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Friday, January 20, 2012

CPM supports GJMM’s demand....Id proof necessary for Railway i ticket and PRS.....Tax target up seven-fold.....New toy train coaches to shed vestibules,,,,,Rich in cash, human drama

CPM supports GJMM’s demand
20 January 2012: The CPI-M Darjeeling Hill unit senior leader, KB Watter today defended the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) stance on land issues involving certain parts of the Terai-Dooars. 
CPM siliguri bandhThey said over 10 moujas spread over the region should be included in the geographical jurisdiction of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
“The GJMM is justified in claiming the moujas where the Nepali-speaking community enjoys demographic majority. Also the areas in Darjeeling, which were proposed to be included within the Sixth Schedule contour, should be included in the GTA territory,” he said.
However, Mr Watter sounded skeptic when asked whether the Shymal Sen Committee would agree to include 315 moujas, as demanded by the GJMM.
“It is unlikely. My support rests with them when it comes to the Nepali-majority areas across the Terai-Dooars,” he said.
Mr Watter defending the GJMM's stance might cause the district and the state CPI-M leadership further embarrassment as the party’s district and state units have already declared a stance contrary to Mr Watter’s on this matter.
The party stand, officially, is that no additional area should be added to GTA apart from the DGHC territory that already exists.
However, president of Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists, Mr RB Rai said the GJMM was not sincere about the land claim. “The demand for additional areas is justified, but the GJMM appear more interested in securing their office,” he said.

Id  proof necessary for Railway i ticket and PRS
PIB, KalimNews: In a move to prevent misuse of Reserved Train Tickets and reduce cases of travelling on transferred tickets, Ministry of Railways has decided that anyone of the passengers/the passenger booked on the ticket issued from computerized Passenger Reservation System (PRS counters) and Internet (i-ticket) undertaking journey in AC-3 tier, AC-2 tier, 1st AC, AC Chair Car and Executive Classes will have to carry one of the nine prescribed proofs of identity (in original) during the journey. 
The passengers of these AC classes would be required to produce the Identity Card in original as and when required failing which all the passengers booked on that ticket will be treated as without ticket and charged accordingly. However, the Identity Card (in original or its photocopy) will not be required at the time of purchase reserved AC tickets from PRS counters or i-ticket. These instructions are valid for all categories of trains, with the above mentioned classes of travel.
These fresh instructions are in addition to the existing instructions under which the passengers with Tatkal tickets and e-tickets are already required to carry original proof of identity during the course of Railway journey. In case of Tatkal tickets, self attested photocopy of the Identity Card is required at the time of purchase from the PRS counters or Identity Card details (Number etc.) are to be entered at the time of purchase from internet.
These instructions will come into effect from 15th February, 2012.
A message on this count will be indicated on the ticket issued in the above said classes through computerized PRS/I-ticket.
Center for Railway Information System (CRIS), an organization under Ministry of Railways, has been asked to make necessary provisions in the software.
The list of valid proofs of identity are - Voter Photo Identity Card issued by Election Commission of India, Passport, PAN Card issued by Income Tax Department, Driving License issued by RTO, Photo Identity card having serial number issued by Central/State Government, Student Identity Card with Photograph issued by recognized School/College for their students, Nationalized Bank Passbook with Photograph, Credit Cards issued by Banks with laminated photograph, Unique Identification Card “Aadhaar”.
Tax target up seven-fold
VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, Jan. 20: The government has set a tax collection target of Rs 50 crore for the Darjeeling district for the current fiscal, a seven-fold increase from last year’s target of Rs 7 crore.
The move is an indication that the state has started tightening its noose against defaulters who had not paid their dues in the past three years following the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s call for a non-co-operation movement.
Gopal Lama, additional district magistrate and also the district land and land reforms officer, said: “We are trying our best to meet the target. The common people have started paying up their land rents and other dues. We have also sent notices to tea gardens across the district to clear up their arrears.”
He said the department had collected Rs 9.5 crore as tax arrears last year though the target set was Rs 7 crore.
The Morcha had asked the hill people to stop paying taxes from April 1, 2008, as part of its non-co-operation movement. Even after an agreement on a hill set-up was reached on July 18, 2011, the Morcha had made it clear that people would pay their dues only from August 1, 2011.
Sources said last year the taxes had been mostly collected from the Siliguri subdivision while collection from the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong was “quite less”.
The department has already sent notices to 38 gardens. The total outstanding dues, which have accumulated from the 2008-09 financial year, stands at a little over Rs 52 lakh for the 38 estates.
“We want the gardens to pay the dues by February end,” said Lama. An official said those who did not pay up this time would be fined.
Local people have not complained yet about the pay-up notice. “The locals have not yet complained as the land rents are very low. In rural areas a person has to pay Rs 25 per acre per annum. In urban areas, it is Rs 25 per decimal (100 decimals makes one acre),” said an official.
The Morcha said it was not aware of the pay-up notice from the land department. “We had said we would pay all taxes from August 1, 2011. That is why the electricity department is taking bills only from August. I am not aware of this issue (land rent),” said Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri. Power bills of more than Rs 72 crore accrued during the period of Morcha agitation have not yet been cleared by the hill people.
New toy train coaches to shed vestibules

MRINALINI SHARMA, TT, Siliguri, Jan. 20: The railways have dropped the plan to introduce vestibule coaches in toy trains as they have difficulty in manoeuvring sharp curves and all efforts to solve the glitch have failed.
The 10 vestibule coaches brought from Pune two years ago will be converted into regular compartments that have been successfully ferrying passengers along the 80km long serpentine tracks for the past 130 years.
This is the second time that an attempt to introduce a new technology in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has failed. A move to replace steam engines with oil-fired locomotives to run the toy trains was abandoned in 2002 as it was not suitable for the tracks.
“We had tried to introduce vestibule coaches as a new attraction for tourists. But the plan had to be abandoned as the coaches could not bend on the sharp curves on the tracks between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling,” a DHR official told The Telegraph.
The DHR had brought the vestibule coaches from the Kurdavari railway coach factory in Pune in August 2009. The two-and-a-half-feet long vestibules (corridors) enable passengers to walk from one coach to another while the train moves. The vestibules had come with glass ceilings through which passengers could get a view of the hills above. Besides, each coach has an airbrake also. The existing compartments of the toy trains are not connected to each other and passengers have to disembark from one coach to board another.
Right from the first trial run in 2009, the coaches could not negotiate the bends when the train climbed uphill to Rongtong after leaving the plains of Sukna. Although modifications were made to fix the glitch, the problem persisted. The coaches had been kept at the DHR loco shed in Siliguri Junction since then.
“The coaches tend to jerk when they encounter the curves. We cannot put travellers at risk by introducing these coaches for regular runs. So, we decided to remove the vestibules and convert the coaches into regular ones that are currently running on the DHR tracks,” said the official.
A few years ago, the Unesco heritage railway had to discard another technology to run the toy trains. Oil-fired engines were brought in to replace steam locomotives to save cost and time, but they were found unsuitable for the uphill rails. Two oil-fired engines were brought in 2002 and after all efforts to modify them failed, they were turned into steam locomotives in 2009.
The DHR authorities admitted that it would suffer losses because of the unsuitability of the vestibule coaches for the hill tracks.
“Since the vestibule coaches don’t serve the purpose of the hill railway, we have to convert them into regular ones. We need to spend some money for that. In that way, it is a loss for the DHR,” said a DHR official. He said the coaches would be configured after the railway budget of the next fiscal was passed in Parliament.
Rich in cash, human drama

TT, Malda, Jan. 20: Shock, shame, relief, forgiveness, gratitude, dignity and hope tinged with nagging doubt – a forgotten bag with Rs 23 lakh today sent two families on a roller-coaster ride of emotions.
A bidi supplier and construction material trader from Murshidabad today staked claim to the cash in the bag, which was found in a train and reported by Seema Roy, a cleaning lady, at Malda Town station.
Shahjahan Biswas said he was travelling with his nephew Matiur Rahman from Sealdah to Malda yesterday in the Gour Express. The 34-year-old nephew apparently left the bag behind by mistake.
The uncle said his nephew was “shocked and ashamed” at his “carelessness”.
“We had boarded the AC coach on Wednesday night with seven bags, including the one that contained the money to buy land. I had asked Matiur to look after the bags. We got off at Malda station and headed for our home. It was only late last night that we realised that one bag was missing,” Shahjahan told The Telegraph.
“My nephew is in a state of shock. He is so ashamed at his carelessness that he is not even speaking to me. Ours is a family business and Matiur, being my elder brother’s son, is one of the owners,” Shahjahan added.
Several attempts by the newspaper to speak to Matiur failed as he did not take the calls.
Once the loss sunk in, Shahjahan contacted local Congress MLA and municipal chairman Krishnendu Choudhuri. “He told us not to worry as he had learnt from the media that the money had been found and deposited with police and that he would take up the matter today,” Shahjahan said.
Shahjahan said there was “no question” of scolding Matiur. “It is as much his money as it is mine. Besides, these days if you scold a youngster you don’t know what he might do. You hear all these tragic stories of young people taking their lives after bring scolded.”
Shahjahan said he was “grateful” to Seema, who has to look after two sons with her Rs 9,000 monthly salary. She got the railway job after her husband passed away.
“I have come to know that her elder son is unemployed. I am willing to offer him a job in my company and give her a handsome monetary reward. Her act of honesty is rare these days. I will meet the family and thank them,” Shahjahan said.
For Seema, life continued as usual today. Cooking food on an earthen stove in her one-room tiled hut in Malda’s Coolie Para after returning from work, the widow said she had “no expectations” but her unemployed 24-year-old elder son would be “very happy” to get a job.
Seema said she was “simply being honest and doing my duty”. “I have no expectations from anyone. I may be poor but I am honest. I have dignity and prestige.”
Told of Shahjahan’s job offer, Seema said: “First let the offer be made to us, then we shall see. Rich people make a lot of promises. But I’m sure my son will be very happy if he gets a job. I did whatever I thought was right. I have made no demand in return. I have nothing more to say.”
Ravindra Kumar Gupta, the manager of Eastern Railway’s Malda division, said Seema would be given a reward of Rs 2,000. “She has made the entire Malda division proud.”
Shahjahan today visited the office of the Government Railway Police in Malda town to claim the Rs 23 lakh. The police asked Shahjahan to apply to the district court to get the money back.
“I have submitted a challan issued by our office in Calcutta stating the number of thousand and five-hundred-rupee notes in the bag. This can be matched by the court with the contents of the bag,” Shahjahan said.

News in brief
ABAVP will organise an anti GATA rally next week in Dooars. A source said that all anti GJM organisations like Terai Dooars nagarik manch , BOBBC may support this rally. 
Siliguri will be a commisionerate.
Swajan Dewan a student of first year political science of Presidency College staying at Hindu hostel tried to take his life by cutting nerves of his wrist. Dewan of Tripura was fed up with the ragging of SFI members of his college.  
In protest against the closure notice of the management of Panighatta Tea garden the labourers are staging a 24 hr relay hunger strike from today.
SDF man files RS papers
TT, Gangtok, Jan. 20: Former minister Hissey Lachungpa is set to be elected to the Rajya Sabha with the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front endorsing him as a candidate for the election to the lone seat for the state in the Upper House.
Lachungpa filed his nominations today and his election to Rajya Sabha is almost certain as all 32 MLAs in the Sikkim Assembly are from the SDF. Today was the last day for filing nominations and the scrutiny will take place tomorrow. The last day for the withdrawal of nominations is January 23.
Tea garden
TT, Alipurduar: The Dalmore Tea Estate in Birpara-Madarihat block will reopen on Monday. The decision was taken at a meeting in the office of assistant labour commissioner in Birpara on Friday. Rupinder Singh Ranawat, the general manager of the estate, said representatives of workers had offered cooperation to the management to run the garden. Citing lawlessness, the management had suspended work in the plantation with 1,266 workers on September 26 last year.
Four get life
TT, Alipurduar: Four persons were sentenced to life imprisonment by a court here on Friday for lynching a tea garden worker who had been branded a sorcerer. The verdict was delivered by the additional district and sessions judge of the fast track first court. Chaitu Oraon of Joy Birpara Tea Estate in Birpara-Madarihat block was murdered by nine persons on September 11, 2000. The five others were minors and are being tried in the juvenile court in Cooch Behar.

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