GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: All’s well message in tourist fest – Morcha lines up paragliders, bands for day – HAPPY BIRTHDAY GORKHA JANMUKTI MORCHA 3 years and counting ?!! – may you continue to grow from strength to strength ever mindful of the adage that with ‘great privilege, comes yet greater ‘RESPONSIBILITY’ ?!! – now just the finalisation of the territory issue on the 11th & of not being stuck in a political limbo like Telengana ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling, Oct. 6: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has planned a show complete with paragliders and marching school bands to re-introduce a tourism festival that will also be part of the party’s foundation day celebration tomorrow.
The Morcha spectacle seems to be an effort to mollify the stakeholders of the tourism sector that has been frequently hit because of the hill party’s agitation.
The fact that the party has for the first time since its formation three years ago taken the onus to organise the fest also shows that it is eager to send the message that all’s well in the hills, especially after Madan Tamang’s murder in May. The Morcha had been accused of masterminding the killing of the popular ABGL leader.
Besides, the festival from October 7 to November 9 has been planned at a time when the Morcha is particularly upbeat about inking a deal with the government soon on the interim-set up for the hills. Last time such a festival was held was in 2006. It used to be organised by a citizens’ forum that stopped the show after the Morcha came into being and the statehood agitation picked up.
Nearly 1.5 lakh tourists are expected in Darjeeling town alone in the next one month. Most schools and colleges in the plains get ready for the puja holidays that start with Mahalaya tomorrow.
Darjeeling is already covered with green-yellow-white buntings, the colours of the Morcha flag, while Chowrastha or the Mall, the hill town’s famous promenade, is being spruced up.
The paragliders have arrived from Himachal Pradesh and the party has requested all residents to put up Morcha flags on their rooftops. All party activists have been told to attend the function in traditional Gorkha dresses.
Morcha president Bimal Gurung is scheduled to take the “guard of honour” from Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP), the party’s squad of lathi-wielding volunteers, and will hoist the party flag at 11.19am — a time he considers auspicious.
“We are expecting around 1.5 lakh tourists in Darjeeling alone. They will start arriving from next week, some even at the end of this week. They will stay till Diwali,” said a tour operator. “After that, we will have the winter tourism. But that figure is less.”
Schools from other hill towns like Kalimpong and Kurseong have also been invited. “Bands from Rockvale Academy in Kalimpong and St Michael’s School in Darjeeling along with Gorkhaland Personnel will perform tomorrow,” said Raju Pradhan, the assistant secretary of the Morcha.
The Morcha will also felicitate Rockvale Academy and Girls’ High School from Kalimpong, Ramakrishna Girls’ School from Kurseong, and St Michael’s School and Ghoom Girls Higher Secondary School from Darjeeling for their “overall” excellence.
Prominent personalities from across the hills will also be felicitated during the show. “From Kalimpong we will felicitate Lalit Golay (dramatist) and Paril Lepcha (archer). Father Abraham (social worker) from Kurseong, and Raj Narayan Pradhan (writer), Puran Giri (lyricist), Ganesh Rizwal (dramatist) and Gagan Gurung (singer) from Darjeeling will also be honoured during the programme,” said Pemba Tshering Ola, the president of the Morcha’s sub-divisional committee.
The felicitation list also includes five ex-servicemen who have been training the GLP.
While the programme continues at Chowrastha, the paragliders will take off from near St Paul’s School, hover around the venue and land at Lebong, 7km from here.
In the evening, the Gorkha Kala Sanstha — the organisers of the entire tourism festival supported by the Morcha — will put up cultural programmes at Chowrastha. “During the month-long function we will also take the paragliders to Kalimpong and Kurseong,” said Pradhan. The cultural shows will be held daily from 4pm to 7pm at the Mall.
Simultaneous festivals will also be held in Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik in the next one month.