GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: More trouble for GJMM as leaders quit – good riddance to bad rubbish, and 2hr ‘chakka jam’ lifts for now from tomorrow ?!!
FROM THE STATESMAN
KURSEONG, 1 JULY, 2010: Close on the hills (heels ?!!) of the BJP state committee member from Darjeeling, Mr Dawa Sherpa having left the party to join All India Gorkha League, a number of former Mirik municipality councillors joining late Madan Tamang’s outfit seems on the cards.
According to the AIGL leaders, a number of former Mirik civic body councillors and a prominent Terai-based GNLF leader, Mr Rajen Mukhia are likely to join the AIGL soon.
Notably, five former Mirik municipality councillors and members of the GJMM Mirik Town Zonal committee had quit the GJMM on 25 June. Now at least two among the five are expected to join the AIGL.
The BJP state secretary from Darjeeling and the Democratic Front convener, Mr Dawa Sherpa resigned from the BJP party and joined the All India Gorkha League yesterday.
“I have quit the BJP to devote wholeheartedly to strengthening the AIGL in the politically volatile Darjeeling Hills,” he said.
“I got emotionally attached to the AIGL when Madan Tamang was alive. But with the leader slain I would have to plunge headlong into strengthening the AIGL. And it is not possible to continue with the responsibility the BJP reposed in me given my determination to work wholeheartedly for the AIGL,” he said. (SNS)
Morcha meet date after return to Dooars – a few more days of patience the need of the hour for Bengal cannot and has not fulfilled the Gorkha Adivasi needs since 1947, which still remains ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
Calcutta/Siliguri, July 1: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad today refused to announce the date of the meeting with Bimal Gurung’s party although the tribal outfit had earlier said it would be the first priority once the interaction with the Bengal government was over.
The Parishad leaders today met chief secretary Ardhendu Sen at Writers’ Buildings in Calcutta and discussed the autonomy demand of the tribals and issues related to the development of the Dooars. But the Dooars leaders of the outfit said the date of the meeting with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha would be decided only after the team returned to north Bengal.
“We had a two-hour long meeting with the chief secretary and other senior officials and a number of issues were discussed,” said Rajesh Toppo, a state committee member and secretary of the Terai branch of the Parishad, over the phone from Calcutta. “Regarding the date for talks with the Morcha, we will return to north Bengal, meet other leaders and workers and then finalise it.”
Contrary to the state leadership’s views, the Dooars leaders of the Parishad are keen to accept the Morcha invitation for talks. They have decided to ask the Morcha to support their demand for Sixth Schedule status for the Dooars.
They also want to know what is in store for the tribals in the Adivasi Gorkha Pradesh. The Morcha had re-christened Gorkhaland, the state it has been demanding, Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh, to make the statehood demand acceptable to the tribals.
Even today, the state leaders of the Parishad said they were against holding talks with the Morcha or any joint movement.
“At the meeting, we raised the issue of Sixth Schedule and the chief secretary said was beyond his purview of discussion. He said we needed to talk to the chief minister on the issue. On other issues like increase in daily wages for garden workers from Rs 67 to Rs 250 per day, construction of colleges, polytechnics and land rights for tribals in tea estates and other areas, the chief secretary assured us that the demands would be taken up with the appropriate authorities and the implementation would be expedited,” said Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad who led the 16-member delegation.
About the Dooars leaders’ stand on the Morcha, the state president said: “It is up to the regional leaders to decide. The state committee does not endorse the decision to talk to the Morcha or take up any joint movement with the hill party.”
Adivasi Dooars talks – the “buck” plays musical chairs in Bengal, but naturally ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
Calcutta, July 1: An Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad delegation today met state chief secretary Ardhendu Sen at Writers’ Buildings to discuss the demand for autonomy for the Dooars but was told that only the chief minister could address such issues.
The Parishad said it was yet to decide whether it would accept the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s invitation for talks. The hill party has asked the tribals to join its statehood movement.
Although the Dooars unit of the Parishad is ready to meet the Morcha, the state leaders are still hesitant.
ABAVP demands revision of wages – now we’re talking, the classic Bengal double-speak ?!!
From The Statesman
KOLKATA, 1 July, 2010 (SNS): Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP) today submitted a memorandum to the state government demanding revision of tea wages and handing over of land rights to all Adivasis of the Terai-Dooars region.
A demand to set up an Adivasi Autonomous Regional Council under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution was also placed.
A meeting in this regard was held with the chief secretary, Mr Ardhendu Sen, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri and other officials of the state government where a 19-point charter of demands was submitted.
The ABAVP has demanded that daily wages of workers in different tea estates be raised to Rs 250 per day instead of the existing Rs 67 per day.
Patta distribution for the landless needs to be carried out too in the Dooars-Terai region. The parishad has also demanded that equal opportunities be given to Adivasi people at the time of recruitment of primary teachers.
Similarly, a demand to set up Hindi-medium primary schools and polytechnics was also placed at the meeting.
The fact that there was an inordinate delay in receiving SC and ST certificates for adivasis was also pointed out at the meeting, Mr Dilsha Tirkey, state president, ABAVP, said.
Meanwhile, Mr Ardhendu Sen, chief secretary, said: “There was no discussion on the demand to include the Terai-Dooars region under the Sixth Schedule.”
He pointed out that the state had earlier issued orders to ensure distribution of vested land in different areas of the Terai-Dooars region.
The district magistrate of Jalpaiguri has already been asked to ensure proper implementation of the order, he said.
MEANWHILE FROM THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING
Patta hope for 2500 families – unplanned development in Siliguri by the urban planning minister just for power, allowed to do so by Bengal ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, July 1: Urban development minister today announced that the government would soon hand over land pattas to around 2,500 families living in different parts of Siliguri, dropping a hint that the Left Front would do everything to recapture the civic body.
Minister Asok Bhattacharya, who met a delegation of all 17 front councillors of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, said: “In the civic area, we plan to rehabilitate 2,500-odd families who have been living on government land but do not have any right to their land. Of them, the pattas (secured land tenures) for 650 families are ready, while that for another 1,800 are in the process. We hope to hand over these to them very soon.”
Most of the pattas will be given to those living in the added wards, which are located in Jalpaiguri district but within the SMC area, to help in their socio-economic development, the minister said.
The councillors handed over a 32-point charter of demands to Bhattacharya, highlighting the pending work in town, said Nurul Islam, the leader of the Opposition in the SMC who led the delegation to the minister on the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) premises.
“Implementation of projects worth Rs 18 crore, which have been taken up by the SJDA in the SMC area, are either going on sluggishly or have come to a halt. We have requested the minister to expedite the execution of the projects that would provide better amenities to local people as well as those visiting the town.” Islam said.
The Left councillors also alleged that the Congress-run civic board lacked the will power and dynamism to implement the projects. “The present board has failed to meet the aspirations of the people and has not succeeded in completing any of the projects for which funds have been provided by the SJDA,” a councillor said.
The demands raised by the councillors include upgrading two police outposts at New Jalpaiguri and Ghoghomali — both under Bhaktinagar police station of Jalpaiguri district — into police stations.
“Given the steady rise in population at the added wards, we feel that the two outposts should be upgraded into police stations. A government hospital and educational institutions should also be established to cater for the population living in these areas,” the councillor said.
Drama ends, SMC councillor resigns – Darjeeling District suffers under Bengal as usual ?!!
From The Statesman
SILIGURI, 1 JULY, 2010 (SNS): Thanks to an intra-party feud and the failure of the local leadership to resolve it, the Trinamul Congress has lost a sitting councillor in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC).
Following a political drama that continued for four days since 28 June, the SMC chairperson Mrs Sabita Devi Agarwal today finally accepted the resignation of the Trinamul councillor Mrs Chaitali Sen Sharma of Ward 31 in Siliguri.
This has brought down the Trinamul’s numerical strength in the SMC to 14, one less than its ruling-ally the Congress. Evidently, this would give the Congress an upper hand.
The SMC chairperson said she accepted Mrs Sen Sharma’s resignation today and also sent a formal intimation to the state municipal affairs department secretary in Kolkata and has marked copies of the same to SMC commissioner, the Darjeeling district magistrate and the Mayor. SNS
Flip-flop at the time of ally rift – Resignation twice in 4 days – naturally Bengal, not the least bothered about good governance, only power ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, July 1: Chaitali Sen Sharma has resigned as councillor for the second time in four days amid the Congress’s warning that it was time Trinamul took care of its flock without finding faults with the functioning of the civic board.
The chairperson of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, Sabita Devi Agarwal, narrated the sequence of development at a media conference today: “She (Sen Sharma) called me up yesterday afternoon and sought an appointment. She arrived around 3pm, sat down, wrote the resignation letter in front of me and handed it over,” Agarwal said. “I have accepted it and have forwarded it to state municipal affairs department, the district magistrate of Darjeeling, the mayor and commissioner of SMC for necessary action. Considering that the resignation has been accepted, she is no longer the councillor of the ward concerned. ”
Sen Sharma, who was elected councillor from ward 31 for the first time last year, had submitted a resignation letter on Monday. However, she changed her mind the next day and told the chairperson that she wished to withdraw her resignation.
“I met the chairperson and told her that I wanted to withdraw the resignation. The district president of our party has assured me that necessary steps will be taken against those people (a section of Trinamul workers) who are creating trouble and posing problems for me,” she had said on Tuesday. But in another U-turn yesterday, Sen Sharma submitted her resignation for the second time.
Today, the Trinamul councillor said there had been some technical problems in her first resignation letter. “That is why I submitted another resignation yesterday,” she said.
She refused to say what had prompted her to change her decision within 48 hours.
The district leaders of the party refused to divulge much. But Trinamul district president Gautam Deb said: “I am in Calcutta now and will definitely look into the issues that might have prompted Sen Sharma to submit her resignation.”
Sen Sharma’s resignation brings the Trinamul number to 14 against the Congress’s 15 in the 47-member board. Trinamul and Congress had joined hands last year for the municipal elections to oust the Left Front from the civic body for the first time since 1981.
Last week, Trinamul had walked out of a board meeting, alleging misbehaviour by chairperson Agarwal. Deb’s party had wanted an apology from Agarwal. On Monday again, Trinamul accused the Congress for failing to run the board according to the people’s expectations. Mayor Gangotri Dutta of the Congress had retorted: “He (Deb) must keep his flock together before trying to find fault with us.”
Today Deb said: “Even though we have expressed solidarity with the Congress on March 30 for the sake of the Siliguri residents, the party had not sent us any formal letter till date. Interestingly, we have noticed that despite joining hands with us, the Congress have a tacit understanding with the LF that sits in opposition.”
Mayor Datta dismissed the Trinamul allegation of Left support to the board. “The Left sits in opposition. The elections were held in secret ballot which is why it is not possible to say who had voted for us (while forming the board last year),” she said.
“We had appreciated the support extended by Trinamul on March 30 but whether we will at all need it will be decided by the party.”
Political observers said the Congress would continue to run the board without seeking formal support from Trinamul. “The Congress and Trinamul together have 29 councillors now while the Left has 17,” an observer said. “The board will continue like it has been running in the past eight months.”
Left leaders, described Sen Sharma’s resignation as an “internal issue of Trinamul”. “But we want to make it clear that we had supported the mayoral candidate and the nominee for chairperson’s elections and not the board. Our councillors sit in opposition,” said Jibesh Sarkar, a member of CPM state committee.
IN BRIEFS FROM THE TELEGRAPH
Heist and stab at college
Malda, July 1: A gang of eight-nine persons raided South Malda College at 18 Mile in Vaisnabnagar early this morning and fled with Rs 10,000, a computer and a ceiling fan.
The gang had tied night guard Purna Hansda and stabbed him before leaving the college. A critically injured Hansda was admitted to the Malda district hospital. He said the robbers had first asked for keys of the principal’s office and wanted to know where Rs 5 lakh, collected during the students’ admission, had been kept. When Hansda said he had no idea of the keys, the gang beat him up and tied him with ropes. Then, they broke open two rooms and looted the cash, fan and the computer.
Islampur: Palamo Murmu, an elderly widow at Ruihia near Islampur, took shelter at the local police station when a group of people branded her a witch and came to her house to attack her. The police said a youth in the village, located about 17km from Islampur, had died from illness a few months back. The deceased’s relatives met a shaman in Bihar and he told them that Murmu was responsible for the youth’s death. This prompted the relatives to organise an attack on her residence on Thursday night. She hid in a paddy field and went to the police station.
Siliguri: A fire broke out in a building at Seth Srilal Market here on Thursday morning. Three fire engines from Siliguri doused the blaze that broke out in a room where a large numbers of shoes were stacked. Fire officers said poor electrical maintenance was the cause of the blaze.
Siliguri: Demanding an increase in the number of seats at Siliguri College of Commerce, members of the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad confined Asim Mukherjee, the principal, to his office for about three hours on Thursday. The principal was allowed to leave the office after he had assured the agitators that he would talk to North Bengal University authorities about the demand.