GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: AIGL to discuss Gorkhaland, Tamang murder with Sonia – any better suggestions than that by the GJM – lost faith in the state government, who hasn’t – while the ABGL ‘witch hunt’ continues ?!!
From The Indian Express
By Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay
Kolkata: Thu Aug 19 2010, 02:42 hrs: A day after the tripartite talks involving the state government, the Centre and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha took place in Delhi, a nine-member team of the All India Gorkha League of Darjeeling, led by its president Bharati Tamang left for Delhi on Wednesday to meet Central leaders and ministers and discuss various issues related to Darjeeling.
Among the leaders AIGL is planning to meet include Congress president Sonia Gandhi, general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
“Sonia Gandhi has already given us time on August 20. We have sought time from these leaders too,” Dawa Sherpa, working president of AIGL, told The Indian Express. AIGL leaders said they also plan to meet Trinamool Congress chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Earlier, the Centre did not recognise any outfit other than GNLF or GJM for talks on Gorkha issue. (and still don’t ?!!)
However, the state government has been urging the Central government to involve parties other than the GJM. (so as to derail the movement ?!!)
Sherpa said they have lost faith in the state government over arrest of the real culprits involved in the murder of their president Madan Tamang.
“We requested Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to catch the real culprits. He assured us he would soon do it but ended up taking into custody Nicole Tamang, who is a small fry. The real conspirators like GJM general secretary Roshan Giri are roaming free in the Hills,” said Sherpa.
He said they would urge the Centre to put pressure on the state government so that real culprits are behind the bars soon.
He also said that he will request the Central leaders to involve them in the talks.
“The GJM has lost credibility. Now the Centre should involve us, along with other Darjeeling outfits in the talks,” said Lakshman Pradhan, AIGL general secretary.
Gorkha Community in Jammu – a deprived lot – in an Indian Identity limbo – just the tip of the iceberg, too long ignored ?!!
From Northern Lines
Forwarded by Lazy Daisy
Jammu, Aug 19, 2010, 1:17:07 Hrs (TNI): Gorkhas-the valiant race who fought for saving the state of Jammu and Kashmir from the external threats are living a life full of problems all because of alleged government apathy.
There are about 350-400 families of Gorkhas in our state. These families are mainly concentrated in Gorkha Nagar and Nai Basti Jammu. They are found to be settled at Gangyal and Bantalab in Jammu and also at Udhampur, Reasi, Jyotipuram, Rajouri, Basholi, and Srinagar and at Dhar Road Udhampur as well. The numbers of families residing in these areas vary from five to fifty.
It is pertinent to mention here that after creation of a separate kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1846, the soldiers from the Gorkha community were recruited in the state forces. His successors too followed the trend and one of the Maharaja’s forces elite formation was famously called Suraj Gorkha which later was amalgamated into JAK-1.
The youngsters from Nepal who joined the state defence forces in those days did not find the place of their new assignment different to their home land and hence preferred to settle down here after their retirement from active service in the Army.
History bears the testimony that these soldiers along with the Dogra soldiers fought many battles and laid down their lives for the sake of the safety of the state as also extended its boundaries beyond Gilgit and Ladakh.
The Gorkha community had also suffered the communal holocaust of 1947 when dozens of its members were butchered mercilessly.
In the older times, when the profession of the community was serving military, the community was mainly illiterate and felt no need of acquiring documents like State Subject, now called permanent residence certificate, which has now become a main impediment in the further growth of Gorkha community as a whole.
At present, only few members of the community have the permanent residence certificates. Without which the community is devoid of benefits that are being enjoyed by the permanent residents of the state.
In 1962 after the constant demand from the community, the state government led by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad granted them residential plots of three marlas each in Gorkha Nagar, Bahu Fort.
Vice president, J&K Gorkha Ex Servicemen Welfare Association Subedar Shankar Singh Chettri said that this tiny community of the state has produced many coveted soldiers such as Col. Bhakta Bir Thapa, Brigadier N S Rawat, Major K Brahma Singh, Gen. Kharaka Bahadur, Gen Rai Bahadur Bhagwan Singh, Col. Lakshman Singh, Mushaib Sahib, Atma Ram Bhusal, Col Durga Singh and Brig Sher Jang Thapa besides many others.
He further said that following the holocaust of 1947, elite class of the community migrated to other states, leaving behind helpless and the orphans.
He put forth various demands such as granting permanent residence ship to all those Gorkhas who are permanently settled here and since then have constructed their houses on Govt. allotted plots or otherwise, representation of Gorkha community in state Legislative council through nomination, and in view of social and economical backwardness of Gorkhas extension of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) facility to them in J&K state and on account of military aptitude of the Gorkhas besides other demands so that their future generations lead a better quality life.
Subedar Shankar Singh further said that the community has been struggling for their genuine demands since many decades but successive Governments have not conceded their demands.
Enclave talks with Bangla – righting the wrong of the Joyti Basu era ?!!
BY JAYANTA ROY CHOWDHURY
New Delhi, Aug. 19: The government today decided to go ahead with border talks with Bangladesh that could see the two sides swapping enclaves, in a confidence-building step that could give the neighbour more territory than what India gains.
India is also likely to include another 45 to 50 items to the list of duty-free imports from its neighbour.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who recently visited Dhaka, held an inter-ministerial meeting to review progress on Bangladesh’s demand for concessions on trade, border and sharing of river waters.
A meeting of the joint boundary commission is expected next month to decide on swapping the enclaves, a deal long in the pipeline.
India has 92 Bangladeshi enclaves, most of them in Cooch Behar, and Bangladesh has 106 Indian enclaves.
Delhi and Dhaka had in 1974 agreed to exchange the enclaves or at least provide easy access to them, but little has moved since.
India is also likely to waive import duties on another 45 to 50 items from Bangladesh, in a move aimed at improving bilateral trade. Bangladesh had asked for 61 items to be added to the duty-free list of over 4,000 categories of products.
India sells $3.37-billion worth of goods annually to Bangladesh and imports items worth $358 million.
During Mukherjee’s recent trip to Dhaka, India signed a $1-billion loan agreement.
Under the deal, India will lend the amount, the biggest it has offered to any foreign country, at a 1.75 per cent rate of interest with a repayment period of 20 years, including a grace period of five years.
Siliguri hub gasps for IT breath – naturally, with the GAA-UT & Electricity ‘Damocles’ Sword’ currently hanging over its head ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Aug. 19: The prospect of Siliguri’s development as an IT hub seems to be bleak as the company that had set up the first call centre here has left town wrapping up its infrastructure.
Despite incentives announced by the state government, no IT company has expressed interest to set up its unit in Siliguri or any other district of north Bengal in the past one year or so.
In the past few years, Siliguri was identified as a tier-II city of the state that had the potential of being developed as an IT hub, particularly because of the presence of a good English-speaking youth population. (with a ‘hebby’ Bengali accent ?!!)
However, in the past few years, despite efforts by local MLA and state urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya and trade bodies like the Confederation of Indian Industry, not much has developed — except two under-construction buildings at Paribahan Nagar in Matigara, where spaces will be provided to IT companies.
Acclaris, which runs a knowledge process outsourcing centre at the Software Technology Parks of India unit in Matigara, is the only operational unit in Siliguri now.
“Uninterrupted connectivity, regularity of the workforce, round-the-clock transport facility and food facilities are some of the basic criteria that are necessary to run a BPO. All these are unfortunately absent in Siliguri,” said an official of Xploretech, a Calcutta-based company which had opened the first call centre here in 2008 but was forced to close it down six-seven months ago.
Officials at the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority, who have tied up with Infinity Infotech to raise an IT Park in Matigara, said they had not received any new proposal. “Two buildings are under construction by the Rungta Group and Webel in Matigara which would be completed soon. Work on an IT park to be constructed with the company will commence soon,” a senior official said.
Kushal Rungta, associated with the Rungta Group, said the building would be complete in another year. “We will provide space to IT companies but right now, there is no proposal with us from any firm which is interested to set up a unit in Siliguri,” he said over the phone from Calcutta. “Basically, there has to be a change in mindset and plan to function from tier-II cities among the firms to ensure growth of Siliguri as an IT hub.” The Rungta Group will develop 1.50 lakh sqft area, expecting to generate around 1,500-2,000 employment per shift .
State IT minister Debesh Das, however, is still confident that Siliguri can be developed into an IT hub. “We need to carry out an aggressive promotion at the national level to project Siliguri. The state government is taking necessary initiative in this regard,” he said. “To hone the skills of local youths, we have set up finishing schools in Calcutta and Durgapur and plan to raise another in Siliguri. This will help the region attract more companies.”
Civic body in pay-up dues drive – and nothing from the hills till all its political needs are fully met ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Cooch Behar, Aug. 19: The Congress-led municipality here has decided to start a drive to recover nearly Rs 2 crore as property tax that has remained unpaid by 19 government departments and institutions.
The civic body has decided to send an ultimatum to the defaulters to either pay up the amount or get their property attached.
The North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) that has chalked up dues of more than Rs 53.7 lakh has already been issued a letter in this regard.
Chairperson of the municipality Biren Kundu said the dues have been accumulating for over the past two decades.
“The Congress has been running the civic body for the past three terms and the dues date back to the time when the Left was in power. The defaulters sometimes pay up a small amount and sit on the remaining sum for years despite us sending them reminders,” said Kundu.
He said the civic body has already sent a letter to the NBSTC.
“They have been reminded often to clear the dues but the appeals have been ignored. We have sent an ultimatum to them stating that if they did not pay up soon we will attach their property,” said the chairperson.
According to sources in the civic body, the superintendent of police’s office owes the municipality Rs 7.8 lakh, the fisheries department owes Rs 43 lakh, and Maharaja Jitendra Narayan Hospital owes Rs 30.3 lakh as property tax.
Rabindra Bhavan and the youth affairs department are also among the 19 defaulters.
The total dues amount to Rs 1.73 crore, the sources said.
An official with the municipality said in 2002, the civic body could recover some amount when the officials went to the NBSTC with a section of the Municipal Act, 1995, with provisions to attach its property for not paying the tax.
“The municipality had also got labourers and nets to catch huge quantity of fish from a waterbody belonging to the fisheries department following which, some of the dues were recovered,” the official said.
According to Kundu, the recovered funds would be used to improve the town.
“We will renovate buildings and other structures like parks and gardens with the money. The government departments should help us by paying up the dues,” he said.
He said the funds could also be utilised to buy equipment for waste management, water supply and drainage system for the town.