GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Asok sop worry for Morcha union – DGHC CASUAL WORKERS CONDEMN MINISTER PROMISE

GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Asok sop worry for Morcha union – DGHC CASUAL WORKERS CONDEMN MINISTER PROMISE – all strings still held by the incompetent to perpetuate a defunct system ?!!

Casual workers of the DGHC at the meeting of the Janmukti Asthahi Karmachari Sangatan in Darjeeling on Tuesday - still casually treated by Bengal ?!! (Photo by Suman Tamang)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Darjeeling, July 13: A Gorkha Jamukti Morcha affiliated workers union today lashed out at Asok Bhattacharya for trying to hijack what the party feels is its initiative by announcing that casual workers in the hills would be made permanent at the earliest.

The Janmukti Asthahi Karmachari Sangatan, a body of contractual workers of the DGHC, in its meeting at the Gymkhana Club attacked Bhattacharya for attempting to “politicise” its demand for job regularisation, indicating that the minister had managed to touch a raw nerve and create a flutter in the hills.

Bhattacharya had announced here on July 2 that the state government would start recruiting 1,000-odd teachers to the primary and secondary schools in the hills. The CPM had further hinted that even the DGHC workers, most of whom are contractual, would be made permanent depending on their educational qualifications.

Two days after the minister’s job assurance, the Morcha’s education monitoring cell and the Janmukti Secondary Teachers’ Organisation said they would not be fooled by such statements from someone who has nothing to do with education in the state. They said they had already had a dialogue on the subject with education minister Partha De and the procedure of regularisation was not as simple as Bhattacharya seemed to indicate.

Today’s meeting at the Gymkhana Club was a clear sign to hold its flock together following the CPM’s announcement.

Machendra Subba, president, JAKS, said: “Our weakness should not be politicised. The state government had earlier given us a written assurance that our jobs would be regularised but they have failed to act on their promise.”

The casual workers had started an indefinite hunger strike in September 2009, following which then home secretary Ardhendu Sen had faxed a letter to the Darjeeling district magistrate to start the regularisation process. “The government has authorised the DGHC to start regularisation process against the sanctioned vacancies in all categories which it is authorised to do as per the existing act and the recruitment rules there under,” the letter read.

This essentially meant that at least 3,472 contractual workers of the DGHC were to be made permanent against an equal number of vacancies. The total number of casual workers stands at 6,287 and the fate of the remaining 2,815 was to be decided in a meeting to be convened in Calcutta later, Sen had said.

After he was gheraoed by the contractual workers, B.L. Meena, the administrator of the DGHC, had given a written assurance to JAKS on October 30 that the regularisation process would start from November 17, 2009. But later the state government said the frequent closure of offices was delaying the process. Meena, on his part, also maintained that the assurance had been given under duress.

Today, Subba said the recruitment for the vacancies must be from within the casual workers. “We want immediate regularisation of the 3,472 workers after which additional posts have to be created to recruit the other workers as promised by the government. Once all the causal workers are recruited, we will have no objections if the state goes in for further recruitment.”

MEANWHILE

Trinamul message for early polls – winds of honest non parochial political change ?!!

The Trinamul meeting in Siliguri on Tuesday - the earlier the CPM is out the better ?!! (Photo by Kundan Yolmo)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, July 13: Trinamul Congress MP Subhendu Adhikary today asked his party supporters to prepare for early Assembly polls and consolidate the gains the party has made in north Bengal, especially since the Siliguri civic elections.

“We have bagged 52 civic boards this time (across Bengal) and played the key role in formation of 10 other civic boards. These results of the recently concluded municipal polls have proved that Trinamul is the principal political party in Bengal. It is time for all of us build on our strengths and consolidate our  position keeping early Assembly polls in mind,” the MP from Tamluk said while addressing a youth convention here attended by 2,500-odd workers.

Trinamul sources said the principal reason for Adhikary to come to Siliguri for the convention was to enthuse the rank and file and build up their morale in case early Assembly polls are held.

“Adhikary is one of the architects of the Trinamul’s huge success in East Midnapore,” a local leader said. “It is from him that we must learn a few lessons to strengthen our base here.”

Addressing the convention held at the indoor stadium here, Adhikary said: “The winds of change that have swept south Bengal have started blowing across the north as well. We must build on this. Judging by the enthusiasm that I am seeing here today, it is clear to me that this has already started to happen.”

Adhikary spoke on the need to start preparing for early polls, which he claimed, would be held by November.

“We are not just an opposition party in north Bengal, we are the main force here,” the MP said. “We have the base to win the elections here as well. So now we must start preparing in right earnest.”

He also dwelt on the situation in the hills and said “no development has taken place there for the past 30 years”.

“In contrast, our leader Mamata Banerjee has already announced a comprehensive plan for the development of New Jalpaiguri station,” Adhikary said. “She has many other plans for this region.”

However, party sources admitted that the leadership should announce agitation programmes specific to this region that would help the party whip up the people’s sentiments. “Talking of Singur and Nandigram would not help much it this region,” a local party leader admitted. “That is too remote for the people here. We have to find issues which are relevant for the people of north Bengal if we have to build our successes here.”

ANALYSIS

OPINION: How far will Gorkha-Adivasi bonhomie go ? – fear and concern in Bengal for a justified reason of neglect & mismanagement ?!!

FROM THE STATESMAN
BY ROMIT BAGCHI

SILIGURI, 13 JULY: The Gorkhaland protagonists are never inclined to yield an inch concerning their zeal for the Dooars. Their conviction rather gains in strength in the face of setbacks. And now, when the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha clout in the hill appears to be waning fast, it seems to have scored some crucial strategic points in the long restive Dooars.

It now looks poised to blunt the arsenal being sharpened in the anti-GJMM camps, with a definite thaw discernible in the prolonged Gorkha-Adivasi icy equations, at least in the Dooars theatre of the larger battle space.

The Gorkha obsession with the Adivasi-dominated Dooars is long and deep. They pushed the region into the geographical contours of the proposed separate state far back in 1917 in the form of a petition submitted to the former secretary of state, Edwin Montague.

This was the second such petition, the first one being submitted a decade back in 1907. Since then, the obsession with the Dooars on the part of the statehood protagonists has never flagged. Strategically, they have retreated from time to time only to spring back with renewed vigour.

The Gorkha claim on the Dooars seems invincible, being based not just on bubbling emotions, but on “sound” logic. The Darjeeling-based Gorkha intellectuals claim that their association with the Dooars dates back to the Mahabharata times when the “Kirat” king, Bhagadutta, is supposed to have participated in the epic Kuruskhetra war on the side of the Kauravas over three thousand years ago.

The Kirat sphere of suzerainty supposedly extended up to the slopes of the Himalayas in the plains that included parts of Assam and the present Dooars. Quoting the celebrated ethnologist, the late Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, they claim that the present Nepali community, as descendents of the ancient Kirats, had their settlement in the Dooars since far off times.

The Dooars-forays on the part of the Gorkhaland protagonists are evidently part of a long-term strategy, which the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad state president, Mr Birsha Tirkey, calls “insatiable Gorkha land lust”.

But nobody can deny that the strategy has started yielding tangible results at long last, with the protracted ABAVP resistance showing signs of mellowing in the GJMM-intended direction.

Things might precipitate into a vertical split in the Adivasi organization and Mr Tirkey is not ruling it out, though he is confident that the majority of the Adivasi population spread over the Dooars would reject the pro-GJMM overtures.

If at least a section of the ABAVP Dooars-based leaders split the outfit in their eagerness to deepen the Gorkha-Adivasi bonhomie, it might signal a magical transformation in the region’s political equations.

It might have an electric impact on the fast shifting political trajectory in the restive hills, with the GJMM, grappling with the collective disenchantment, clearing the setback to its reputation caused by the 21 May assassination of Madan Tamang.

FURTHERMORE

NEWS BRIEFS FROM THE TELEGRAPH

One hurt in track accident

Raiganj, July 13: The driver of a tractor was injured when the vehicle was hit by the Up Calcutta-Radhikapur Express at an unmanned level crossing at Bamongram near here this morning.

After the accident, residents blocked the railway tracks for four hours demanding a manned level crossing. The blockade was withdrawn after senior railway officials assured the protesters that a guard would be posted at the crossing. The driver of the tractor has been admitted to the district hospital here. Panchayat member and local CPM leader Chandu Mohammed said they had met the former Union minister Priyaranjan Das Munshi several times with the demand. But nothing has been done.

Notice to doc

Balurghat: A paediatrician of the Balurghat district hospital, Kajal Kanti Das, has been showcaused for allegedly not attending to a newborn despite being called. The baby died on Tuesday morning. Hospital superintendent Tapas Das slapped the notice on the paediatrician after Aizul Kazi, a farmer from Samseerhati village in Tapan, filed a complaint alleging his baby died because of the doctor’s negligence.

Remand

Jalpaiguri: The chief judicial magistrate’s court here on Tuesday remanded Kushal Chakraborty, a clerk at poverty alleviation cell of Jalpaiguri municipality, in police custody for six days. Chakraborty was arrested on July 7 for allegedly misappropriating funds meant for old-age pensions.

Train timing

Siliguri: The Northeast Frontier Railway said on Tuesday that a number of trains had been rescheduled or cancelled on Wednesday because of security drills. The 2346 Saraighat Express will leave Guwahati at 5pm, instead of 12.45pm, while the 2501 Purvottar Sampark Kranti Express will depart from Guwahati at 10am. The 2423 Rajdhani Express will leave Guwahati at 1.30pm. The 5960 Kamrup Express, scheduled to leave on Wednesday, has been cancelled.

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