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26 May 2018

Min Wages Act: Joint Forum sets 25-June deadline

Tea exports, Indian Tea export, Tea Board India, Tea exports FY18SNS | Siliguri | May 25, 2018: Joint Forum, a conglomeration of over 23 trade unions associated with the tea industry, except for the Trinamul Congress-backed tea workers’ unions, has set a deadline of 25 June for the state government to implement the Minimum Wages Act in the tea sector.

Leaders associated with the Forum huddled together on Wednesday and reviewed the post-rural poll situation in the tea belt, and the role of the ruling party and the state election commission during the rural polls.

The leaders will hold another meeting in Siliguri on 29 June to formulate final strategies based on resolutions adopted on Wednesday for carrying out a movement to demand Minimum Wages within 25 June.

The Forum condemned the alleged vote rigging and efforts to bars candidates from filling nomination papers and allegedly depriving tea workers from electing their representatives freely and fairly.

“Workers in the tea belt are virtually upset as their wages have not been settled yet. We have finally decided to give the state government an ultimatum, demanding implementation of the Minimum Wages Act by 25 June,” the convener of the Forum, Zia ul Alam, said.

“We also plan to synchronize the issue with Assam as its advisory committee suggested minimum wages of Rs 351 a day for tea workers there. With our memorandum to the state government, it will get a month’s time for implementing the Act. In the meantime, we would also inform the planters about workers’ demand for minimum wages,” Mr Alam said.

Notably, ahead of the rural polls, the state government has announced an interim wage hike of Rs 17.50 a day for tea workers and payment of interim value of ration of Rs 9 a day.

Despite the decision to increase the tea workers’ wages from Rs 132.50 to Rs 150 a day and additional hike of wages by Rs 9 as the ration component, Trinamul Congress candidates could not perform very well in the rural polls in the tea belt.

Mr Alam, who is also a senior CPI-M leader, said: “There is no Trinamul Congress in the tea belt. Trinamul bagged some seats by rigging votes in some areas and by making payments in closed tea plantations. In Malbazaar subdivision areas, the Trinamul prevented others from filing nomination papers and tea workers could not exercise their franchise and elect their panchayat representatives.”

“Though (Morcha leader) Binoy Tamang campaigned in tea belt, the Bimal Gurungbacked trade union faction, which is associated with the Joint Forum, performed well by beating Trinamul Congress candidates in the tea belt. As a result, the state government is unnerved and is reviewing the rural poll results in the tea belt,” he said, adding, “We expect a change and massive development in the wage structure for tea workers within June and July this year.”

Notably, the Trinamul leadership in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar has described its unexpected results as a conspiracy of the Left leaders in tea belt.

Chief Minister to visit Kalimpong on May 28

Amitava Banerjee | MP | 25 May 2018, Darjeeling: The stage is all set in Kalimpong for the Chief Minister's visit. This will be her first visit to Kalimpong after having declared Kalimpong as a full fledged district on February 14, 2017.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will arrive in Kalimpong on May 28. She will be returning to Kolkata on June 1.
"The CM will arrive on May 28. She will attend a function of the All Development Board Coordination Committee meeting on May 29 to be held on Dr Graham's Homes school ground. On May 30, she will hold an administrative meeting with the District Administration and Police," stated Dr Viswanath, District Magistrate, Kalimpong.
The Chief Minister will create a new political equation in the Hills. Earlier, under Bimal Gurung relations had hit an all-time low between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and State Government. However, after the agitation and the 104-day bandh along with the exit of Gurung, political equations have changed in the Hills.
Binay Tamang, as the President of the GJM and Chairman, Board of Administrator, GTA has announced a "Zero enmity" policy.
He had earlier announced that he will work in coordination with the State Government and the Hill political parties for development, peace and economical upliftment of the Hills.
Both the GJM and TMC are all set to welcome the CM to Kalimpong. Party flags have been put up along all major thoroughfares with welcome gates and cutouts of the CM.
The GJM is expecting a turnout of more than a lakh party supporters to welcome the CM from Sevok to Delo Tourist Lodge in Kalimpong, where the CM will be putting up.
"Preparations are on by both the GTA and GJM members to welcome the CM. We have already put up welcome banners and welcome gates all along the way. There will be a representation from the GTA to welcome her," stated Binay Tamang.
Similar preparations are on by the TMC memebrs as well.

Sikkim youths want change: Bhaichung... SDF has turned dictatorial front from democratic front: Ex-player

RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, May 26, 2018, Gangtok, May 25: Bhaichung Bhutia is all set to formally launch his Hamro Sikkim Party on May 31 in a bid to challenge the ruling Sikkim Democratic Party (SDF), which has been in government in the state for close to 25.

Talking to The Telegraph, Bhutia said the SDF was increasingly becoming dictatorial and the people of Sikkim, particularly the youths, were looking for a change.

"We are looking for a change. The youths of Sikkim are definitely looking for a change. From a democratic front, it (SDF) has become a dictatorial front. Corruption is rampant here...If anyone speaks, his voice is suppressed. This is not good for Sikkim," he said.

Bhutia alleged that Sikkim has been denied even basic facilities during the long rule of the SDF.

"They speak of development, but basic things like roads, electricity and water is not there. Roads in Sikkim are in a very pathetic condition, drinking water is a problem, despite having so many hydel projects, load-shedding takes every now and then," he said, adding that even the much needed revenue was yet to be generated from about 30 power projects operating in the state.

The party will be launched at the remote village of Daramdin in West Sikkim in the presence of a promised 15,000 to 20,000 supporters. Significantly, though, the party is unlikely to announce the name of its president at the launch.

"In time we will announce," was what Bhutia said when asked who would be the party president. While announcing the name of the party in Delhi on April 26, Bhutia had indicated that he wouldn't be the president and someone "clean and credible person" will be helming it.

Bhutia didn't confirm, but sources said there could be as many as seven vice-presidents representing different communities of Sikkim. Bhutia, Lepcha and Nepali are the three major communities of the state, but within the larger Nepali-speaking community, the Limbus and Tamangs, by virtue of they being Scheduled Tribes, have a separate political identity.

West Sikkim has the biggest presence of Limbus in the state.

Bhutia, who had a rather inglorious innings in neighbouring Bengal, said one of the reasons for launching the Hamro Sikkim Party was to motivate "good people" and youngsters to take to politics.

"Only complaining about how dirty politics is will not help. If we want to change politics, we must be part of it," he said.

Asked about his links with the BJP and the relationship his party will have with other opposition parties in the state, Bhutia said for starters the party will focus on setting its own house in order to make the party strong. "We then can decide on coalition with any party. BJP already has a tie-up in Sikkim with the SDF. SDF is part of North East Democratic Front formed by the BJP. Once they break the alliance, we can think and consider," he said.

Land rights for forest dwellers in GTA area

Binay Tamang at the meeting in Darjeeling on Friday
Vivek Chhetri, TT, May 26, 2018, Darjeeling: The Bengal government has decided to grant land rights to forest dwellers in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) area, moving to enforce a law finalised four years ago.

S.K. Thade, principal secretary, backward classes welfare department on Friday held a meeting with Binay Tamang, chairperson, GTA board of administration in the presence of district magistrates of Darjeeling and Kalimpong and officials of the land and land reforms and forest department.

Tamang said: "The green signal for starting the process of granting land right to forest dwellers have been given by the state government. We are thankful to chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the Bengal government."

The Centre had passed The Schedule Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act in 2006 and the Bengal government had issued a gazette notification for its implementation on October 17, 2014.

While forest dwellers in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri districts were given land rights the same had not been implemented in the GTA area in the absence of gram panchayats.

"It has not been agreed that a new notification for the GTA area will be issued by the Bengal government as there is not panchayat system in place in the hills as yet," said Tamang.

The state government has already identified 149 forest villages in registered forest land and 19 forest villages in non-registered forest land.

"A sub-divisional level committee and district level committee, chaired by the district magistrates with representatives from the GTA will be formed. Campaign to create awareness will start immediately. Forest villagers will be given three months time to make their claims over their land," said Tamang.

Residents of the forest village had been demanding that land rights be granted to them before the green signal is given for construction of rail link to Sikkim.

"I had raised the issue with the state government on November 21, 2017 and on February 7, 2018 with the state government. I had been telling the villagers that the process would start soon and now I am happy to state that the process has finally started," said Tamang.

The state's positive response towards forest villagers and also the GTA's decision to initiate Nijo Griha Njo Bhumi Pralkapo in which landless and homeless, even if they are occupying government land, are given land rights, is expected to bring a windfall for Tamang.

There is huge enthusiasm among the hill residents - almost 60 percent of the population does not have land rights, over the GTA's initiative.

It is, however, not yet clear whether tea garden residents can be immediately given land rights through this scheme as this has not been implanted in the plains garden.

The scheme was launched in Bengal on October 18, 2011, but the same could not be continued in the hills after Bimal Gurung, the then chief executive, GTA, was unhappy that the distribution was being done without consulting the GTA.

"These two initiatives has come as a major fillip for Tamang going by the enthusiasm among the hill people," said an observer.

Teacher wife seeks fresh post-mortem

Arpita at their residence in Raiganj
KOUSIK SEN, TT, May 26, 2018 Raiganj: Arpita Roy, the wife of schoolteacher Raj Kumar Roy who died under mysterious circumstances after he went missing from panchayat election duty on May 14, has sought a fresh post-mortem and forensic tests.

Arpita submitted a letter to the North Dinajpur district magistrate's office here on Thursday evening with the request that the tests be carried out on the last remains of her husband. Roy was buried according to family custom.

"The post-mortem was conducted at the Raiganj district hospital on May 16 and his body handed over to us after two days on May 18 without any reason for the delay. Since then, we have been visiting the hospital and contacting police officials to get the post-mortem certificate. However, the certificate has not been handed over to us till now," said Arpita.

Raj Kumar hailed from Phansidewa, near Siliguri, and was a teacher at a madrasa in Karandighi block of North Dinajpur. He used to stay in Raiganj with Arpita and their daughter.

On May 14, while on duty as a presiding officer at a booth in Itahar block, he went missing and on May 15, night, his mutilated body was found near rail tracks at Sonadanga on the outskirts of Raiganj.

Arpita said the delay had made her and other family members suspect foul play in Roy's death. "Otherwise, there can't be any reason for such delay. That is why, I want my husband's body to be exhumed and post-mortem conducted again in the presence of a magistrate with the procedure video-recorded. I also want all forensic tests to be done so that we do not have any confusion regarding the cause of his death," Arpita.

On May 18, the administration had handed over Raj Kumar's body to his family. It was taken to his home at Phansidewa and was buried as per the family's practice.

After his death, there had been consistent protests and demonstrations in Raiganj. A section of government employees, including schoolteachers had expressed suspicion that Roy was murdered.

The protests had made the administration and police to handover the case to CID.

Arpita's letter has been forwarded to the police and CID, said Ayesha Rani A, the district magistrate.

"We have sent the letter to the police and the investigating agency. They will have to decide on the issue," she said.

Senior police and CID officials however, said they are yet to receive the letter.

"Investigation is in progress. We have not received any formal request to conduct post mortem for the second time," said D I Lepcha, an special superintendent of CID posted in Malda.

Pellet meant for jumbo kills worker

TT, Alipurduar: A forest worker died after he was hit by pellets shot by a forest guard on Friday as the latter tried to ward off a wild elephant that had come in their way while patrolling at a forest stretch in Madarihat block of Alipurduar.

The incident has prompted forest officials to order an inquiry.

Sources said the incident took place at Titi-III compartment under Bhagatjote Beat, in Lankapara Range of Jaldapara wildlife division.

At around 9am, Kabi Rava, a forest guard went on routine patrolling at the forest with three contractual forest workers. Suddenly, they came across a wild tusker.

This made member of the forest team to disperse different ways. Meanwhile Kabi, in a bid to deter the elephant, fired pellets from his gun at the animal.

"Markos Ekka, one of the three forest workers, was standing on the same side towards which Kabi pointed and fired his gun. The sound of firing made the elephant walk away but the pellets hit Ekka on his torso," said a source.

The 24-year-old worker was rushed to the primary health centre in Madarihat and from there to Alipurduar district hospital. He died in the afternoon, around 30 minutes after admission.

"We were patrolling on foot. As the wild tusker came in front of us, we got frightened and all of us scattered to different places. As the elephant still started heading towards me, I fired at it. I had no inkling that Markos was standing in the same side from where the elephant was approaching. The pellets hit him," said Kabi, the forest guard.

The deceased youth, sources said, had joined the department as a casual worker in Lankapara Range three months back.

The incident made senior forest officials react and order an inquiry.

"It is a rare mishap. Preliminary information suggests that as the group disintegrated, the worker had moved on the same side from where the elephant was approaching at them. The guard on the other hand, had no idea and he fired pellets to ward off the elephant. We have ordered an inquiry," said Kumar Vimal, divisional forest officer, Jaldapara wildlife division.

CM office planned in Darjeeling

TT, May 26, 2018, Siliguri: An office of the chief minister will come up at Richmond Hill in Darjeeling, north Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh said at Uttarkanya here on Friday.

Mamata Banerjee, during her earlier visits to Darjeeling, had said that a branch of the CMO would be set up in hills to facilitate administrative works. It would be manned by an official from the CMO, she had said.

Ghosh, while speaking to newspersons, said: "The chief minister's office will come up at Richmond Hill in Darjeeling. Our department will build the office by spending Rs 2 crores. It will have a conference room and an office block, with the chief minister's chamber and other necessary infrastructure. Also, an arrangement for accommodation would be made separately."

The chief minister, during her visits to Darjeeling, stays in Richmond Hill, where there is a bungalow owned by the state.

Ghosh, who held a review meeting with his officials on Friday, also discussed on some other projects. The meeting, sources said, was held to have updated information ahead of the proposed visit of the chief minister. Mamata is likely to visit Darjeeling and Kalimpong hills on next week, said sources.

"We have also taken the task to rebuild the Raj Rajeswari Hall of Kurseong. The total project cost is Rs 1.50 crores and half of the amount has already been provided to the district magistrate of Darjeeling," said the minister.

The hall is an old structure in the hill town that was torched during the statehood agitation on last year.

NBDD, Ghosh said, has also planned to build a better and wide road along the 23-km-stretch between Loleygaon and Lava, two prominent tourist destinations of Kalimpong district.

"State PWD will do the work. They are preparing the detail project report now," he said.

As of now, projects worth around Rs 200 crores have been taken by the department and are in progress.

"We have also planned to finish the work of a modern resort at Lataguri in Jalpaiguri district before Durga Puja. The resort is coming up on one acre land and will have 18 rooms, a conference hall, separate dining room and lounge. We have spent Rs 8 crores for the project," the NB development minister said.

Once completed, the resort would be handed over to West Bengal Forest Development Corporation that will run it.

Another key project that he referred is installation of solar pumps in all six districts of north Bengal for the benefit of farmers.

"A sum of Rs 128 crores has been allocated for the project. Initially, we will install such pumps for irrigation in three blocks of each district. The BDOs of these blocks have been asked to select the beneficiaries," said Ghosh.

पोस्टअफिस बन्द जारी: साधारण मानिसहरू समस्यामा

डी.के.वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ25 मई। नेशनल पोस्टल युनियन अफ् ग्रामिण डाक सेवकले बन्द गरेको भारतव्यापी पोस्ट अफिस बन्दको क्रममा कालेबुङ जिल्लाभरीका सम्पूर्ण पोस्ट अफिसहरू बन्द रहेको छ। गत 22 मई देखि सुरु भएको अनिश्चितकालिन बन्दले आज 4 दिन पुग्दा समेत खुल्ने कुनै छाँट देखा परेको छैन। 
कालेबुङ शहरबिचै रहेको कालेबुङ मुख्य डाक घरमा बन्दको कारण मानिसहरू दैनिक सेवाबाट बञ्चित बन्न परिरहेका छन्। बन्दको पाँचौ दिन पनि आज कालेबुङ मुख्य डाकघर अघि पोस्ट अफिसका कर्मचारीवर्गले नाराबाजी गरेका थिए।
ग्रामिक डाक सेवकहरूको सात्र सुत्रीय मागलाई लिएर अघिबाटै युनियनले केन्द्रसरकारलाई माग राखे पनि केन्द्र सरकारबाट कुनै प्रकारका सकारात्मक प्रत्युत्तर नआएपछि आखिरमा भारतब्यापी पोस्ट अफिस बन्द भएको हो। जसको प्रभाव कालेबुङमा समेत पर्न गएको छ। सरकारबाट अहिलेसम्म ग्रामिण डाक सेवकहरूको मागबारे कुनै सुनवाई नभएपछि उक्त अनिश्चितकालिन बन्द अझै अघि बड्ने सम्भावना रहेको छ। जसले गर्दा पोस्ट अफिसबाट पाउनुपर्ने सुविधाहरूबाट जनसाधरण अझै केहि दिनसम्म बञ्चित बन्न पर्ने निश्चित रहेको छ।
‘विभिन्न सात सुत्री मागहरूलाई केन्द्र सरकारले सुनवाई गर्दै न्याय दिने हामी माग गर्दछौँ। सरकारले हाम्रो मागलाई सुनवाई नगरेकै कारण यसरी बन्द गर्न बाध्य बनेका हौँ’ ग्रामिण डाकव सेवक भानु छेत्रीले भने। यसक्रममा उनले ग्रामिण डाक सेवकहरूलाई सातौँ वेतन आयोग चाँडो लागु गर्नुपर्ने पनि माग गरेका छन्। यसैक्रममा अर्का ग्रामिण डाक सेवक एन.बी सुब्बाले पनि सरकारले सम्पूर्ण मागहरू पुरा गर्नुपर्ने माग गर्दै पोस्ट अफिस बन्दको कारण जनसाधरणले भोग्न परेका समस्यामाथी खेद प्रकट गरेका छन्।
यता विगतका केन्द्र सरकारले गठन गरेको कमलेश चन्द्र आयोगले ग्रामिण डाक सेवकहरूका निम्ति सातौँ बेतन आयोग लागु गर्नुपर्ने सिफारिस गरेपनि उक्त सिफारिसलाई वर्तमान केन्द्रका सरकारले मानि नलिएको पनि थाह लागेको छ। जसको कारण ग्रामिण डाक सेवकहरूले भारतव्यापी पोस्ट अफिस बन्दलाई जारी राखेका छन्।

कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाद्वारा जनहितको कार्य

डी.के.वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 25 मई। कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको 18 नम्बर वार्ड स्थित हिलटपदेखि 4 सय मिटरको सडकमा अलकत्र बिच्छाउने कार्य गरेको छ। अर्बन डेभलभमेन्ट म्युनिसिपल अफेयर्स अन्तर्गत उक्त सडकको कार्पेटिङ कार्य आजदेखि आरम्भ भएको नगरपालिका अध्यक्ष रबी प्रधानले बताएका छन्। 
कालेबुङ नगरपालिका अध्यक्ष रबी प्रधान अनि क्षेत्रिय नगरपार्षद मुन्ना लामाको विशेष उपस्थितिमा उक्त कार्यको आरम्भ गरिएको छ। अघिबाटै निर्मित उक्त बाटो आजसम्म अलकत्र बिच्छाउने कार्य नभएको भन्दै यसपल्ट भने कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाले अर्बन डेभलपमेन्ट म्युनिसिपल अफेयर्स  मार्फत् उक्त बाटोमा अलकत्रा बिच्छाउने स्वीकृती पाएपछि कार्यको थालनी गरेको पनि अध्यक्ष प्रधानले बताएका छन्। उक्त कार्यको निम्ति विभागबाट 10 लाख 23 हजार 44 रूपियाँ अनुमोदन भएको बताउँदै उक्त बाटो बनिएपछि लगभग दुईसय भन्दा अधिक परिवारका मानिसहरूले सुविधा पाउने पनि प्रधानले बताएका छन्।
अर्कोतर्फ बर्षौँ देखि अलकत्रा नबिच्छाएको सडकमा नगरपालिकाले गाँउले मानिसहरूको हितमा बाटोलाई व्यवस्थित बनाउने कार्य गरेपछि सम्पूर्ण गाउँका मानिसहरू खुशी भएका छन्। क्षेत्रका मानिसहरूले नगरपालिका अध्यक्षको कुशल कार्यशैलीको कारण यसरी बाटोमा अलकत्र बिच्छाउने सुविधा उपभोग गर्न पाएको भन्दै उनीहरूले आभार प्रकट पनि गरेका छन्।
अर्कोतर्फ कालेबुङ नगरपालिका क्षेत्रका क्षेत्रका आर्थिक बिपन्न परिवारका सदस्यहरूका निम्ति प्रधानमन्त्री आवास योजना अन्तर्गत 3 सयवटा घर निर्माणको स्वीकृती दिएको अध्यक्ष रबी प्रधानले बताएका छन्। आर्थिक बिपन्न परिवारका मानिसहरूको घर निर्माणार्थ आफुहरूले सरकारलाई पत्रचार गरेपछि 3 सयवटा स्वीकार भएर आएको अनि उक्त परिवारका सदस्यहरूको आजै देखि बैंकमा खाता खोल्ने कार्य आरम्भ भएको पनि अध्यक्ष प्रधानले जानकारी दिएका छन्। उक्त घर निर्माणको निम्ति सरकारले 4 लाख 20 हजार रूपियाँ उपभोक्ताको बैंक खातामा हालिदिने अनि उपभोक्ताले 25 हजार आफ्ना बैंक खातामा लगाउनुपर्ने रहेको पनि उनले बताएका छन्। 
उनले नगरपालिका क्षेत्रका आर्थिक बिपन्न परिवारका मानिसहरूलाई घर निर्माणको निम्ति प्रत्येक वार्डका नगरपार्षदहरूले चिन्हित गरेको अनि मोठ 7 हजार मानिसहरू चिन्हित गरिए पनि प्रथम चरणमा केवल 3 सय जना मानिसहरूको घर स्वीकृत भएको उनले स्पष्ट पारेका छन्।  

25 May 2018

Morcha, GTA gear up to welcome Mamata

Binoy TamangSNS | Darjeeling | May 25, 2018: The Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) has said it is all set to welcome chief minister Mamata Banerjee to the Hills as she makes her first trip to Kalimpong after it was declared a separate district on February 2017.

The party on Thursday said it is expecting over one lakh supporters to turn out on 28 May from Sevoke (near Siliguri) to Delo in Kalimpong where the CM is scheduled to stay.

“The Bengal chief minister will be arriving in Kalimpong as announced earlier on the 28th of this month, and preparations are on from both the Gorkhland Territorial Administration and our party to welcome her from Sevoke to Delo. We expect more than one lakh party supporters from Kalimpong and the highway area to welcome her that day,” Morcha leader Binoy Tamang said.

According to Mr Tamang, who is also the chairman of the GTA Board of administrators, Miss Banerjee will be attending a meeting of all development boards in Kalimpong on 29 May, followed by a high-level administrative meeting of the GTA on the 30th.

“We have already started putting up welcome banners at different places with welcome gates also being constructed. Apart from that, people will stand on the roads with flags that day. People from the GTA will also be present to welcome her that day,” Mr Tamang said.

He said this on the sidelines of a programme where he inaugurated the office of the Morcha youth front at Chowk Bazaar here. At the programme, the Morcha claimed that about 50 supporters of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) joined their party from the Bloomfield Rishiat constituency.

Bengal among states with highest number of child abuse cases

Child abuse, Sexual assaultBiswabrata Goswami | SNS | Midnapore | May 25, 2018: With the incidents of sexual abuse on children rising alarmingly across the country, National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) findings reveal that in most of the cases children were abused at home. In 94.8 percent of the cases, according to NCRB data, children were subjected to rape by someone known to them.

In 10 percent of rape cases, culprits were family members or relatives. Going by the nature of crimes and categories as registered with the police, 14,913 cases were registered under Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in 2015.

Among them, 8800 cases of rape on children were registered across the country. The report also stated that 25 percent of them were committed by employees and co-workers, while 35.8 percent of these crimes were committed by neighbours.

As per NCRB-2016 report, abusers were grandfathers, fathers, brothers and close family members. In India, it stands at 4.4 percent, while in West Bengal, it has been recorded at 2.52 percent.

Crime against children in India has increased by a sharp 11 percent between 2015 and 2016. And West Bengal is one of the states recording highest incidents of child abuse.

The maximum number of missing children was recorded as 16,881 in 2015- 16. To make children aware about the crime, the Child Rights and You (CRY), IIT Kharagpur Volunteer Chapter, recently organised its 29th workshop cum awareness camp under the banner of Baalrakshak project at Kharagpur Mission Living School, where around 100 children and 20 parents participated.

While speaking about the crime, Rajashri Debnath, a PhD student of IIT-Kharagpur and executive team head said, several students have confessed the crime for the first time in the workshop and as per the data recorded, abusers were known to the victims in 100 percent of the cases.

“Among the abusers, 68 percent were family friends (elders), 16 percent were own family members and another 16 percent were friends, school and tuition teachers,” said Mr Debnath. In the workshop, children were given a lesson on self-defence as well.

Ghost in Hill hospital? ...circulated earlier in social media in Bharuch, Gujarat.

Ghost in Hill hospital?MP, Darjeeling: 'A well lit building. Suddenly a figure draped in white, with long flowing black hair appears and effortlessly climbs the pillars to disappear behind the balcony of the floor above...' What could be a clip from any horror film is now doing the rounds on social media, with a person claiming to have clicked it in the middle of the night at the Darjeeling Sub-Divisional Hospital. The video, which has gone viral, has created quite an uproar in the Hill town.
The video, which had appeared on social media a few days ago, is accompanied by an audio clip, in which a male voice appeals to carefully watch the video that follows. He then goes on to claim that he had shot the clip at the Darjeeling Sadar Hospital.
"This video clip was recorded by me in the out-patient department area of the Eden Hospital (Darjeeling Sadar Hospital). My aunt, who is terminally ill and admitted in bed number 135, wanted hot water and I had gone out to get it at around 11:40 pm when I saw this and recorded it," stated the voice.
The clip soon became viral with questions being raised. "It is in no way the Sadar Hospital. We do not have such pillars. It is a prank and we are not giving much attention to this. However, the police and district administration should take action against any person or persons involved in such a prank," stated Dr Saikat Pradhan, Superintendent of Darjeeling Sadar Hospital.
Interestingly, the same video clip had earlier surfaced on social media in Bharuch, Gujarat.

Girl jumps out of train to chase phone thief ... Youth eludes Calcutta student

Maitrayee Jha at Malda Town station on Wednesday night. Picture by Kousik Sen
KOUSIK SEN, TT, May 25, 2018, Raiganj: A first-year student from Calcutta jumped out of a train at a station near Malda to chase a youth who had snatched her bag and cellphone on Wednesday night.

Maitrayee Jha, travelling with her parents in a reserved coach of the Howrah-Malda Town Intercity Express, could not catch the youth as he scampered away and melted into the darkness.

"I was sitting near one of the doors of the coach. The train reached Khaltipur station around 10.45pm. Suddenly, a youth got in and within minutes, snatched my cellphone and bag and jumped out," said Maitrayee.

The chemistry student of Calcutta's Jogamaya Devi College screamed and alerted the other passengers and jumped out of the door soon after.

"I felt I should not let him escape. I ran behind him. The train was still standing and the miscreant went on the other side of the tracks by getting under a coach. I also crouched and went to the other side. I ran for a few metres but he managed to melt into the darkness," said Maitrayee, a resident of Malda.

Maitrayee's father Tusharkanti Jha followed his daughter while the other passengers alerted some Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel on duty in the train.

By then, the train had started moving and the passengers had to pull the chain to halt it so that the father and the daughter could board.

"It was only when we returned to the coach that I saw some policemen in the train. Ever since the train left Howrah, we had not seen a single policeman in the coaches," said Tusharkanti, a headmaster in a Malda school.

Tusharkanti's wife Jayashree said she was worried her husband and daughter might be attacked when they went after the miscreant. "I was resting on the seat when my daughter's screamswoke me up. I saw her jump out of the train, followed by my husband. They returned after some time. I was worried because the miscreant might have attacked them," said Jayashree.

Around 11.15pm, the train reached Malda Town station where the family went to the GRP and filed a complaint.

Purnendu Kundu, inspector-in-charge of the local Englishbazar police station in Malda, also reached the station, promised assistance in the probe and said he suspected that the miscreant was from Malda.

"My cellphone had fallen out of my pocket when I jumped out of the train. I have learnt that the police have recovered it. But we are yet to get back the belongings of my daughter. She has lost two cellphones, some cash, spectacles and some other items," said Tusharkanti.

In March this year, at least three passengers, including a woman, were assaulted by a group of youths in a sleeper coach of the Sealdah-New Alipurduar Teesta-Torsha Express.

The incident occurred when the passengers asked the youths to leave their reserved berths.

The youths occupying the seats had refused, leading to an altercation that soon snowballed into the attack.

The youths brought in some others who assaulted the passengers a Bhaluka Road station, around 55km from Malda.

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