GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Rs 102 crore to regularise jobs – Delhi funds for council staff: Gurung – something that Bengal never did thus losing out ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, Nov. 12: The interim authority for the Darjeeling hills will be directly funded by the Centre to regularise the jobs of the ad-hoc workers of the DGHC, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung claimed today.
Interacting with The Telegraph at the Morcha’s Singamari office, Gurung said the Morcha had demanded Rs 105 crore per annum from the Centre to pay the salaries of the 6,321 casual workers of the council after they were regularised.
“We had worked out this amount and had demanded Rs 105 crore from the Centre,” Gurung said. “However, the Centre agreed to provide Rs 102 crore per year.” The Morcha president said the funds would be paid directly to the interim authority, the Gorkhaland Regional Authority, for the disbursal of salaries to the permanent workers.
Gurung said unlike the current DGHC, which has to depend on the state government for funds to pay the salaries of its workers, the interim authority would totally bypass the Bengal government and pay the workers’ salaries from its funds received directly from Delhi.
He added that the annual release of Rs 102 crore as salary grant would not be part of the Rs 1500-Rs 2,500 crore that the Centre had promised to pay to the interim authority for two years for the development of the hills. “In fact, this Rs 1,500-2,500 crore does not even include the budgetary allocation under the plan and non-plan heads which we will receive according to norms,” said Gurung.
Expressing concerns over the lack of professionals in the hills, especially in technical fields, Gurung said: “I want people who have gone out of Darjeeling to return. During the two years of the interim authority, we have to demonstrate how well we can govern ourselves and I will ensure that the area is administered efficiently.”
Gurung said the Centre’s salary grant would bring “immense relief” to contract workers who had been agitating since 2007 under the banner of the Morcha-affiliated Janmukti Asthahi Karmachari Sangatan (JAKS).
Following a hunger strike by the workers, the state government had on September 17, 2009, given a written assurance that the process of regularisation would start soon.
A fax sent by then state home secretary Ardhendu Sen had said: “The government has authorised the DGHC to start the regularisation process against the sanctioned vacancies in all categories…”. Assured by this, the workers had lifted their hunger strike.
However, when by the end of October nothing was done, the workers again started agitating. B.L. Meena, the administrator of the DGHC, gave a written assurance to JAKS on October 30, 2009, that the regularisation process would start from November 17, 2009. But the state government later said the frequent closure of government offices was delaying the process. “Lets now hope that everything works out fine,” a Morcha leader said.
Union home ministry sources refused comment on the funds to be provided to regularise the contractual workers. A senior ministry official, however, said “so far, no funds have been disbursed”.
Plains tell govt to wait till election – like, why not forever ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Nov. 12: The Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee has asked the CPM-led government to refrain from attending talks on the interim set-up for the hills till next year’s Assembly polls.
“Results of elections to the Lok Sabha and local bodies have proved that people of Bengal have lost faith in the state government. The CPM, which will be in power for maximum six months, doesn’t have the moral right to attend the tripartite talks and take any decision on major issues like the formation of the interim set-up in the Darjeeling hills,” said Mukunda Majumdar, the president of the Bhasha Banchao Committee, today.
“So, we want the CPM leaders to refrain from attending the meetings. The talks should resume after the new government comes to power in 2011.”
Rivals to go for Left scalp on rail, road – go slow at wildlife crossings just another new political excuse ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY AVIJIT SINHA
Siliguri, Nov. 12: The campaign unleashed by the chief minister and his colleagues against the running of trains through the forest stretches of the Dooars appears to have boomeranged.
The Opposition and the common people alike are now blaming the government for the persistent transport problems in the Dooars.
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had demanded a halt to train services between Siliguri Junction and Alipurduar Junction from 6pm to 6am following the deaths of seven elephants on tracks on September 22. His colleagues Ananta Roy and Jogesh Burman had also threatened to launch a movement against the railways headed by the Left Front’s bete noire Mamata Banerjee.
“The government has adopted a biased stand on road and rail communications in the Dooars. Earlier, they had forced NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) to change the alignment of the four-lane east-west expressway. Later, they wanted restrictions on train services in the Dooars, where 30 lakh people depend on the railways,” said Prabhat Dey, the secretary of the Dooars East West Corridor Movement Committee. “The state is, however, not bothered to repair NH31 for better commute.”
The Congress has hinted that it will exploit the resentment against the government in the coming Assembly elections.
“The CPM-led government has not taken any initiative to improve the communications system in the Dooars. When lakhs of people were encountering problems everyday because of bumpy roads and slow running of trains, the state ministers were targeting Mamata Banerjee. The ministers’ criticism, without any positive efforts on their part, will emerge as an issue in the coming elections,” said Mannalal Jain, the secretary of the district Congress in Jalpaiguri.
Trinamul Congress leaders in Jalpaiguri endorsed Jain’s views.
“The government and the CPM have deprived the Dooars residents of their dues. Their intentions have become clear once again” said Chandan Bhowmik, the secretary general of Trinamul in the district.
“We will highlight the one-sided comments of ministers in the elections. At the same time, we will tell the people to take note of the efforts put by the railway minister for the development of the region,” he added.