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12 Feb 2016

State may go to polls in first week of April

Saibal Gupta, TOI, Feb 11, 2016, Kolkata: The Election Commission has indicated that the six-phase assembly elections in Bengal is likely to start in the first week of April.
Even though the government is trying to postpone the election by 20 more days, the argument seems to have no effect on the Election Commission's decision.
The chief electoral officer of Bengal, Sunil Gupta, who is currently in Coochbehar for administrative meetings, will meet the chief election commissioner on Saturday at Nirvachan Sadan to finalize the poll dates and security deployment plans. Besides Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry will also have their elections this year.
A state home department official said the Election Commission would declare the polling dates of all these states together. Sources added the state wanted a four-phase election, if not five, and that the election should start at April-end and end by May 10. "The state wants the election to wind up before the results of Madhyamik and HS are declared," a commission official said. The results are likely to be out around the first week of May.
"There should be a gap of four to five days for security forces and officials looking after the logistics support to move from one area to another. A six-phase election will take at least 22 to 28 days and then, comes the results," the official said. The Election Commission is likely to announce the dates by the end of this month.
But before that, the commission wants to have a final round of talks with the CEOs of the states going to polls. Accordingly, Bengal CEO Sunil Gupta have been asked to attend the meetingon Saturday.
Sources in Bengal CEO gupta's office indicated that among the 77,246 booths in the state, 23,809 have been identified as 'sensitive' and 8,172 'highly sensitive'. "The number of sensitive booths this time is fewer than those identified during the 2011 polls. We have worked out the details of the booths and Gupta will hand over the information to the commission to facilitate the planning of force deployment in those areas," an official said.
Gupta is also likely to inform the commission about the apparently deteriorating law-and-order situation in the three districts of Malda, Birbhum and Cooch Behar. "Special arrangements will be made in areas where the population of the minority community is high, and places under scetion 144 of the IPC, which does not allow more than two people to be in a public place together," the official said.
When asked about central force, the commission official said, "Call on the requirement and deployment pattern will only be taken after we get the booth and area mapping report from all the states. The requirement and the deployment pattern of the central paramilitary solely depends on three things- the number of phases, the nature of the constituencies and the adequacy of force. It is the decided at a much later stage and so at present nothing can be predicted".

HC orders pension but with penalty

TT, Calcutta, Feb. 11: The high court today issued an order directing the school education department to disburse the retirement benefits of a headmaster but asked it to deduct Rs 1 lakh and pay that amount to a former teacher of the school who had to wait eight years for his dues because of the headmaster's negligence.
The assistant teacher, Bhabendra Nath Mondal, had retired from Mrinalnagar Higher Secondary Vidyamandir at Kakdwip in South 24-Parganas on April 30, 2007. After his retirement, the district inspector of schools had sought Mondal's service documents from Ashok Shasmal, the then headmaster of the school.
However, when Shasmal did not send the documents even in 2014, Mondal moved a petition in the high court.
The DI of South 24-Parganas informed the judge that even after repeated appeals, the headmaster did not send the service record of Mondal.
In July 2015, Justice Talukdar directed Shasmal to immediately send Mondal's documents to the DI office.
On September 30, 2015, Shasmal retired but till then, he had not carried out the order.
In October 2015, Justice Talukdar directed the DI's office to stop the process of disbursing the retirement benefits and pension to Shasmal.
The school's new headmaster sent Mondal's service records to the DI's office. In December last year, Mondal got his dues and started receiving his pension.
Today, the DI's office sought the judge's permission to release the pension and retirement benefits of Shasmal.
Justice Talukdar said in today's order: "Yes, the DI office has the liberty to disburse pension and retirement benefits of the said headmaster now. But it would have to deduct Rs 1 lakh... and pay it to Mondal, whom the headmaster had harassed for eight long years."

Schoolboy stabs dead mate in trek camp

St Joseph’s School (North Point) in Darjeeling
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Feb. 11: A Class IX student of St Joseph's School (North Point) last night allegedly stabbed to death his classmate in a camp organised by the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, reportedly after he was disturbed while sleeping.
The 15-year-old, who is a foreign national and a hostel boarder, has been sent to a juvenile home and can be tried under Indian laws applicable to minors. He will be produced before the juvenile board on February 24.
School rector Father Shajumon said: "The boy (who attacked) said he was sleeping in the tent and he was being disturbed after which he used the knife. He said he remembered nothing after that."
His classmate, who had bleeding wounds in his legs and abdomen, was rushed to a private hospital in Siliguri but died on the way last night.
Police officers and the school were unclear about the detailed circumstances that led to the murder in Singla, 35km from Darjeeling town, where the school in arrangement with the HMI had organised a trekking camp from February 1. The camp was supposed to get over on February 13.
The boy who died, also a 15-year-old, was from Darjeeling and was a day scholar. His mother is at present in Siliguri for medical treatment, family sources said, while his father stays in Canada.
In the Singla camp, there were 115 students of North Point, a school that charges boarders about Rs 2 lakh a year and where several Bhutanese and Nepali royal family children study.
The two Class IX boys were in a group of 40 that was supervised by one schoolteacher and six HMI instructors.
The 115 students were divided into three groups with roughly 40 members each. "The first group had left Darjeeling on February 1, while the second and third groups departed on the next two days. They were to return to the HMI on February 13 for a graduation ceremony," said Colonel Gulshan Chaddhar, the principal of HMI.
Chaddhar said he had learnt that the murder happened after a bonfire. "A bonfire was organised at a playground in Singla where the tents were put up. The bell for the dinner was rung. While many boys went to eat, an incident took place in one of the four tents (for the second group)," he said.
Father Shajumon said there had been no apparent animosity among members of the group. Chaddhar also said that he had not heard of "fights in public".
Sharmila Chettri, the aunt of the dead boy, said the school should have sent more teachers and also arranged for more instructors to mind the boys.
Chaddhar, on being told about the aunt's compliant, said: "The incident is extremely unfortunate and our hearts go out to the family. However, we had sent enough instructors. There were six instructors from HMI and one from the school. Generally, one teacher controls around 40 students in a school. For the entire North Point students (115), we had deputed 18 instructors."
Chettri filed an FIR at Bijanbari-Pulbazar police station, naming the classmate of her nephew. "Around 7.55pm yesterday, we were informed by a teacher of North Point who was accompanying the students during the adventure course that a fight had taken place between two boys inside a tent and my nephew was seriously injured and that he was being brought to Darjeeling," she said.
Chettri said her nephew "had been stabbed in four places with a sharp weapon and was taken to a hospital in Darjeeling. He was immediately referred to Siliguri as there was internal bleeding. The doctor in the Siliguri hospital, however, said my nephew had died on the way."
The aunt said the school should have been more vigilant and should have sent more teachers with the group. "Only one teacher was accompanying the students. Moreover, the school should not make such courses compulsory."
Father Shajumon said "since the training is conducted by the HMI, there is an agreement under which the school sends one teacher and the mountaineering institute provides six instructors for a group of 40 students."
Asked if the adventure course was compulsory, the rector said: "Most of the Class IX students do the course which has been going on for many years. Of the 126 students in Class IX this year, 115 have gone for the adventure course."
The school is shut for winter vacation and will reopen on February 22.

10 Feb 2016

कालेबुङमा विकास कार्यहरूको जानकारी लिन विमल गुरूङको भ्रमण

डी.के.वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 9 फरवरी। ‘कालेबुङमा कार पार्किङको समस्या समाधानको कार्य अत्यन्तै ढिलो भइरहेको छ। यहाँको ट्राफिक समस्या समाधान गर्नका निम्ति हामीले चारसय वाहन अटाउने स्ट्याण्ड निर्माण गरिरहेका छौँ। उक्त कार्यमा ढिलो भइरहेको महशुस गरेर यसलाई झट्ट गर्ने आदेश दिएका छौँ’ उक्त कुरा सिब्सुबाट सहिद दिवस पालन गरेर अचानक कालेबुङ आइपुगेका विमल गुरूङले भनेका हुन्।
सिब्सुबाट उनी सहिद दिवस पालन गरेर सोमबार लाभा भएर आज कालेबुङमा भइरहेको बिकास कार्यको जानकारी लिन आइपुगेको बताए। अचानक कालेबुङ आइपुगेका गुरूङले आज कालेबुङको विभिन्न स्थानहरूको भ्रमण गरेका छन्। विशेष जीटीएद्वारा घोषणा गरिएको अनि निर्माण हुँदै गइरहेको स्थलगत भ्रमण गरेर गुरूङले जानकारी लिएका छन्।
यसक्रममा गुरूङले आज यहाँको डेलोमा निर्माणाधिन जलभण्डार, कुमुदिनी विद्याश्रमको निर्माण हुन लागेको मोडल स्कूल, कालेबुङ शहरदेखि गणेश मन्दिरसम्म जाने सडक, मेला ग्राउण्ड आदिको स्थलगत भ्रमण गरेर जानकारी लिएका छन्। यसक्रममा गुरूङले विकास कार्यहरूको के कति उन्नती भयो भन्ने विषयमा अनि आजसम्म घोषणा गरिएका कार्यहरू सुरू हुनमा भइरहेको विलम्बका बारेमा पनि जानकारी लिएका छन्। विभिन्न क्षेत्रहरूको स्थलगत भ्रमण गरिसकेपछि गुरूङले विभिन्न विभागका अधिकारी, नगरपालिका प्रशासन, पार्टी कार्यकर्ता आदिसँग यहाँको पार्टी कार्यलयमा बैठक पनि गरेका थिए।
उनले आजसम्म सञ्चालन नभएको विकास कार्यहरू यथाशिघ्र सुरू गर्नुपर्ने आदेश दिएका छन्। यहाँको पार्टी कार्यलयमा उनले बैठक पछि पत्रकारहरूलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै जीटीएले अघिबाट जतिवटा विकास कार्यहरूको घोषणा गरेका थिए त्यसको जानकारी लिन आएको बताउँदै कतिपय कार्यहरूमा विलम्ब भएको बताए। यस विषयमा सम्बन्धित कार्यका विभागीय अधिकारी अनि ठेकादारहरूलाई यथाशिघ्र काम गर्ने आदेश दिएको उनले जानकारी दिएका छन्।
‘कुमुदिनी विद्याश्रमलाई मोडल विद्यालय निर्माण गर्ने अघिबाटै घोषणा गरिएको छ। यसबारे विद्यालयमा गएर जानकारी लिएको छु। डेलोमा पिउने पानीको समस्या समाधान गर्न नयाँ जलभण्डार निर्माण भइरहेको पनि जानकारी लिए। कतिपय बाटोहरू निर्माण गर्ने प्रक्रिया आरम्भ भइसकेको छ। यसबारे सम्बन्धित विभागलाई आदेश दिएको छु’ विमल गुरूङले भने।
उनले कालेबुङको डेलो, मिरिकको कतिपय पर्यटक स्थल, जोरपोखरी आदि पर्यटकिय क्षेत्रहरूलाई निजी कम्पनीहरूलाई दिने पनि जनाएका छन्। ‘पहाडमा पर्यटन राम्रो व्यवसाय हो। हामीले यहाँका स्थानीय मानिसहरूलाई कार्य गर्ने जिम्मेवार दिएका थियौँ। तर, आजसम्म भनेजस्तो उनीहरूबाट जीटीएले आय गर्न सकेको छैन। यसकारण अब हामीले निजी कम्पनीहरूलाई उक्त पर्यटकिय स्थानहरू दिने विचार गरेका छौँ’ विमल गुरूङले स्पष्ट भने। उक्त पर्यटकिय क्षेत्रहरूमा जीटीएले बेरोजगारहरूलाई रोजगारको अवसर दिए पनि उनीहरूलाई वेतन समेत राम्रो दिन नसकेको बताउँदै निजी कम्पनीहरूलाई दिएको खण्डमा उक्त बेरोजगारहरूको आय राम्रो हुने तिनले बताए।
पत्रकारहरूसँग कुराकानीको क्रममा उनले कालेबुङको मेला ग्राउण्डलाई व्यवस्थित तरिकाले निर्माण गर्ने पनि जानकारी दिँदै यसबारे यथाशिघ्र कार्य हुने जनाए।
अर्कोतर्फ सोमबार जन आन्दोलन पार्टीका अध्यक्ष डा. हर्कबहादुर छेत्रीले सिब्सुमा गोजमुमो पार्टीको गलत नीतिको कारण सहिद भएको भन्ने बयान प्रति प्रश्न गर्दा ‘उनीहरू माटोको निम्ति सहिद भएको हो’ भने। ‘अस्सिको दशकमा 12 सय सहिद भए। त्यसबारे कसैले गलत भयो भनेनन्। आज मोर्चाको आन्दोलनमा सहिद भएकाहरू गलत नीतिको कारण भयो भन्नु भूल हो। उनीहरू गोर्खाल्याण्डका निम्ति सहिद भएका हुन्। माटोको आन्दोलनमा सहिद बनेकाहरूलाई सहि र गलत भयो भन्ने कार्य मूर्खता मात्रै हो’ गोजमुमो अध्यक्ष विमल गुरूङले प्रतिक्रिया व्यक्त गर्दै भने।
उनले आफ्नो सम्बोधनको क्रममा आफूले जनतालाई समस्यामा पारेर राजनीति गर्न नचाहेको स्पष्ट पार्दै जनतालाई समस्यामा पार्ने राजनीति भविष्यमा पनि नगर्ने प्रतिबद्धता जाहेर गरे। पहाडका जनताले छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्ड चाहेको बताउँदै गोर्खाल्यण्डकै निम्ति आजसम्म सहिदहरू बनेको अनि सहिदको सपना पुरा गर्नकै निम्ति गोर्खाल्याण्ड नदिने राजनैतिक दलहरूसँग मिलेर नबसेको स्पष्ट पारे।
उनको आगामी दिल्ली यात्राबारे प्रश्न गर्दा चाँढै दिल्ली यात्रा गर्ने जानकारी दिँदै यसको उद्धेश्यबारे पछि जनतालाई स्पष्ट पार्ने पनि जनाए

Taekwondo glory for hills

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Feb. 9: The hill contingent made a record haul at the 35th Senior and Junior National Taekwondo Championship by securing 18 medals and helping Bengal win the tourney for the first time.
This is the first time that the hill team won gold in the tourney and also the highest number of medals that the Darjeeling players bagged.
The Bengal team won 11 gold medals, of which eight were bagged by hill players. "Of the nine silver medals, Darjeeling players got four and of the 10 bronze, six were bagged by the hill participants," said Ratan Century, one of the four coaches of the team.
Bengal won 30 medals in the event organised by the Taekwondo Federation of India at Sachivalaya Gymkhana in Colaba, Mumbai, from January 22 to 24. The state team had 37 members between 12 and 30 years and 18 were from the hills.
Coach Bikash Chhetri said: "This is the first time that participants from Darjeeling have bagged gold in the championship. It is also the first time that Bengal won it."
Haryana got the second place and Manipur came third.
Anindya Gazmer, secretary of the Darjeeling District Amateur Taekwondo Association, said: "We need a hall. Our players have to practise on roads. Schools like Turnbull High School, Gymkhana Club and Kanchenjungha Public School supported us (with space). But nothing like having an indoor hall with facilities."
Chhetri said a contribution by the GTA helped. "Asha Gurung, the executive GTA Sabha member, gave us equipment worth around Rs 2 lakh last year. It included 100 floor mats and chest guards, head gears, sheen guards and arm guards. Earlier, we used to practise on cement and wooden floors and adjusting to mats would always be a problem. Moreover, the guards weigh more than a kg and the team needed time to get used to those."
Gazmer said: "We had to pool in Rs 6,000 from each participant. Bimal Gurung, the GTA chief executive, gave us some funds, but the parents have helped a lot."
The hill team of mostly junior players was drawn up mainly from Northern Taekwondo Academy, Taekowondo Sporting Academy and Himalayan Taekwondo Sports Training Centre in Darjeeling.
Iccha Malla, 15, a Class IX student, who got a gold, said she had some tough rounds."

80 lakh primary students to get free school shoes

title=PTI SNS, Kolkata, 10 February, 2016: The West Bengal government has selected 80 lakh primary students from the state who will be provided free school shoes under a Rs.154 crore-project.
"Ten companies have been shortlisted through e-tendering process. Out of them one will get the order. We will also have to utilise small scale industry units of the government to do the work," Education Minister Partho Chatterjee said.
A seven-member committee led by school education secretary Arnab Roy has been formed to implement the scheme, he said adding that the distribution of shoes to the students of classes I to IV will begin from the end of this month.
Currently textbooks are being distributed free of cost to all students of recognized primary schools up to Class V and free school dress is being provided to girl students of primary schools.
The minister also said now they have made it mandatory for all those appearing for West Bengal School Service Commission examination for a teacher's job to clear B.Ed examination.
"They will also have to be an honours graduate with 50 per cent marks," Chatterjee said.

Siliguri to host international conference on trafficking

EOI, Siliguri, 9 Feb 2016: A two-day international conference on trafficking will be held at Siliguri this week and experts from various countries will take part in it.
Anti-trafficking experts and government officials from the country, besides Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, UK and Germany will meet here for the Fifth Trafficking in Persons Conclave to be held on Friday and Saturday. New Delhi-based NGO 'Shakti Vahini' and the US Consulate General office, Kolkata are organising the conference. "Siliguri is part of a transit route for trafficking due to its proximity to the Nepal border. After the Nepal earthquake trafficking has increased," Rishi Kant of the NGO said.
Closure of tea gardens has aggravated the problem in the north Bengal region, he said adding Siliguri is also gateway to the northeastern states. At the conclave the participants will share information about the on-the-ground situation and best practice initiatives in their respective countries as well as identify the way forward for a coordinated regional response to trafficking.

Tea garden hands drop return plan

TT, February 9: Over 350 people who left the ailing Bagracote Tea Estate for other states in search of jobs have cancelled their plan to return home after the management backtracked from an assurance to pay workers their dues in phases from January 31.
Bagracote in the Dooars is one of the 14 estates owned by the Duncans Industries Ltd and workers complained that there had been irregularities in distribution of rations and payment of wages in all the gardens since April last year.
On January 22, the management told the state government that workers would be paid their dues in phases from January 31 and activities in the garden would be regularised from February 1.
However, the Centre authorised the Tea Board on January 28 to take over seven of the 14 gardens. Following the decision, the management decided not to go ahead with the January 22 assurance in the remaining seven gardens, including Bagracote.
"So far, 372 men in Bagracote have migrated to states like Kerala, Haryana, Punjab and Tamil Nadu and are doing odd jobs at industrial establishments and construction sites to run their families. The migration had started in June and even last month, a number of workers left the garden in search of jobs," said Hemant Pradhan, a resident of Bagracote.
According to him, these people were sending money to their families who were still staying in the garden. "They could at least save their families from death because back in the garden, it is only rice which is available from the state government. Many of them would speak of the problems they are facing at the new workplace," said Pradhan.
The dues in all the 14 Duncan gardens were said to be around Rs 70 crore. Several deaths have also been reported in some gardens although the suspected cause - malnutrition - has not been conclusively established.
After the January 22 assurance by the management, over 350 men, most of whom were workers in Bagracote, decided to come back home from their current work sites.
People like Francis Lakra who is in Chennai and Kishore Chhetri who is in Kerala, decided to buy train tickets.
"Those staying outside Bengal were happy to hear the promise. The family members told them that it was imperative that they were back in the garden and collected the dues. They had to spend extra money to get the train tickets. We had spoken to them and they were so happy to know that the impasse was finally over," Laurantus Kerketta, another resident of Bagracote, said.
However, the ray of hope faded away within a week.
"As the central government issued a notification on January 28, mentioning the acquisition of seven tea estates of the Duncans Group, the management wrote to the state labour department on January 30, saying it was deferring its plan. The migrants were contacted by the family members and asked to cancel train tickets. They were also told to continue working at their respective places," said Pradhan.
"I have spoken to at least a couple of them. They are desperate to return home at the slightest opportunity but cannot afford to do so. Otherwise, their families would be struggling to live," he added.

Students ransack exam centre - Doors broken in cheating rage

Broken doors at Durgapur High School, near Raiganj on Tuesday. Pic::Nantu Dey
TT, Raiganj/Malda, Feb. 9: The last day of Madhyamik was marked by violence in a school near Raiganj where examinees broke doors and windows before the life science exam began.
In Durgapur High School, about 8km from Raiganj, examinees went on the rampage to "protest" against strict invigilation during Monday's mathematics test.
In Kalindri High School in Manikchak, about 25km from Malda town, examinees burst firecrackers on the campus after the test got over at 3pm.
When asked, many of the students shouted that they were "celebrating" how well they had cheated during the test.
Scores of youths were seen jumping up the walls of the school to supply chits of papers with answers written on them.
The authorities of the North Dinajpur school attributed the violence to "excitement" among the students as the exams were over.
Around 11am today, a group of students who were supposed to appear for their exam from Durgapur Girls High School went on the rampage.
According to local people, there were loud bangs and shouting coming from within the building. Some local people and some outsiders on the campus almost came to blows. A team from Itahar police station brought the situation under control.
The exams began under police presence and ended without any other incident.
Mihir Sarkar, a resident of the Durgapur area, said a section of the examinees entered the school around 11am and started the ransacking. "On hearing the commotion, I and other residents and shopkeepers in the area rushed to the school. We found that the students were breaking doors and windows. They ransacked the office several classrooms and toilets. When we protested the students threatened to attack us. They continued the violence for nearly half an hour. After that the police came and told us to leave," Sarkar said.
None of the examinees spoke when asked what had happened before the exam started. The school authorities, however, conceded that there was ransacking. "The students were happy that Madhyamik exams would end today. They merely indulged in come mischief in the heat of the moment. This is a small matter and we have not complained to the police. Such incidents do happen during the exams," said Soma Nag, the headmistress of Durgapur Girls High School.
In Manikchak school, when the exam got over at 3pm, examinees burst crackers.
Nazmul haq, the headmaster of Kalindri High School, said that the exams had passed off peacefully. "There was no trouble inside the classrooms. Some students were heard bursting crackers outside after the exams were over," Haq said.
Sources in the school said that examinees were only allowed to enter classrooms with only their pencil boxes and writing boards.

9 Feb 2016

Bengali exempted for Nepali speaking WBCS applicants

Suman Chakraborti, TNN, Feb 9, 2016, Kolkata: The state government on Tuesday in principle approved that from now on applicants for WBCS (exe) examination whose mother tongue is Nepali will be exempted from having the requirement of ability to read, write and speak in Bengali to appear in the examination, irrespective of the applicants place of residence.
Earlier, only candidates with Nepali as their mother tongue residing in the three hill sub divisions of Darjeeling district at Darjeeling Sadar, Kalimpong and Kurseong had this exemption. The order was issued by the state personnel and administrative reforms (PAR) department on Tuesday.
The Mamata Banerjee government has been giving more stress and importance on the role of WBCS (exe) officers in running the administration. Earlier in 2014, the government made some amendments to the West Bengal Civil Service (Executive) Recruitment Rules, 1978, with the aim to churn out young, efficient and competent officers.
The state government has been thinking of breaking away from the tradition and depute WBCS officers in posts that traditionally have belonged to IAS officers only. A rejig was done few years back to bring in more speed and effectiveness in running the administration in the block and sub divisional level. Many senior BDOs were promoted as deputy magistrates several BDOs were also transferred from one block to another on the basis of seniority and work experience.

गोर्खाल्याण्ड्को माग व्यक्तिगत भए म ममतासंग मिलेर काम गर्ने थिए -विमल गुरुङ

सिब्सु कुमानिवाट राजेश शर्मा, कालिमन्युज, 8 फरवरी 2016: गोर्खाल्याण्ड्को माग मेरो आफ्नो माग होइन यदि यो मागको लडाइ व्यक्तिगत भए म मुख्य मंत्री ममता ब्यानर्जीसंग मिलेर नै बस्ने थिए तर यो शहिदहरुको सपनाको माग हो । शहिदहरुकै निम्ति म इमान्दार छु । उक्त वक्तव्य गोजमुमो अध्यक्ष अनि गोक्षेप्र मुख्य कार्यकारी बिमल गुरुङ्ले कुमानी नजिक सिब्सुमा आयोजित वलिदान दिवसमा आयोजित कार्यक्रमलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै बताएका हुन।
गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलनमा शहिद भएका  प्रमिला शर्मा, बिमला राई, निता खवास, बिक्की लामा, अकबर लामा अनि मंहल सिहं राजपुतको सम्झना गर्दै उक्त कार्यक्रम आयोजन गरिएको थियो। 8 फरवरी 2011मा सिब्सुमै शहिद भएका बिमला राई, निता खवास, बिक्की लामाको स्मरन गर्दै आफु नबिकेको अनि नबिक्ने साथै कसैलाई पनि बिक्री नगराएको गुरुङ्ले सम्बोधनमा बताए।
राज्य सरकारले राजनैतिक खेले खेलीरहेको आरोप लाउदै तिनले भने कि यदि गोर्खाल्याण्ड्राज्य बनियो भने त्यहा सम्पूर्ण जाती हुन्छ तथा मुसलमान, आदिवासी, बंगाली लगायत गोर्खा एक आपसमा मिलेर बस्ने छन्। उपस्थित डी एम आइ (डुवर्स मिल्लत ए इस्लामिया) का मुसलमानहरुलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै तिनले भने कि मुसलमानले अधिकार माग्यो भने पाकीस्तानको भन्छ भने गोर्खाले  आफ्नो माग राख्दा विदेशी भन्छ, यसैले हामीलाइइ न्याय चाहिंछ । ममता ब्यानर्जीले पहाड़मा आएर जात जातमा बिभक्त गर्ने राजनैतिक गरिरहेको आरोप लगाउदै तिनले आउदो चुनावको निम्ति चुनौति दिए ।
यस अवसरमा युद्धवीर उच्चतर माध्यमिक अनि कुमाइ उच्च विध्यालयको नानीहरुलाई स्कूल आउनु जानुको निम्ति एक एकवटा स्कूल बस स्कूलका प्रधान अध्यापकलाई दिइरहेको छु भन्ने घोषणासंगै सिलगड़ीमा बृहत जनसभा गरिने पनि गुरुङ्ले वक्तव्यमा बताए।      
डिएमआईका अध्यक्ष मक्ता खानले आफ्नो सम्बोधनमा विमल गुरुङ्लाई वजिरे आलम हुन भनि बताउदै गोर्खाहरु एक दलदेखी अर्को दलमा नजाने अपिल गरे भने यस समयमा गोर्खा जातीलाई मुसलिम जातीको पऊर्न समर्थन रहने जनाए।
दिवाकर गुरुङले संचालन गरेको कार्यक्रम डेपुटि चेयरम्यान लोपसांग लामाको स्वागत भाषण्बाट प्रारम्भ भएको कार्यक्रममा गोजमुमो महासचिव रोशन गिरी, विनय तामाङ, शामुएल गुरुङ, रोहीत थापा, जोन बारलाले सम्बोधन गरे।

Grain for all after card snag - Fearing ration backlash in districts, Mamata relaxes norm

TT, Calcutta, Feb. 8: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today delinked digital ration cards from access to cheap foodgrain, seeking to quell discontent that was beginning to boil but prompting concerns whether the stocks available for the time being could keep pace with the resultant surge in demand.
Lakhs of complaints had started to pour in from the districts that faulty cards were standing in the way of the scheme under the National Food Security Act, launched in the state on January 27.
According to norms, digitised ration cards, commonly known as NFSA cards, are mandatory to claim subsidised foodgrain after the launch of the scheme.
“We could distribute 82 per cent of the cards so far and a few cards are faulty…. All those who have the cards, who have applied for the cards and those who are yet to apply for the cards would get subsidised rice. We will correct the mistakes in the cards later,” Mamata said at Nabanna today.
“Those who did not have the cards or who have faulty cards can claim the foodgrain from their ration shops by producing old ration cards,” the chief minister added.
But the move, officials said, could leave ration dealers as well as district-level officers vulnerable to a backlash if cheap rice is not supplied to all.
Bengal had 6.01 crore beneficiaries under the NFSA. Each will get 5kg of foodgrain a month at Rs 2 a kg.
In addition to the Centre’s count, the state had decided to bring another 1.49 crore people under the scheme, taking the total beneficiaries to 7.5 crore. This will entail an expenditure of over Rs 4,200 crore from the exchequer.  
Sources said the chief minister decided not to make the digital cards mandatory for now after she realised the snag’s potential to hurt her in rural areas ahead of elections.
“At least four lakh complaints have come in from the districts that people are not getting cheap rice because of faulty cards as soon as the NFSA was launched…. Such grievances usually turn into big expressions of discontent. The chief minister did not take any chance,” said an official.
Sources said the controversy over distribution of BPL cards during the Left Front tenure was at the back of Mamata’s mind while taking the decision allowing cheap rice for all.
The officials are now worried whether the relaxation would cause chaos. According to sources, initially it was decided that about 7 crore people will get rice and wheat at Rs 2 a kg and another 50 lakh would get foodgrain at half the market price and the remaining 1.7 crore holders of regular ration cards would not get any subsidy on foodgrain. 
“This could have been implemented based on the digitised ration cards…. Now there could be trouble if everyone claims foodgrain at Rs 2 a kg,” said a district magistrate.
Ideally, the state should have waited a month after distributing the digitised cards to launch the scheme, the officials said.

22 projects for Deb's Assembly segment

TT, Siliguri, Feb.8: Minister Gautam Deb today announced 22 road projects in his Dabgram-Fulbari constituency.
Deb, who was relived of the post of the Darjeeling district president of the Trinamul Congress last year, will in all probability contest from the same seat this time.
The minister held a meeting with officials of north Bengal development department, Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority and the municipal corporation here today to discuss the projects.
"In total, 22 road projects will shortly commence in Dabgram-Fulbari area. New roads and bridges will be constructed to improve connectivity of different areas with Siliguri. The tender process for the projects will start in a couple of days," Deb said after the meeting.
The minister also held a meeting with officials of state food and supplies department and ration dealers of his constituency.
"He asked them to make sure that food grains under the National Food Security Act were provided to each beneficiary in the Assembly segment without any delay," a source said.
Trinamul insiders said Deb was taking up the new projects in his constituency with an eye on the coming Assembly elections.
"Several projects were already taken up in Dabgram-Fulbari and the new road schemes can surely help us retain our support base. Simultaneously, the food grains' distribution is an important point which the chief minister is highlighting at every public meeting. It is natural that being the local MLA, he has to make sure that each prospective beneficiary is brought under the ambit of the scheme. Such an exercises would help Trinamul move ahead of our political contenders," said a Trinamul leader.
Dabgram-Fulbari constituency comprises 14 wards of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation and four gram panchayats of Rajganj block under Jalpaiguri district. Deb had won from here by a margin of 11,236 votes in 2011.


Gurung for larger alliance to fight TMC - KPP, Barla, minority outfit Morcha allies

Gurung at Sibchu on Monday. (Biplab Basak)
TT, Sibchu (Jalpaiguri), Feb. 8: Bimal Gurung today said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha would forge an alliance with a few regional forces in north Bengal to contest the coming Assembly polls.
The Morcha president, who was in Sibchu today to observe "Balidaan Diwas," organised to remember three party supporters who had lost their lives in a police firing on February 8, 2011, also said such an alliance would help defeat Trinamul.
"We will tie up with regional forces, including some political parties, ahead of the coming Assembly polls. We are already an ally of the BJP and will field candidates in Assembly constituencies in the Dooars and Terai, apart from the Darjeeling hills, to defeat Trinamul. Soon, our party will hold a meeting in Siliguri where we will formally announce the names of our allies," Gurung told journalists this afternoon.
Morcha sources said the prospective allies include the Kamtapur Progressive Party's Atul Roy faction, the John Barla faction of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad and the Dooars Millat-e-Islamia (DMI).
The Atul Roy group of the KPP, which wields clout in the Terai and some pockets of the Dooars, and Barla were with the BJP-Morcha combine in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Barla enjoys support in tea gardens in the Dooars and Terai. The DMI is the most influential organisation of Muslims in the Dooars and is not averse to the tie-up with the BJP.
Barla and Moktar Khan, a leader of the DMI, were present at today's programme and said in unison that they were with the Morcha and would strive against alleged step-motherly attitude towards the Dooars by the state government.
"A number of Morcha leaders in the Dooars are sitting idle. As the polls are round the corner, they should wake up and initiate consistent political activities in the region," Khan said at the event.
Gurung had said earlier that unlike the 2011 Assembly polls when the Morcha had fielded candidates in only three hill constituencies and supported Wilson Champramari, the Independent in Kalchini, the party would field candidates in around 15 seats across north Bengal this time.
At today's programme, Gurung criticised the state government and chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
"Mamata Banerjee is doing 'use-and-throw' politics. She is using people for her own political interests and throwing them away once her interests are fulfilled. She is trying to play politics and divide different communities in the hills. However, she will never succeed in her intentions," Gurung said. "I have also decided to come down from the hills ahead of the Assembly polls and campaign to defeat Trinamul."
He also demanded a probe into the sources of funds for development boards formed by the state for different hill communities.
"The state government is using the money meant for the GTA to pay the development boards. We demand a complete investigation to find out from where the state is getting funds to pay the boards which the chief minister has created to divide the people in the hills," the Morcha president said.
"The state has endorsed the term Gorkhaland (by inserting it in the GTA agreement) but now it is interfering in the functioning of the GTA and speaking against our demand for a separate state. We have taken up the matter with the Centre. The state is, however, acting in a detrimental manner and even delaying tripartite meetings on the GTA," Gurung added.
He also trained guns at former Morcha leader and Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri. "He should prove himself by winning the coming polls. He does not have even the minimum support base in the hills," Gurung said.
Chhetri, who resigned from the Morcha last year, has recently formed the Jan Andolan Party.
Senior Morcha leaders, including Roshan Giri, Kurseong MLA Rohit Sharma, Ramesh Alley and Binay Tamang, were present at the meeting.
Additional reporting by Avijit Sinha

Free facility for heart patients

TT, Siliguri, Feb.8: The North Bengal Medical College and Hospital has started free pacemaker implantation on heart patients who are in a critical state.
Pacemaker is a device implanted in the heart or abdomen of a patient to help the heart beat at a normal rate. "The NBMCH is the sole-referral hospital for seven north Bengal districts and people from lower sections of the society visit the facility for treatment. We treat many patients with heart ailments and some of them need pacemaker implants. But because of lack of pacemaker-trained cardiologists at the hospital we couldn't carry out the implantation. However, a doctor recently received training in the procedure and so we decided to carry out the implantation for critical patients at the hospital totally free of cost. This has been done to benefit patients who cannot afford implantation expense in private hospitals or go to state-run hospitals in Calcutta," said a hospital official.
The cost of pacemaker and surgery together come to around Rs. 2.5 lakh in private hospitals.
He added: "We are not carrying out pacemaker implantation randomly because of lack of proper cardiac facilities at the hospital. Normally, such a procedure is carried out at the catheterization laboratory with imaging equipment to see the various parts of the heart. There is no such facility at NBMCH now, but we have worked out an arrangement with the orthopedic department to use their C-Arm machine which also helps in imaging for conducting implants when needed. In the past one month, we have carried out three such implantation at the major OT of NBMCH."

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