GORKHA ADIVIASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Gorkha authority talks on Monday – no obduracy or ruse from Bengal on the territory issue this time, understanding the ‘State-within-a-State’ concept and principle – a win-win situation for all ?!!
From India Blooms News Service
Darjeeling, Oct 8 (IBNS): An eight-member Gorkha Janmukti Morcha team, led by general secretary Roshan Giri, on Friday left for New Delhi to participate in the tripartite official level talks to be held on October 11 for the proposed setting up of a Gorkha Regional Authority in the hills.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh also arrived here on Friday on a three-day visit to review situation in the hills.
He will also participate in the tripartite talk convened by Union Home Secretary G K Pillai.
In Darjeeling, Ghosh will hold meetings with district officials to take stock of the situation in the hills before representing the state in the talks.
GJM president Bimal Gurung said the October 11 talks probably would be the last official level meeting before political negotiations begin on power sharing of the proposed Gorkhaland Regional Authority — an interim set up to defuse the tension in the hills.
Gurung on the GJM’s third foundation day on Thursday declared they were ready to sign the treaty for peace and progress of the hill’s people.
GJM’s eight-member delegation led by general secretary Roshan Giri was taking the party’s agenda to the meeting in Delhi, said party spokesman Harka Bahadur Chettri.
He said the GJM would raise issues like territory under the interim set up, power, mode of structure, jurisdiction of tea gardens and nominated members.
GJM Delegation meets Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi – with a little help from empathizers of the true needs of dignified identity in India ?!!
From The Himalayan Beacon
NEW DELHI, October 9th, 2010: A GJM delegation led by party General Secretary Roshan Giri met the leader of the opposition in the Union Parliament Sushma Swaraj at her reidence today.
The delegation apprised her of the ongoing tripartite talks on the demand of Gorkhaland. The delegates also presented Swaraj status paper on Gorkhaland and notes on Gorkhaland.
Swaraj assured the delegates of all possible help and support to the demand of the inclusion of Gorkha dominated area of Terai and Dooars in the proposed Interim Setup. She also assured the delegates that she will discuss about the issue with the Union Government if the need arises.
The delegates also met Jaswant Singh, the BJP Member of Parliament from Darjeeling Constituency and dissused the outstanding issues with special reference to the issue of territory.
Gorkhaland ripples in Kolkata – getting psychologically prepared to let go of what was and never can be a colony of Bengal in a secular India ?!!
From The Times of India
KOLKATA / DARJEELING, TNN, Oct 8, 2010, 06.32am IST: The reverberations of the Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling are increasingly being felt in Kolkata. Just as in the Hills, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) members hoisted their party flag in the city on the occasion of the fourth foundation day celebration of the party on Thursday.
On the other hand, rival Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) has announced staging a dharna outside Writers’ Buildings next week, demanding the arrest of the killers of ABGL leader Madan Tamang.
“The slain leader’s son Sanjog Tamang will lead an ABGL team from Darjeeling to Kolkata,” said ABGL leader Dawa Sherpa.
The refrain at GJM programmes was to accept the challenge of running the proposed interim council for the Hills well while waiting for a separate state of Gorkhaland. While in Kolkata, GJM leaders like Kishore Bhan, Avinash Poudel and Arjun Viswakarma raised the party flag atop a highrise, in Darjeeling a colourful function was staged with a march past by Gorkhaland police and a cultural event at Chowrasta.
GJM leader Bimal Gurung emphasized on the challenges in running the proposed interim arrangement being discussed in the tripartite talks. “With the powers that will be given to the interim set-up, we will have to take it as a challenge to run it well so that we are ready for a separate state,” Gurung said in Darjeeling.
The GJM central committee and a study forum were said to be doing a research on the interim arrangement proposed by the Centre. “The Government wanted to impose its version of an interim set-up, but our study forum members and leaders have worked really hard to make it suitable for us,” Gurung said. Bhan emphasized in Kolkata, however, that the set-up would be there only till the end of 2012.
A seven-member team led by GJM secretary Roshan Giri will leave for Delhi on Friday to attend the October 11 tripartite talks. Gurung said the issue of inclusion of Dooars and Terai in the proposed council would be discussed only at the political level. “A final shape to the council can be given only at a political forum,” he asserted. Eleven rounds of talks have already been held since the first one in 2008, but only two political level meetings have been held so far.
West Bengal chief secretary Samar Ghosh will visit Darjeeling on Friday to take stock of the ground reality
before attending the tripartite talks. He will also seek to give a boost to the local administration, paralysed by GJM’s agitation. Ghosh is likely to outline a priority list for the Hills where development work has been stalled. The state government is also trying to clear the issue of territory for the proposed hill council.
While the GJM wants the interim council to be a nominated body of members only from the party, the state government is in favour of an elected body. Gurung ruled out holding elections to the new arrangement. “Let the opposition cry hoarse or even take to the streets, but I will not allow any election to the interim set-up. Polls can only be held after a final solution to the Hills problem is achieved; until then, members will be nominated,” he said.
Asok slams Mamata for Morcha stance – more confrontation if Siliguri and Dooars not included in territory issue, most probably ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
Siliguri, Oct. 8: Asok Bhattacharya today said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had again adopted a confrontational stand on Gorkhaland and blamed Mamata Banerjee for the hill party’s renewed belligerence.
“The last tripartite talks were fruitful and consensus was reached on several issues. Morcha leaders, too, had articulated a flexible stance and we were optimistic of an early decision on an interim set-up for the hills,” the urban development and municipal affairs minister told journalists here today. “However, after the railway minister’s visit, Morcha leaders suddenly reverted to their aggressive stance. We wonder how effective the next rounds of talks will be.”
Mamata had visited the hills on September 26 and 27 and announced a bouquet of railway projects for the region. Although the Union minister said during the visit that the hills were neglected by the Left Front government, she wanted the region to remain as an integral part of Bengal.
“Before her visit to the hills, we were apprehensive that she would incite the Morcha for narrow political interests. Our apprehension has been proved as cadres of Gorkhaland Personnel, who had disintegrated after steps by the state government, are reuniting. They held parades in the hills yesterday. Further, the Morcha president, who was of late silent, is again raising the demand for a separate state and talks on issues like changing the number plates of vehicles,” said Bhattacharya.
“It seems that as an important ally of the UPA government, the Trinamul chief has given assurances which have encouraged the Morcha to go back on their old ways,” he alleged.
Trinamul said Asok had launched a slander campaign against the party to cover up the Left’s failures to carry out development works in the hills.
“He is playing a political game to malign our image and to hide the government’s failures. The Railway Recruitment Board camp office has already started functioning in Darjeeling, while other projects announced by Mamata for the hills are to be implemented one after another soon,” said Gautam Deb, the Darjeeling district Trinamul Congress president.
“The minister and his cohorts do not have the courage to admit the fact that what Mamata Banerjee had done for the hills was actually their job and they have failed miserably in doing that. The CPM is solely responsible for today’s situation in the hills.”
Samar Ghosh, who took charge as the chief secretary recently, reached Darjeeling today. He will stay there for two days and will be apprised of the situation in the hills ahead of the next round of tripartite talks on October 11.
Peerless multi-unit complex in Siliguri – Asok focuses all projects in the plains of Darjeeling, leaving the hills dry, proving without an iota of doubt just how parochial Bengal is ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Oct. 8: The Bengal Peerless Housing Development Limited will set up a multi-facility complex housing a hotel, healthcare facilities and offices at Dagapur near here.
Bengal urban development and municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya said the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) had allotted three acres along NH55 to Bengal Peerless for the project. He made the announcement after the board meeting of the SJDA here.
“The housing estate will come up near Savin Kingdom (the entertainment park) at Dagapur. Around Rs 50 crore will be spent to build a hotel and restaurants and to set up healthcare facilities and offices on the estate. Construction of the buildings is in progress and we expect Peerless to finish the work in the next few months,” said the minister.
According to sources at the SJDA and Bengal Peerless, the multi-functional complex will be christened Axis Siliguri. A similar project undertaken by the company at Rajarhat New Town in Calcutta with an investment of around Rs 250 crore is called Axis.
Axis Siliguri would comprise three blocks. The first block will be a G Plus-Four building, with each floor measuring about 51,000sqft. The top floor will have 27,500sqft space reserved for a club with facilities like bar, restaurant, swimming pool and gym. The other floors are meant for IT and ITeS (IT enabled Services) companies and other offices.
The second block will have seven floors with a total area of 59,000sqft. It will have a medical unit on the ground floor, while other floors are reserved for offices and IT and IteS. The other block will house a three-star hotel of the Peerless Hotels, a company of the Peerless group.
The minister also said the Container Corporation of India would now onwards mange the perishable cargo complex at Bagdogra airport. The complex was set up to store items like fruits, vegetables and flowers and to facilitate their import to other parts of the country and abroad.
“We will ink an agreement with the Container Corporation of India Limited today. From now on, they will take care of the complex and manage it,” said Bhattacharya, who is also the chairperson of the SJDA.
ConCorIndia, as the enterprise is shortly called, is a government of India undertaking, which manages all the ports across the country and oversees the movement of cargo via rail.
Bhattacharya said there were enquiries from entrepreneurs about the food park and tea park being developed at Leusipokhri and New Jalpaiguri respectively.
“The response from entrepreneurs is pretty good for the food park. For space at the tea park, we have received 94 applications so far from people associated with the tea industry and have asked them to submit money by November 7,” said the minister.
He said a number of IT companies had held discussions with the SJDA, expressing interest in starting units at the IT Park in Matigara, to be developed jointly by Infinity Infotech Parks Limited in Calcutta and the SJDA.
On Sunday, the minister will inaugurate the second flyover in Siliguri near Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminus. It will connect Hill Cart Road with Ward 47 of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation and shorten the distance from Matigara to Siliguri.
“The flyover will facilitate the movement of people through a parallel road to Matigara, instead of the existing NH31 that runs via Darjeeling More. This will also reduce the traffic on the Siliguri-Bagdogra stretch of the highway,” said an SJDA official.
Foul play smoke in mayor chamber fire – our guess on who is responsible for the blaze is as good as yours, but guess who benefits most ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Oct. 10: A fire gutted the mayor’s office at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation this morning, the result of a suspected short circuit that reduced files and a computer to ashes in half an hour.
Both the Trinamul Congress and its ally the Congress which runs the board have smelt a conspiracy in the blaze that is reported to have burnt many financial records and the mayor’s correspondences with Delhi. Mayor Gangotri Dutta said she did not rule out the possibility of a sabotage while Trinamul leader at the SMC Goutam Deb demanded an investigation to find out who was responsible for the fire.
Fire brigade personnel who doused the flames with the help of three engines after half an hour said the fire protection measures in the building were inadequate. “The fire came from the AC machine first and then spread to the computer. I must say the fire protection measures are not adequate in the building. For example four extinguishers are not enough for the building,” said Udaynarayan Adhikary, the deputy director of fire services (north Bengal). He had earlier suggested a water reservoir on the campus and a regular checking of the electrical wiring. Neither mayor Dutta nor civic staff could say when the last check on the electrical wiring was conducted. “If no such checks were done, I will find out why they were not conducted,” Dutta said.
Siddharth Singh, a security guard who was posted at the main entrance to the building, said he had seen smoke emanating from the first floor around 11.30am. “I shouted out to the staff and called the fire brigade.”
With the pujas only three days away, around 40 civic employees were at work on the ground floor. When the four security guards, including Singh, realised that the mayor’s room was on fire, they swung into action with the four fire extinguishers.
The first floor of the three-storied building of the SMC houses the chambers of the mayor, chairperson, deputy mayor, commissioner and head clerk, computer section and the conference room. The fire destroyed the rooms of the mayor and her personal assistant. The lock on the PA’s room had to be broken to access the mayor’s room which is connected to it.
“I don’t know how such a fire broke out, but we have to find out if it was an act of sabotage. There were some documents there in my office related to my visits to Delhi, correspondences with the Union ministry of urban development regarding Siliguri’s inclusion under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and some accounts papers. Considering the importance of the documents, we will conduct an inquiry. A police complaint has been lodged,” said the mayor.
Trinamul leaders too smelt a conspiracy in the fire. “We were vocal about publishing a white paper on the functioning of the previous civic board and conducting special audits from the time the SMC became a municipal body. This may have scared some people. We demand an inquiry into today’s incident,” said Deb.
ABGL leaders meet Chief Secy, demand justice in Tamang murder case – if Buddhadeb could not do it, then who can, first the CID ruse, then the shrugging of shoulders, CPM cannot investigate its own style, can it ?!!
Darjeeling, Saturday, Oct 9 2010 IST: A delegation of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) today met West Bengal Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh and demanded justice in the Madan Tamang murder case.
The three-member delegation of the ABGL, comprising president Bharati Tamang, wife of slain party leader Madan Tamang, general secretary Laxman Pradhan and central committee member Mohan Sharma, also demanded that the CBI should handle the murder case if the CID could not make a road ahead into it.
Mr Ghosh, who came here on a three-day tour, will leave for New Delhi tomorrow afternoon to attend a tripartite talk on the Darjeeling issue on October 11.
The Chief Secretary came here to take stock of the situation in the hills before going to Delhi.
The delegation also raised concern over the working of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), stating that Interim Council could not solve the problem of the hills.
A decision on Darjeeling should be taken after taking in consideration the views of all political parties in the hills, the leaders of the ABGL said.
Earlier, Mr Ghosh held talks with SP Darjeeling DP Singh, Special IG, Darjeeling range, N Ramesh Babu and other police officials. — (UNI)
Strike in BSNL offices – when communications are down, there is cause for concern ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling, Oct. 10: Private security guards of the BSNL offices in the hills have closed down the telephone exchanges in three subdivisions along with the basic transmission system towers, demanding immediate payment of bonus.
The strike by the guards, who are members of the Janmukti United Labour Welfare Organisation, a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha affiliate, began on Friday evening across Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong subdivisions. None of the BSNL employees, except for generator operator, are being allowed to enter the premises.
Pramesh Pradhan, the secretary of the JULWO district committee, said: “It is our fundamental right that we get our bonus. If our demands are not met, we will not allow the generator operator to enter the office and this could lead to total collapse in the communication system.”
The BSNL signed a contract with the Calcutta-based M/s General Security and Information Service to employ people for “watch and ward duty” in November 2009.
“According to the contract signed by the agency, there was no provision for paying bonus to the persons employed …for watch and ward duty at different locations under Siliguri circle,” S.K. Samanta, general manger, telecom, Siliguri, wrote to the agency on October 7. He, however, said the BSNL would extend financial assistance to pay the bonus when funds would be available.
Kumar Khausal, an official of the security agency, told The Telegraph that the bonus would be paid by tomorrow. “Since the offices were closed for the past two days, payment could not be made. The bonus amount will come from the BSNL,” he said.
The agency employs 438 personnel for the Siliguri telecom district and requires around Rs 7 lakh to pay the bonus.
Talks protest – but natural not to see the bigger picture in a secular India and thereby isolate themselves and their kind ?!!
From The Telegraph
Siliguri, Oct 11, 2010: Members of the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee will observe Monday as a black day to protest the tripartite meeting between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the central and state governments in Delhi.
Mukunda Majumdar, the president of the anti-Gorkhaland outfits in the plains, said a rally would be taken out in Siliguri on Monday and effigies of Morcha leaders burnt to protest the talks.