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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Militant leaders shake hands....Appointment of teachers and recognition of schools in the hill schools demanded....Dogs sniff out convicts on run....Piling petitions hint at GTA expansion....छत्रे सुब्बा अनि बिमल गुरुंगको कालेबुंगमा भेट : राजनीतिमा नयाँ मोड आउँने ?.....कोलकोता महानगरीमा चर्कियो गोर्खाल्याण्डको आवाज

Militant leaders shake hands

KalimNews, January 12, Kalimpong:  Chhatrey Subba and Bimal Gurung once lieutenants of Subhas Ghising met again hand in hand in Kalimpong but secretly. Recently Chhatrey had been criticising Gurung and termed him a betrayer of Gorkhaland agitation and had been in the news as a possible alternative to Gurung for starting a new phase of Gorkhaland agitation. 
During the Agriculture fair in Relli of Kalimpong Subba and Gurung were seen hand in hand for a few minutes. Evading the media lenses they were seen together in a gay mood but serious while talking to each other. They had a brief talk and separated as if they had not met each other. 
It is reminded that after the tripartite agreement of 1988 Subba and Gurung were like two opposite poles when Gurung was the lone and close aid of Ghising and Subba the lone enemy. Later Subba the Chief of GVC ( Gorkha Volunteer Cell ) during the Gorkhaland agitation formed GLO (Gorkha Liberation Organisation) after revolting against Ghisingh's decision to accept the council. Later he formed Gorkha Liberation Army (GLA) and remained an underground militant leader.
In 1992, the rebel, who headed the GNLF's police wing -- the Gorkha Volunteers' Cell during the 1986-88 Gorkhaland stir, ran his underground camps reportedly in Kumai area of Jaldhaka police station. What first alarmed the GNLF and the West Bengal Government was the death of a home guard and an alleged supporter of Subba in a shootout, in the Tin Katary of Kumai Dooars bordering Bhutan, on November 12, 2000. Since then reports about the GLA chief —a former soldier who had spent a number of years in Nagaland before and after the GNLF-led statehood movement-forging links with the Naga militants, had been reaching Darjeeling. He was suspected to be hiding either in Nepal or in Nagaland.
Subsequently Subba, had issued warnings to Ghising and given him till December 31, 2001 to withdraw his councillors from the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).
When Ghisingh was returning from Delhi after participating in a tripartite meet with the Central and the West Bengal Government 
 for re-strengthening the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Ghising and his convoy was was attacked on February 10, 2001. In the ambush at Saat Ghumti on the Hill Cart Road between Siliguri and Darjeeling  the assailants had chosen a thickly forested spot. The attackers were five mercenaries formerly of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), assisted by two GLA members. They had tracked Ghising's movement from the moment he landed at Bagdogra airport. Ghising escaped with shrapnel injuries in his head although a commando attached to his security detail was killed and four others injured in the gun battle which lasted over 30 minutes. 
The council, of which Ghisingh was the chairman, came into being after he signed an agreement with the West Bengal Government and the Centre on August 22, 1988, ending the GNLF-led 28-month turbulent Gorkhaland stir. Subba was later arrested from Nepal border on 24 March 2001 by the police alleging as mastermind of the attack on a convoy of Subhas Ghising at Sat Ghumti. After spending 11 years in prison Subba was acquitted from all charges on 10 September  2011.
Dogs sniff out convicts on run
TT, Gangtok, Jan. 12: Five of the six convicts who had escaped from the state jail at Rongyek yesterday have been arrested from nearby forests, where police had launched a combing operation with sniffer dogs.

They were caught within a 10-12km radius of the prison. Yogesh Karki, Prashant Sarkar and Puran Rai were picked up from Saramsa near Ranipool around 8.20 last night. Sekhar Roy was arrested from Changey Senti forest this morning, said the East district police in an official statement. Laxuman Mahaley was picked up from Kopibari at 5.30pm today. Rudra Thapa is still on the run.
All the six are murder convicts but not in the same case. Puran is an aide of Rakesh Rai alias Spiderman. Puran had fled the prison with Spiderman in 2004 but both were re-captured.
Spiderman earned the sobriquet because of his climbing prowess during crimes. Personnel from Sikkim Police, Sikkim Armed Police and home guards had been mobilised to track the fugitives.
Sources said Rudra was among the group picked up at Saramsa. The fugitives had trekked some 6km through the Bhusuk forest after scaling the jail wall. They had reached the crossroads where one route led to Ranipool and the other to Pakyong.
Rudra slipped out from the group when they started towards Pakyong.
Sekhar Roy was arrested from Changey Senti forest, a few kilometres from Saramsa.
Roy had split from the team expressing a desire to see his family in Gangtok. A police team had already been posted before the rented house of Roy in case he visited his family.
Laxuman had sprained his foot and could not walk properly. He had been left behind in the forest and was tracked down with sniffer dogs.
The police said the convicts were possibly aiming for Rhenok-Jorethang which borders Darjeeling district.
A case under Section 224 of IPC (escape from lawful custody) has been registered against the fugitives.
The six had fled the jail yesterday during the one-hour tea break from 1pm to 2pm. They had clambered up to the football field unescorted after they were let out of their cells for tea.
They dismantled the goal post and used the crossbars to make a ladder, using prefabricated bits of bamboo and scaled the wall. They used a pair of pliers to cut through the barbed wire on the top of the prison wall.
Piling petitions hint at GTA expansion
Debasis Konar, TNN | Jan 13, 2012, KOLKATA: Is the new Gorkha Territorial Administration poised for an expansion? So it seems if one goes by the number of petitions submitted to the nine-member committee led by former chief justice of the Calcutta high court Shyamal Kumar Sen.
There are around 700 petitions in favour of inclusion of the 396 mouzas of the Terai and Dooars, while 20 petitions are opposed to it. The status is crucial, given the Centre's assurance to the members of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) members in Delhi on January 9 that elections to the GTA will be held soon.
The Bangla-O-Bangla Bhasha Bachao Committee has already called a Bangla bandh in protest on Monday.
Going by the volume of petitions, there are chances of an expansion, as four of the nine-member committee are from the GJM. However, there is a catch. The high-power committee has made amends to the procedural regulations under Section 20 (A) for delivery of justice. The new section says: "Parties which are also members of the committee and whose interests are likely to be involved in any dispute on the petitions or otherwise may make submission in that matter but shall not take part in deliberations and decision making." Another amendment vests the power in the chairman of the committee to recognize or dispose of the petition.
"The mouzas originally demanded by the GJM for inclusion at the initial stage, on the basis of which the tripartite agreement had been signed in July 2011 is unknown to us. I have asked for all the details from home secretary G D Gautama," Justice Sen said.
The Centre has already asked the state government to handle the sensitive issue properly because it feels that any delay on the part of the government can spark off fresh agitation in the Hills. The GTA agreement was signed by representatives of state, Centre and GJM on July 18. The GTA bill was passed in Bengal Assembly on September 2.
Justice Sen's committee will soon send a survey team to determine new areas for GTA by physical verification of each mouza to ascertain demands of the GJM. The delay in sending inspection teams was because of staff shortage, state officials said. Even committee secretary T K Bhaumick joined only in November.
"For the identification of additional areas the high power committee will take into consideration compactness, contiguity, homogeneity, ground level situation and other relevant factors to determine the land for transfer. The committee was asked to submit its suggestions within six months. But as its term will end in January, it is likely to be extended soon," an official said.
Left leaders Zia-Ul-Alam, Nirmal Das and Mahendra Ray said that adding parts of Terai and Dooars in GTA will create problem for the people of Jalpaiguri. They feared that the proposed addition of mouzas would incite sentiments in the plains. CPM's Jalpaiguri district secretary Manik Sanyal wanted the high-power committee to survey the gram panchayats, as even Bagrakot, Odlabari panchayats in Malbazar block adjoining Darjeeling do not have Nepali majority.
Mukunda Majumdar of Bangla-O-Bangla Bhasa Bachao Committee who submitted his objections to Justice Sen's committee said, "We are opposing inclusion of areas from Siliguri, Terai and Dooars. Many foreigners entered Bengal. We want that the Indo-Nepal treaty of 1950 should be considered while determining areas for GTA."
Larry Bose working president, Dooars Terrai Nagrik Mancha also opposed the transfer of land to GTA. "Interest of tribals will be affected," he said.
Dolen Ray of Amra Bangali said that they have already filed a writ petition in the high court against GTA and the high powered committee.
छत्रे सुब्बा अनि बिमल गुरुंगको कालेबुंगमा भेट : राजनीतिमा नयाँ मोड आउँने ?

डी के वाइबा,  कालिमन्यूज, कालेबुंग, 12 दिसम्बर : गोर्खाल्याण्ड आन्दोलनको क्रममा जंगी नेताको रुपमा परिचित रहेका गोर्खा लिबरेसन अर्गनाईजेसन (जीएलओ) प्रमुख छत्रे सुब्बा अनि गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चा प्रमुख बिमल गुरुंगको बुधबार रेली मिशनटारमा कृषी अनि पर्यटनको अवसरमा भेट भयो। मिडीया कर्मीहरुले थाहनै नपाई भेट गरे पनि दुई नेताहरुको भेट भएको तस्बिर भने मिडीयाको क्यामेरामा कैद भएको छ।

यसबारे दुवै नेताहरुले कुनै मुख नखोले पनि दार्जीलिंगको राजनीतिमा नयाँ मोड आउँने हुन कि भन्ने अनुमान शुरु भएको छ। सुत्रबाट जानकारी पाए अनुसार दुई नेताहरु छोटो समयको निम्ति भेट गरेर गफ गरे। तिनीहरुले कसैले पत्तो नै नपाई कुराकानी पनि गरेको थाहा लागेको छ। गोर्खाल्याण्ड् माग्ने जंगी नेता अनि बर्तमान पहाडका चर्चित नेता बिमल गुरुंगको यो नै पहिलो भेट रहेको छ। सुब्बा जेलबाट छुटेपछि तिनलाई भेटन थुप्रै नेताहरु तिनकै घरमा आए गए, तर बिमल गुरुंगले भने तिनी स्ंग आज सम्म भेट गरेका थिएनन।

गुरुंगलाई छत्रे सुब्बाबारे पत्रकारहरुले प्रश्न गर्दा आहिले तिनी थाकेका छन आराम गर्न देऊ भन्ने गरेका थिए। तर अचानक रेलीको बगरमा क़ृषी पर्यटन उत्सवको बहानामा भेट गर्नु निकै रहस्यमय बनेको छ। दुई नेताहरुको भेट यसकारण अझ रहस्यमय बनेको छ कि तिनीहरु दुवैले भेटेको कुरा कसैलाई भनेका छैनन। अनेकौँ कार्यक्रमहरुमा गुरुंग कालेबुंग आउँदै गए तर आजसम्म दुवैको भेट भने हुन सकेको थिएन। तर अचानक रेलीको बगरमा आयोजित कार्यक्रममा छत्रे नेता घुम्न पुग्नु अनि बिमल गुरुंगले पनि भेट गर्नु खुवै चासोको बिषय बनेको छ। थुप्रै मिडीया कर्मीहरु रहेको कार्यक्रममा कसैले पत्तो नपाई भेट हुनुको पछि कुनै रह्स्य त छँदैछ त्यो भन्दा पनि अझ रहस्य त दुई नेताहरुको गोप्य कुराकानी रहेको छ। गुरुंग अनि सुब्बाको यो पहिलो भेट कुनै औपचारिक भेट नभए पनि एकार्कामाझ् भेट भएको भने पहिलो पल्ट हो|
सुत्रले जानकारी दिए अनुसार दुई नेताहरुले पहिलो भेटमा हाथ मिलाएर आफ्नो परिचयको आदान प्रदान गरे । छोटो समयको निम्ति उनीहरु एकार्कामाझ कुराकानी समेत गरेर निस्किए। तर कुरा के भयो भन्ने बारेमा भने कुनै पुष्टि हुन सकेको छैन। दुवै नेताको यो प्रथम भेटघाट रहेको भए पनि कसैलाई सुईँको नदिनु अनि दुवै मौन बस्नु निकै गम्भिर कुरा हुन गएको छ। एकक्षण भेट गरेर आपस्तमा कुराकानी गरेपछि मोर्चा प्रमुख पुन कार्यक्रममा बसे भने छ्त्रे सुब्बा चाहि कार्यक्रमको मनोरंजन लिँदै केहिबेर सम्म घुमिरहेको सुत्रले अझ बतएको छ।
त्यस पछि सुब्बा घर फर्किए भने गुरुंग कार्यक्रम सकेर दार्जीलिंग फर्किएको सुत्रले जानकारी दिएको छ। स्मरण रहोस छ्त्रे सुब्बा सन 1980 को दशकमा चलेको हिँसात्मक गोर्खाल्याण्ड आन्दोलनमा गोरामुमो प्रमुख सुबास घिसिंगका निकटतम सहयोगी बनेर लडेका थिए। यता बिमल गुरुंग पनि उक्त आन्दोलनमा खुबै सक्रियता साथ लडेका थिए। दुवै नेता तत्कालीन आन्दोलनमा बेग्ला बेग्लै रहेर लडेका भए पनि समयको गतिशिलतामा अलग अलग बाटो अपनाएर आ-आफ्नो पहिचान राखेर काम गर्नलागे। अस्सीको दशकमा जंगी नेताको रुपमा चिनिने छ्त्रे सुब्बा सुवास घिसिंगले दागोपापमा सम्झौता गरेपछि छुटिएर गोर्खा लिबरेसन अर्गनाईजेसन (जीएलओ) गठन गरि आन्दोलनमा ओर्लिए। समयको आरोह र अवरोहमा तिनी चर्चामा आउँदै बिलाउँदै गए। यस्तै चर्चामा आउँदै हराउँदै गर्ने छत्रे सुब्बा 11 नोभेम्बर 2000 सालमा तिनकटरे घटना पछि पुन चर्चामा आए। जलढका थाना अंतर्गत पर्ने तिनकटरे जंगलमा सुब्बाले जंगीहरुलाई सशस्त्र तालीम दिएको हल्ला भए पछि तिनी खुबै चर्चित बने।
त्यसै समय पुलिसले धावा बोल्दा एकजना होमगार्डको मृत्यु भए पछि त झन तिनको चर्चाले शिखर नै छोयो। उक्त चर्चा सेलाउँन नपाई दागोपाप पार्षदहरुलाई राजीनामा दिनुपर्ने सुब्बाद्वारा हस्ताक्षरित धम्किपूर्ण पत्रहरु प्राप्त हुन थालेपछि झनै पहाडमा सन सनी मच्चियो। यसै समय सुब्बा भुमिगत बने । त्यस समय तिनी भुमिगत बने पछि चारै तिर चर्चा भईरहेको थियो अनि सोहि समयमा 10 फरवरी 2001 को दिन सातघुम्तिमा गोरामुमो प्रमुख सुवास घिसिंगमाथि प्राणघातक हमला भयो अनि सबैले तिनै छत्रे सुब्बामाथि आरोप थोपे। अन्तमा 24 मार्च 2001 को दिन भुमिगत बसेका छत्रे सुब्बालाई मिरिक थाना अंन्तर्गत भारत नेपाल सिमानाबाट पक्राउ गरियो । घिसिंग हमलाकाण्ड पछि पुलिसको हातमा पक्रा परेका सुब्बा लगभग 11 वर्ष जेलबसे पछि केहि महिना अघिमात्र आरोप मुक्त भएर घर आएका छन। तिनी घर आएपछि राजनीति गर्ने इच्छा नराखेको तर् दार्जीलिंग पहाडको राजनितिलाई गहन अध्ययन गरिरहेको तिनले बताएका थिए।
यस्तैमा पुन दार्जीलिंग पहाड छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलन चर्काउँन नयाँ राजनैतिक दल गठन हुने हल्ला भयो जुन ह्ल्लाहरुमा सुब्बाको नाम अघिल्लो पंक्तिमा रहेको छ। तर यस्तै समयमा जीएलओ प्रमुख सुब्बा अनि गोजमुमो प्रमुख बिमल गुरुंगको भेट निकै रह्स्य बनेको छ। दुई बिपरीत ध्रुवका नेताहरुको अचानक भेटले अनेकौ अनुतरित प्रश्न खडा गरिदिएको छ जसको उत्तर भविष्यकै गर्भमा लुकेको छ ।
कोलकोता महानगरीमा चर्कियो गोर्खाल्याण्डको आवाज

डी के वाइबा,कालिमन्यूज, कोलकाता, 12 जनवरी। कोलकोता महानगरीमा क्रामाकपाले सीपिआईएमएल (लिबरेसन) को सहयोगमा गोर्खाल्याण्डको आवाज चर्काएर पहाड फर्कि आएको छ। सीपिआईएमए(लिबरेसन)को आयोजनामा कोलकोताको धरमतल्लामा देशमा बडीरहेको महंगाई अनि अगणतांत्रीक परिवेशको बिरोधमा जनसभा आयोजना गरिएको थियो। उक्त जनसभामा पहाडका बिपक्षी दल क्रामाकपाले भाग लिएको थियो। क्रामाकपा महासचिव तारामणी राईले प्रतिनिधित्व गरेको टोलिले कोलकोता शहरमा छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्डको नाराबाजी लगाए।
उक्त आवाजमा सीपिआईएमएल (लिबरेसन)का समर्थकहरुले आवाज थपिददा कोलकोता गोर्खाल्याण्डको नाराले गुंजियो। उक्त जनसभामा क्रामाकपाबाट महासचिव तारामाणि राई अनि कालेबुङ आञ्चलिक समिति सचिव मोहन पोड्यालले सहभागिता जनाएका थिए। विशाल जनसमुद्रको महाजुलूस धरमतलामा थामिएपछि तीन धण्टासम्म राजमार्ग नै ठप्प गरेर जनसभामा परिणत भएको थियो। सीपीआइएमएल राज्य सचिव पार्थ बसुको अध्यक्षतामा सम्पन्न जनसभामा पोलिट् व्युरो सदस्य कार्तिक काल, अभिजित मजुमदार, बासुदेव वर्मा, क्रामाकपा महासचिव तारामणि राई आदिले जनसभालाई सम्बोधन गरेका थिए भने सीपीआईएमएल राज्य समिति महसचिव दिपङ्‌कर भट्टचार्य प्रमुख वक्ताको रूपमा उपस्थित थिए। जनसभालाई सम्बोधन गर्दै सीपिआईएमएल महासचिव दिपंकर भट्टचार्यले गोर्खाहरुको समस्या जीटीएले समाधान ग-यो भनेर राज्यका मुख्य मंत्री ममता ब्यानर्जीले दाबी गरेको कुरो झुटो रहेको बतए। तिनले गोर्खाहरुको राष्ट्रिय राजनैतिक सुरक्षा केवल गोर्खाल्याण्डले मात्र हुने दाबी गर्दै गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलनलाई साथ दिने बचनबद्धता प्रकट गरे। उनीहरूको चिन्हारी र अस्तित्वको समस्या अझ आलै छ भन्दै त्यसैको निम्ति क्रामाकपा हामीसँग छ भनि जनाए। हामीले एक अर्कामा सहयोगका हात बढाएर कार्य गरिरहेका छौं। हामी गोर्खाहरूको साथमा छौं। यदि कुनै पनि आन्दोलन गर्नपरे हाम्रो सहभागिता रहनेछ भन्दै प्रत्येक आन्दोलनमा क्रामाकपालाई सहयोग गर्ने जनाए।
आवश्यक परे यस जनसभामा जति भेला भएका छन्‌ त्यसको चौगुणा मानिसहरू हामी भेला गरेको हुन्छौं। उसरी नै अभिजित मजुमदारले पनि गोर्खाहरूको छुट्टै राज्य हुनपर्ने कुरामा जोड दिए। यसरी नै तारामाणि राईले भने, बङ्गाल सरकारले अहिले जीटीएले गोर्खाहरूको समस्या समाधान भयो भन्ने झुटो प्रचार गरिरहेको छ। घरी चिया अनि पर्यटन उत्सव त घरी कृषि मेला गरेर जनतालाई अहिले भुल्याउने कार्य भइरहेको छ। दार्जीलिङको एउटा शक्ति भएको पार्टीसँग मिलेर सरकारले पैसाको दुरूपयोग गरिरहेको छ, जबकी बन्द चियाकमानमा लाखौं कृषक अनि मजदुरहरू गॉंस र बाससँग जुझिरहेका छन्‌। मेला र उत्सव गर्ने सरकारले किन बगान खोलाउनमा चासो देखाउँदैन, किन आवाज उठाउँदैन? तिनले प्रश्न तेर्साए। जीटीएले गोर्खाहरूको समस्या समाधान नहुने बताउँदै गोर्खाहरूको निम्ति छुट्टै राज्य हुनपर्ने कुरामा नै तिनले अधिक जोड दिए। कोलकोताको जनसभामा जीटीएको बिरोध गर्दै राईले ममता ब्यानर्जीले गोर्खाहरुको समस्या समाधान भयो भन्नु मुर्खता रहेको दाबी गरे। तिनले उक्त जसभामा पनि मोर्चाको आलोचना गर्दै हाल जीटीए पारित गराउँन मोर्चाले बिभिन्न षड्यंन्त्रहरु सरकारस्ंग मिलेर गरिरहेको आरोप लगाए।
Appointment of teachers and recognition of schools in the hill schools demanded
Mukesh Sharma , KalimNews, 12 January , Kalimpong: Janmukti Secondary Teachers Organisation the teachers' wing of GJM submitted a 5 point memorandum to Anil Verma the Administrator of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council demanding isues related to secondary schools under D.G.H.C.
In the memorandum the organisation demanded the long unsettled case of the regularization of adhoc teachers as well as volunteers teachers and the establishment of the school service commission for the DGHC area. In addition the organisation demanded the recognition of the established and proposed Junior High Schools under DGHC with grant -in- aid facility.
The JSTO has already been demanding recognition of 31 such schools along with 23 other such school established and run by the organising teachers since many years.
The teacher organisation has strongly protested against the step motherly attitude of the state government in which thirty nine thousand five hundred one additional teaching posts were sanctioned vide gazette notification no.1584-SE(S)/IA-01/09(Pt) dated 21st December 2011 for all districts under West Bengal but none has been allotted to DGHC area.
The organisation has also raised the voice for the appointment of the group C and D posts in the government aided school under DGHC as there is no SSC in the hills and the appointment procedure should be processed following the existing norms.
JSTO spokesperson Bishen Roka told that the organisation raised the voice for the adhoc teachers who have acquired favourable high court verdicts and they have been given approval for appointment but there are still many who have not been accorded approval because of the lack of vacant posts in the schools. The organisation has demanded the Administrator of DGHC to consider conversions of post while maintaining the staff pattern so that some of these cases can be settled.
TAAS training completed
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, Gangtok,12 JAN:Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS) has completed the training on Ecotourism for the tourism stake holders of North East Region which is sponsored by North Eastern Council (NEC), Ministry of DONER, Government of Sikkim further supported by Government of Sikkim.
Total of 19 trainees from Sikkim (7), Assam (4), Meghalaya (6) and Arunachal Pradesh (3) successfully completed the training.
Ecotourism Course started on 15th of December 2011 and concluded by 12thJanuary 2012. In a simple valedictory function certificates awarded to the successful participants by the Chief Guest Mr.Sailesh Pradhan, naturalist and also the vice president of TAAS.
Trainees were imparted the concept of ecotourism, advent of ecotourism,marketing, promotion, ecotourism destination, national parks and gardens and its roles.
Responsibility of eco tourists, tourism stake holders in the participatory approach to achieve the definition of Eco tourism. Product identification, product creation its proper use by the community and tourists alike. Training were given for the control of negative impact of tourism. Trainees were also taught on conservation, bio diversity and awareness activities.
Select areas of activity of Bird Watching was given top priority as North East of India is one of the richest region for the birds.
Trainees were also taken for the field trip to Lingee Payung for home stay , Dzongu for eco tourism and product identification practical works. Natural trail exposition, culture, camp management training was imparted in Pelling and Yuksom.
Exams were conducted on 12th of January for the qualification for the certificate. 19 participants successfully completed the course.

Mithun in Dooars
TT, Alipurduar, Jan. 12: Mithun Chakraborty will be present at the inauguration of the Dooars festival to be held here from January 24 to February 2, Alipurduar civic chief Dipto Chatterjee said today.
Chatterjee, who is also the general secretary of the organising committee, said: “We will have three stages on the Alipurduar parade grounds for Dooars Utsav. One will be the main podium, one for children’s programmes and the other stage will be exclusively for tribal performers.”
Chatterjee added that the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri Smaraki Mahapatra will inaugurate the festival.
“We have written to the backward classes and tourism departments to provide funds for the event,” he said.
According to the civic chief, singer Babul Supriyo, Tanusree Shankar’s dance troupe and Bangladeshi drama group Rupban will also perform at the fest.
“On the last day we will have singer Abhijeet and there will be a laser show for the first time in the region,” Chatterjee said.
Education in Bengal on the guillotine
TNN | Jan 12, 2012, KOLKATA: Education scenario in West Bengal is in the news for all the wrong reasons. There was a time when Bengal produced some great names in science, arts and technical fields. The academic atmosphere in Bengal was conducive for intellectual pursuit, scientific quest and original ideas. Unfortunately, this is fast vanishing in the twilight and we are left with stories of migrating talents, political interference, mediocrity regimes, falling standards, dilapidated laboratories and classrooms as well as financial crunch in the education sector. Bengal has gone down in rank among all states in India in terms of the overall literacy rate, gross enrolment ratio, drop-out rates etc.
The recent events of recurrence of students confrontation in colleges and universities, often quite disrespectful to even teachers, add insult to injuries. Overall, education in Bengal is suffocating for lack of fresh thinking how to rejuvenate the sagging morale and spirit of the teaching community, students and their worried parents.
The centre-point of the recent discussion and debate has veered around the time point from when such a slide had started. Although this is relevant for locating some of the proximate causes for such downslide, one should not be subsumed by the nitty gritty of the archival aspect of this. The essence of the wrongdoing in the recent past may be summed up in two words- loss of transparency in education policies and devaluation of independence in academic world.
In the past three decades, the whole process of bagging an academic job and getting promotion through the standard ladder got entangled in procedural deficiencies. Although college and school service commissions were created ostensibly to bridge the 'trust deficit', the selection of experts and the subjective basis of selection of candidates raised more questions than solutions. The selection of experts in the selection committees in different subjects rarely depends on the opinion of well known personalities in the subject. Similarly, it is difficult to understand why the selecting bodies did not evolve a points system on interview where the experts independently give points on the basis of an agreed set of criteria and the chairman finally gives the verdict on the basis of ranks obtained by aggregation of such independent marking. Similarly, it is hard to find any standard criteria to determine placement and transfer of teachers within the school or college system. Such lack of transparency from the very beginning of the academic life of a potential teacher kills his independence status. In many cases talent takes a backseat and seeking patronage from those who matter became the primary goal of a 'would be' teacher.
This vitiates the system from the very beginning. Somewhere, the quality of teaching and education were badly hit. Teachers, whose main devotion should be continuous improvement of quality and quantity of subjects taught, may not be the ones commonly seen in college corridors of today's Bengal. Otherwise, why does not one hear visible action by teachers to improve teaching qualities either in terms of upgrading recognizable research output and teaching environment or reduction of teachers' absenteeism in class or phenomenal but unhealthy rise in private tuition? Similarly, why should teachers resist introduction of a feasible students' feedback system since the students are the major beneficiaries of the system?
The attitude and respect of students towards their teachers as well as education follow from the devotion which the teachers show within and outside the classrooms. As mentioned, one has reason to suspect the degree of such devotion to teaching of the present teaching community. But this does not anyway justify what is happening in recent periods, where students are not only confronting each other over filing of election papers but directly heckling the teachers-in-charge. Does it show an extreme form of disrespect and hatred toward the teachers because they did not take such care of the students as they should have? This is certainly one part of the story. The other part goes to the rather dangerous practice we have allowed whereby the students wing of political parties directly take part in the election. If one looks at other constituents of a college or university namely teachers and non-teaching staff, none of them directly participates in election as members of a political party in their respective constituencies. They may well be members of political parties, but they have to preach as ordinary members of the body which represents their constituency like teachers association or employees association. Such indirect canvassing certainly is less lethal in terms of spreading animosity among people of different ideologies.
Finally, it is easy said than done that political parties must encourage students more towards academic matters rather than general political issues. We have seen excellent politicians coming out of Bengal who left their imprint in academic performance also. The present political parties in Bengal must realize that human capital is formed only in educational sector and not in political arena. The future development of Bengal (and India) depends largely on the quality and quantity of such human capital. They must consciously try to disengage students from anything which prevents such human capital formation. Some tauntingly quotes story of Kalidasa while finding faults in the rival, but let us not turn whole of Bengal into a that story so that we pull the state down to the feet of all others.
(The author is Professor and Coordinator, Centre for Advanced Studies, Department of Economics, Jadavpur University)

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