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20 Nov 2017

Binay to demand Bijanbari sub-division

SNS, DARJEELING. 19 November 2017: The Binay Tamang group of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJM) today said that it will take up a demand for converting the Bijanbari Block in Darjeeling to a sub-division when party leaders hold talks with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the fourth bipartite meeting scheduled to take place on Tuesday at Pintail Village in Siliguri. The Tamang camp also said that it will hold discussions on various other issues related to the Hills, while also placing the demand for tripartite talks on the Gorkhaland issue.
Mr Tamang also the chairman of the Board of Administrators for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) will lead a six-member delegation to the Siliguri meting.The delegation will have Kurseong MLA Rohit Sharma, Darjeeling MLA Amar Rai, GTA board vice-chairman Anit Thapa, board member Sanchabir Subba and Morcha leader Tshering DaThal.
"We will be taking out issues regarding the problems faced by the GTA and the people of the Hills. Apart from that, we will also take up the issue of Bijanbari Block, which is one of the biggest blocks in Bengal with 23 gram panchayats. We will demand that it be made a sub-division," Mr Tamang told a press meet here today. He also said that they will demand block bifurcation and gram panchayat bifurcation of other places too before the panchayat elections are held.
After I became the chairman, various organizations, along with tea gardens,served memorandums over various issues,. and we will also take up those matters, along with parza-patta (land documents) for 163 villages along with the implementation of the Minimum Wages Act and the parza-patta for tea garden workers too,' he added.
Asked about the political issues that would be raised and what their proposal for a permanent solution for the Hills would be, Mr Tamang said. "As for us, the permanents solution is Gorkhaland, and we will demand tripartite talks for this as soon as possible."

Gurung had asked public to stay away: Many attend Tamang-Thapa faction rally in Darjeeling

 Darjeeling rally, Tamang-Thapa rally, Gurung, Bimal Gurung, Kolkata News, Indian Express, Indian Express News
The crowd at the rally in Darjeeling on Sunday. Express
ENS,  | Kolkata | November 20, 2017 : The first-ever rally held by the Binay Tamang-led faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in Darjeeling on Sunday received a warm reception, with hundreds gathering at Darjeeling Motor Stand. This is also the first such meet since the constitution of the administrative committee set up by the Mamata Banerjee West Bengal government, which Tamang heads.
While political observers called the event a “watershed moment for Bengal’s Hill politics” even before it happened, Tamang, who was accompanied by Anil Thapa, referred to it as a “victory”. “In light of the tremendous support shown today even in a Gurung stronghold, we want to now appeal to the Centre that we should be called for the tripartite meeting, not Bimal Gurung. We are the ones who truly represent the people now,’’ Tamang said, speaking to The Indian Express after the meeting.
“We have had public meetings in Kurseong, for example. But this meeting was important because the Darjeeling sub-division was a Bimal Gurung stronghold and his own constituency of Tukvar falls in it. But even from Tukvar, as many as 100 vehicles full of supporters came to attend the meeting, is what the police have told me.
People have also come from certain tea estates which were also Gurung strongholds and areas bordering Sikkim, where he was hiding for a while. As far as we are concerned, this shows the decline of Gurung’s support base. The situation in Darjeeling is entirely different from what it was four months ago with the unlawful activities that the Gurung camp was carrying out. The public has gone against them. Moreover, all their main leaders like Gurung himself and Roshan Giri are not in Darjeeling. We are the ones who are here. We are the guardians of the people of the Hills now,” he added.
Sunday’s public meeting also puts Tamang and Thapa in a strong position to return to the drawing board when they, along with leaders from all other Hill parties, meet the chief minister on Tuesday for the fourth round of bipartite talks. According to Tamang, the leaders will be raising pending matters which need to be settled by the state government, as well as raise new demands.
“There are two fresh demands that we will be tabling. First, Kalimpong district was created but there are no sub-divisions. We are demanding that three sub-divisions be formed. Second, Bijenbari, with 23 panchayats, is one of the largest blocks in Bengal. We want this block to be declared a sub-division,” he added.
Tamang further said that the leaders will also discuss the functioning of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and what development projects could be focused on. He said the three issues this administration needs to look at is “Darjeeling as a tourism hub, an education hub and a health destination”.
“Besides these, there are some pending issues that need to be sorted. During the protests there were a large number of agitators who had been arrested. Seventy-nine agitators have been released by the government, but there are still over 150 agitators in judicial custody including senior citizens and teachers. We are demanding that they be released immeditaley. The bonuses of tea garden workers have not been paid in entirety and this needs to be addressed. Also there are three tea gardens run by the Alchemist group which are shut – these need to re-open. And if the company can’t do it, our proposal is that the West Bengal Tea Development Corporation take over these gardens,” he added.

Hills leaders hint at ouster of Bimal Gurung, Roshan Giri from GJM

TNN | Nov 20, 2017, DARJEELING: Emboldened by the footfall at their public meeting in Darjeeling town on Sunday despite GJM president Bimal Gurung's appeal to people to stay away from the rally, rebel leader Anit Thapa chose to take the battle to Gurung camp by hinting at a major reshuffle of the party leadership that could see the removal of Gurung as the party president. A GJM central committee meeting has been called by GJM chief coordinator Binay Tamang on Monday at Ghoom, 8 km from Darjeeling town.
In the fag end of his speech, Thapa dropped the hint without taking names. "We (the other person being Binay Tamang) were expelled from the party. But now let us see who will be expelled," he said. Asked about this remark, Thapa later said, "We will discuss the issue and take a decision at tomorrow's central committee meeting." Significantly, most of GJM's prominent leaders that included GTA sabhasads Satish Pokhrel, Jyoti Kumar Rai and Ramesh Lama, Darjeeling MLA Amar Singh Rai, central committee leaders Alokekant Mani Thulung, Dinesh Gurung, Tshering Dahal, Diwakar Gurung and Taranga Pandit among others attended Sunday's public meeting at the Motor Stand area.
"I will not lie to people. We accepted the GTA which we know is an arrangement within the Bengal government because it was the need of the hour. Otherwise, our party would have vanished. We have not let the TMC flags fly in the Hills. We may have differences with the TMC, but it is also true that we have to keep in touch with the state government to bring development to the Hills," he said.
Expressing satisfaction with the huge turnout at the public meeting, Tamang said Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri had lost political relevance in the Hills.
"His (Gurung) leadership is now limited to sending audio messages from the jungle. People were asked not to attend today's public meeting and call it a black day. However, a huge number of people turned up. This shows that Gurung and Giri have become irrelevant in the Hills," Tamang said.
The leader said he would request the Centre to call a tripartite meeting, keeping in mind the public mandate for the GJM leadership. "We have heard that the state government has written to Delhi to organize a tripartite talk. But we want the Centre to call us for the talks as we now have the people's mandate," Tamang said.
He also said he would head a six-member delegation for the November 21bipartite talks with the state. The meeting will take place at Pintail village near Siliguri. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee is expected to arrive in Siliguri on Monday for the talks.
GTA vice-chairman Anit Thapa, Kurseong and Darjeeling MLAs Rohit Sharma and Amar Singh Rai, Board of Administrators member Sanchavir Subba and GJM central committee member Tshering Dahal will be part of the delegation.

Govt eyes hills' fast growth to win hearts

Posters put up in Siliguri to welcome Mamata Banerjee. Picture by Passang Yolmo
AVIJIT SINHA, TT, Siliguri: Senior Bengal government officials hinted on Sunday that the administration would expedite development projects in the Darjeeling hills to win back the confidence of the people.

"The chief minister will arrive here on Monday and attend the fourth round of bipartite talks with hill parties on Tuesday. After the meeting, she is likely to announce some new infrastructure projects for the hills. Different state departments which have already taken up projects in the hills will be asked to speed up their works," said an official.

The fourth round of talks will be held at Pintail Village, located at Dagapur, on the outskirts of Siliguri.

Along with Mamata Banerjee, who has attended all previous rounds of talks with the hill parties - two were held in Calcutta and one at Uttarkanya here, some members of the state Cabinet will also be present at the November 22 meeting.

After the statehood agitation had been renewed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in June, infrastructure projects taken up by the state or the GTA have come to a halt.

"After the shutdown was lifted, the state has granted additional funds to the GTA and Binay Tamang (chairman of the Board of Administrators) has announced some works that will be taken up in due course. But works which were taken up by the state are yet to move apace," said a source.

The fourth round of talks, political observers said, is significant.

"So far, discussions were on issues related to the agitation. The state has accepted some of the demands made by the parties and taken a few decisions. At this meeting, it seems there would be talks on the development agenda," said an observer.

Even now, Morcha chief Bimal Gurung has supporters in the hills, said the observer.

"By using the development tool, the state would try to alienate Bimal Gurung further and would like to prove its sincerity before the hill population," he said.

State tourism minister Gautam Deb, when asked about the chief minister's visit, said she would also hold a review meeting of Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar districts at Uttarkanya on November 22, a day after the tripartite talks.

"The chief minister might make some new announcements for the region," said Deb.

The review, sources said, is significant, as the BJP has been focussing on these three districts.

State BJP leaders are frequently visiting these places and working for rural polls which would be held next year.

"It is important for Trinamul to retain and consolidate its support base. This can be done by extending benefits through social welfare schemes to maximum number of people. It is obvious that the chief minister will assess the performance of each district," said the source.

Binay to seek land rights to tea garden workers

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling: Binay Tamang said on Sunday that he would raise the issue of granting land rights to tea garden workers during the bipartite meeting with the state government in Siliguri on Tuesday.
"We will raise the issue of granting land rights to the tea garden and cinchona plantation workers. This is an important issue along with the issue of minimum wages for the tea garden workers," said Tamang, the rebel Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader and the chairman of the board of administrators to run the GTA.
More than 60 percent of the hill people reside in the tea gardens and the Binay-Anit Thapa camp of the Morcha is clearly looking at consolidating its rural base as residents of these areas do not have any land rights.
Recently, the state government had announced granting land rights to residents of Mirik civic area. A portion of Mirik civic area falls under a tea garden.
Tamang will be leading a six-member delegation at the bipartite meeting, which will include Anit Thapa, MLAs from Darjeeling and Kurseong, Amar Singh Rai and Rohit Sharma, Sanchabir Subba, member, board of administrators, GTA and Tshering Dahal.
"We will also raise the issue of forming subdivisions in Kalimpong district and also upgrading Bijanbari block into a subdivision. Other issues include bifurcating various blocks in the hills," said Tamang.
There are eight blocks in the GTA area.
Binay Tamang, who was not present at the public meeting at Darjeeling Motor Stand on Sunday, said: "The attendance at the meeting clearly suggests that the days of Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri are over."

State brought us here, says Thapa

Thapa addresses the meeting in Darjeeling on Sunday
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling: Rebel Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Anit Thapa on Sunday indulged in plainspeak and candour by saying it was the Bengal government that had put him and Binay Tamang at the centre of politics in Darjeeling.
Thapa, who is the vice-chairman of the board of administrators (BoA) appointed by the Mamata Banerjee government to run the GTA, asked people to stop hero-worshipping him and Tamang.
"We must not indulge in politics of lies and false promise and speak the reality. It is the state government and not the public which has brought us here. But we will work hard to win people's mandate," Thapa told a public meeting at Darjeeling Motor Stand.
Sources close to the dissident camp claimed that more than 4,000 people were present at the rally though Morcha president Bimal Gurung had given a call to party supporters to boycott the meeting.
Although the Gurung camp has been critical of Thapa and Tamang and accused them of being Bengal government's "stooges", Thapa was unapologetic about it. "The GTA was accepted in 2011 and it was to be under the state government. Why should one make pretence of this body? We will work closely with the state government," he said.
Tamang is the chairman of the GTA's BoA.
After stressing the need for greater co-operation with the government, Thapa made it clear that the nature of hill politics must change. "Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa are both being slowly hero-worshipped. It must change immediately and the politics of hero-worship must end in the hills or else, our party will get back to the same old trend," he said.
The comment is significant as leaders who led the Gorkhaland movement - be it Gurung or Subash Ghisingh of the GNLF - got the status of heroes in the hills. "Because of hero-worshipping, no one dared to ask them questions. If Anit and Binay want to change that culture, it's good," said a veteran Morcha leader.
On Gorkhaland, Thapa urged the people to be pragmatic. "We raise the Gorkhaland issue whenever we start losing public support. Gorkhaland must be raised only after laying solid ground, working out a proper strategy and considering the realities."
Deb's barb at Centre
Bengal tourism minister Gautam Deb on Sunday accused the Centre of not taking an initiative to conserve the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and instead supporting Bimal Gurung whose supporters had allegedly vandalised the Unesco heritage property.

19 Nov 2017

Darjeeling: Tamang faction’s first rally today, Gurung asks people to stay away

Binay Tamang, Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, Gorkhaland, Mamata Banerjee, Kolkata News, Latest Kolkata News, Indian Express, Indian Express NewsENS | Kolkata | November 19, 2017 : The Binay Tamang-Anit Thapa led faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) will hold its first ever public meeting at 11 am in Darjeeling on Sunday after the two leaders were expelled from the GJM by party chief Bimal Gurung in September. It will also be the first ever meeting after the state government had set up a Board of Administrators for the Hills, with Tamang as its chairman.
While the faction had held several smaller meetings in Kurseong (Thapa’s stronghold) and in Kalimpong, the Sunday’s meeting is likely to determine whether it has actually gained traction in the Hills following the over three-month-long indefinite bandh for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Darjeeling has always been a stronghold of Gurung and his own constituency, Tukvar, falls in the district.
Thapa, one of the main speakers at Sunday’s meeting, admitted that the rally is being held to determine how much strength their faction has gained.
“We will of course talk about our plans, our (future) road map, what development projects we have in mind for the Hills, how they will be implemented and how we plan to take the cause of Gorkhaland forward. But, essentially the meeting is being held to see how much traction we have gained, and how much support we have managed to garner in Darjeeling,” he said.
Thapa added that their faction has held numerous meetings in Kurseong, Kalimpong and other areas over the last few months. He said that according to their estimates, the faction expects at least 15,000 supporters on Sunday.
“Of course Gorkhaland is still on the table. But not in the form of the agitation we have just gone through — with innumerable sufferings for the people and violence. People were completely fed up of the indefinite strike. Even if we call a similar strike now, we would lose support,” he said.
Meanwhile, in anticipation of Sunday’s public meeting, Gurung on Friday released an audio message from an undisclosed location, asking the people of the Hills to not attend the rally. Announcing that November 19 will be observed as a ‘Black Day’ in Darjeeling, Gurung said that “it is a ploy” by the Mamata Banerjee-led government to show that Tamang is now the leader of the Hills and also to veer the agitation away from Gorkhaland.
Reacting to Gurung’s call for a boycott of the meeting, Thapa said, “Ab who bhi kya karega bechara. All he can do now is release these audio recordings. I believe that we have managed to capture the Hills already.”
Political observers in the Hills, however, described the scheduled meeting as “nothing less than a watershed moment for Darjeeling politics”.
“Tomorrow’s meeting will determine the future course that the Hill politics will take. If the Tamang faction can show that it has the requisite strength and if thousands of people turn up for the meeting, then it will show that the Gurung faction is waning and that the new leadership has made inroads into Hill politics. Not just Tamang, but there will be space created for new leaders from GNLF and Jan Andolan Party,” said a political analyst in Darjeeling.
The analyst added, “There is a possibility that many will show up tomorrow despite Gurung’s warning. The 104-day strike (demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland) was a bit too much for the people to take and led to a lot of sufferings.”
“From what I have heard, the Tamang faction has also penetrated into Tukvar. Many GJM co-founders have switched over to the Tamang faction — Dawa Lhama, Jyoti Rai and Diwakar Gurung — just to name a few. There were around 90 members in GJM’s central committee and 35 have already switched over to the Tamang faction,” the analyst said.
Sources said that in the coming days, the Tamang faction is likely to reconstitute its central committee, inducting more members into it.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will hold the next all-Hill party meeting on November 21 to carry forward the bipartite dialogue.

कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाले बिनय गुटको समर्थन गर्ने ? ....नगरपालिकामा चाँढै न्यानो घाम लाग्नेछ – रवी प्रधान

डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 17 नोभेम्बर। गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाको कब्जामा रहेको कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाले बिमल गुरुङकै साथ दिएर बस्ने हो अथवा बिनय तामङ गुटलाई समर्थन गर्ने हो भन्ने आजसम्म निर्णय गर्न सकेको छैन। यस्तो अवस्थामा आज कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको 23 नम्बर वार्डकी नगरपार्षदिका लहमु भोटियालाई कालेबुङ पुलिसले पक्राउ गरेको हल्ला फैलिएको थियो।
यसबारे कालेबुङ थानामा पुगेर जानकारी लिँदा उनलाई आधिकारिक पक्राउ गरेको भने पुष्टि हुन सकेन। जिल्ला पुलिस अधिक्षक अजित सिंह यादवले पनि समाचार लेखुञ्जेलसम्म पनि नगरपार्षदिका भोटियाको पक्राउबारे आधिकारिक पुष्टि गरेनन्। यद्यपी नगरपार्षदिका लहमु भोटियालाई कालेबुङ पुलिसले उनकै वासस्थानबाट कुराकानी गर्न भनेर थानामा ल्याएको थाह लागेको छ।
पुलिसले उनलाई सोधपुछ गर्नका निम्ति अथवा पक्राउ गरेर थानामा ल्याएको भन्ने सन्दर्भमा भने कसैले पुष्टि गरेनन्। थानामा ल्याइपुर्यााएकी नगरपार्षदिका भोटियालाई बिमल गुरुङ गुटको मानिएको कारण अनि आजसम्म कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाले बिनय गुटलाई खुलेर समर्थन नगरेको कारण निवार्चित सदस्यहरूलाई थानामा ल्याउनु वास्तवमा चाप सृष्टिको राजनीति रहेको सम्भावना रहेको छ। यस्तो अवस्थामा पनि कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको निर्वाचित वोर्ड भने मौनता साँचेर बसेको छ।
‘कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको 22 जना वार्ड पार्षदहरूसँग वैठक भयो। उनीहरूले हामीलाई साथ दिएर अघि बड्ने निर्णय गरेका छन्। अब चाँढै उनीहरूले पत्रकार सम्मेलन गरेर यसको आधिकारिक घोषणा गर्नेछन्’ जीटीए बोर्ड अफ् एडमिनिस्ट्रेसन उपाध्यक्ष अनित थापाले 9 नोभेम्बरका दिन मोटर स्ट्याण्डमा आयोजित जनसभाबाट उक्त घोषणा गरेका थिए।
कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाका अध्यक्ष, उपाध्यक्ष लगायत सम्पूर्ण नगरपार्षदहरूले आफुहरूलाई समर्थन गर्ने अनित थापाले घोषणा गरेको 10 दिन बितेर जाँदा समेत यता कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको निर्वाचित बोर्डले भने बिमल गुरुङ अथवा बिनय तामङ कसैलाई पनि आधिकारिक खुलेर समर्थनको घोषणा गर्न सकेको छैन। जसको कारण अहिलेघरी सबैको नजर कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको निर्वाचित बोर्डमाथी अडेर बसेको छ।
छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्डको माग गर्दै चलेको अनिश्चितकालिन बन्दलाई राज्य सरकारसँग दुईपक्षिय वार्ता गरेर बिनय तामङले एकाएक फिर्ताको घोषणा गरेका थिए। अनिश्चितकालिन बन्द फिर्ताको घोषणापछि विवादको घेरोमा परेका गोजमुमो नेता बिनय तामङले जीटीए बोर्ड अफ् एडमिनिस्ट्रेसनका अध्यक्षको पदभार 25 सितम्बरका दिन ग्रहण गरेका हुन्। चारैतिर विरोधका सम्मुखिन बनेर पनि जीटीए बोर्ड अफ् एडमिनिस्ट्रेसनका अध्यक्षको पदभार सम्हालेका बिनय तामाङ अनि उपाध्यक्ष अनिता थापाहरूको गुटलाई बिस्तारै समर्थन प्राप्त हुँदै गइरहेको छ। यस्तो अवस्थामा दार्जीलिङ नगरपालिका अनि खर्साङ नगरपालिकाको निर्वाचित बोर्डले उनीहरूलाई साथ दिने घोषणा गरिसकेको छ भने गोजमुमोकै कब्जामा रहेको कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको निर्वाचित बोर्डले भने बिनय तामङ गुटलाई समर्थनको घोषणा गर्न सकेको छैन। जसको कारण हालमा कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको बोर्ड कब्जा गर्ने होडमा बिनय तामङ गुट सक्रिय रहेको एकजना निर्वाचित सदस्यले आफ्नो नाउँ उल्लेख नगर्ने सर्तमा बताएका छन्।
"आजसम्म कसलाई समर्थन गर्नु? भन्ने प्रश्नको चुडान्त निर्णय हुन सकेको छैन। यसबारे नगरपालिकाको निर्वाचित सदस्यहरूले चर्चा परिचर्चा गरिरहेका छन्। यद्यपी अन्तिम निर्णय भने अझसम्म निस्कन सकेको छैन" उनले अझ भने। पहाडको राजनैतिक परिस्थितिलाई मध्यनजर राखेर कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको निर्वाचित बोर्डले पनि आगमी केहिदिन भित्रमा चुडान्त निर्णयको घोषणा गर्नसक्ने उक्त निर्वाचित नगरपार्षदले दाबी गरेका छन्।
यता हालमा बिनय तामाङ गुटलाई खुल्ला समर्थन गरेर अघि आएका वार्ड नम्बर 3 का निवाचित सदस्य रवी प्रधानले भने कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाको निर्वाचित बोर्डले झट्टै निर्णय लिनपर्ने समय आएको बताएका छन्।
‘हालमा कालेबुङ नगरपालिकामा रहेका सबै नगरपार्षदहरूले नै अहिलेको स्थितिमाथि चर्चा परिचर्चा गरिरहेका छौँ। हामीले समयको फल समयमा नै खानुपर्छ। समयभन्दा अघि अथवा समय भन्दा फल खाँदा त्यसको वास्तविक टेस्ट पाउँदैनौँ। यसकारण अब कालेबुङ नगरपालिकामा पनि चाँढै न्यानो घाम लाग्नेछ भन्ने हामीलाई विश्वास रहेको छ’ नगरपार्षद रवी प्रधानले भने।
उनले अहिलेघरी जनताको चाहनालाई लिएर नगरपालिकाले ठिकसँग काम गर्न नसकिरहेको बताउँदै जनताको काम गर्नका निम्ति पनि निर्वाचित नगरपार्षदहरूले सही निर्णय लिने समय आएको बताएका छन्।
‘हामीले नगरपालिकामा निर्वाचित सदस्यहरूसँग चर्चा परिचर्चा गरिरहेका छौँ। चाँडै एउटा राम्रो रिजल्ट निस्कनेछ भन्ने हाम्रो विश्वास छ’ रवी प्रधानले अझ भने। उनले कालेबुङ नगरका जनताले सम्पूर्ण नगरको विकास गर्नका निम्ति नगरपार्षदहरू चुनेर नगरपालिकामा पठाएको बताएका छन्। सोहिकारण सम्पूर्ण नगरपार्षद नगरवासी जनताको चाहना पुरा गर्न मिलेर अघि बडौँ भन्ने चर्चा भइरहेको अनि यसबरे चाँढै निर्णय हुनसक्ने पनि बताएका छन्।
यता अहिलेसम्म बिमल गुरुङ अथवा बिनय तामङ गुटलाई खुल्ला समर्थनको घोषणा नगर्ने कालेबुङ नगरपालिकामा बोर्ड कब्जाको होडमा तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेस समेत भित्र भित्रै सक्रिय रहेको स्रोतले दाबी गरेको छ। यसबारे नगरपार्षद रवी प्रधानलाई प्रश्न गर्दा उनले उक्त कुरा स्वीकार समेत गरेका छन्। ‘नगरपालिका वास्तवमा राजनीति गर्ने ठाउँ होइन। तर बिमल गुट बिनय गुट अथवा तृणमूल पन्थीको कुरा अघि आइरहेको छ। हामीले यसलाई पनि गम्भीरतासँग चर्चा गरिरहेका छौँ। यस्तो अवस्थामा हालमा म स्वंय अनि साथी कुनाल प्रधानले बिनय तामङ गुटलाई समर्थन गरेर काम गर्दैछौँ भने नगरपालिकामा भित्रिने प्रयास गरिरहेको तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसलाई रोक्नका निम्ति पनि त्यहीँ झण्डा भएको त्यही गोजमुमो पार्टीको बिनय गुटलाई समर्थन गरेका हौँ’ नगरपार्षद रवी प्रधानले स्पष्ट पारे।
‘हामीले हाम्रा साथीहरूलाई पनि बुझाउने प्रयास गरिरहेका छौँ। साथीहरूबाट राम्रै फिडब्याक पाइरहेका छौँ’ रवी प्रधानले थप भने।
‘नगरपालिकाको निर्वाचित वोर्डको कुनै फेरबदल गर्न परे त्यस बोर्डको मियाद 6 महिना पुगेको हुनपर्छ। हाम्रो निर्वाचित बोर्डको 6 महिनाको कार्यकाल आगामी 29 नोभेम्बरका दिन पुरा हुनेछ। यदि भविष्यमा कुनै द्विविधा आएको खण्डमा अथवा बोर्ड परिवर्तन गर्नै पर्ने अवस्था आएको खण्डमा हामी काम गर्नेछौँ अनि आगामी नोभेम्बर 30 देखि दिसम्बरको पहिलो साताभित्र चुढान्त निर्णय हुनेछ’ नगरपार्षद रवी प्रधानले अझ भने।

Animal trouble arrests...engineer and two arrested for disturbing wild elephants

TT, Jalpaiguri: An engineer and two of his associates were arrested by the state forest department on Saturday for allegedly disturbing a herd of wild elephants, teasing them and getting into the core areas of forests.
Forest sources said Jasoprakas Debdas, an engineer at Jalpaiguri municipality, was arrested from Karbala Tea Estate in Banarhat - around 60km from here.
Foresters said charges under the Wildlife Conservation Act and Information Technology Act would be brought against him and Debdas will be produced in a court on Sunday.
A forest officer said: "We have reports that Debdas used to enter into the core areas of Gorumara National Park and Chapramari forest without permission, click photos of wild animals and annoy them. He is also accused of misbehaving with our staff."
Debdas, sources said, had also been accused of using drones to take photos of wild animals in the core areas and upload those in the social media. "Two others who used to accompany the engineer have also been arrested," said a forest source.

Bimal meet-skip plea, again

A stage being erected on Saturday for the meeting in Darjeeling 
RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Kalimpong: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung has again appealed to people to not attend Sunday's meeting called by the Binay Tamang faction in Darjeeling, saying participating in the rally would hurt the cause of Gorkhaland.
In an audio message released on Friday night, Gurung, who has been on the run, appealed to the people to remain vigilant as the sole purpose of the meeting was to prove that he no longer enjoys the support of the people.
"A few opportunist leaders are practising politics with the intention to defeat the Gorkhaland cause, which is why the public must remain vigilant... They have called the meeting on the 19th to show that Bimal Gurung does not enjoy the mandate in the hills....
"The meeting called by these few opportunist leaders by ignoring the sacrifices of the 12 martyrs (the Morcha supporters who died in the recent unrest in the hills) is a black day for us. No one should attend the meeting. This is my appeal to my brothers and sisters," he said.
This is the second audio message from Gurung in consecutive days. In his earlier message on Thursday, the Morcha president had made a similar appeal.
Political analysts said the messages betrayed Gurung's desperation to ensure he remained relevant.
"In his latest audio, Gurung has also promised to come out in the public very soon. This suggests he is getting a sense that the people are leaving his sinking ship and he is desperate to keep his flock together. He wants to ensure a low turnout at Sunday's meeting to remain afloat in the hill politics," said an analyst.
The Tamang-Anit Thapa faction, however, is trying its best to ensure a massive turnout. The faction appears to be on upswing with more and more people, including senior leaders of the party and its frontal organisations, expressing their allegiance to them. The faction has been holding rallies in different parts of the hills in the past few days to mobilise the public for the meeting.

18 Nov 2017

सिलोआम होमको चौथो स्थापना दिवस पालन

डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 16 नोभेम्बर। असहाय नानीहरूको भरण पोषण र शिक्षा दिक्षाको व्यवस्था गर्दै आइरहेको ‘सिलोआम होम’को चौथो स्थापना दिवस आज पालन गरिएको छ।
कालेबुङ शहरदेखि लगभग 5 किलोमिटर टाडो इष्टमेन रोडमा अवस्थित उक्त सिलोआम होम युवा सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता कुणाल घतानीले स्थापना गरेका हुन्। हालमा 16 जना असहाय नानीहरूको शिक्षा दिक्षा र भर पोषणको जिम्मेवारी सम्हाली रहेका कुणाल घतानीले ‘सिलोआम होम’ को चौथो स्थापना दिवस पालन गरेका थिए। यस अवसरमा सिलोआम होमका नानीहरूले केक काटेका थिए।
सामान्य रूपमा पालन गरिएको उक्त चौथो स्थापना दिवसमा होमका शुभचिन्तकवर्गक उपस्थित रहेका थिए भने यस अवसरमा नानीहरूको साथमा होमका प्रमुख कुणाल घतानीले क्यालेण्डर पनि विमोचन गरेका छन्। 
उनले होममा रहेका नानीहरूका निम्ति खर्चपात निकाल्नलाई उक्त क्यालेण्डर प्रकाशित गरेर आर्थिक सङ्ग्रह जुटाउने प्रयास गरेको पनि बताएका छन्। हालमा आफुसँग भएका नानीहरू कालेबुङका विभिन्न विद्यालयहरूमा अध्ययनरत रहेको बताउँदै उनीरूको शिक्षार्जनका निम्ति अर्थको आवश्यक्ता हुने बताएका छन्।

Drones to boost surveillance along Uttarakhand border with Nepal, China

Deep Joshi, HT, Dehradun: High definition cameras installed on drones will keep an eye on forests along Uttarakhand’s border with Nepal and China, tracking poachers, timber mafia and Maoists, officials said.

The drones are also expected to play a crucial role in disaster management and employment generation, they added.

“A Drone Application and Training Centre (DATC) will be set up here soon,” a state government source said.

National Training Research Organisation (NTRO) chairman Alok Joshi had during a recent visit to Dehradun announced that the state would have a DATC soon. Joshi had said a batch of 25 youth each would be trained in various technologies relating to all kinds of drone operations.

The proposed institute would be developed by the Doon-based Information Technology Development Agency (ITDA).

“The proposed DATC will (also) help generate employment,” Amit Kumar Sinha, director, ITDA said.

According to sources, employees of the departments of forests, disaster management and police would also be trained in all aspects of drone operations.

“Drones will play a crucial role in disaster management as they will send images of the disaster hit areas, which will be of crucial importance for those engaged in relief and rescue operations,” Sinha said, adding that talks were on with the Central government on various aspects of setting up the DATC.

Drones will also prove to be a boon in tracking the timber mafia and criminals engaged in poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

“Drones will also come in handy in monitoring the forests particularly in the high altitude areas where it is not humanly possible to reach,” the ITDA director added.

‘Good quality’ Nepal tea spoils Darjeeling’s party

The Darjeeling unrest affected the 87 gardens in north Bengal’s tea belt.Pramod Giri, HT, Darjeeling: The unrest in Darjeeling is whipping up a stir in the tea cup as well. The premium Darjeeling tea is getting competition from a Nepalese rip-off, which is as good as the original in aroma and flavour.

Grown on similar Himalayan terrain and climate across the border in Nepal, the tea made its way into Bengal’s cuppa during the 104-day strike in the Darjeeling hills for a separate Gorkhaland state this summer. The strike, marred by violence, affected the 87 gardens in north Bengal’s tea belt.

“The strike extended from mid-June to September-end and paralysed the gardens in Darjeeling. It turned into a golden opportunity for Nepal tea,” said Anil Bansal, a tea trader in Siliguri, north Bengal’s largest city and trading hub. Labourers from gardens producing one of the finest Indian teas migrated to Nepal, looking for greener pastures.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which was spearheading the statehood movement, called off the shutdown but the labourers haven’t returned. The migration affected the gardens in north Bengal. “If Nepal produces 4.5 million kg of tea, only 0.5 million is consumed in the country. The rest enters India,” said Binod Mohan, chairman of the Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA).

The Nepal crop enters India as part of a free trade agreement.

According to traders, customers are not familiar with Nepal tea and don’t ask for it. The Nepal product enjoys a cost advantage. It is blended with Darjeeling tea — the first Indian product to obtain a geographical indication (GI) tag — and sold loose to boost profit margins of traders. The blend is sold as Darjeeling tea.

Sometimes, unblended Nepal tea is also passed off as Darjeeling tea, the traders said.

According to the Nepal Tea and Coffee Development Board, the country produced 5.5 million kg of orthodox tea in 2015-2016, which is about 65% of Darjeeling’s produce. That year, Darjeeling’s orthodox tea production was about 8.5 million kg.

The total area under orthodox tea plantation is increasing in Nepal — from 8,786 hectares in 2013-2014 to 16,245 hectares in 2015-2016. In Darjeeling, production is likely to stagnate because there’s no land available for new plantation and tea bushes are old.

“The demand for Nepal tea is on the rise due to its quality,” said Trilok Chand Agarwal of Sagar Tea House. He said fertile soil, young tea bushes are the two major advantages of Nepal tea.

Cynics admit the cost advantage. DTA chiarman Mohan said: “Though there is no comparison with Darjeeling tea, the cheap quality of fake Darjeeling tea is posing a challenge.” He said the Tea Board of India has been sou- nded out about the import that does not conform to standards.

According to KK Mintri, chairman of the Terai Indian Planters Association, Nepal tea is emerging as substitute and is going to give stiff competition to Darjeeling. “With almost similar flavour and aroma, Nepal tea is produced at nearly half the price of the Darjeeling crop,” Mintri said.

“In the past 10 years, Nepal tea has made progress in global markets,” said Niraj Lama, owner of Happy Earth Tea in New York.

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