gagging the democratic voice of dissent. To appease a particular party while keeping the Opposition at bay would perpetuate anarchy in the politically restive Hills,” the Marxist leader said.  
Echoing the Marxist sentiment, a senior leader of the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists, Mr Taramoni Rai, said that the chief minister had been hobnobbing with those accused in the Madan Tamang murder case.
अब भित्तामा मात्र गोर्खाल्याण्ड
मनोज बोगटी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 11 अक्टोबर। भित्तैभरि गोर्खाल्याण्ड देखेर दशैंमा घुम्न भनेर साथीसित साथ लागेर कालेबुङ आएकी जापानकी मिसिजु छक्कै परिन्‌। तपाईँहरूको गोर्खाल्याण्ड त भइसकेको रहेछ नी होइन? तिनको यो प्रश्नको उत्तर झट्ट दिन सकिनँ, भरै घरमा पुगेर बताउँछु भनिदिएँ। केहीवर्षदेखि जापानमा रहेका कालेबुङका रञ्जित छेत्रीले यो संवाददातालाई सुनाइरहेका थिए।
रञ्जितलाई परेको समस्या वास्तवमा आम हो। अहिले छुट्टैराज्य गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलन गोर्खाल्याण्ड नै थापेपछि समाप्त भइसकेको छ। थापिएको गोर्खाल्याण्ड तर छुट्टैराज्य होइन टेरिटोरियल एड्‌मिनिष्ट्रेशन हो। जसको न त सीमाङ्‌कनको समस्या समाधान भइसकेको छ न त यसले पाएका क्षमताहरू नै स्पष्ट छ। न त जङ्गल पायो न त संवैधानिक ग्यारेण्टी। संरक्षित बन यसभित्र सामेल नहुँदा पहाडको सम्पूर्ण पर्यटन व्यवसायलाई नै विकलाङ्ग बनाइदिएको छ भने विकासका आधा अङ्ग नै बनविभागसित जोडिएकोले यसमा पनि दखल पुर्‍याएको छ। बनबस्तीहरूलाई त विजोग बनाइदिएकै छ, ठूलो राजस्वबाट पनि गोर्खाल्याण्डवासी बञ्चित हुने भयो। त्रिस्तरीय भनिएको पञ्चायत अब दुइस्तरीयमा झर्ने सम्भावना मुखमा नै छ। किन भने त्रिस्तरीय पञ्चायत चुनाउ गर्नको निम्ति कानून संशोधन गरिनुपर्छ। 
कानूनी अड्‌चन भएको बहानामा गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चा दुइस्तरीय पञ्चायत चुनाउ गर्ने ताकमा नै रहेको अनुमान सबैले गरिसकेका छन्‌। त्रिस्तरीय पञ्चायत भयो भने कानूनीरूपले सिलगढी महकुमा दार्जीलिङ जिल्लामा पस्नेछ। वास्तवमा बङ्गाल सरकार त्यही गर्न चहॉंदैन। यसैकारण नै मोर्चाले त्रिस्तरीय पञ्चायतको कुरा गर्दा पनि बङ्गालले यसलाई सहजै स्वीकृति दिएको छ किन भने कानूनी अडचन देखाएर यसलाई दुइस्तरीयमा झार्न धेरै सजिलो हुनेछ। दुइस्तरीय पञ्चायतमा गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाको स्वीकृति हुनु हो भनेको काम छैैन बुहारी घोप्टाउँदै उठा जस्तै हुनेछ। किन भने गारोमुमोले पञ्चायतलाई भङ्ग गरेपछि गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाले पनि यसलाई समर्थन गर्‍यो। समर्थन मात्र होइन मोर्चाले नगरपालिकालाई पनि भङ्ग गर्‍यो। 
आफैले भङ्ग गरेको पञ्चायत र नगरपालिकाको चुनाउ अहिले पार्टीको प्रोपोगाण्डा बनेको छ। भइसकेको चुनाउ हुनुपर्ने माग गर्नु पार्टीको गतिलो कार्यक्रम र चुनाउ हुनु गतिलो सफलता बनेको छ। गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलन गरेर जीटीए थाप्दासम्म पहाडको आर्थिक, सामाजिक, शैक्षिक तथा अन्य यस्ता धेरै क्षेत्रलाई हुनसम्मको नोक्सान पुग्यो, त्यो पनि पार्टीको गलत कार्यक्रम कै फलस्वरूप थियो। छुट्टैराज्यको निम्ति  गलत कार्यक्रम गरिएपछि त्यसको साइट इफेक्ट प्रसस्त निस्किएको छ। त्यसमध्ये बिजुली, फोन र बाहनको बील र ट्याक्स प्रमुख रहेको छ भने अस्थायी कर्मचारी अनि जीएलपी पनि गतिलो समस्या बनेर बसेको छ। गलत कार्यक्रमको साइट इफेक्टकै फलस्वरूप राज्य खुम्चिएर जीटीए बनेको छ।अहिले नै छुट्टैराज्य हुन नसक्ने निचोड निकाल्ने मोर्चाको स्टडी फोरमले सम्पूर्ण गोर्खाहरूको समस्याको अस्थायी समाधान टीजीए देख्नु पनि गलत कार्यक्रमकै साइट इफेक्ट मान्नेहरूको तॉंती धेर छ। 
शुरूदेखि नै भएको गलत कार्यक्रमलाई सुधार गर्ने बुद्धिजीवीहरुको कमीको फाइदा मौकाजीवीहरूले लिएपछि जटिल बनेको मोर्चाको आन्तरिक संरचनालाई यथावत राख्नको निम्ति निस्किएको एउटा विकल्प नै जीटीए बनेको देखिएको छ। यस दलको अध्यक्षलाई जति असाहय देखिएको छ, उति नै असाहय यस दलभित्र रहेका इमान्दार कार्यकर्ताहरूमा पनि देखिन थालेको छ। शुरूदेखि नै काम बिग्रिएको देख्नेहरूले आन्दोलनलाई पैसा बनाउने मिसिनकोरूपमा प्रयोग गरिएको मोर्चाले नै बेलाबेला दलबाहिर गर्ने अनि अध्यक्षको गाली भेट्‌ने ती कार्यकर्ताहरूको निन्याउरो अनुहार हेर्दा नै जनताले अनुमान गर्न सक्छन्‌। अहिले जीटीए ग्रहण गरेपनि धेर जस्तो जनतामा नयॉं व्यवस्था थापेको रौनकता छैन। धेरैले नै अब गोर्खाल्याण्ड आन्दोलन अनुमानित 10 वर्ष थन्किएको अनुभव गरेका छन। यस्तोमा भित्तामा लेखिएका गोर्खाल्याण्ड शब्दले छुट्टैराज्य आकांक्षीहरूको त्याग र बलिदानलाई खिल्ली उडाइरहेको अनुभव गर्ने रञ्जितहरूको संख्या पनि कम छैनन्‌।
रञ्जितले भने, मैले गाउँको नेतालाई भनिदिएको छु, दोकान र कार्यालयहरूको भित्तैभरि लेखिएको गोर्खाल्याण्ड पछि पनि टोरिटोरियल एड्‌मिनिष्ट्रेशन पनि थप्नु भनेर
Could not survive the third stroke : 1st in 1934-36 earthquake of 8.2 RS and landslide, 2nd 2011 earthquake of 6.9 RS and the stroke of  today  for its demolishment

KalimNews, Kalimpong, 12 September: Leprosy Hospital was established by the Scottish evangelists during the late 1800s for the lepers of North Bengal and adjoining areas for their treatment and rehabilitation.
Due to the earthquake of 18th September, the chapel building is damaged and severe cracks and fissures around the building has cautioned the villagers of Dante, Bhalukhop and other adjoining areas with a fear of  massive landslide. 
Chamling visits secretariat building
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Gangtok, 11th October: The Chief Minister of Sikkim Pawan Chamling along with the Chief Secretary and the Heads of the Department inspected the damage caused to Tashiling Secretariat Building and the offices around the Secretariat by the earthquake which hit the state on 18th of September 2011, today.
During the inspection the Chief Minister directed the Mines and Geology Department to furnish the Geo Technical Stability Report of the land where the present Tashiling Secretariat Complex is situated, within a week. This is inorder to see the feasibility for the construction of the new Secretariat at the same place. Though the Government is contemplating alternative sites for relocation but priority is being given to the existing location. The final decision on the new Secretariat will be taken only after thorough study of the Geo Technical Stability Report of the present Tashiling Secretariat complex land, the Chief Minister said. The new Secretariat will be retrofitted, earthquake proof, well equipped from security point of view with emergency exits at places.
The Chief Minister asked the concerned departments to work in a coordinated manner to take all the safety measures into account while preparing the Detail Project Report of the new Secretariat Building.
Relief to rehabilitation

TT, Gangtok, Oct. 11: The focus is now on rehabilitation of the victims for those who had concentrated on providing relief so far.
One such body, Helping Hands Sikkim, an umbrella organisation of 162 persons and several outfits, now plans to visit the affected areas with doctors to spread awareness among villagers about water borne diseases that often accompany a natural disaster.
“We will also visit the damaged schools and work towards providing safe drinking water to the students,” said Helping Hands Sikkim president Paljor Lachungpa.
He said the organisation would seek contributions from different NGOs to take up repair work in the affected areas. “We are appealing for items like cement and rods from the donors so that at least some of the cracked suspension bridges and houses can be repaired,” Paljor said.
Helping Hands Sikkim was formed on September 23, after the earthquake, and it has two members from several NGO that is working for the quake-hit people of the state.
“Things are stabilising as relief materials from the state and NGOs are reaching the affected areas. We want to lessen our relief exercise and plan for the rehabilitation of the victims,” said Paljor.
He said several organisations had started working for the affected people soon after the September 18 earthquake shook the Himalayan state. “But it was quickly realised that NGOs working independently of each other could not offer their services in a co-ordinated manner. There was duplicity of items supplied and while some areas, which were easy to reach, received abundance of relief material there were some places that received very less,” said Paljor.
Keeping these problems in mind an umbrella organisation was formed to co-ordinate the different activities across the state.
“We started working with the state government, North district administration, army and other NGOs. Relief material like food ration, blankets, clothes, gumboots and medicines that were collected by NGOs were sent through the army and Pawan Hans helicopters to the villages in North Sikkim. Our members were positioned in all the affected areas and they updated us on fresh requirements. We also sent vehicles with relief wherever possible,” said Paljor.
North Sikkim was the worst affected district and villages like Lachen and Lachung were completely cut-off because of multiple landslides triggered by the quake.
Around ten villages in Dzongu had been inaccessible. Places like Sakyong, Pentong and Bey in the North are still unreachable.
According to Paljor, some temporary repair work has been done by a team of mountaineers and volunteers deployed by the organisation in Dzongu villages like Bey, Sakyong, Pentong and Lingzya. He said footpaths and log bridges were created to enable movement of relief material in several affected areas.
Demolition men from Hyderabad arrive - Experts take charge of quake-hit structures, NGOs focus on repair

BIJOY GURUNG, TT, Gangtok, Oct. 11: Experts from a Hyderabad-based firm have been hired by the Sikkim government to dismantle quake-hit structures that pose a threat to adjoining buildings and human lives.
First on the team’s list was a nine-storeyed private building at Baluwakhani, the partial demolition of which started this evening. Like this building, Gangtok is dotted with structures that have come up flouting the height restriction of five storeys.
Five more damaged structures will be dismantled by a 13-member team from the company assisted by around 25 labourers from the state urban development and housing department.
At 5pm, 10 workers along with two supervisors and one team leader of the company that specialises in such demolitions entered the tilted building owned by Migmar Lepcha. They were armed with drills and steel cutters and first started with removing the debris from the rooftop.
The building had moved from its vertical position and leaned against the adjoining five-storeyed building of state sports secretary and Bhaichung Bhutia’s uncle Karma P.Bhutia on September 23, four days after the earthquake
Karma’s building, which collapsed as well, will also be dismantled.
One person had been crushed to death when Migmar Lepcha’s house had partially collapsed.
“We have identified six buildings for complete demolition in the first phase. The demolition will be done by a private company from Hyderabad assisted by our workers,” said the chief engineer of the urban development department C. Zangpo.
Apart from the two buildings at Baluwakhani, the other structures marked out for demolition are — one each at Tadong, Rangyek, 5th Mile and Zero Point. All these buildings are in Gangtok.
The process of pulling down these buildings and removing the debris will take some six months and cost around Rs 20 lakh each. The expenses might vary depending on the size of the buildings and degree of difficulty involved in razing them. Expenses will be worked out with the company, a government official said.
Use of implosives to bring down the columns of the buildings has been ruled out because of the hilly terrain and the houses that are situated in the lower slopes. The general practice in plain areas for dismantling such structures is to set off implosives tied to the pillars. The secretary of the Tobjer Dorji said expenses of the demolition will be borne by the government.
“The demolition process will be done in a very systematic manner and the process includes removal of the debris after the building is dismantled,” he said.
Ignoring heritage and history...
Romit Bagchi, SNS, SILIGURI, 11 OCT: It was around 7 a.m. on 13 October 1911 in Darjeeling when the end came ~ the end of Sister Nivedita, the "consecrated".
When the nation is observing 100 years of Sister Nivedita’s death, it is worth recalling her contribution as well as her final association with the Queen of the Hill stations.
She came to Darjeeling, along with Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose and Lady Abala Bose, and stayed with them at Roy Villa near the Lebong Race Course. She was ailing for some time and the Bose couple insisted she should come with it to Darjeeling to recuperate.
A plaque installed below the Darjeeling railway station in memory of the fiery soul whom Swami Vivekananda called "hero’s soul, flaming, free" still stands out with the following words inscribed on it: Here repose the ashes of Sister Nivedita, who gave her all to India.
This says it all: the saga of breathing life in the dry bones of decadent India. She just not pioneered the nationalist movement but waged a relentless crusade against the medieval gloom India remained mired into. Rabindranath Tagore coined the epithet "Lokamata" for her and Sri Aurobindo remembered her as "the fount of revolutionary politics."
But what about Roy Villa where she breathed her last? It was the main Gorkhaland Personnel camp till the other day. The camp is no longer there, though a few GLP volunteers are still there.
The locals said that the Villa had developed cracks during the 18 September earthquake. “The condition is not good. It requires renovation. Nobody knows what would happen to it if the authorities remain indifferent,” said those residing in the neighbourhood.
The GJMM has demanded a Rs 1,000 crore financial package for the quake-damaged Hills. The question is: would a small part of whatever amount is finally allotted for the Hills be spent in renovating such buildings which still stand as the glorious witnesses to the saga of a nation’s striving to awake into its deeper soul?
The condition of the house where Swami Vivekananda used to stay during his Darjeeling visits located on Bollen Villa Road tells the same story of the country’s propensity to sleep over heritage and history. A part of the building is now being used for commercial purposes with its historical association fading into customary amnesia.
“Most of the present day residents are unaware of the building’s association. Decaying fast with time, it might vanish from the face of the earth, leaving behind just idle nostalgia,” a local said.
One wonders whether the new government would take the necessary initiatives. If taken care of, these edifices might turn into lighthouses beckoning us beyond the "transient" into the "transcendent".

‘Mamata should visit plantations’
SNS, SILIGURI, 11 OCT: The veteran trade union leader associated with the coordination committee of tea plantations workers’ unions in north Bengal Mr Chitta Dey, believes that chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee should travel around tea plantations to know the exact situation in the tea belt where the workers are being deprived of their legitimate claims.
Reacting to Miss Banerjee’s interaction with tea workers in plantations on her way to the Hills yesterday, Mr Dey said: “If she wants to know the real situation, she should conduct a survey to know the plight of thousands of tea workers. We can make arrangements for that.”
Mr Dey said the state government had not been able to hike tea workers’ wages despite several tripartite meetings held this year due to rigidity of planters.
“Though the state labour commissioner has called another tripartite meeting in Kolkata on 13 October, I don’t think the state would be able to persuade them to accept the demands of the trade unions,” Mr Dey said adding, “the dialogue would put an end to the demand of hiking tea workers’ wages from Rs 67 to over Rs 90 a day from the first year.”
“The chief minister should know that a permanent worker in Darjeeling Hills is receiving Rs 90 a day. But the workers in the Terai and the Dooars are still receiving Rs 67. She should know how the Labour Act is being violated in the tea belt,” said Mr Dey.
“Tea planters have been claiming that they spend at least Rs 123 for a tea worker providing ration and other facilities. But in practice the planters are paying only Rs 89 for a permanent tea worker,” he added.
According to him, the food supplies are not fit for human consumption, system of rationing is irregular in many tea plantations, tea workers do not have pucca quarters in many tea plantations, they live under tarpaulin sheets, over 54 per cent women workers suffer from several diseases, including gastro-enteritis due to lack of purified drinking water supply but there is no proper dispensary under the guidance of registered doctor in many tea plantations.
“Miss Banerjee should know that the planters have not yet recruited 5,000 more workers following an agreement signed in 1999 during the tenure of former chief minister late Jyoti Basu,” he added.
The Trinamul Congress-backed trade union AITTUC Jalpaiguri district president, Mr Joachim Buxla, who was also former RSP leader and MP, said: “The chief minister has planned to visit this region to study the present situation and to bring overall development, including in the tea belt.”
“I think that tea workers’ wages would be settled through negotiation with planters. We demanded Rs 130 for a permanent tea worker a day. The matter would be finalised if the planters agree to pay at least Rs 92 for a permanent tea worker a day,” Mr Buxla said.

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