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21 Apr 2014

Mirik leader claims TMC brought democracy to hills

DEEP MILAN PRADHAN, EOI, MIRIK, 20 Apr 2014: Hill TMC leader from Mirik Busty Kamal Dewan today claimed the political environment has become democratic in the hills following the party’s establishment here. He opined the hill folk must support TMC chief Mamata Banerjee in her efforts to fulfill her dream of converting Darjeeling into “Switzerland”. Speaking to media persons here, Dewan said the TMC’s decision to field a celebrated figure like Bhaichung Bhutia from Darjeeling, has augmented the possibilities of implementation of central development schemes.
Dewan also asserted TMC candidate Bhaichung Bhutia is certain to win and added Bhutia will make sure Darjeeling district is developed as much as the other districts of the state. “The people don’t want violence, oppression and autocracy. They desire peace and democracy and this will be made clear by Bhutia’s victory in the Darjeeling LS seat” Dewan stated. Claiming that the “conscious people” across the hills and plains are supporting TMC, he also alleged the “anti-development leaders” are depriving hills of development and employment. He further said the hill people will be able to live freely in a democratic environment under the leadership of Hill TMC president Rajen Mukhia.

Baichung to continue politics even if faces defeat

EOI, Kurseong: Bhaichung Bhutia, the Trinamool Congress candidate from Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency, is confident of clinching victory in the 16th general election. The voting for the constituency has already been completed on April 17 and the result is scheduled come out on May 16.
The former captain of the Indian football team, Bhutia had suddenly and surprisingly made his foray into politics as the TMC candidate for Darjeeling LS constituency.
Whatever be the result of the poll, the erstwhile footballer will not be quitting politics which he clarified in some of his recent interviews. When asked by reporters recently in Darjeeling, Baichung said he is sure of a resounding victory from the constituency but if he faces defeat, he will not cease to continue his political work for the interest of the people and his party.
Baichung further said if the people of the constituency give him the opportunity to represent them at Parliament, he will ceaselessly strive to intensify the development process in Darjeeling hills.  
When asked about the opposition’s allegations that he knows a little or nothing about politics, Bhutia replied that one is not born an expert but learns things gradually.
Importantly, as much as 13 candidates from various parties have contested the election from the concerned constituency in the ongoing general poll. But political observers feel amongst them only two candidates, BJP’s SS Ahluwalia supported by the GJM and the TMC’s Bhaichung Bhutia, supported by GNLF, are the front-running contenders to clinch victory. The other major candidate who may also make an impact is an independent candidate Dr Mahendra P Lama but the real picture will only unfold on 16 May. 

Chewing gutkha may land you in jail in Bengal

TNN | Apr 21, 2014, KOLKATA: Do you chew gutkha? Better kick the habit soon, or you might land up behind bars. 

Faced with criticism that the ban of gutkha remained on paper only in the state, the government has decided to crack down on the sale and consumption of chewing tobacco from May 1.

The crackdown decision has already been circulated through a gazette notification. The notification states that not only the seller, but the buyer would also be penalized for being a patron of this dangerous substance that causes cancer. 

"The chief minister asked for stringent action against the sale and consumption of gutkha to reduce the risk of oral cancer. So, we are implementing the order," said director (health education) Sushanta Bandyopadhyay. 

Till date, 26 states — including Bengal — and seven Union Territories have banned the sale, manufacture, distribution and storage of gutkha and all its variants under the Food Safety and Regulation (Prohibition) Act, 2011. Maharashtra's has been the biggest success story. Though Bengal banned the manufacture and sale of gutkha in May 2013, it could not enforce the ban effectively. The notification was issued by the commissioner of food safety. 

Manufacturers have taken to providing the tobacco free with a sachet of paan masala. 

DHR to run toy train called Red Panda

A steam engine-driven toy train. File picture
TT, Siliguri, April 20: Darjeeling Himalayan Railway will run a steam engine-driven train between Kurseong and Darjeeling from the end of the month and the special train has been named after the red panda.
The endangered animal was recently chosen by the Election Commission as a mascot for creating awareness about free and fair election in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.
Sugato Lahiri, the chief public relations officer of Northeast Frontier Railway under which the DHR operates, today said the toy train would run on Saturday and Sundays.
“We had been thinking about starting a special train between Kurseong and Darjeeling since last year. The name Red Panda was also finalised at that time but some formalities had to be completed. Recently, we got the sanction to start the train between Kurseong and Darjeeling and the service would start by the end of the month. The train would run on Saturday and Sunday every week,” Lahiri told The Telegraph from NFR headquarters in Maligaon.
Kurseong is 38km from Darjeeling.
The special train would be driven by steam engines and have two first-class non-AC coaches.
Earlier, toy trains with steam engines ran between Kurseong and Darjeeling but for the past three-four years, the steam engines have been replaced by diesel ones.
Now, steam engines operate only on the Ghoom-Darjeeling route. Ghoom is 68km from here.
Two daily trains run on the Kurseong-Darjeeling stretch. The trains are diesel-driven and have one first class and one second class coach, both non-AC.
The DHR authorities are hopeful that the Red Panda train will generate favourable response among tourists for whom the Unesco World Heritage Railway is a major attraction.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed the red panda as an endangered species.
“Darjeeling is known for its rich flora and fauna and scenic beauty. Darjeeling hills are famous for being the sanctuary of the Red Panda, which is an endangered species. Tourists come from across the country and abroad to see the animal. Darjeeling is also popular for the DHR. We thought combining the two popular items of the hills would be an attractive package for tourists. To ride in the luxury of first-class coaches drawn by a steam engine would be a rewarding experience for steam engine enthusiasts,” Lahiri said.

Gurung gesture to rival - Morcha chief visits ailing Rai of CPRM

Bimal Gurung and RB Rai. File pictures
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, April 20: Bimal Gurung today called on an ailing R.B. Rai, president of the CPRM, a party that had turned down the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s request to support BJP nominee S.S. Ahluwalia in Darjeeling and supported Independent candidate Mahendra P. Lama.
Gurung went to Rai’s house at Rangmook around 11am. He was not accompanied by any other Morcha leader.
The Morcha chief’s sudden visit to Rai is being seen as his move to improve political relations in the hills. Many fear the situation in the region could deteriorate after the election results are out, given that the Morcha’s supremacy is being challenged by other political formations such as the Trinamul-GNLF combine and CPRM which has backed Lama.
Gurung did not inform the media about his visit today. “Life moves on and there is a life beyond politics that’s why I met our Gorkha leader, Shri R.B. Rai, the CPRM supremo today on humanitarian grounds. He has not been keeping well for the last few months. I wish him speedy recovery and good health,” Gurung’s news release today read.
The Morcha had sought the CPRM’s support for Ahluwalia’s candidature but Rai’s party decided to support Lama citing the BJP’s lack of commitment on statehood.
In the past, the CPRM has critisised the Morcha often but during the recent statehood agitation in the hills, Rai’s party was a member of the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee that was steering the movement.
Govind Chhetri, a CPRM spokesperson, welcomed Gurung’s move to visit the ailing leader today. “This is a positive step towards improving the political atmosphere in the hills. The CPRM has always wanted a change in the political culture of the hills where just not the leaders (of a party), but even the supporters do not see eye to eye,” he said. “The hills have had a tradition in which, the ruling parties have gone to the extent of socially boycotting rival party members. This is a good lesson for the next generation.”
Rai, 65, has been unwell for more than a month now. He is suffering from gout, high blood pressure and also has a high cholesterol level. The CPRM chief’s native place is Rangmook tea garden, 25km from here. But Rai mostly stays at the party office on Tamang Monastery Road in Darjeeling. Earlier, Ahluwalia had met Rai in the latter’s party office.
CPRM sources said Rai was shifted to his Rangmook residence about a fortnight back.

Senapati group lifts blockade- protest against rape of a minor and death of a protester in Manipur

Protesters damage a vehicle at Kanglatongbi in Senapati district on Saturday. (PTI)
TT, Imphal, April 20: Traffic and supplies resumed this afternoon along the Imphal-Dimapur highway after residents of Kanglatongbi, who were agitating over the rape of a minor and death of a protester in police firing, lifted the three-day-old blockade.
A joint action committee of Kanglatongbi in Senapati district lifted the blockade after the officer in-charge of Sekmai police station, inspector K. Geetchandra, was suspended in connection with the firing.
The police officer was held responsible for the firing on protesters on Friday night killing Tijuk Poudel, 19, and injuring two others.
A 13-year-old was raped by a 65-year-old contractor, S. Mapuni, on the outskirts of Imphal on Thursday and the accused was arrested from Senapati district the next day.
The incident triggered protests in the city, where the accused and the victim live, and in Kanglatongbi, from where the girl hails.
Protesters had blocked the Imphal-Dimapur highway at Kanglatongbi, 25km from here, since Friday evening. The firing and Poudel’s death triggered further protests.
“We held a public meeting at Kanglatongbi mandir today and decided to lift the blockade in view of the assurances given by chief minister Ibobi Singh last night. Vehicular traffic resumed after 2 this afternoon,” Khadja Tamang, president of the joint action committee, said over phone.
According to Tamang, the chief minister informed our delegation during a meeting at his office last night about the police officer’s suspension.
The chief minister also pledged a departmental inquiry into the firing by a police officer not below the rank of inspector-general of police.
Ibobi Singh assured the committee that a government job would be given to a family member of Poudel, who died in the firing, and adequate financial compensation given to the two injured protesters.
“The chief minister also assured us that the police would submit the chargesheet against the rape accused as soon as possible. Today’s meeting discussed the government steps and finally decided to lift the blockade,” Tamang said.
The committee, however, cautioned the government that it would resume the blockade if all the assurances were not translated into action within two months.
Official sources said buses and supply trucks stranded at various points in Senapati district since Friday evening, reached Imphal later in the afternoon today.
Deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, who is also in-charge of the home department, termed the police firing on protesters “unfortunate”.
“Instead of opening fire, the police should have used tear gas shells, rubber bullets or water canons. A departmental inquiry will be held into the firing and action taken against the guilty,” Gaikhangam said.

INTERVIEW: With India’s J K Rowling – Chetan Bhagat

Bhavesh Bhimani, New Delhi: Chetan Bhagat does not need an introduction. The 39-year-old bestselling author of five novels is a household name today. 
There are many out there who also consider him the ‘J.K. Rowling of India’. That epithet isn’t too far-fetched. From metro cities to small towns, Chetan Bhagat is greatly considered to have brought readers back to books in India. 
He is primarily responsible for books getting relatable to the educated Indian middle-class; by pulling it down from its forced elitism. There was a time though, when Bhagat was rejected by a leading IT company, during campus placements, in his IIT days. The man has come a long way from those days of depression. Today he is an inspiration to many budding young writers and has his plate crammed with work. Apart from working on his new book, Bhagat keeps writing columns for a national daily, gives motivational speeches, hosts some TV shows and has also written the screenplay for the upcoming Bollywood movie Kick.
Chetan Bhagat
These days though, Bhagat is actively promoting the film ‘2 States’ (starring Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt), which is based on his novel by the same name. In an exclusive interview to The Indian Republic’s Bhavesh Bhimani, Chetan Bhagat elucidates on his involvement with the film, how he reacts to various criticisms, his views on competition from other Indian writers and much more. Read on.

Excerpts from an interview
The Indian Republic: How exactly are you involved in 2 States, the movie?
Chetan Bhagat: Well, in the initial stages of the film, I was involved in the choosing of the actors, the production house and the director as well. That was a nice experience. Now I am more involved in promoting the film from my end, as honestly as I can.
The Indian Republic: Have you seen the film? Compared to the book, do you think it’s good?
Chetan Bhagat: I have not seen the final cut, but yes, I did see the film and liked it a lot. I think people are going to connect to it and should enjoy the film. Even fans of the book will not be disappointed; I am quite sure of that.
Chetan BhagatThe Indian Republic: The film is getting a tremendous hype isn’t it? And a major credit for that has to go to your book, from which it has been adapted.
Chetan Bhagat: That’s true. You know, I am feeling quite nervous really. Only a few days to go and the film has got a tremendous hype. People have unbelievable expectations from it. I keep getting mails and tweets from fans every day on how excited and hopeful they are for the film. Though that is good in a way, but it does add a lot of pressure on me. After all, at the end of the day, people are going to catch hold of me and tell me whatever they feel about the movie.
The Indian Republic: You have also written the screenplay for the upcoming film Kick. Do you, in the future, want to be more actively involved in the film-making process?  
Chetan Bhagat: No ya. I did enjoy writing the screenplay for Kick. It was fun, plus it was a big film with big stars like Salman Khan and all that. Occasionally, I might get into all this again, but I am more than happy in just being an author. I am comfortable with my books, giving motivational talks and writing columns. Those are the areas that I like to spend most of my time with.
The Indian Republic: Your fans haven’t really been very satisfied with the way your books have been adapted into films. Would you agree to that?
Chetan Bhagat
Chetan Bhagat: Yes, I agree to that. The first couple of films weren’t satisfactorily adapted, but Kai Po Che was quite good wasn’t it? I liked the way they kept the soul of the book in the film, despite the changes. We have learned from our experience and have started being more careful now. And I am sure people would really like 2 States.
The Indian Republic: Tell me honestly. What does it feel like; watching your own characters in a 70 mm screen? What is that experience?
Chetan Bhagat: It is quite surreal ya. It feels very weird and hard to believe that these are my characters; something which I imagined and wrote. I feel even stranger, when I sit and think that an entire team has worked years working on my story. It is quite unbelievable really.
The Indian Republic: Speaking of characters in your books. The story of the father and son in ‘2 States’ was, in my opinion, the most interesting part of the book. You have said that the book is inspired from your own life. So was the relation between the father and son influenced from your own life as well?
Chetan Bhagat: You are right; the story between the son and the father was indeed the most interesting part. It gave the story some emotional depth. Because otherwise, the story was a very simple wasn’t it? Even in the movie, the father-son relation has been portrayed very subtly. Though, not much was shown of it in the promos, when you watch the film, you will get to see it properly. I found that part of the movie to be the most emotional one. And coming to the inspiration part. Yes, that story has been taken from my life. Not in entirety, but a little bit, yes.
The Indian Republic: So now, wouldn’t it be natural that when you write a book, you would automatically think of how it would pan into a film? Wouldn’t you be inclined to carve your characters in a way that suits the cinematic medium?
Chetan Bhagat: No, not really. I can’t think of it that way. See, writing books is my passion and I would continue doing it irrespective of whether my books get adapted into films or not. Moreover, if my book is good, then filmmakers would automatically approach me to make it into a film. I wouldn’t have to do anything extra to do that.
The Indian Republic: You are not just recognized as an author anymore. You have very strong political views, you participate in debate shows and you are so actively followed on twitter. All your comments and actions are minutely scrutinized and many of them have also boiled into controversies. So do you wish to cut down in the extra things you do and just concentrate on your writings?
Chetan Bhagat: I do actually. I seriously do. In fact, after the promotions of ‘2 States’ are over and the general elections have ended, I intend to do exactly what you said; just relax and concentrate entirely on my writings. I will continue with my books and columns of course, but will cut down on these ‘other’ things. Because all these things do get to you. It becomes hard at times to keep focus and not get distracted.
The Indian Republic: Your life must have completely changed upside down from what it was a decade back. Do you ever feel that you could get away from all this media glare and melee? Do you wish to go back to the quiet life of your banking days?
Chetan Bhagat: Not really. It is true that there are days when I do feel stressed and want to get away from all this. But those things can happen to anyone in any profession. I really enjoy the work I am doing. It has its own challenges, but I love what I do. So, I wouldn’t ever exchange it for anything else.
The Indian Republic: Talking about stress and challenges. The tiff you had with the makers of ‘3 Idiots’ grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons. A lot of time has now passed since that happened. How do you look back at it?
Chetan Bhagat: It was a tough time and it really did leave a bad taste in my mouth. But fortunately, that bad taste has now turned into good taste with all that is happening in my life now (chuckles). See, now they (the makers of 2 States-the movie) are even using the name of my book as the title of the movie itself. What more could I ask for? That ‘3 Idiots’ episode is a thing of the past and now I am eagerly awaiting many exciting things that are about to happen in my life.
The Indian Republic: But were you surprised at the amount of support you got? It seemed as if everyone had supported your stance then.
Chetan Bhagat: Oh yes, I was completely surprised by the amount of support that poured in for me from all quarters. You know, at that time I was really scared. I was taking on these biggies and it was my first time in Bollywood. I didn’t know what would happen. But the general public’s support was a massive help. I will never ever forget it. And now, I don’t have to prove anything. Now people know that it was my story. With ‘Kai Po Che’ and ‘2 States’, my point has been proved further.
The Indian Republic: You are not just brimming with supporters though. You have a fair share of critics as well who call you the ‘Ekta Kapoor’ of Indian writing? How do you react to that? Do you ever think over it?
Chetan Bhagat: I don’t even know what that means really. But Ekta is doing so well isn’t she? So that’s good then (chuckles). Arre its okay ya. Everyone can have their own opinion on anything. It did affect me at times. I even tried to think over changing certain things in my writing style. But then, you can’t change it beyond a point. Anyways, all I want to do is to entertain people in whatever small way I can. And I guess I do manage to do that isn’t it? In any case, I am not just an author. I also have my columns and other things to do. I try to aware people of social and political issues. So I do have a lot on my plate. That is more important to me than bothering to brood over these criticisms.
The Indian Republic:  Since your rise, there have been a number of similar writers who have come in the market. Some are also doing quite well. Do you keep a track on how your competition is doing? Do you feel threatened by the rise of other budding young authors?
Chetan Bhagat: I do keep an eye on other writers who are doing well, but no, I never feel threatened. I think there is enough space for everyone of us to survive here.  As long as people are reading my books and are happy with it, I am content. More importantly, it is essential that we give the readers something good and varied to read. Why can’t they enjoy all of us? The more, better writers are out there, the better it is for our country.
The Indian Republic:  Some rapid-fire questions now.  So what is Chetan Bhagat scared of?
Chetan Bhagat:  That I would lose focus and the balance I have created in my life. Fame is addictive. I don’t want it overpower me, make me lose my goal and cause a lot of imbalance. Nothing can be scarier than that.
The Indian Republic: One Indian novel you wish you had written?
Chetan Bhagat: (Thinks for a moment) Devdas I think. It is such a classic. The story has so much of emotional depth in it and has different layers. I would have loved to write something like that.
The Indian Republic: What inspired you to take up writing?
Chetan Bhagat: I just wanted to do something different other than banking. I wanted to have a hobby. And this (writing) is something that I liked. But I didn’t know that there would be so many people who would like my writing.
The Indian Republic: All the titles of your books have had some number in it? Do you use that deliberately?
Chetan Bhagat: Yes, I do. I was a banker in my past. And I do this (using numbers in the titles) as a trademark for my banking days.
The Indian Republic: Do you have any list of stories that you wish to write on?
Chetan Bhagat: Oh there are so many. I do not have a list as such. But I wish to cover the varied aspects of Indian life. That is something I really find intriguing. I hope I can do it as much as I possibly can.
The Indian Republic: Now the question that your innumerable fans are excitedly waiting for. When is your next book coming out? Could you tell us something about its plot?
Chetan Bhagat: It is coming out in October this year. I can’t tell you much about the plot, except for the fact that it is a rural Indian love story. It’s a little different from the ones I have written so far. I hope everyone likes it.
The Indian Republic: And would it have a number in its title too?
Chetan Bhagat: Yes it would. But I am not going to tell you what number it would be (laughs).

BJP-led NDA Set to Cross the Mark of 272: Opinion Poll

modi-kanpur-ptiTIR, New Delhi: The latest opinion poll done by the television News Channel NDTV predicts BJP-led NDA crossing the magical mark of 272 by gaining 275 seats, thus paving a path for Narendra Modi to form the next the government.
The poll projects the BJP alone getting around 226 seats, which would be the party’s strongest every tally, much more than its best performance so far in the year 1984.
Some last minute alliance with parties like Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh has given thrust to the BJP’s poll pitch in the remaining phases of the general elections.
Contrary to the BJP’s performance, its main opponent Congress, which has ruled the country for a decade, is set to face the lowest tally ever in the history of India. Till date, the party has never registered a total below 100 but this the party might get decimated to 92 seats, according to the poll.
Along with its allies, Congress-led UPA could fetch just 111 seats which are 3 seats less than its worst performance in 1990 when the alliance got 114 seats.
However, there is still one month and five phases of polling left to go before votes are counted on May 16. In the remaining phases of elections, all political parties are expected to step up their campaign since the final leg of electioneering is considered the most crucial lap of the entire election process.
From the beginning, the BJP had been projected as heading towards being the single largest party but falling short of crossing the majority mark. But, the opinion poll suggests that the things have only got better for the BJP as elections approach.
In February, opinion poll by NDTV estimated 196 seats for the BJP and 230 for the BJP-led NDA. In March, the tally improved to 214 seats for the BJP and 259 for the NDA.
Though the opinion poll projects 275 seats, considering the two percent error margin in the opinion polls, 275 is a tight spot and the BJP, to improve its tally further, will have to step up its campaign pitch in the next few decisive days.
The NDA touching the magical number of 272 depends heavily on the BJP winning 51 seats in the state of Uttar Pradesh, which according to the opinion poll it is already winning.
If the BJP-led NDA fails to touch the mark of 272, it will have to rely on regional parties like Jayalalithaa led AIADMK which is likely to get majority seats in Tamil Nadu or even Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee which is expected to win 42 seats in West Bengal.
Going by the reports, regional leaders are eyeing a good position in government formation in the Centre.

Sonia says BJP Will Ruin ‘Bharatiyata’; BJP Tells Her to Learn First

Sonia-Rajnath-RNNTIR, New Delhi: In a televised message, the Congress President Sonia Gandhi unleashed the Congress party’s strongest attack on the BJP, this election season. 
The Congress President did not name the BJP but said that their vision was clouded with hatred and falsehood and added that their divisive and autocratic ideology will drive the country to the ruination of ‘Bharatiyata’ and ‘Hindustaniyat’. 
The message was telecasted on several leading television news channels on Monday night as a paid-ad by the Congress. Retorting to Gandhi’s accusation, the BJP President Rajnath Singh said that the Congress and Sonia Gandhi should first learn and understand what Bharatiyata means.
As per the latest opinion poll conducted by a news channel, the BJP is set to emerge as the single largest party by gain 226 seats and the alliance led by the party, NDA is estimated to cross the magical mark of 272 by gaining 275 seats. The latest opinion poll suggests that the BJP may not need to look for new post poll coalition partners after May 16.
The Congress, which is led by Rahul Gandhi is set to face a major defeat after being in power for a decade.
Responding to Sonia Gandhi’s unexpected attack, the BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that last minute messages on paid television time cannot change the electoral agenda. He further said that the message will not click with the people of India since price rise, corruption, mismanagement of the economy, dilution of Prime Minister’s office can never be a part of ‘Bharatiyata’ or ‘Hindustaniyat’.
The BJP leaders went on to say that Sonia Gandhi’s speech reflected her party’s acceptance of Rahul Gandhi’s failure as the leader. Jaitley, who lashed out at the Congress President, through his blog said that the idea behind the message was to change the main communicator of the party from the son to the mother, which reflects the lack of confidence in Rahul Gandhi, whose speeches do not click with the people of the country.
Reacting to the strong rebuttal by the BJP, Priyanka Gandhi told reporters that the BJP is terming the message as a desperate attempt to woo masses because they did not like the truth which her mother said in her appeal.

20 Apr 2014

नशाखोरहरुको पक्राऊ

डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 20 अप्रेल 2014। अप्रेल। पुलिस प्रशासनले नशाखोरहरुलाई पक्राऊ गरेर ड्रग्स मुक्त समाज निर्माणको पहल गरे पनि नशालु पदार्थ ओसार पसार गर्नेहरुको संख्या भने दैनिक बृद्धि भईरहेको छ। पुलिस प्रशासनको आँख़ा छलेर नशाखोरहरुले समाजमा नशालु पदार्थहरुको ब्यापार नै चलाउँन शुरु गरिसकेको छ।
यस्तो अवस्थामा 31 ए राष्ट्रिय राजमार्ग स्थित रम्फु पुलिसले भारी मात्रमा नशालु पदार्थ सहित दुईजना युवकहरुलाई पक्राऊ गरेको छ। पक्रा परेकाहरु बिरुद्ध पश्चिम बंगाल ड्रग्स एण्ड कस्मेटिक एक्ट 18(सी) 27(बी)अन्तर्गत मुद्दा दर्ता गरिएको छ। यस अघि केही दिन अघि मात्र रम्फु क्षेत्रबाटै पुलिसले भारी मात्रमा नशालु पदार्थ संगै दुई जनालाई नै पक्राऊ गरेको थियो भने पुन: सोही क्षेत्रबाट पुन: पक्राऊको घटनाले उक्त क्षेत्रमा नशालु पदार्थ ओसार पसार गर्नेहरुको संख्या एकाधिक रहेको पुष्टि भएको छ। पक्रा पर्नेहरुमा लङ्कु फरेस्ट भिलेज निवासी मनोज छेत्री(27) अनि वाहनका चालक रम्फू सिक्किम निवासी सत्य नारायण प्रसाद(27)लाई पक्राउ गरेको छ।
जानकारी अनुसार सिलगडीबाट सिक्किम तर्फ गईरहेको कालो रंगको बलेरो वाहनमा नशालु पदार्थ रहेको पुलिसले गोप्य सूचना प्राप्त गरेको थियो। उक्त सूचनाकै आधारमा रम्फु पुलिसले वाहनलाई रोकेर तलासी लिँदा वाहनबाट 42 बोतल प्रतिबन्धित कफ सिरप रेकोडेक्स फेला पारे। वाहनमा पुलिसले प्रतिबन्धित नशालु पदार्थ फेला पारेपछि बोलेरो एसके 03 पी-9967 लाई आफ्नो अधिनामा लिएको छ भने दुईजना युवकलाई पक्राऊ गरेको छ। पुलिसले भारी मात्रमा फेला पारेको उक्त प्रतिबन्धित नशालु पदार्थ सिलगडीबाट सिक्किम लगीरहेको अनुमान गरेको छ भने उक्त नशालु पदार्थ ओसार पसारमा अन्य व्यक्तिहरु पनि संलग्न हुन सक्ने अनुमान गरेको छ। पुलिसले पक्राऊ गरेको उक्त दुवै व्यक्तिहरुलाई आज यहाँक़ो अदालतमा पेश गरियो। अदालतले दुवैलाई न्यायिक हिरासतमा राख्ने निर्देश दिएको छ।

नाबालिक बलात्कार गर्नेलाई फाँसी देऊ – संघर्ष समिति

डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 20 अप्रेल 2014। टिस्टामा 3 वर्षिय नाबालिकलाई बलात्कार गरेको घटनालाई केन्द्र गरेर आज पनि दिन भरी नै कालेबुङ शहर तनावग्रस्त बन्यो। 
3 बर्षिय नाबालिकालाई बलात्कार गर्ने मुख्य आरोपी सुनिल राईलाई फाँसीको सजाय दिनपर्ने मागमा आज टिस्टावासीले यहाँक़ो नोभेल्टि परिसरबाट एउटा प्रतिवाद र्‍याली निकालेको थियो। बिहान 10 बजेदेखि भारि संख्यामा भेला भएका टिस्टावासीले नोभेल्टि परिसरबाट शुरु गरेको प्रतिवाद र्‍याली कालेबुङ थाना परिसरमा आईपुगेपछि धर्नामा परिवर्तन भएको थियो। 
“अपराधीलाई फाँसीको सजाय दिनुपर्छ” भन्ने नारा लगाउँदै भेला भएका आक्रोशित जनताले आरोपी युवकलाई यथाशिघ्र कार्वाही गर्दै पिडीत पक्षलाई न्याय दिनपर्ने माग गरे। यस अवधी संघर्ष समितिका सयोजक बिशाल राईले आरोपीलाई कडा सजाय दिनपर्ने माग गर्दै फाँसी मात्र उपयुक्त सजाय हो भने। यसको साथै समितिका सदस्य दिलीप प्रसादले पनि आरोपीलाई फाँसीको सजाय दिनपर्ने माग दोहोर्‍याए। थाना परिसरमा धर्ना प्रदर्शन र सम्बोधनको क्रम पछि उक्त भिडले कालेबुङ शहर परिक्रमा गरेर आरोपी सुनिल राईलाई कठोर सजायको माग गर्दै नाराबाजी लगाए। 
यस अवधी मानिसहरुको अनुहारमा आरोपी प्रति व्यापक आक्रोशको भावना स्पष्ट देखियो। “दूधमुखे बालिकालाई बलत्कार गर्नेलाई फाँसी देऊ” जस्ता प्ला कार्डहरु बोकेर मानिसहरुले शहरमा जुलुस निकालेर प्रतिवाद र्‍याली निकाल्दा सम्पूर्ण शहरको वातावरण नै तनावग्रस्त बनेको थियो। 
यता अघिबाटै कालेबुङ पुलिसले पक्राऊ गरेको मुख्य आरोपी बिशाल राईलाई आज कालेबुङ अदालतमा पेश गरिने मानिसहरुले थाहा पाए पछि अदालत परिसरमा पनि ब्यापक मात्रामा आक्रोशित जनताको भिड जमेको थियो। 
टिस्टावासीले शहरमा प्रतिवाद जुलुस निकालेपछि उक्त जुलुस सोझै यहाँको अदालतमा पुगेको थियो भने घटनालाई केन्द्र गरेर स्थिति बिग्रन सक्ने छाँट भएको कारण सम्पूर्ण अदालत परिसर पुलिस छाउनीमा परिणत भएको थियो। यस अवधी पनि आक्रोशित जनताले अदालत परिसरमा आरोपीलाई फाँसीको सजाय दिनपर्ने माग गर्दै व्यापक नाराबाजी लगाए। 
अदालत परिसरमा आरोपी बिरुद्ध नाराबाजी गर्दै आक्रोशित जनताको ब्यापक भिड जमेको कारण कालेबुङ थाना प्रभारी अचिंता गुप्ताले घटनाका मुख्य आरोपी सुनिल राईलाई हेलमेट लगाएर सीआरपी अनि पुलिसको कठोर सुरक्षाबिच अदालतमा पेशीको निम्ति ल्याएका थिए। अदालत परिसरमा बडीरहेको तनावलाई केन्द्र गरेर कालेबुङ पुलिसले आरोपीलाई न्यायलयमा पेश गर्नको साथै एक दिनको पुलिस रिमाण्डमा लिएको छ। प्रशासनको पक्षबाट आरोपीलाई पुलिस रिमाण्डमा लिने अर्जी चडाए पछि अदालतले उक्त अर्जीलाई स्वीकार गर्दै एक दिनको पुलिस रिमाण्डमा पठाएको छ। 
यता पिडीत परिवार पक्षलाई न्याय दिलाउँनको निम्ति गठन भएको संघर्ष समितिले न्याय नपाएसम्म आन्दोलनलाई जारी राख्ने घोषणा गरेको छ। यस सम्बन्धमा संघर्ष समितिका सयोजक बिशाल राईले उक्त अमानवीय घटनाप्रति राज्य अनि केन्द्रको मानव अधिकार आयोगलाई पत्राचार गरेर न्यायको निम्ति गुहार लगाउँने जानकारी दिएका छन। 
“जबसम्म पिडीताले न्याय पाउँदैन अनि प्रशासनले कार्वाही गर्दैन तबसम्म धर्ना प्रदर्शन जारीरहनेछ” बिशाल राईले भने। एउटी 3 बर्षिय नाबालिकलाई बलात्कार गर्ने दोषीलाई उचित अनि यथाशिघ्र कार्वाहीको माग गर्दै दिल्लीमा दामिनी घटना पछि बनिएको नयाँ कानूनलाई यहाँ प्रयोग गरेर अपराधीलाई फाँसी दिनुपर्ने समितिले माग गरेको छ। यस्ता घटनाहरुलाई रोक्नको निम्ति अपराधीलाई कठोर सजाय दिए प्रशासन प्रति जनताको बिश्वास रहने बताउँदै उक्त सजायले अन्यलाई यस्तो घिनलाग्दो कार्य गर्ने दुस्साहस नहोस भन्ने संघर्ष समितिले माग गरेको छ। 
यसका साथै घटना संलग्न रहेका प्रबल प्रधान अनि शम्भु सुब्बालाई पनि प्रशासनले कडा सजाय दिनपर्ने समितिले माग गरेको छ। यता कालेबुङमा दिनभरी धर्ना प्रदर्शन समाप्त गरेपछि टिस्टावासीले टिस्टा क्षेत्रमा पनि जोडदार प्रदर्शन गर्दै चेकपोष्टमा धर्ना दिएर अपराधीलाई कठोर सजायको माग गरे।

Jalpaiguri being troubled by rise in human trafficking

RAJESH PRADHAN, EOI, BANARHAT, 19 Apr 2014: The rural areas of Jalpaiguri comprising forest villages and tea gardens have been witnessing an alarming growth in the rate of human trafficking. Despite serious efforts by various social organisations, NGOs and the local administration, there are no signs of trafficking declining anytime soon.
It is well-known how pimps take advantage of the pitiful financial conditions of households to lure young girls. They promise victims good jobs and a better future in other states and sell them off in red-light areas or as domestic slaves. Minor girls and boys get regularly trafficked from the rural areas of the Dooars.
The administration claims it holds regular awareness campaigns against human trafficking, but the reality is stark. Traffickers are suspected to be more active in tea garden areas. Statistics show 514 girls from various tea gardens of the district were trafficked over the last three years. From this number, 180 girls from Mujnai, 65 from Dalmore, 30 from Rahimpur, 120 from Bandapani, 35 from Nagdala and 75 girls from Dekhlapara are reported to be missing. There are a total of 154 tea gardens in Jalpaiguri district and the administration has no data to show how many girls and boys have been trafficked till date.
Mujnai resident Mugli Oraon has been missing since the past five years, while Amuli Naik has not come home since the past four years. Likewise, Sharmila Oraon and Lalita Oraon remain untraceable even after 10 and three years, respectively. The general idea is that the girls have relocated to other states to work, but no one knows what type of work or whether they are even alive.
Traffickers are running a well-organised racket here to net young girls and boys. Their agents are active especially in closed tea gardens and target the financially weak, unemployed, illiterate and those frustrated by family matters. Many pimps also ensnare young aspiring girls by false promises of marriage. Reports say such girls get sold in cities in Punjab, UP, Bihar, Mumbai, Delhi and other places.
Besides Jalpaiguri, girls from the neighbouring nations of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh are also being forced into the flesh trade and domestic slavery. As the efforts of local administrations and social organisations are getting defeated despite giving their best, more stringent methods are needed to curb the growth trajectory of this dastardly crime.

Ahluwalia demands EC to remove state police from strong room

EOI, SIliguri, 19 April 2014: The Bharatiya Janta Party’s Darjeeling candidate SS Ahluwalia through a press release has expressed his apprehensions about strong room in Siliguri College being compromised due to ruling government’s influence on the state police and has demanded their removal. Currently, the strong room is guarded by two contingents of central armed police force and state police personnel.
Ahluwalia said, “Looking at the state government’s past record and its usage of police against the people of the hills, I am afraid they could try to exchange EVMs to force the results towards their side. BJP has urged the Election Commission to only keep the central forces and relieve the state police.” 

New trans-boundary landscape initiative

Prashant Acharya, Siliguri, 19 Apr 2014: Bhutan, India and Nepal, the three regional members comprising the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), have agreed on an initiative for a new trans-boundary landscape. Under this initiative, an area of about 16,000km covering parts of eastern Nepal, Sikkim and the northern parts of West Bengal in India, and western Bhutan will become part of the Kangchenjunga Landscape, one of the seven trans-boundary areas identified by the ICIMOD in the Hindukush Himalayan region.
ICIMOD programme co-coordinator Nakul Chhetri told the EOI the decision was formalised at the initiative’s second experts’ consultation held on April 16-18 in Thimphu, Bhutan. Based on the concept and timeframe decided at the first experts’ consultation held in August 2012 in Gangtok, Sikkim the three countries prepared feasibility assessment reports that were shared at the meeting.
“The participatory and consultative process followed during the preparation of the Feasibility Assessment reports by the member countries are encouraging steps towards trans-boundary cooperation,” noted Eklabya Sharma, Director of Programme Operations at ICIMOD.
He expressed satisfaction over the progress made during the consultation and noted all three member countries are fully committed for the preparatory phase of the Kanchanjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative.
During the opening session, Dasho Sherab Gyaltshen, Secretary of Bhutan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, launched a book titled ‘An integrated assessment on effects of natural and human disturbance on a wetland ecosystem: A retrospective from Phobjikha Conservation Area, Bhutan’.
The book is the result of collaborative and multidisciplinary work between the ICIMOD and the Royal Society for Protection of Nature, Bhutan.
Representatives emphasised the importance of the initiative during the event. “The challenges of biodiversity conservation and management of the landscape can only be addressed if all the three member countries cooperate at various levels, from local to bilateral to regional. The Royal Government of Bhutan is committed to this initiative,” said Gyaltshen.
Krishna Acharya, Joint Secretary of Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, pointed out that trans-boundary cooperation is imperative in the face of growing human-wildlife conflict as well as increasing evidence that species, such as snow leopards, are expanding their habitat across the boundaries of the member nations.
BMS Rathore, Joint Secretary of India’s Ministry of Forests and Environment, emphasised the need to adopt participatory approaches and engage communities in the management of natural resources.
PP Dhyani, Director, GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, noted that the work around Mount Kanchenjunga “already provides substantial scientific information, and the second regional consultation is a good start for long-term cooperation among the member countries”.
Likewise, Chencho Norbu, Director General of Bhutan’s Department of Forest and Park Services, reiterated the need for greater focus on practical solutions for both conservation and development issues at national and regional levels.