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Latest Posts

15 Dec 2017

K'pong civic body chief calls it quits

Rabi Pradhan (extreme right) and Bhim Agrawal (extreme left) Proposed Chairman and Vice Chairman of Kalimpong Municipality with Anit Thapa (Centre) GTA Vice Chairman
SNS, KALIMPONG, 14 DECEMBER: Following a protracted power struggle and confusion at the Kalimpong Municipality, chairman Suva Pradhan finally put in his papers today, minutes before ward councilors were supposed to float a no-confidence motion against the chief.
Mr Pradhan said he didnot want to "fragment the house" by staying put and allowing the no-trust vote. "The vote could have yielded any result, but I could not see a family breaking down and divided by politics, That is the very reason why I decided to step down," he said.
talking to reporters, Mr Pradhan added that he has, however, not resigned as the ward councilor and that he would continue to work with the rest of the councilors on matters that would benefit the town. "There is always a team, and I am in the same team. It's just that the captain has changed," he said.
He had firmly stood by his decision to contest today's vote ever since he received the requisition from councilors supporting the Binay Tamang-Anit Thapa faction of the councilors on 4 December. It may be noted that Mr Pradhan had also resigned from the Bimal Gurung faction of the Morcha on 2 December.
Asked if he resigned under duress and pressure from any quarter, including the administration, he said he is glad that the administration has been chasing the ones who were involved in violence.
'We have not done anything that would require an FIR or other legal procedures. I was not under pressure of the administration," he said, adding that the Municipality should work independently and not have party affiliation.
The board now has to accept his resignation. After issuing a notice of three days, a seven-day time will be given to the board to accept the resignation, while a new chairperson and vice- chairperson will have to be chosen in another seven days.
However, councilors who voiced against the chairman went ahead with the vote today, even though Mr Pradhan had already tendered his resignation. They started the process of removal of the chairman and voted on the floor. Twenty of the 22 votes fell for the removal of the chief, while only two voted for the chairman to stay.
Clarifying on the 'unnecessary' exercise, councilor of Ward-3 Rabi Pradhan, said, "He resigned on his own free will. However, what if he comes up with excuses like
he resigned under pressure, within 7 days of the acceptance of the letter? That is why we went for the vote."
The process to elect a new chief will be held on 20 December, it is learnt.
Meanwhile, vice-chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration board, Anit Thapa, who was present at the municipality today, said they have proposed Rabi Pradhan and Bhim Agrawal councilor of Ward-9, for the post of the chairman and vice-chairman, respectively.
Mr Thapa also said that Sonam Yakha, who has been with his faction of the Morcha since "day one," will be made the GTA tourism department's chairman.
Municipality executive officer, Debyendu Shekhar Das, said the house will accept Mr Pradhan's resignation within seven days, and that Mr Pradhan would continue as the municipality chief until a new chairperson is had.

Authorities 'helpless' as Bagdogra Airport traffic snarl rules roost

MANAS BANNERJEE, SNS, 14 DECEMBER, BAGDOGRA. Authorities concerned have expressed helplessness when it comes to easing the traffic congestion at Bagdogra Airport, thanks to the rampant parking of vehicles belonging to the government, VIPs and the Army Compounding the problems today were some tourist cabs and hired vehicles, some that even had political party flags in them.
Police sources said they were "powerless" in handling those vehicles, especially those belonging to the Army, VIPs and political parties.
While the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) keeps a close vigil on the overall security in and around the airport, police look into the law and order problem and check crimes.
"Army personnel do not understand the practical problem here, and they park vehicles on the lane, even as some cases related to the same offence have been registered against them," police sources said." They may not follow the traffic rules outside, but interestingly, departmental proceedings have started against some personnel belonging to several defence wings like the SSB, BSF and even the Army for carrying cartridges in their bags. They were caught doing so during scans conducted by different airlines. Recently, a defence staff was found carrying a magazine of a gun, which was full of bullets, in his bag," the police sources said,
Similarly, airport authorities are in no position to control the hundreds of taxis parked on the airport premises, while their drivers even do not bother to pay the parking fees, just like the drivers of cars belonging to VIPs, Army and other defence organizations.
Asked to comment on a vehicle with Trinamul Congress party flags, INTTUC unit president for local taxi drivers and owners, Raja Dey, said: -The vehicle was just waiting for footballers, who will be coming from Kolkata by flights.The party organizes a night football tournament here every year."
Bagdogra Airport Director Rakesh R Sahay, who is in Ranchi attending two-day conference there, admitted the problem of traffic congestion and public grievances over the abnormal parking fees.
"The contract for collecting parking fees will be terminated. We plan to increase the time limit from 5 to 10 minutes as a fresh contract will be signed", he said over phone.
"Space constraint is a major issue in managing parking, as there are hundreds of unauthorized local cabs. Around 300 local taxis occupy a huge space, causing accommodation problems for other vehicles, which are, therefore, forced to park at different areas unscientifically," he added.
It may be mentioned here that a driver has to pay Rs 55 if s/he crosses the 5-minute time limit set for dropping passengers and returning to the gate.
When contacted, the Trinamul Congress-backed INTTUC unit president, Raja Dey, said: "The present agency is collecting parking fees illegally from a car driver, who enters the Airport area to drop passengers and returns in an empty car. The agency cannot demand parking fees for the delay caused by the traffic congestion. Drivers, who do not park their small cars in the parking area refuse to pay Rs 55 for a few minutes."
"We do not pay parking fees because authorities here have not yet provided the basic amenities which are required for a parking place," he said, adding,"This agency s motto is to collect money by blocking the toad forcibly.
Not ably a small police outpost was set up at the Bagdogra Airport during the tenure of the Siliguri Police Commissioner K Jayaraman to maintain law and order there,
while posts for a sub-inspector, two assistant sub-inspectors, four constables and seven civic volunteers were sanctioned in 2013, when the number of flights was far less than it is now. "The sub-inspector's post is lying vacant since the past many days, while the rush of passengers and vehicles goes beyond control every day," police sources said.
Top officials, meanwhile, conducted an inspection on 23 October last for setting up of a well- equipped police outpost to manage the unruly situation at the airport, it is learnt.
(To be continued)

Avocado fast becoming a source of small scale earning for farmers in hills

Prashant Acharya, EOI, SILIGURI: After Darjeeling tea, the second item that is fast growing in popularity and has started dominating garden and kitchen of farmers in the hills, is avocado (alligator pear).
Having more nutrition than many other fruits in the world, it is now being considered as an important contributor to human diet and this has encouraged many farmers in the hills to start production of avocado. In the last couple of years, people of hills especially from the Mirik region have shown interest in growing avocado around their residences for business purpose as well as for making general people aware about its nutrition values. For most of the farmers in Mirik Busty, avocado production has become a source of small scale earning and many are gradually crawling large scale production of the fruit.
An avocado orchard was first made commercially by R B Zimba in and around 2004 at his place, situated six to seven Kilometers downhill from Mirik Bazar, in Mirik Busty and Duptin Taar. Today the market value for this fruit is around Rs 130 per kilo. They even sale it at a price of Rs 30 to Rs 40 per piece. 
Zimba foresees that the avocado production can reduce the unemployment burden if done and supported by the concerned departments, in a very large scale. The effort required for avocado orchard is minimum, says he. 
Furthermore, he advises that the seedling planting has to be done in between the months of June to September. This is because within these months the seedling reaches the height of two to four feet and it is the best months for the plant sap to be shifted from the pot to the earth. The distance to be kept between the saplings is around eight to 10 feet. He has been with avocado production for almost 12 years. He further informs that if any interested individual wants the plant saplings then the individual must do it as an advance order.
According to Zimba the health benefits of avocado include weight management, protection from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, treating osteoarthritis and enhancing the absorption of nutrients from the body. It also reduces the risk of cancer, liver damage and vitamin K deficiency – related bleeding. 
Avocado helps keeping eyes healthy and protecting the skin from signs of aging and the harmful effects of UV rays. It also helps in maintaining blood sugar levels and has antioxidant properties. It even helps to increase circulation, boost cognitive abilities and build stronger bones. He said as per the recent research study, avocado seeds are used for the treatment, inflammatory conditions and hypertension as well as for improving hypercholesterolemia. 
Another research study shows that consumption of avocado leads to improved diet quality and nutrient intake, including a lowered risk of metabolic syndrome.
“Avocado is rich in more nutritional benefits that will be explored in the years to come. The avocado orchard further awaits the government blessings for which the employment opportunities can be created in this field too. The people involved on this field can play a healthy contributing role to the benefits of the society and health factor of different individuals with varied ailments”, said Zimba.

SC stay on Madan trial

Vivek Chhetri, TT, 14 December 2017, Darjeeling: The Supreme Court has stayed the Madan Tamang murder trial after the CBI said it would challenge a Calcutta court order discharging Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung in the case.

"The CBI counsel submitted that it intends to challenge Bimal Gurung's discharge," Amar Lama, brother of Madan and a lawyer who is pursuing the case, said.

The stay by a Supreme Court bench of Justices Kurian Joseph came on a plea by Tamang's widow Bharati seeking reinvestigation of the 2010 case and cancellation of the bail to 22 of the 47 accused.

Bharati had also alleged that the chargesheet had been filed without complete evidence. Gurung had been discharged by the trial court in Calcutta in August this year.

Those out on bail include Gurung's wife Asha and other Morcha leaders Roshan Giri and Binay Tamang, Jana Andolan Party president Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Trinamul leader Pradeep Pradhan.

Bharati has also moved Calcutta High Court against the discharge. "Our petition challenging Gurung's discharge will come up for hearing on January 9, 2018," said Lama, the brother of the slain leader.

Discharging Gurung, the sessions court had observed that the CBI had failed to provide enough evidence. The order, which had come in the middle of the 104-day shutdown in the hills, had proved a major relief for Gurung.

Madan, the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League leader, was hacked to death on May 21, 2010, before a rally.

GJM rebel grip on Kalimpong Municipality...20 against Suva Pradhan -2 for Pradhan

Anit Thapa GTA VC with the proposed new Chairman Rabi Pradhan (Right) and Vice Chairman Bhim Agarwal (left)
RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, 14 December 2017, Kalimpong: The rebel faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is set to take control of the Kalimpong municipality after chief Suva Pradhan was voted out on Thursday in a no-confidence motion that he chose not to face by resigning.

A little after the meeting began for the no-trust motion, Pradhan came out and told reporters he had quit. But the councillors belonging to the rebel Morcha group of Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa decided to hold the vote anyway. Twenty of the 22 councillors present supported the motion.

Pradhan was once seen as a loyalist of Morcha chief Bimal Gurung. Kalimpong is the third of the four hill civic bodies to have come in the grasp of the rebel Morcha group after Kurseong and Darjeeling. Trinamul runs the Mirik municipality.

Hill carnival glare on toy train, Land Rover - Rides for visitors at fest to highlight Darjeeling heritage symbols

A Land Rover (top) and a toy train in Darjeeling. Picture by Passang Yolmo
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling: Darjeeling's two iconic heritages, the century-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and the sturdy Land Rovers, will run together during the Teesta Rangeet Tourism Festival.

Tourists who have not yet taken the Land Rover ride will not only be given one free - from Maneybhanjyang to Chowrasta in Darjeeling over a distance of 27km - but the festival organisers and members of Singalila Land Rover Owners' Association have also decided to provide free accommodation to visitors at Maneybhanjyang.

Buddha Tamang, a member of the organising committee said: "We will organise a cultural event at Maneybhanjyang on December 27. There will be a cultural show by various communities from the hills. The next day, a Land Rover rally will be taken out."

Once the Land Rover rally reaches Ghoom, it will run along with the famed DHR. "We are trying to highlight our two most important heritages," said Tamang.

Chandan Pradhan, secretary of the Land Rovers' association said: "We will provide free accommodation to tourists on December 27 for the cultural show. The Land Rover ride, too, will be free."

Maneybhanjyang, where many homestays have come up, can accommodate 200-250 tourists, said Pradhan.

There are 42 Land Rovers in the Maneybhanjyang area, all made in 1954. "People from across the country come to Maneybhanjyang offering to buy these Land Rovers. Sometime back, our people sold two Land Rovers each to buyers from Mumbai, Bangalore and Nagaland," said Pradhan.

Vintage lovers are willing to pay more than Rs 8 lakh for the vehicle - the only mode of transport to high-altitude spots like Sandakphu and Phalut - but locals now are unwilling to let go of these sturdy workhorses.

"In April this year, people from England have shown interest to visit Maneybhanjyang to celebrate the vehicle's 70 years," said Pradhan.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had taken a keen interest in Land Rovers when some were brought to Chowrasta in Darjeeling once. "She had inspected the vehicles and expressed a desire to visit Sandakphu and Phalut," said Pradhan.

Land Rovers at Maneybhanjyang take tourists to Sandakphu and Phalut, situated at 12,000 feet. Drivers of other vehicles are reluctant to climb so high.

While Sandakphu is 31km from Maneybhanjyang, Phalut is 20km further uphill. "During the festival period, we are planning to give some discount to the tourists on hiring charges," said Pradhan. The normal rates are Rs 4000 to Sandakphu and Rs 7500 to Phalut, which includes an overnight stay at these points.

Collision in fog kills five

The wreckage of the car. (Biplab Basak)
TT, 14 December 2017, Jalpaiguri: Five persons, including two children and three women, died in a road accident at Torolpara on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri early on Thursday morning. Five others have suffered injuries.

All were returning from a wedding when the Maruti Van they were travelling in collided head on with a truck. Police officials suspect dense fog as the reason for the accident.

"They had come in 13 small vehicles and one of these vehicles, a Maruti Van, collided head on with a truck near Torolpara, located around four kilometres away from the bride's home. There were 10 persons in the car, including the driver," said a police official.

The driver of the truck, which was also damaged, fled.

Hearing huge sound of the crash, locals came out and rescued the injured. Other members of the marriage party also reached the spot soon. They then rushed all the 10 to the super-specialty hospital here where doctors pronounced four dead. Another died soon after admitted at the hospital.

"It was dark all around, with dense fog cover. We rushed to the spot and found that four are dead, including my mother. Others were wailing in pain," Badal Roy, a relative of the groom who lost his mother Jaya, 40, said.

The others were been identified as Sabita Roy, 36, Atishwari Roy, 42, Dwipsikha Roy, 13, and Joy Roy, 14. Among them, Sabita, Jaya and Joy are residents of Kuchlibari in Cooch Behar while others are from Mainaguri.

Blood platelet units in district hospitals

Gautam Deb at NBMCH on Thursday. (Passang Yolmo)
TT, 14 December 2017, Siliguri: The state health department will set up blood component separation units for at the district hospitals in Siliguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong.

Also, the districts hospitals in Siliguri and Darjeeling will get platelet aggregation facility, said state tourism minister Gautam Deb here on Thursday, while adding that healthcare facilities at North Bengal Medical College & Hospital (NBMCH) will also be augmented as the new multi super-specialty hospital building would be ready at the premises by June next year.

The minister, also chairman of the Rogi Kalyan Samity of NBMCH, met the principal and superintendent.

During the recent outbreak of dengue and other vector-borne diseases in Siliguri and surrounding areas, a demand was made from different corners to set up blood component separation unit. Considering the necessity, the state health department has agreed to introduce the facility at the district hospitals of Siliguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. The hospitals of Siliguri and Darjeeling will also get a platelet aggregation facility," Deb said.

The minister also mentioned that the new building of the multi super-specialty hospital that is coming up at the same area will be ready by June 2018. The six-storied building is under construction and department is spending Rs 150 crore.

The new hospital will have specialist units like cardiology, nephrology and neurology, along with special life support system unit, modernised advanced laboratory and intensive care unit, said sources.

"Once the multi super-specialty building turns operational, sophisticated medical equipment worth Rs 64 crores would be installed. Also, the hospital will get 268 additional beds," said Deb.

The minister said that at present, NBMCH caters around 1,200 patients at a time in the wards. A proposal has been sent to Swasthya Bhawan in Calcutta to increase the number of beds to 1,473.

कालेबुङ नगरपालिका बिनय गुटको झोलिमा ..........बहुमत प्रमाणित नगरी शुभ प्रधानले दिए राजीनामा.......भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्समा शुभप्रधान विरुद्ध 20 जना- पक्षमा 2 जनाको मतदान

डी.के.वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 14 दिसम्बर। सबैको केन्द्रबिन्दुमा रहेको कालेबुङ नगरपालिकामा अनतत: गोजमुमो बिनय तामाङ गुटले नयाँ बोर्ड बनाउने निश्चित भएको छ। बिमल गुरुङ गुटले बनाएको नगरपालिका बोर्डका नगराध्यक्ष शुभ प्रधानले राजीनामा दिएपछि अबोप्रान्त बिनय गुटलाई नयाँ बोर्ड बनाउने बाटो खुल्ला भएको छ। 
‘कालेबुङ नगरपालिकामा अविश्वास प्रस्ताव आउन अघिनै मैले आफ्नो पदबाट राजीनामा दिएको छु’ शुभ प्रधानले आफ्नो पदबाट राजीनामा दिएको घोषणा गर्दै भने। सर्वप्रथम उनले नगरपालिकामा ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्स’ को वैठकमा भाग लिएपछि आफ्नो राजीनामा पत्र सुम्पिएभने त्यस लगत्तै बाहिर आएर पत्रकारहरूलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै आफुले नगराध्यक्ष पदबाट राजीनामा दिएको घोषणा गरेका हुन्। ‘मैले ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्स’ मा गएर बहुमत प्रमाणित गर्न चाहिन। यसकारण आफ्नो पदबाट राजीनामा दिएको हुँ’ शुभ प्रधानले अझ भने।
गोजमुमो पार्टीभित्रै गुटबन्दी भएपछि बिमल गुरुङ गुटको कब्जामा रहेको कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको सत्ता कब्जा गर्नका निम्ति बिनय गुटले जीटीएको सत्ता सम्हालेदेखिनै सक्रिय रहेको थियो। यस्तो अवस्थामा बिनय गुटका 14 जना नगरपार्षदहरूले नगराध्यक्ष शुभ प्रधान विरुद्ध अविश्वास प्रस्तावको पत्र दिएपछि आज उनले बहुमत प्रमाणित गर्नुपर्ने भएको थियो। ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्सको’ निम्ति डाकिएको सभामा नगराध्यक्ष शुभ प्रधानले बहुमत प्रमाणित गर्नको साटो उल्टै राजीनामा पत्र दिएपछि गोजमुमो बिनय गुटका निम्ति नयाँ बोर्ड गठनको बाटो स्पष्ट पारदिए।
सम्पूर्ण 22 जना नगरपार्षदहरू उपस्थित रहेको उक्त ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्सको’ सभामा नगर अध्यक्ष शुभ प्रधानले सुरुमानै आफ्नो सम्बोधन राखेपछि उनले नगराध्यक्ष पदबाट राजीनामा दिएको घोषणा गर्दै उक्त राजीनामा पत्र सभामा प्रस्तुत गरे । 
राजीनामा पत्र वैठकमा प्रस्तुत गरेपछि उनले बाहिर आएर पत्रकारहरूलाई भोलिको दिनमा कालेबुङ नगरका जनताको हितमा एउटा परिवार जस्तो मिलेर कार्य गर्न तयार रहेको बताए । पत्रकारहरूलाई सम्बोधन गर्दा भावुक देखिने शुभ प्रधानले भने –‘नगरपालिका एउटा परिवार हो। यस परिवारमा मिलेर कार्य गर्न चाहन्थे। साथीहरूले नगराध्यक्षको पदबाट हटाउन अविश्वास प्रस्तावको पत्र दिएपछि मैले आखिरमा बहुमत प्रमाणित गर्न नचाहेर राजीनामा दिएको हुँ। भविष्यमा कालेबुङ नगरको हितमा राम्रो कार्य होस् भनेर मैले यस्तो कदम उठाउन उचित ठानेको हुँ’ प्रधानले अझ भने।
कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्स’ को सभामा नगराध्यक्ष शुभ प्रधानले अत्यन्त्यै नाटकीय ढंगमा आफ्नो पदबाट राजीनामा दिएपछि उनले त्यस वैठकमा आफ्नो बहुमत प्रमाणित गर्नपर्ने कुनै आवश्यक्ता नै थिएन। तर बोर्डले राजिनामा पत्रको त्यँहा कुनै औचित्यनै ठानेन अनि राजीनामा दिएर पनि नगरपालिकामा ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्स’को मतदान भयो। 
प्रधानले अध्यक्ष पदबाट राजीनामा दिएपछि उक्त सभा ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्स’ कै निम्ति डाकिएको कारण त्यहाँ उक्त औपचारिकता पुरा गरिएको थाह लागेको छ। यद्यपी यस सम्बन्धमा बिनय तामाङ गुटका नगराध्यक्ष रवी प्रधानले आफुहरूले कुनै खतरा लिन नचाहेको भन्दै ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्स’ मार्फत् नै नगराध्यक्ष शुभ प्रधानलाई पदबाट हटाउने प्रक्रिया गर्दै मतदान गरिएको अनि त्यस मतदानमा शुभप्रधान विरुद्ध 20 जनाले मत खसाले भने 2 जनाले शुभ प्रधानको पक्षमा मतदान गरेको रवी प्रधानले बताएका छन्। 
 ‘22 जना नगरपार्षदहरूको उपस्थितिमा अविश्वास प्रस्ताव माथि सम्पन्न सभामा राजीनामा दिने कार्य भए पनि सभा अविश्वास प्रस्ताव माथिनै राखिएको कारण हामीले त्यसैमाथि कार्य अघि बडाउने काम गरेका थियौँ। बङ्गाल म्युनिसिपल एक्ट अनुसार ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्स’को प्रक्रिया सुरु भएपछि अध्यक्ष शुभ प्रधानको पक्षमा 2 अनि उनी विरुद्ध 20 जनाले मतदान गरेर उनलाई पदबाट हटाउने कार्य भएको छ’ बिनय गुटका नगरपार्षद रवी प्रधानले भने। 
यता नगराध्यक्ष शुभ प्रधानले राजीनामा पत्र दिएपछि कसरी ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्स’ को प्रक्रिया अघि बड्यो भनि प्रश्न गर्दा उनले आजको सभा नै ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्स’को निम्ति डाकिएको कारण त्यो कार्य भएको स्पष्ट पारेका छन्। ‘नगराध्यक्ष पदबाट शुभ प्रधानले राजीनामा दिए पनि उनको राजीनामा स्वीकार हुनमा एक सप्ताहको समय लाग्ने हुँदछ। एक सप्ताहमा राजनैतिक उतार चढाउ हुँदा केही पनि हुनसक्छ। यसकारण हामीले कुनै खतरा लिन चाहेनौँ अनि उनलाई पदबाट हटाउनका निम्ति प्रक्रिया अघि बडाएर मतदान गरेका हौँ’ रवी प्रधानले स्पष्ट पार्दै भने।
यसबारे पुन: शुभ प्रधानसँग जान्न चाहँदा उनले पनि ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्स’को निम्ति नै सभा डाकेको कारण राजीनामा दिएर पनि विश्वास मत देखाउने कार्य भएको स्पष्टिकरण दिए। ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्सको सभामा मैले राजीनामा दिए पनि सभा बहुमत देखाउन निम्ति बोलाइएको कारण त्यो मतदानको प्रक्रिया सम्पन्न भयो। मैले आफु अध्यक्ष पदमा नबस्ने निर्णय गरेको कारण राजीनामा दिएपछि बहुमत प्रमाणितको निम्ति भएको मतदानमा म आफैले पनि आफ्नो विरुद्धमा भोट हाले। किनभने त्यस पदमा नबस्ने निर्णय गरेपछि मैले आफ्नो पक्षमा मतदान गर्नु कुनै आवश्यक्ता नै थिएन’ शुभ प्रधानले स्पष्ट पार्दै भने।

अनित थापाले घोषणा गरे नयाँ अध्यक्ष अनि उपाध्यक्षको नाउँ

नयाँ बोर्डका अध्यक्ष रवी प्रधान (दाहिने) अनि उपाध्यक्ष भीम अग्रवाल (देब्रे) जीटीए उपाध्यक्ष अनित थापासंग (केन्द्र)

डी.के.वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 14 दिसम्बर। कालेबुङ नगरपालिका अध्यक्ष पदबाट शुभ प्रधानले राजीनामा दिनको साथै ‘भोट अफ् नो कन्फिन्डेन्स’को औपचारिकतामा उनले बहुमत हासिल नगरेपछि यता बिनय तामाङ गुटबाट नयाँ अध्यक्ष अनि उपाध्यक्षको नाउँ घोषणा गरिएको छ।
गोजमुमो बिनय तामाङ गुटका महासचिव एवम् जीटीए उपाध्यक्ष अनित थापाले कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको नयाँ बोर्डका अध्यक्ष रवी प्रधान अनि उपाध्यक्ष भीम अग्रवालको नाउँ घोषणा गरेका छन्।
‘कालेबुङ नगरपालिकालाई लिएर अनेकौँ अडकलबाजी थियो। आज यहाँ हाम्रो बोर्ड बनिने तय भएको छ। हाम्रो नयाँ बोर्डका अध्यक्ष रवी प्रधान अनि उपाध्यक्ष भीम अग्रवाल हुनेछन्’ अनित थापाले नाउँ घोषणा गर्दै भने।
उनले कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाले जनताको हितमा राम्रो कार्य गर्ने बताउँदै नगरपालिका बोर्ड सञ्चालनका निम्ति राम्रा मानिसहरूको एउटा कमिटि बनाउने पनि बताएका छन्। उनले नगरपालिकाको वोर्डले आफुहरूलाई समर्थनको घोषणा गरेर पनि समर्थन नगरेपछि अन्तमा नयाँ बोर्ड निर्माणको प्रक्रिया अघि बडाउन बाध्य बनेको थापाले बताएका छन्। कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको नयाँ वोर्ड आगामी 20 दिसम्बरका दिन बनिने तय भएको छ।
नयाँ बोर्डका घोषित अध्यक्ष रवी प्रधानले 3 नम्बर वार्डबाट गोजमुमो पार्टीको टिकटमा चुनाव जितेका हुन्। यता घोषित उपाध्यक्ष भीम अग्रवाल भने 9 नम्बर वार्डबाट तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसको टिकटमा चुनाव जितेका नगरपार्षद हुन्। उनीहरू दुवैलाई एकैसाथ राखेर अनित थापाले कालेबुङ नगरपालिका कार्यालयमा नै नाउँ घोषणा गरेका हुन्।
यसक्रममा तृणमूल पार्टीको टिकटमा चुनाव जित्ने भीम अग्रवालमा उपाध्यक्ष बनाउने घोषणा सम्बन्धि पत्रकारहरूले सोधेको प्रश्नको जवाबमा उनले नगरपालिकामा चुनाव जितेर आउने नगरपार्षदहरूलाई कुनै पार्टीको रूपमा नहेरेको स्पष्टिकरण दिएका छन्। उनले यसैक्रममा नगरपालिकाको वर्तमान उपाध्यक्ष सोनाम याखालाई जीटीए पर्यटन विभागको अध्यक्ष पदमा नियुक्ति गरिने घोषणा गरेका छन्। यसबारे औपचारिक कार्य सुरु गरिसकेको पनि स्पष्ट पारेका छन्।

14 Dec 2017

Heritage hopes high as Tagore's K'pong memories lie in ruins

NISHA CHETTRI, SNS, 13 DECEMBER, KALIMPONG: It was here that Rabindranath Tagore inaugurated the first telephone line connecting Kalimpong with Kolkata with the recitation of his poem 'Janmadin,' while the Kabi guru also penned some of his unforgettable poems in Indian literature during his first journey to Kalimpong in 1935.
However, despite the place holding such historical significance, Gouripur House here is now lying in ruins.
A major tourist draw in Kalimpong town, where Tagore stayed for 104 days in his four visits, the now dilapidated house is one of the important places for tourists, especially those from West Bengal itself.
"Gouripur House now looks likes haunted house, while a horror film "Jekhane Bhuter Bhoi" was also shot on the backdrop of this house," a local man said.
The Kalimpong Milanee Club has been trying hard for government recognition and heritage status for this house, and according to the president of the Club, Dr Dulal Chandra Roy, they have already filed applications in this regard to Chief Mi sister Mamata Banerjee during her visits to the town.
"On behalf of Milanee Club, we have put up an application with the CM several times directly when she visited Kalimpong. We are still waiting for a response. Tourists in large numbers regularly come to see this place to get a direct feel of Tagore, but they return very sad to see the pathetic condition of the house that holds such great historical significance," Mr Roy said.
According to him, they want the government to declare this house as a heritage building and construct a "Rabindra Museum' there.
He said four officials of the West Bengal Heritage Commission visited Gouripur House very recently. "This could be a positive sign in our efforts to have this house recognized," he said.
The former principal of Kalimpong BT College, BR Chettri, who lives near Gouripur House, too said tourists flock to the house with great expectations, "but eventually, they are disheartened to see the run-down structure."
Sangita Chhetri, who has been taking care of the building voluntarily after her mother, the Late Krishna Sharma, said the government should turn this building into a museum, so that the historical importance of the place lives on.
The history
Tagore was the first Nobel Laureate to visit Kalimpong for a number of times and it was here that he wrote a number of his immortal literary creations.
Sources in the know say that Tagore used to stay in a particular room of the first floor in the house, which used to be kept exclusively for him.
Tagore had come to Kalimpong in 1938 for the first time and stayed at Gouripur House for almost 52 days.
Local people also talked about how they were told that Mr. John Anderson Homes, the founder of the Dr Grahams Homes school, used to visit Gouripur House on his horse to meet Tagore and share his views on political and other matters.
Tagore wrote some unforgettable poems in his first trip to Kalimpong such as, 'Janmadin' (May 1938), 'Jarathikali' (June 1938), 'Jaksha' (June, 1938) and 'Maya' (June 1938).
"One of the most memorable events in the history of Kalimpong was the inauguration of the first ever telephone line connecting Kalimpong and Kolkata, inaugurated by Tagore with the recitation of 'Janmadin' at the Gouripur House. On 21 April 1940,Tagore again visited Kalimpong and stayed in the Gouripur House till 25 June that year," sources said.
The other poems the Gurudev penned in the town included 'Nam karan', 'Jatil Sansar', 'Damama oi baje' and 'Apaghat'
Tagore came to Kalimpong for the third and final time on 20 Sept 1940, with hopes of recovering from his illness. However, he had to be taken back to Kolkata from Gouripur House on 27 September in an unconscious state. The Camphor tree planted by Tagore still stands tall with all the memory in front of the building.
The only surviving person to witness Tagore's stay in Kalimpong is Krishna Sharma, who is ailing now. She used to clean the rooms and run errands for Tagore, she recalls. She, along with her family members, is still living in the Gouripur house. The house was a private property of one BK Roy Chowdhary, who actually hailed from Bangladesh. It is believed that he had asked Tagore to stay at his place whenever he visited Kalimpong.
People now rue that the land/ compound of the house is being encroached upon by the day, but that neither the administration nor the house owner is taking initiatives to preserve the building.
"We are going to mark the 150th Birth Anniversary of Tagore with a hope that Kalimpong will be named with lot of respect as another home of the bard like Shantiniketan," Mr Roy said.

Shared by Kalimpong News from The Statesman, 14 December 2017 (Source & Courtesy) 

Traffic, parking problems expose Bagdogra Airport to securitythreat

MANAS R BANNERJEE, SNS, BAGDOGRA, 13 DECEMBER :The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), guarding the main entrance as the first line of security at Bagdogra Airport. often fails to check vehicles and passengers who come in vehicles, exposing the airport to security threats.
While some drivers there do not allow the personnel to check as they call themselves 'regulars; others also do not want to go through the checks as they would lose the precious five-minute time they get to get stuck in the chaotic traffic, drop their passengers/relatives/ friends, again negotiate out of the randomly-parked vehicles and get out of the airport.
The 'time slip' that a driver is given at the gate by the parking collectors is valid for a mere five minutes,while drivers do not want to lose this time and pay a full Rs 55 for just dropping a passenger.
Traffic congestion is another reason for the security personnel to skip the all-important checks. According to official sources,given such"problems" the CISF personnel at the main entrance have been asked to keep a "strict vigil" on the cars and their occupants, while check only if something is suspicious or amiss.
Parking problems, traffic congestion, proper security arrangements inside and outside the airport, passengers' complaints on several issues, including long queues and the delay in boarding flights, were topics of hot discussion in the last monthly meeting of all authorities concerned, including the CISF, police and airlines, convened by the Bagdogra Airport Director in December, sources said.
"Traffic congestion is being knowingly created by a group of collectors so that they can demand parking fees from the drivers as soon as-their five minute time lapses," sources said.
Congestion at the dropping point near the departure and arrival terminals, due to parking of some government,VIP and Army and other defence wing vehicles on the bay, is a common sight at the airport, while arguments between parking fee collectors and drivers at the gate is all too common, which add to the traffic congestion.
" Drives give us a 200 rupee note and leave the exit count after counting all the money returned to him, ", a parking fee collector fee said when he was asked to comment on the long queue of vehicles at the gate. 
A senior tour operator, meanwhile, said the parking system and the manual method of collection of parking fees is a burning issue at the Bagdogra Airport. The airport authorities should immediately introduce an electronic system to count the time limit, before demanding the parking fees," Samrat Sanyal said.
"The matter was discussed with Airport Director Rakesh Sahay. He took initiatives, conducting surprise checks for a few days, but the situation persists. More plots of land is required to expand the airport premises so as to accommodate a large of cars, while parking arrangements should he made properly as per the category of vehicles," Mr Sanyal added.
"Bagdogra Airport is a small Airport but important due to its location. The number of passengers and Flights is increasing by the day. Security officials handle 3,000 to 3,500 passengers on an average everyday.  A total of 23 flights are scheduled to land here today and then takeoff," an official sources said today morning.
Surprisingly, Bagdogra authorities do not have information on cars that enter everyday due to a lack of system. On an average, 1500 cars enter the airport premises daily, according to a parking fee collector. The private agency that manages the parking here did not reveal the exact number of vehicles that enter and how many vehicles pay parking fees every day.
One of the directors of the private agency, Md. Ejaz, said: 'The manual system was mentioned in the tender, as it was Floated in 2015. An electronic system will be introduced in 2018, as a fresh tender will be floated that year."
"The time limit has been fixed on the basis of the distance covered. Five minutes was fixed because on the short distance,- Mr Ejaz said, adding, "We have contracts for collection of parking fees in Indore, Bhubaneswar, Patna and other airports, There is no proper system." He also disclosed that collectors do not claim parking fees from government vehicles belonging to very important person(VIP).
"How can we charge the fees from the VIPs? A total of 300 local taxis belonging  to different organisations, even affiliated to the Trinamool Congress, don ot pay parking fees, Md. Ejaz claimed

China denies building tunnel to divert Brahmaputra water, says ‘hope India won’t conduct unfounded speculation’

Brahmaputra originates in Tibet where it is called Yarlung Tsangpo and is known as Siang in Arunachal Pradesh before it enters Assam and flows southwards to the sea through Bangladesh.PTI, Beijing, 13 December 2017: China denied on Wednesday plans to construct a tunnel to divert River Brahmaputra amid reports of highly polluted waters from its tributary Siang flowing into India.

“I would like to point out that China’s position on the eastern part of the China-India border is consistent and clear,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in response to questions about the reports on blackened, muddy waters with cement and sledge of the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh.

He refuted reports that it may due to a tunnel being constructed on Chinese side.

“I have never heard of the project mentioned by the Indian side. It is hoped that the Indian side will not conduct unfounded speculation and reports,” he said in a written response to a question in this regard.

In October, China had denied reports of plans to build 1000km long tunnel to divert Brahmaputra waters to the arid regions of Xinjiang, saying the report is untrue and false.

There is, however, no explanation for the highly polluted waters in Siang river.

Brahmaputra originates in Tibet where it is called Yarlung Tsangpo and is known as Siang in Arunachal Pradesh before it enters Assam and flows southwards to the sea through Bangladesh.

In 2016, China had declared that it would be building a dam on a tributary of the river, sparking concerns of its potential downstream impact in India.

Arunachal Pradesh State Water Quality Testing Laboratory (SWQTL) in a recent report said the water of the Siang river, which has turned dark and muddy, has become unfit for human consumption.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu had drawn the attention of the Centre on the river’s contamination, which he said might have been caused due to activities on the Chinese side and asked the Government of India to take up the matter with Beijing.

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