GORKHA POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Hill talks shifted to May end – more time for consolidation of consensus in Siliguri Corridor ?!!

Manmohan with the King of Bhutan - cordial & important meeting ?!!



Darjeeling, April 29: The next round of political-level talks between the Centre, state and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has been postponed to the end of May because of “important issues” presently under discussion in Parliament.      

If the Union home ministry had stuck to the earlier deadline of May 14 — that had been set for the second round of political talks — there would have been no time for official-level discussion necessary as a precursor to the tripartite talks.      

The last tripartite talks was held in Delhi on March 18. (First ‘Political Level Tripartite’ Talks ?!!)      

Interlocutor Lt Gen (Retd) Vijay Madan - pressed into urgent service ?!!


Lt Gen. (retd) Vijay Madan, the interlocutor appointed by the Centre, in an interaction with The Telegraph, said over the phone from Delhi: “One more round of official-level talks is needed to sort out some contentious issues. Since Parliament is in session till May 7, the official-level talks will be held soon after on a mutually agreed date.”      

Madan admitted that the political-level talks would in that case be pushed back by a few days. It could take place on May 25 but the date has not yet been fixed.      

“Some very important issues are being discussed in Parliament… But we do not want to undermine the Gorkhaland issue. It is of much importance and the home ministry wants to fully focus on it and this can be done only after the session is over in Parliament,” said Madan.      

After the March 18 tripartite talks, the Morcha participated in two more rounds of dialogue, one at the bureaucratic-level on March 29. The last meeting was with home minister P. Chidambaram on April 9. However, with the Morcha sticking to its stand to include the Nepali-dominated areas of the Dooars and the Terai in the proposed interim set-up and the state and the Centre opposed to the idea, the talks had not progressed much.      

Gorkha Supremo Bimal Gurung - more time for consolidation ?!!


Morcha president Bimal Gurung has been currently addressing a series of meetings across the Darjeeling hills to spread the message that the party will not accept a set-up without the territories (read Dooars, Terai) it wants. Gurung had also conveyed the same message to Madan during their meeting at Dudhia in Kalimpong last week. Asked about the stalemate, Madan said: “My job is only to listen to the views of all parties concerned. If I have any view I can only express it before the home ministry. Various views are being attributed to me by the media but I have only once spoken on record recently.”      

By “on record” Madan was referring to his conversation with The Telegraph where he had said the tripartite meetings would only involve the representatives of the Morcha, state and the central government. “The clarification was needed as it was getting crowded (with demands to be included in the talks),” he said.      

The reference was to the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad that had demanded that the next round of tripartite talks should include the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes so that the views of the tribals living in the Dooars and Terai could be aired at the meeting.      

During the first round of political talks, the Centre was represented by the minister of state for home affairs Ajay Maken and the Trinamul Congress minister of state for health Dinesh Trivedi. Siliguri MLA and municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya and health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra had represented the state.      

Cong and Trinamul to clash in 11 seats – as the Left is demoralised ?!!      

The Congress candidates for the Jalpaiguri municipal polls on Thursday. (Photo by Biplab Basak)



Siliguri, April 29: The Congress today announced candidates for all the 25 wards of the Jalpaiguri municipality, further alienating the Trinamul Congress that stuck to its demand for 11 seats.      

As Trinamul has also declared that its 11 candidates will file nominations tomorrow, there is no room for an alliance.      

“The only option left for the two parties is to reach a consensus in the next few days and withdraw the nominations accordingly by May 6 to ensure that there is only one candidate of either Trinamul or the Congress in each seat,” said a political observer.      

Jalpaiguri district Congress president Biswaranjan Sarkar, along with the chairman of the civic body, Mohan Bose, and other leaders, announced the candidates’ list this afternoon. While 23 candidates will be contesting on the Congress symbol, the rest will be Independents backed by the party. They will be fielded in Wards 11 and 13.      

“We had earnestly tried to clinch an electoral pact with Trinamul, but they kept on insisting that 11 seats be kept aside for them,” said Sarkar. “We had little option other than announcing the names for all the seats. We will be fielding Independents in Wards 11 and 13 based on the feedback we had received from the residents. All our candidates will file their nominations tomorrow.”      

Chandan Bhowmik, the district secretary-general of Trinamul, while announcing the candidates, including four women, said: “We want to make it clear that Trinamul has a support base and at the same time, it is interested in forging an alliance with the Congress. That is why we have refrained from fielding candidates in all the seats.”      

The observer said the Congress would face troubles in the other 14 wards also, though Trinamul has not fielded candidates in those seats. “It is not that the Congress candidates in the remaining wards can be sure of getting votes from Trinamul supporters as there will be an underlying resentment if no alliance is formed,” he said.       

Allies to go it alone in Malda civic polls – Lists out in Jalpaiguri, withdrawal of candidates only way to keep alliance intact – ‘SET-UP to include Malda also for ‘National Security Reasons’ ?!!      

CPM supporters on the Malda district collectorate premises on Thursday. (Photo by Surajit Roy)



Malda, April 29: The alliance between the Trinamul Congress and the Congress for the May 30 elections to Englishbazar and Old Malda municipalities has virtually gone haywire with both the parties sticking to their respective stands.      

The leaders of both the parties today made it clear that they would go to the polls independent of the other.      

Trinamul that has eight councillors in the Englishbazar municipality — the 25-member board is run by a Trinamul-Congress-BJP combine — has demanded 15 seats, but the Congress (having four now) is in no mood to spare more than five to six.      

Trinamul’s Malda district president Goutam Chakraborty said at a media conference that the party would not succumb to the Congress’s pressure. He claimed that his party was “powerful enough in the district to fight the elections alone”.      

Chakraborty defended the party’s demand for 15 wards since they have eight councillors in the present board as against the Congress’s four. The party has also asked for six seats in Old Malda. He said he had “clear instructions” from party chief Mamata Banerjee on not to compromise.      

Congress MLA from Englishbazar Krishnendu Chowdhury, however, described the Trinamul demand as “absurd”.      

“Trinamul does not have any foothold in the district. It has been demanding seats where the Congress is very strong. How can we accept such absurd demands?” Chowdhury said.      

“We can at best offer five or six seats to them in Englishbazar and two or three seats in Old Malda,” the Congress leader said.      

The 18-seat Old Malda municipality — one ward has been added this year — is presently run by the Left Front with 13 councillors against the BJP’s four.      

Both the Congress and Trinamul have declared that they would start filing nominations from tomorrow. However, they hinted that negotiations might continue till May 6, the last date for withdrawing candidature.      

But political observers believe that with both sides remaining adamant, an alliance is a remote possibility.      

Civic protest – time to appease the Left Front Students in Siliguri, maybe not ?!!      

Police Deployed in the Plains - CRPF finally leave Kalimpong ?!!



Siliguri, April 29: The DYFI today submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate of Darjeeling, demanding the immediate transfer of the subdivisional officer of Siliguri, while its parent body, the CPM, asked the mayor to step down as she was elected to the post with Left support.      

This morning, about 300 DYFI supporters shouted slogans against SDO Rajat Saini on his office premises, accusing him of ordering the lathicharge to disperse CPM members picketing in front of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation during the 12-hour Left strike on Tuesday. They also took out a rally from Hill Cart Road to the SDO office before submitting the memorandum to the additional district magistrate of Siliguri.      

“We demand steps against the SDO and N.C. Das, the police inspector who led the lathicharge, and a thorough inquiry on the attack on our supporters and councillors,” said Shankar Ghosh, the Darjeeling district DYFI secretary.      

Tapan Burman, the ADM of Siliguri, said: “I will forward it to the DM. I have also assured them of an inquiry.”      

State committee member of the CPM Jibesh Sarkar said they had extended support to mayor Gangotri Dutta after a request from the Congress. “On March 30, the present Congress-led board joined hands with the Trinamul Congress. Now we demand that she should resign on ethical ground and get re-elected.”      

HOT OFF THE WEB: Ashok Bhattarcharya’s unofficial visit to Sikkim remains suspicious      

Asok Da in Gangtok - to Nathula & Back - no 'phoren' items ?!!


From Voice of Sikkim
By Dhiren
(yet to be edited – but good, thorough reporting)      

29 April, Gangtok: West Bengal Minister for Municipal Affairs and Urban Development, and Town and Country Planning Ashok Bhattarcharya duo CPI-M leader from North Bengal who is on 3 days visit to Sikkim since 28 April seems to create a big mystery in Sikkim’s political arena.      

While talking to the Minister over his sudden visit to Sikkim, he denied to have come as an official trip but latter from one of the source it was hinted his visit to Sikkim was under willingness of Chief Minister Buddhadev Bharracharya and Chief Minister Dr Pawan Chamling.      

Today he visited Nathu-La in a day, saying that he is tired from a journey denied to give any statement to press, he assured to give his statement on 30 April. On 30 April Bhattacharya is returning back to West Bengal as told to press.      

The Sikkim Unit Bharatiya Janta Party BJP President Padam Chettri who has already commented Bhattacharya visit to Sikkim is a big conspiracy and intention to distract Gorkhaland issue.      

On other hand a strange thing popped out that CPI-M Sikkim Unit is not at all aware of the leader’s visit to Sikkim, as told by Anajan Updhayay and Balram Adhikari CPI-M leaders Sikkim Unit.      

Having asked to the Secretary of Sikkim Unit CPI-M over the visit. Mr Adhikari made a clean chit about not being informed about the visit officially.      

The mystery gallops all way around like, if the minister’s visit was a private one then why was a government all prepared for security as soon he arrived to Sikkim.      

Minister is said to have stayed at capital’s renowned Hotel during his Sikkim visit. BJP throttled that Poor people’s party CPI-M leader who is come to Sikkim all of sudden is not a big issue but big issue is expense of Hotel, the said overnight stay in the hotel costs Rs 13,000 per night which itself unveils the strategy of leader of Poor People’s Party CPI-M.      

Political arena in the state have started to  discuss the issue from all corners gossiping Chamling-Bhattacharya silent gestures but the biggest suspense is that this is the first visit of Bhattachary to Sikkim in 2010.      

Earlier he visited to Sikkim on 2008, during that time Chief Minister had slammed him in vocal. Yet the old, the dice may have changed until now but inside political atmosphere of Sikkim a new question have started to float in everyone’s mind with weried speculations.     


Daily Call to Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee & Co. from Kanchanjunga – please come before its too late ‘by desertions’ for your ‘Ideal Legacy of Truth & Justice’ as you still currently hold ‘the power’ in Bengal …


Kanchanjunga – ‘Untouched and Mysteriously Serene’, head well above the clouds of a tumultuous Monsoon Election – (By famed photographer Arup Bhattacharjee)


Dear Esteemed Readers of Himal News,    

If you, or anyone you know, would  also like to send invitations to Bengal’s Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee & his Government with Photos of Kanchanjunga – please email them to himalgroup@hotmail.com on jpg format. Your contributions will be displayed here with your captions –          

Thanking you in anticipation of your contributions….


The Editor,
Himal News.   

GORKHA POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Remove SDO cry in Left hub – the Left policies are being ‘left out’ ?!!

Map of Siliguri - Darjeeling's problem, can well be solved ?!!


Siliguri, April 28: More than 200 CPM supporters today demonstrated in front of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, demanding the immediate removal of the subdivisional officer who had allegedly ordered police to batoncharge those blocking the SMC’s entrance yesterday.

Using loudspeakers, the protesters, who included CPM district leaders and most of the councillors, began the sloganeering at 10.30am. They also demanded action against the police officers carrying out the lathicharge and accused the mayor and other Congress leaders of inciting the law enforcers to attack the “peaceful demonstrators” during yesterday’s 12-hour strike.

Today, policemen armed with batons were deployed at the site and keeping a watch over the situation.

“We want immediate removal of the SDO, Rajat Saini, who had ordered the police to lathicharge the peaceful demonstration of the councillors and the CPM workers in front of the SMC without any provocation,” said Mukul Sengupta, a CPM councillor and the Siliguri zonal committee secretary.

“The mayor and other councillors from the Congress and the Trinamul Congress are responsible for instigating the police and the administration against us. We condemn it and will carry out our protests across the subdivision unless our demands (of transferring the SDO and taking steps against the police) are met.”

The CPM claimed that (only) 19 of its supporters had been injured in the lathicharge.

“After the incident, we perceived that the SDO had reached the spot with a plan and ordered the lathicharge without any provocation. It is an irony that the mayor denied having any clue about the police action,” said Jibesh Sarkar, a state committee member of the CPM.

Today, inspector general of police K.L. Tamta said he was expecting a report from the additional superintendent of police, Siliguri. “Once I receive it, I will forward it to the appropriate quarters.” Saini said he had sent a report of the incident to the district magistrate yesterday.

At the SMC today, the Congress and Trinamul Congress councillors passed the first logo of the civic body. The Opposition Left councillors boycotted the meeting.

“We had invited designs for the logo last month and got response from artists from across north Bengal. A seven-member committee formed for this purpose finalised the logo,” said Nantu Pal, the deputy mayor. “We will publish it on May 9 on the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore.”

Cong-Trinamul pact eludes 5 of 7 civic bodies

Current Political Status in the Siliguri Corridor - have to understand their long-standing needs, unlike Bengal ?!!


Siliguri, April 28: Three days have passed since the filing of nominations for the civic polls has started but the Congress and the Trinamul Congress have managed to strike deals only in Cooch Behar and Mathabhanga.

Along with the two, the five other municipalities that will go to polls on May 30 are Dinhata and Toofanganj in Cooch Behar, Englishbazar and Old Malda in Malda and Jalpaiguri (see chart).

In Jalpaiguri, district Congress president Biswaranjan Sarkar blamed the “indomitable attitude” of the Trinamul leadership for not arriving at a consensus. “We have offered them five seats but they are insisting on 11. We have received the PCC nod (to go alone) and will announce the names of all 25 candidates tomorrow,” he said.

Trinamul leaders, on the other hand, have stuck to their own logic. “We have readied a booklet containing the details of poll results for the past 10 years, indicating the swing in our favour,” said Chandan Bhowmik, the party secretary-general in Jalpaiguri. “We hardly see any chances of reconciliation and are preparing to field candidates in all the wards.”

The problem is the same in Malda district. In Englishbazar, the Congress is not ready to give up more than seven seats to Trinamul, which has eight seats now, citing recent political changes. Trinamul, however, says it will not budge from its decision to contest 13 or 14 seats. “In 2005, I was in Trinamul which is why the results went in their favour,” said Krishnendu Choudhury, a district Congress leader. “The situation has changed now.”

In the Old Malda municipality, the Congress has already announced names of their candidates in 15 seats, while Trinamul wants at least nine.

Babla Sarkar, the Malda district Trinamul president, said if the Congress stuck to its decision, his party would field candidates in all 18 seats of Old Malda. “The same stands with Englishbazar.”

Congress MP from Raiganj Deepa Das Munshi accused the Trinamul of being adamant. “We want to make it clear that the Congress, under no circumstances, will do something that might affect the image of the party and if no alliance is formed, we have nothing to do,” she said from Delhi.

The situation is slightly better in Cooch Behar district where the allies have agreed on seat sharing in two civic bodies, while consensus is eluding Toofanganj and Dinhata.

In the 12-ward Toofanganj, the dispute is centred around Ward 4, which both the parties have been demanding. The Congress accepts four seats as proposed by Trinamul but demands the ward. Trinamul is ready to part with four seats, barring that ward.

In Dinhata, the Congress and Trinamul have decided to file candidates in four and 10 seats respectively, with decision pending for the one.

Observers feel that with only three days left for filing of nominations — the last date being May 3 as offices will remain closed on May 1 and 2 — the chances of striking an alliance in Malda and Jalpaiguri districts seem to be poor. “However, if the parties can negotiate a deal by May 6, the last date for withdrawal of candidature, there can be some last-minute adjustments,” an observer said.

SPORTS & POLITICS: Statehood strife & sloth steamroll sports dreams – Typically Bengal ?!!

A tennis court at the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club, one of the few sports hubs in town. (Photo by Suman Tamang)



Darjeeling, April 28: In the late 1950s, when Darjeeling had a population of 60,000, it boasted of 18 lawn tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course, a mini racecourse, along with more than a dozen badminton and table tennis facilities. 

Today, when the population has tripled, there is neither a golf course nor a horse course. The town has only four lawn tennis courts to show off and two of them belong to educational institutions. 

Hayden Hall and the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club are the only places where few people can play badminton. There is hardly any place to play table tennis. 

In the past, international players like Prakash Padukone — the first Indian to win the All England Badminton Championship — had visited Darjeeling to play at the Nripendra Narayan Bengali Hindu Public Hall. National football teams like East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and clubs from Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan used to regularly participate in hill tournaments. 

“Records show that in 1926, the Gymkhana Club had 16 lawn tennis courts,” said Manoj Brahmin, the assistant secretary of the club. 

Roshankant Ghisingh, a resident of Darjeeling who had represented Delhi in the national table tennis tournament in 1989, said: “During our days, we could play table tennis at District Cultural Institute, Buddha Singh Sporting Club, Station Club, Hayden Hall, Nripendra hall and Gymkhana Club. After football, the most popular sport in the hills was table tennis,” he said. 

In the late 1970s, the Gymkhana Club had hosted the junior nationals in table tennis. 

“If we talk about football, the then Darjeeling team (in the late 1970s) could beat heavyweights like Mahindra and Mahindra. We used to be hired to play for teams in Bhutan. In 1982, we were paid Rs 5,000 for a single match in Bhutan. The standards have gone down to such an extent that Darjeeling teams now have to hire players from outside the region,” said Naresh Nath Pradhan, an ex-player. 

The violent Gorkhaland agitation that started in 1986 and the general apathy of the local people have led to a complete death of the sports culture in Darjeeling. 

The bungalow at the nine-hole golf course was burnt down during the agitation. The last contest at the Lebong racecourse was on October 31, 1984. The Brigade of Gurkhas Gold Cup has become erratic and failed to attract national teams after the agitation. 

The place where the golf course was situated has been bulldozed, as the DGHC wanted to set up a helipad. Following concerns from environment organisations, the plan was shelved but the damage has been permanently done. 

During the agitation, paramilitary forces were stationed at the Gymkhana Club and the Nripendra hall. 

“Wherever we go, many old timers still recount the rich sporting legacy of the town. Players from the hills have better physique but they have not been able to shine because of lack of sporting facilities,” said Ghisingh. 

But at a time when everything seems to be lost, the Gymkhana Club has provided a silver lining. 

“We have to revive our lost glory. We have spruced up our tennis court. A tennis tournament will be organised and players from Bhutan, Nepal, Delhi, Bangalore and other parts of the country will be participating in it,” said Madan Subba, the finance co-ordinator of the Gymkhana Club. The tournament to mark the centenary celebrations of the club will start on April 30. 

“We have also submitted a proposal to the state government to set up a mini sporting complex at the club at an estimated cost of Rs 90 lakh,” said Subba. 

“If the project is sanctioned, we will open the facilities for the public at a very nominal rate,” he added. 

The little sport facilities left in the hills are now with the elite educational institutions, but they are out of bounds for the common man. “Many talents are disappearing for no fault of theirs,” said Ghisingh. 

Took to football to get admission into good college: Chhetri

Sunil Chhetri on 'Good Education is Everything' - "The main motive for me was to get a certificate that could get me into a good university". (Reuters)



April 28, 2010: Only the third Indian footballer to play outside the country, Sunil Chhetri said he took to football only to get entry into a good college and never thought of earning a livelihood out of the game. 

“I never knew I could make a profession out of football. 

I never thought I could make a career out of it. The main motive for me was to get a certificate that could get me into a good university. That was my whole motive. That I could get decent marks in my exams and have the national certificate to get into some good colleges,” said Chhetri who became the first Indian to join a Major League Soccer (MLS) side when he signed for Kansas City Wizards last month. 

Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri glorify India - enough sports & educational facilities in the Hills or smothered by Bengal ?!!


“When I played a youth tournament, I was 16. I came back and Mohun Bagan, one of the major clubs in our country, saw me and signed me. I never knew how much you can earn and what kind of career you can have from soccer. Once I joined Mohun Bagan, I never looked back,” he told the official MLS website. 

Chhetri, the only third Indian after Mohammad Salim and Bhaichung Bhutia to play professional football outside the country, is yet to play in the MLS but has made his KC Wizards debut in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup against the Colorado Rapids. 

He hoped his joining KC Wizards would pave the way for other Indians to play abroad. 

“I think if not MLS and if not Europe, there are a lot of places that players can go and perform. They can still go to Australia, a place like Qatar or Japan where they have great facilities. For football to prosper, the infrastructure is not there (in India). They can at least see how far they can go and where they stand with proper facilities. I hope me coming to MLS is going to pave way for a lot of players to go abroad. 


Sunil Chettri - still enjoys studies ?!!


“There is a lot of talent in our country. But the right nourishment at the right age is what we lack in our country. 

The kind of infrastructure, I can really say it’s poor. I don’t think there is any scarcity of talent. But we lack the infrastructure and facilities that players need to develop.” 

Talking about his earlier trials at Coventry City and Queens Park Rangers, both English Championship sides, Chhetri said, “I was called by Coventry in January 2007, but my club East Bengal didn’t release me. They released me on 28th, and 31st was the transfer deadline in England. I was there for three days but things didn’t work out.” 

“Then I had something with QPR. Everything was done. We signed the deal. But the FA didn’t allow me because my country didn’t qualify in the first 70 of the FIFA rankings. In the Championship in England, there is a rule that your country has to be 70 or better in the rankings,” said the Delhi lad. 

Sunil Chettri Cheers - 'Pride and Inspiration' for upcoming Darjeeling Generations ?!!


Asked about differences between MLS and the I-League, Chhetri said, “There is more pace here (in MLS). The speed of the game is much faster than what we have in our country. It’s much more physical than what we have. I think those two departments are the things that are very different from our country and MLS.” 

Football ran in Chhetri’s blood as both his parents played the game, his mother a Nepali international. 

“My mother and father were both natural soccer players. I didn’t have to work hard (to have the knowledge of football). 

I think I already had that in me. My mother was playing for Nepal in her very early years, but then she got married and she had to quit. My mother and her twin sister used to play for Nepal,” he said. 

Chhetri said adapting to American climate was a problem for him when he landed in the United States but he had adjusted now. 

Sunil Chettri in Action - The next Maradona of International Football ?!!


“I think initially when I came, it was difficult because of the 12-hour gap and the kind of climate because it was quite cold when I came here. Now it’s quite a bit warmer,” he said. 

“The only thing for me now is to settle down, do my best in the training and try to improve. I need to catch up on some things. I need to understand players, which is very important, and how exactly they play and their mentality. Its going to take time. 

“My teammates have been very kind to me. The coaches have all been very kind, and I think there is a healthy atmosphere to learn. Whatever happens in the future, I am just going to enjoy my time here.” 

BOXING: Thapa leads charge, four boxers advance

Shiva Thapa in Action - takes more than guts ?!!


From Yahoo News
Thu, Apr 29 04:44 AM 

Indian boxers Shiva Thapa (54kg) and J Bhaskar (51kg) kept the Indian flag high as they registered contrasting wins to advance into the pre-quarterfinals of the World Youth Championship being held in Baku, Azerbaijan on Wednesday. 

Playing an attacking game, Shiva ended the challenge of England’s Qais Dad Ashfaq with a 4-1 win while Bhaskar out-punched Iran’s Armin Amjadian 12-4 to enter the pre-quarterfinals. 

Both the boxers are just two wins away from not only securing a medal but also booking a berth in the World Youth Olympic Games in Singapore to be held in August-September. Earlier on Tuesday night, Asian youth champion Naveen Kumar outclassed Serbia’s Boris Skapik. 

Naveen will take on local favourite Vatan Huseynli on Thursday. However, it was the end of the championship for Asian youth silver medalist Devendro Singh Laishram who suffered a stunning 4-8 defeat against Naoya Ique of Japan in the light fly weight (48kg) in the second round of the championship. 

Devendro, who was the first boxer to take the ring for India on Wednesday, was tied 1-1 with his rival in the first round but Ique dominated the next two rounds to notch up a comfortable victory. 

In the second bout, Bhaskar dominated the proceedings right from the start of the bout and took a 6-1 lead in the opening round of the championship. He widened the gap in the next two rounds. 

After leading by 9-2 at the end of first two rounds, Bhaskar added three more points to his tally in the final round to seal the bout in his favour. Bhaskar will now face Algeria’s Reda Benbaziz in the third round, who defeated Czech Dusan Chromy in his second-round bout. Shiva’s bout was a close affair in the beginning. 

Shiva Thapa - pride of the Indian Gorkhas ?!!


The Assamese (Gorkha) teen was locked 1-1 with Ashfaq in the first three minutes but that was to be the only time he allowed his rival to connect a scoring punch. The counter-puncher, who got a bye in the first round, made it 3-1 in the second round before closing it with just one point in the last three minutes. 

Shiva, India’s first gold medallist at the prestigious Hyder Aliyev Cup for juniors, will now face Swede Rejen Raza Abdulrahman. In another bout, India’s Vikas Krishan thrashed Slovakia’s Rajcsanyi Patrik 7-0 in 60kg category.

ENTERTAINMENT: 3 years on, Idol sings to hill tune – Prashant dreams of Bollywood

Prashant Tamang shoots at MG Marg with actress Harsika Srestha. (Photo by Prabin Khaling)


Gangtok, April 28: Gorkhaland is a must for Indian Gorkhas, Prashant Tamang said, although he thinks that the renewed statehood movement in the Darjeeling hills should not be credited to him.

At a time when his co-finalist and close friend Meiyang Chang is ready to hit the silver screen with the Sahid Kapoor starrer Badmaash Company next month, the Indian Idol 3 winner is about to complete his second Nepali feature film, though of a much lesser budget and reach.

But as Tamang, a Calcutta Police constable, puts it, he is taking life step by step.

“I am taking life step by step and everything will happen in a gradual manner. Opportunities and good results will come with patience and hard work,” Tamang told The Telegraph during a shoot at MG Marg here a few days back.

Today Tamang was in Majitar, 36km from Gangtok and one of the many locales in Sikkim where Angalo Yo Maya Ko, the Nepali feature film, is being shot. Almost 90 per cent shooting has been completed, said Kathmandu-based director Vinod Sereng.

The film has a budget of around Rs 30-35 lakh, said the director. Tamang is playing the lead role besides singing a couple of tracks in the film including the title song. His character is a spoilt brat who later turns into a new leaf.

“This is my second film, and my first, Gorkha Paltan, is scheduled to be released in Kathmandu in April-May,” said Tamang, who is keen on Bollywood. “It is not easy but I will not stop dreaming, and will continue trying to get into Bollywood,” he said.

Asked about his experience after Indian Idol 3, Tamang said he had kept himself busy with film projects and shows. “I was mostly engaged in shootings and there are two-three more projects (in the anvil) but I have not finalised them yet,” he said.

“The most important thing for me is to continue getting the same love that I had received from the people earlier,” said Tamang, who visits Darjeeling frequently, but does not hold many shows there. “However, I have a show in Mirik.”

The Idol-turned-film hero does not shy away from talking about Gorkhaland. He, however, said the statehood movement should not be credited to him.

“There was great unity among the hill people during my Indian Idol challenge and such unity should be maintained to take the movement ahead,” he said. “Gorkhaland is must for the identity of the Indian Gorkhas…Everyone knows about the Indian Gorkhas, the only thing needed is to strengthen our identity.”

In 2007, the Morcha was born after its president Bimal Gurung cashed in on the strong anti-Subash Ghisingh sentiment that swept through the Darjeeling hills during the campaign launched to help Tamang win Indian Idol 3. The GNLF chief had refused to publicly back Tamang even as the entire Gorkha community in Bengal and across the country put its collective might behind the singer from Darjeeling.

Since then, political equations have changed. In 2007, Gurung and his supporters had shouted pro-Pawan Chamling slogans much to Ghisingh’s chagrin. Three years later, the Morcha supporters are no longer eulogising the Sikkim chief minister, but accusing him of doing little to help the outfit attain Gorkhaland.

But does Tamang, still consider Sikkim his second home? “No. Rather, both Sikkim and Darjeeling are my only homes,” Tamang said.

Director Sereng complimented Tamang’s acting skills. “We hope to wrap up the shooting by the second week of May,” said Sereng.

The director said the film was shot in various parts of Sikkim like Aritar, Namchi and Rabongla, besides Gangtok, Majitar. He said it would be released in September with the premiere in Gangtok. Most of the cast in the film are from Sikkim and Darjeeling.

WILDLIFE: Garden SOS to forest to drive away wild animals

The bison that strayed into the Dhumchipara tea estate on Tuesday. (Photo by Anirban Choudhury)


Alipurduar, April 28: The management of the Dhumchipara tea estate has sent an SOS to the forest department to keep at bay wild animals which have been straying into the garden and hampering work for the past one month.

D.K. Arora, the manager of the estate, said labourers could not finish their full complement of plucking, as they were reluctant to work in sections of the garden where wild animals had been seen.

“In the past one month, quarters of 20 workers have been destroyed by wild elephants and five workers have been mauled by two leopards. Yesterday, a bison created such a panic that the workers who had began plucking tea leaves ran away,” Arora said.

Foresters steered the animal towards the Lankapara forest by bursting crackers. No one was, however, injured by the bison, which kept charging at the crowd that had gathered around it.

Following the leopard attacks on the workers during the past week — the last incident being on Friday — the forest department set up trap door squeeze cages in the garden. However, no big cats have been caught yet. Since then, a group of forest guards from Madarihat has been patrolling the area daily.

The manager said he had asked the foresters to send a team of experts to study and suggest ways to stop the regular incursions by wild animals. “If we cannot complete the plucking of tea leaves, the quality of tea deteriorates.”

Considering the fact that the leopard could not be caught despite laying a cage and the bison took a long time to be driven away, Arora told the forest officials that their men were “ill-equipped” to tackle this kind of situations.

The tea estate, about 14km from NH31C, is surrounded by the Dhumchi forest, which is almost adjacent to Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary on one side and the Lankapara forest on the other. Lankapara is contiguous to the forests of Bhutan.

The divisional forest officer of the wildlife III division, Om Prakash, said steps had been taken to control the straying animals in Dhumchipara.

“We have already posted an elephant squad to prevent the entry of wild elephants and cages have been set up for leopards. They have live goats tied inside as baits. However, no leopard has taken the bait,” the divisional forest officer said.

He said he would speak to the garden authorities and listen to their suggestions if they had any. “We will also go to the garden and tell the workers what steps to take when wild animals enter,” Om Prakash said.

ACCIDENT & CRIME WATCH: Stolen coal cart crushes boy – A Hindi Film Script ?!!

A cart abandoned by its driver after the boy was run over by the one leading the convoy. (Photo by Gour Sharma)


Durgapur, April 28: A bullock cart laden with smuggled coal crushed to death a boy cycling home from school in Asansol’s Jamuria, triggering a road rage in which tonnes of coal and a police jeep were torched this morning.

Stones hurled by villagers left three policemen injured and at least seven protesters were hurt when the cops retaliated with their batons.

Illegal mining is rampant in the area and serpentine bullock cart convoys carrying smuggled coal ply through village roads all day after racketeers pay police for looking the other way.

The Telegraph had carried a series of articles exposing the rampant looting of coal in this belt. The villagers’ outburst today was fuelled by the ire against the police for their inaction on the racketeers.

Eleven-year-old Mohammad Ershad Rejjak was trying to overtake a convoy of five bullock carts around 11.30am when one of them changed direction and dashed against his cycle. “He fell in front of the wheels and was crushed to death instantly by the massive weight of the cart,” said Asgar Ali, a resident of Pariharpur who was resting under a tree when the mishap took place. A coal-laden bullock cart weighs up to 1.5 tonnes.

As the word spread, people came rushing. The cart drivers fled. The villagers unhitched the animals, toppled the carts and set them afire. Some of them also looted the coal.

As the police reached, the mob hurled bricks and coal at them. Outnumbered, the cops ran away, leaving the jeep behind. The villagers overturned the jeep and set it on fire.

“We are scared to leave our children on roads as the coal-laden carts ply round the clock. Instead of stopping the menace, the police collect bribes from the coal racketeers,” said Sheikh Bablu, a day labourer.

About 60 lakh tonnes of coal are allegedly mined illegally from the area every year. They feed hundreds of sponge iron and steel mills in Bengal and neighbouring Jharkhand.

Riaz Ansari, a day labourer, said Ershad was his only son. “I was working in the field when I heard shouts from nearby. I rushed there and saw a crowd surrounding a group of bullock carts. I took a closer look and saw my son lying dead,” said the sobbing father.

A large force led by Jamuria officer-in-charge Saikat Roy resorted to the lathicharge and allegedly fired in the air to disperse the mob. The police denied the firing and also the charge of supporting the illegal mining.

2 workers dead, Malda kilns flout HC order

Local people at the brick kiln at Bagbari after the accident. (Photo by Surajit Roy)


Malda, April 28: Two women were killed and a 40-year-old man was injured when a pile of bricks came tumbling on them while they were working in a kiln at Bagbari near here this morning.

According to police, kiln manager Yugal Kishor Tiklawala, supervisor Dilip Mukherjee and fire-in-charge of the kiln Brinda Sharif Yadav have been arrested after the accident.

A heap of bricks came crashing on the labourers while they were arranging baked bricks around 8am.

The deceased were Shila Mondal, 45, and Majera Bibi, 42.

Jallu Sheikh has been admitted to the district hospital.

Secretary of the Malda District Mango Traders’ Association Subodh Mishra alleged that brick kilns in the district were flouting the guidelines laid down by the high court.

“This is the season for mango and most of the kilns are by the side of the orchards. Smoke billowing out of the chimneys of the kilns cause immense damage to the fruits and the trees,” he said. The Bagbari kiln, too, is surrounded by mango orchards.

According to Mishra, the high court had passed an order in February 2009, which said kilns close to mango orchards should be closed for three months from March.

But, almost all such kilns in the district are open during these three months.

“We have brought the matter to the notice of the district land and land reforms department which issues licences to the kilns. A copy of the high court order is also lying with the department. But the authorities ignore it,” Mishra alleged. The deputy director of District Mango Development and Horticulture Department Goutam Roy said: “We have written to the department many times. But they are least bothered.”

Land and land reforms officer of the district Khagendranath Deu said all the kilns had been asked to remain shut from March to May. “It is the job of the police to see if the orders were being followed. We are not supposed to chase the kiln owners with lathis,” said Deu .

District superintendent of police Bhuban Mondal said: “It is the responsibility of the land reforms department to ensure that the kilns are closed for the specified period. If the department seeks our help to implement the orders, we shall extend our help.”

Amit Chatterjee, the owner of the kiln at Bagbari who is also the president of the District Brickfield Owners’ Association, said the next of the kin of the deceased would be given compensation.