GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Morcha gets ready for Mamata – Trinamul chief in Darjeeling on Sept. 26

GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Morcha gets ready for Mamata – Trinamul chief in Darjeeling on Sept. 26 – clear understanding on consensus yet to be shown and reached ?!!

Workers check the toy train tracks near Dagapur on Tuesday, a week before the railway minister’s visit to north Bengal. (Kundan Yolmo) - nothing before ?!!


Siliguri, Sept. 21: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is expecting a “positive outcome” at its meeting with Mamata Banerjee during her visit to the hills early next week, the optimism all the more because of the “greater role she is expected to play in the state” in the days to come.

If the meeting takes place, it will be the first between the Morcha and the Trinamul Congress chief in the three years since the hill party’s inception.

As far as the Morcha rivals go, the ABGL has already decided to meet the railway minister when she tours Darjeeling on September 26 and 27. The CPRM, which has the highest following in the hills after the Morcha, said it would meet her if it was invited.

Although the Morcha leadership will take a final decision on the meeting with the railway minister at a central committee session tomorrow, a senior party leader today said the “chances (of meeting her) are bright”.

To underscore the importance of the meeting, a Morcha leader said: “Her political stature and the political situation of Bengal at this juncture cannot be ruled out. We are looking at the greater role she will play in the state in future.”

Another Morcha leader said even as a Union minister, Mamata’s role cannot be ignored. “We can spell out our demands and grievances before her and highlight the plight of the hills people, seeking her intervention.”

Speculation has been high both in the hills and in the plains on the Morcha-Mamata meeting ever since she announced that she would visit Darjeeling with a “message of peace, democracy and unity”. The Trinamul chief said she wanted the hills to “continue to remain a part of Bengal” even while wanting to talk to the people there to sort out the problems.

Gautam Deb, the Darjeeling district Trinamul president, could not confirm if Mamata would meet the Morcha. “We can say that she is coming here with an open mind and with a mission to address the genuine problems of the hills people.”

If Union ministers and even the chief minister can hold one-to-one talks with the Morcha delegation for so many times, there is nothing wrong if the railway minister meets the Morcha, Deb added.

The ABGL said it would request the minister to take steps to restore peace and democracy in the hills. “We will point out the atrocities of the Morcha and bring her attention to the murder of our leader Madan Tamang, as nothing has been done yet by the CID to catch main culprit Nickole Tamang who has escaped from their custody,” said ABGL working president Dawa Sherpa.

Govind Chhetri, the organisational head of the CPRM, said: “We will not go on our own but if invited, we will definitely meet Mamata Banerjee. We want her to stay in the hills and understand the problems faced by the people, both from development as well as political point of view.”

DHR officials, however, are yet to receive any itinerary of the minister. “We are readying the toy train tracks, the stations, loco-shed and the headquarters. However, no itinerary has reached us so far,” an official said.

Trinamul sources said Mamata would arrive at New Jalpaiguri on September 26 and head for Darjeeling by road. Next day, she is expected to leave for Calcutta by train in the afternoon.

Officer thrashed on train – Glare on Ticket-less travellers – RPF yet to change their fear of the corrupt and now to probably lose their jobs as punishment ?!!

Partha Majumdar, who was assaulted by ticket-less passengers, in Malda on Tuesday. (Surajit Roy) - punished for exposing the corrupt while the Railway Protection Force looked on and just as guilty and corrupt ?!!


Malda, Sept. 21: The Malda district relief and rehabilitation officer was roughed up on a train from Sealdah yesterday for protesting the presence of alleged ticket-less passengers on a reserved compartment.

Partha Majumdar said the Railway Protection Force personnel and ticket checkers did not intervene when he was assaulted by the passengers and their accomplices at Naihati station.

He had boarded the S-7 coach of the Hatey Bajarey Express at Sealdah and was bound for Malda.

According to Majumdar, the train had pulled out of the station at 8pm and he had noticed that there were several people who were travelling without reserved tickets. “They occupied the seats after pushing aside bona fide passengers. When I protested, they said they were daily passengers bound for the first station to come, Naihati. But I kept on protesting at the harassment of the genuine passengers,” Majumdar said.

The official said he did not foresee what was in store. “These illegal passengers called up their accomplices and asked them to come to Naihati. When the train pulled up at the station, a gang of about 25 people entered my coach and began hitting me mercilessly. The traveller with whom I had an argument also joined them,” he alleged.

Naihati is 34km from Sealdah.

Majumdar alleged that the attackers had snatched a gold chain from his neck, leaving a scar, and also bloodied his nose. They leapt off the train as it began to leave the platform. “While I was being assaulted, my co-passengers were too scared to rescue me. But what astonished me was that the RPF personnel and the ticket checkers were silent spectators,” he said.

After the attackers had left, the co-passengers began to voice their protest against the incident.

“As I was bleeding from my nose, the other passengers pulled the emergency chain and brought the train to a halt at Kalna station. A medical team attended on me and I lodged a written complaint with the Government Railway Police. I do not know whether any of the attackers will be arrested. Considering the role of the RPF and the ticket checkers, I doubt whether action will ever be taken,” said the 35-year-old official.

Majumdar added that upon his arrival here, he had sent complaints to railway minister Mamata Banerjee and the divisional railway manager in Malda.

The additional district magistrate of Malda, Nurul Islam, said he had heard of ticket-less people harassing genuine passengers on trains to Naihati. “If a gazetted officer is subjected to such treatment, I shudder to think of ordinary passengers. The ticket checkers and the RPF jawans purposely do not get involved. We are sending a string of protest letters to the railways.”

Hill visit a gimmick, says Biman – leery politics, till we see the end results ?!!

File photo of Biman Bose - nothing more to offer than leery comments ?!!


Siliguri, Sept. 21: The CPM today described Mamata Banerjee’s proposed visit to the hills as “political gimmick”, while blaming the Trinamul Congress leader for bad roads in the region.

“We do not believe in political gimmicks like her (Mamata). People, too, have started losing their faiths on her for these publicity stunts,” CPM state secretary Biman Bose said in Jalpaiguri when asked why the chief minister is not visiting Darjeeling.

Bose, also the Left Front chairman, accused the Trinamul leader of not taking any step to repair the potholed roads in north Bengal. “She had been repeatedly saying that she would turn north Bengal into Switzerland but cannot address basic problems like bad roads. The Trinamul chief, despite being a minister in Delhi, has not taken any step for quick repair of the roads under the jurisdiction of the NHAI, which is a central organisation. This only shows how ‘sincere’ she is,” Bose said.

On the emergence of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, Bose said the CPM was scrutinising its demands. “Whichever of them are of public interest, we will organise movement on them.”

Road repair lock on rural schools – and the responsibility inconsequential for the CPM ?!!

Potholes everywhere - even in the Bengal CPM legacy and proud of it too ?!!


Raiganj, Sept. 21: Six primary schools in Vitihar near here have been locked up by the local people for an indefinite period to protest the administration’s alleged failure to repair the only road to Raiganj town and to construct a bridge on the Nagor river.

The schools were shut down yesterday when more than 1,000 children were preparing for second term exams beginning on Friday.

People of Vitihar and adjoining villages of Kartarpur, Nimtala, Kalitala, Anandapur Dubrajpur and Khayerbari are dependent on the only road to reach Raiganj.

“The road is full of craters. Repeated appeals to the district authorities to repair the road went unheeded. We had to take such a hard decision of shutting down the schools, knowing well that it is our children who will suffer. But we had no other option,” said Naren Sarkar, a resident of Dubrajpur.

Vitihar is in Gouri gram panchayat bordering Bihar and is 15km from Raiganj.

Samir Roy, another resident of Vitihar, alleged that the road had not been repaired since it had been constructed years ago. “The streetlights often remain out of order for days at a stretch. Pedestrians and motorists have tough time negotiating the potholed roads in the dark,” said Roy. He wondered why the administration had not taken notice of the fact that the schools had been closed for the past two days.

District primary school council chairman Utpal Dutta has sought the intervention of the district magistrate to reopen the schools.

“The second term examinations will begin on September 24 and the fate of over 1,000 students in these schools is uncertain,” he said.

Headmaster of Vitihar primary school Ataur Rahman said the students would suffer if the institutions were not reopened immediately.

District magistrate of North Dinajpur Sunil Dandapat said he would ask the Raiganj block development officer to reopen the schools through negotiations with the people.

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