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3 Mar 2015

APMM and ALRC urges Human Rights Council to protect human rights defenders at risk for protecting migrants’ rights

KalimNews, Kalimpong, 3 March 2015: Human rights defenders themselves are at risk. The Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) on behalf of several such NGOs working in different countries working to defend and protect migrant workers have urged the human rights council for protection. 
APMM is a regional institution working on and with migrants in Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions. Established in 1984, the APMM does advocacy and lobbying, research and education, campaigns and organizing, networking and capacity building to help migrants not only resolve their issues but also be empowered in organizing themselves.
The Asian Legal Resource Centre an independent regional non-governmental organisation holding general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations has also supported the plight of these human right NGOs. ALRC is the sister organisation of the Asian Human Rights Commission. The Hong Kong-based group seeks to strengthen and encourage positive action on legal and human rights issues at the local and national levels throughout Asia.It has submitted its submission are as follows:
1. The Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) and the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) would like to draw the attention of the Human Rights Council to the increasing trend of harassment,intimidation, and threats on human rights defenders advocating for or protecting the rights of migrants in Asia and the Pacific.
2. The General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/68/181, para. 6) has “recognize the valuable work of human rights defenders” and reiterates the obligations of States to promote, respect and protect those “individually and in association with others” defending human rights without distinction of any kind. In the past two decades, the number of migrants has increased internationally making labour migration a global phenomenon. The need to ensure protection of migrant’s rights also gives rise to individuals and groups advocating for protection and promotion of migrants’ rights.
3. While the APMM and the ALRC welcome the same Resolution for States to ensure “not to criminalize or meet with limitations” activities related to the promotion and protection of rights, it is a sad reality that not many States have honoured this Resolution. Human rights defenders, who are providing services, notably to undocumented migrants, end up at risk and are vulnerable to criminal prosecution.
4. Protection of the rights of migrants has already been defined in various international conventions, specifically the 2003 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. As of 2014, 47 states have already signed and ratified this Convention, however, many of them are the migrant’s countries of origin. While sending countries enforce policies that could protect their nationals, their nationals are subject to domestic laws of their host countries. 
5. In the Asia and Pacific region, migrant workers continue to express a growing concern about the status of protection of their human rights in their countries of destination. In the countries of destination of migrants, one of the major concerns pertains to undocumented migrants. The transnational and cross border nature of global migration thus requires intervention to ensure protection of rights, not only of migrant workers, but also for those promoting and protecting their rights at a global scale.
6. Undocumented migrants are migrants without proper legal documents authorizing them to stay and work in their countries of destination. Some undocumented migrants include: 1) migrants who enter the countries of destination legally but due to difficulties lose the legal permit to stay and work; 2) migrants who enter the countries of destination without legal permission; and 3) people who are victims of human trafficking.
7. Many destination states perceive undocumented migrants as criminal offenders violating immigration policies and laws and enact laws to ensure punishment for arrested offenders. The APMM has received and followed up on cases of human rights abuse experienced by undocumented migrants who have been arrested and placed in immigration detention centers around Asia Pacific. 
8. Due to their status, undocumented migrants have become vulnerable to human rights violations, especially in terms of their employment. Without a legal contract, they receive salaries lower than what is prescribed by law, have no assured protection at the workplace, are made to work more than the legally prescribed number of working hours, and denied other benefits and rights. Furthermore, they cannot access public services, such as health, legal aid, and education. It is for this reason undocumented migrants seek help from human rights defenders. 
9. We recall that the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (A/RES/53/144) has, clearly, stipulated the right to “promote and to protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons in all countries of the world”. However, in the context of international migration, human rights defenders who extend support services and assistance to migrants, notably undocumented migrants, have been subject to intimidation, harassment, and criminal persecution. 
10. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), for example, non-governmental organizations and private individuals providing legal advice and counselling to undocumented migrant workers work “under the radar” for fear of criminal persecution. Human rights defenders in the KSA fear going public with assistance to undocumented migrants, as governments of both countries of origin and destination may collaborate to crack down on undocumented migrants. Take, for example, the case of undocumented migrant Filipinos in the tent city of Riyadh who were arrested by Saudi police upon the request of the Philippine Embassy there.
12. Trade unions in some countries of destination have also faced threats from the state for including undocumented migrant workers in their roster. For instance, on many occasions, the South Korean government has launched massive crackdowns on undocumented migrants in Seoul, arresting, detaining, and eventually deporting them. Some members and leaders of migrant organizations and trade unions have reported being tailed by immigration police everywhere – at the workplace or in public areas – during this state-supported operation.
13. Publication and exposition of problems related to immigration and the rights of migrant workers are deemed criminal. Such was the predicament faced by the late Dr. Irene Fernandez, former director of TENAGANITA, an institution providing support to migrants (including workers, asylum seekers, refugees) in Malaysia. In 1996, Dr. Fernandez was charged by the Malaysian government for violating the Printing Presses and Publications Act upon the release of a report alleging ill-treatment of undocumented migrant workers in detention centres all around Malaysia. She was found guilty in 2003 but was acquitted five years later after she appealed to the High Court.
14. To provide services to undocumented migrants has been equated to the harbouring of criminals. Refuge centres or shelters for migrants in many countries of destination are usually run by government institutions or government-approved NGOs. For fear of arrest, undocumented migrants do not go to these shelters or centres but to other groups like church institutions, organizations, and even individual workers. Unfortunately, police conduct raids in these homes, arresting not only the undocumented migrants, but also owners of these homes for harbouring undocumented migrants. Also, church institutions and NGOs have experienced having immigration police cars parked or individuals in civilian clothes suspected to be immigration police hovering around near their offices.
15. We take note the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (A/HRC/28/63, para. 60, 64) that “States have primary responsibility for protecting human rights defenders” and “above all, to protect defenders by such means as adoption of legislative or regulatory measures aimed at their protection.” Human rights defenders providing services to migrant workers, regardless of their condition of stay, should be allowed to operate without being subject to persecution. 
16. The APMM and ALRC urge the States that, in the process of implementation of immigration policies, there must be a clear distinction between those they allege to have committed violation to immigration laws and those who are providing basic humanitarian and legal services to undocumented migrant workers. Human rights defenders must not be forced to discriminate in providing services to migrants. The APMM and ALRC are deeply concerned about the growing trend of harassment, intimidation, and other related problems arising from their role to promote and protect migrants’ rights.
17. We urge the Human Rights Council to pay attention to this phenomenon. The HRC, through the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, should look into situations of human rights defenders in countries of destination that have existing policies criminalizing undocumented migrants and previous record in arrest, detention, and deportation of undocumented migrants.
18. We urge the governments of the countries of destination to ensure and strengthen protection for human rights defenders who provide support to and promote the rights and welfare of migrants. 
19. Lastly, we urge the governments of the countries of destination to sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families as a step towards uplifting the lives of migrants everywhere.

Criminal justice reforms elementary to control violence against women

KalimNews, Kalimpong, 3 March 2015: A written submission is submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre to the UN Human Rights Council regarding Criminal justice reforms elementary to control violence against women. 
The Hongkong based Asian Legal Resource Centre is an independent regional non-governmental organisation holding general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. 
It is the sister organisation of the Asian Human Rights Commission. It seeks to strengthen and encourage positive action on legal and human rights issues at the local and national levels throughout Asia and has suggested six points. 
1. After the infamous New Delhi rape case of 2012, and other cases of gender based violence subsequently reported by the media, the Government of India initiated a series of measures to curb violence against women. The government's initiatives have, however, been limited to sensitising communities and instructing the local police to register complaints upon receipt. Amendments were made in 2013 to the Indian Penal Code 1860, The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, The Indian Evidence Act 1872, and to The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012. However, none of these steps has reduced the number of sexual offenses committed against women in India. 
2. The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) is of the opinion that the root cause of the problem lies in the dysfunctional criminal justice machinery in the country. While some of the initiatives taken by the government have been welcome, only if the government is willing to fix the dysfunctional criminal justice machinery can there be effective reduction in crime against women in India. 
 3. Justice J.S. Verma, former Chief Justice of India, shares this opinion. In his report to the government, filed in the capacity of the Chairperson of the Judicial Committee appointed by the Government of India, in the wake of the 2012 New Delhi rape case, Justice Verma has stated that “…the root cause behind sexual assault upon women is a failed criminal justice process, particularly the police and delay in prosecutions.” 
4. It is this reformation of the criminal justice institutional framework in India that no government has prioritised. The Indian police are notorious for corruption, nepotism, and for the use of brute force to extract confessions and bribes. Scientific crime investigation, if at all carried out, is limited to high-profile cases involving the politically powerful or financially rich. Merit is not observed in recruitment or promotion of officers. Instead, from constable to inspector general, illegal nexus between the officer and politicians draw career graphs. The police force lacks morale, direction, and discipline. 
5. The police in India represent fear and ineptitude. However, it is this very force that victims of sexual abuse have to depend upon for lodging a complaint and further for investigation. It is the same police that file the investigation report in court, based on which a criminal trial takes place. With a flawed investigation, there is not much a prosecutor and a judge can do to serve justice. The inability of the Judiciary to complete trials within a reasonable time only adds to the problem. A failed investigation and a decade long trial not only render the initial complaint meaningless, but also make a mockery of the justice process. 
6. It is this failed criminal justice system that must be re-engineered to end the inferred impunity to the criminal that India's criminal justice process guarantees today. The ALRC urges the UN Human Rights Council to engage with the Government of India to encourage the government to thoroughly review and reform its criminal justice process. 

Review of Confessions of a Terrorist – A Novel

Anita McKone, KalimNews, Kalimpong 3 March 2015:If you have ever asked ‘Why?...How could they do this?’ in response to the latest report of terrorism, then Confessions of a Terroristhttp://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Terrorist-Novel-Richard-Jackson/dp/ 1783600020 is the novel for you. But only if you genuinely want to find out the answers.
Reliable factual information gathered by terrorism expert and author Professor Richard Jackson is set within a simple but compelling fiction: Michael, a British intelligence officer, and Professor Youssef Said, a Middle Eastern terrorist organiser, face each other across a table in a rundown building in Leeds, UK. Their interview is recorded and transcribed for comment by senior MI5 personnel. As we read the transcript, we gradually unravel the mystery of the events that led them to this meeting. A truly surprising twist, and plans within plans on both sides keep the dramatic tension running right up to an explosive finish.
So this is an easy novel to engage with at the ‘action’ level, but its depth shines through in Jackson’s believable portrait of two human beings whose experiences of both ordinary life and of violence have shaped them in very real and defining ways. Their particular histories, emotions and cultural preconceptions variously impede and facilitate true listening and understanding of one another. And, in the final pages, Jackson presents a level of despair at the human dedication to believing thatviolence is the only possible response to violence. He accurately represents how people so often accept the appalling personal and social consequences of violence in the powerless belief that there is no other way.
Meanwhile, if you are not familiar with the story of Empire from the perspective of those invaded, prepare yourself for many shocking revelations which will take you out of the usual good guy/bad guy mindset encouraged by standard media portrayals of world conflicts. People behave violently when they feel themselves to be under threat, and this story demonstrates the danger to all parties of failing to honestly listen to and address your own fears and needs, and those of your enemy, if you truly want to resolve conflict and end the violence.
In this novel, Jackson raises the confronting question: Is the fear and insecurity of Western societies and their violent abuse of people of other countries and cultures causing a violent defensive reaction? In which case, are Westerners the ones who need to de-‘radicalise’ their extremist capitalist and militarist ideologies and behaviour in order to reduce fearful extremist responses to these? Michael’s psychological difficulty in acknowledging his own country’s aggressive behaviours brings up a deeper question: How do you reach a person who is too afraid to acknowledge their own violence, and who continually blames someone else for creating a conflict actually instigated by themselves? How do we expose and address the real source of this person’s fear?
Personally, I found the novel very useful in helping me to redefine terrorism more broadly and accurately, identifying and letting go double standards pertaining to the ‘legitimate’ military and ‘rebel’ militants. In many ways, what is labelled ‘terrorist’ is simply guerrilla warfare – tactics strategically chosen by people with few resources against military forces far superior to their own. And there seems little to distinguish ‘terrorism’ from any form of militarism as it has been practiced at any time by human beings: When have civilians genuinely been protected in a violent conflict? When has violence not been used to terrorise people into submission? When have soldiers not tried to inflict maximum damage on the other side, while minimising their own losses? When have soldiers not been willing to sacrifice their own lives, sometimes suicidally, for a perceived cause?
And when has violencenot been a desperate demand for attention and control by those who are terrified? This is an emotionally engaging book that raises many issues to mull over and discuss, with a solid academic reading list for those who want to find out more. You can also check out Professor Jackson’s other books and articles on his website. https://richardjacksonterrorismblog.wordpress.com/

Anita McKone has been a nonviolent activist since 1993. Her work on environmental and anti-war campaigns led to further intensive research into the deep psychological roots of violence. She works to fully comprehend and end behaviours that are destructive of the Self. She is the author of 'Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice' and has also written and recorded eight 'Songs of Nonviolence'. Website: http://anitamckone.wordpress.com

केन्द्रको भाजपा अनि पहाडको गोजमुमो इमान्दार छैन – तारा सुन्दास

डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 2 मार्च 2015। केन्द्रको भाजपा अनि पहाडको गोजमुमो पार्टी पहाडका जनताप्रति इमान्दार नरहेको माकपा नेता तरा सुन्दासले आरोप लगाएका छन्। जीटीए क्षेत्रमा केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको निम्ति आम बजेटमा धनराशी अनुमोदन नभए पछि माकपा नेता सुन्दासले उक्त आरोप लगाएका हुन्। 
जीटीए क्षेत्रमा केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको माग धेरै दिन देखि चल्दै आए पनि संसदमा पेश गरिएको आम बजेटमा केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको निम्ति धनराशी अनुमोदन भएन। संसदमा केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको निम्ति जीटीएले डीपीआर नपठाएको कारण धनराशी अनुमोदन नभएको सांसद एस.एस आहलुवालीयाको बयान आज सार्बजनिक भए पछि यता मार्क्सवादी कम्युनिष्ट पार्टीका नेता तारा सुन्दासले कडा प्रतिक्रिया जनाएको छ। 
माकपा नेता सुन्दासले आज पार्टी कार्यलयमा पत्रकार सम्मेलन डाकेर नै केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको निम्ति डीपीआर नबुझाएको कारण कोष आवण्टित नभएको सन्दर्भमा पार्टीको पक्षबाट तिखो प्रतिक्रिया व्यक्त गर्दै भारतीय जनता पार्टीले जनताली ढाँटेको आरोप लगाए। 
पहाडमा केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको माग धेरै पुरानो रहेको बताउँदै यस अघि गोजमुमो नेताहरूले दिल्लीमा केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको निम्ति कुरा उठाएको अनि यो चाँडै निर्माण प्रक्रिया आरम्भ हुनेछ भने पहाडका जनतालाई भ्रममा राखेको आरोप लगाए। ‘गोजमुमो पार्टीले आफैलाई राजग पार्टीको घटक दल मान्ने गर्छ। जुन दलको केन्द्रमा सरकार छ अनि यता जसले आफैलाई केन्द्रमा सत्तासिन राजगको घटक दल रहेको दाबी गर्छ आज त्यहीँ दलले पहाडमा केन्दिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको निम्ति कोषण आवण्टित नगर्नु दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण मात्र होइन जनतालाई बोरामा हाल्ने काम गरेको छ’ – माकपा नेता तारा सुन्दासले कडा प्रतिक्रिया व्यक्त गर्दै भने। 
डीपीआर नबुझाएको कारण केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको निम्ति कोष आवाण्टित नभएको सन्दर्भमा बोल्दै उनले केही महिना अघि नै जीटीए क्षेत्रमा केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माण प्रक्रिया आरम्भ भएको अनि यस कार्यको निम्ति डीपीआर तयार पारिरहेको रिपोर्ट सार्बजनिक भएको समाचार पत्र समेत देखाए। यसरी अघिबाटै केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको निम्ति कार्य गरिरहेको दाबी गर्ने जीटीएले कसरी सरकारलाई केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको निम्ति डीपीआर पठाउँन सकेन भन्ने प्रश्न तेर्साए। यद्यपी केन्द्रको भाजपा सरकार पहाडका जनतासँग उदासिन रहेको कारण नै विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको पहल नगरेको पनि आरोप लगाए। 
सुन्दासले केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको निम्ति डीपीआर नबुझाए पनि भाजपा सरकार इमान्दार भएको भए कोष आवाण्टित गर्न सक्थ्यो भन्ने दाबी गरे। ‘केन्द्रको सरकार पहाडप्रति इमान्दार छैन। यदि इमान्दार हुँदो हो भने केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय निर्माणको प्रक्रियाको निम्ति धनराशी अनुमोदन गर्ने थियो। सरकारले केन्द्रिय बजेटमा आइ.आइ.टी तथा अन्य शिक्षण संस्थाहरू खोल्ने दाबी गर्‍यो। जुन आइ.आइ.टी तथा अन्य शिक्षण संस्थाहरू खोल्ने सरकारले घोषणा गरेको छ त्यसको डीपीआर रिपोर्ट परेन। त्यसो हो भने दार्जीलिङ पहाडमा केन्द्रिय विश्वविद्यालय खोल्नको निम्ति किन डीपीआर आवश्यक पर्‍यो ?’ तारा सुन्दासले प्रश्न तेर्साए। 
यसैक्रममा दार्जीलिङ पहाडमा अघिबाटै आइ.आइ.टी खोल्ने, खर्साङका अस्पताललाई एम्स स्तरको अस्पताल बनाउँने घोषणा जीटीएले गरे पनि यस विषमा केन्द्रिय बजेटमा कुनै उल्लेख नभएको बताउँदै भाजपा सँगै सत्तासिन राजनैतिक दल गोजमुमो पार्टीले पनि पहाडका जनतालाई ढाँटिरहेको आरोप लगाएका छन्।

Gurung plans to meet PM on statehood - Morcha gears up for Delhi dharna

Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri, Bimal Gurung and Darjeeling municipality
chairman Amar Singh Rai at the party meeting in Darjeeling . (
Suman Tamang)
(Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, March. 2: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today claimed that Bimal Gurung would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the one-point agenda of creating Gorkhaland when the GTA chief executive would be in Delhi next week to take part in the party's agitation to demand the separate state.
Asked whether an appointment to meet the prime minister had been fixed, Binay Tamang, assistant secretary of the Morcha, said: "He (Gurung) will definitely be meeting the prime minister."
The party held a meeting at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan here today to finalise the details of the proposed nine-day dharna on Gorkhaland at Jantar Mantar in Delhi from March 9.
After the meeting, Tamang said: "It has been decided at the meeting that all three Morcha MLAs, along with almost all GTA Sabha members (47) of the party, will participate in the dharna. Bimal Gurung will be sending a Morcha team to Delhi, a few days before the dharna begins, and they will meet Union ministers. Gurung will, however, leave for Delhi on March 10 to participate in the dharna and he will be meeting the prime minister during his stay in Delhi."
He added: "All the meetings with the central ministers and the Prime Minister will be on the single-point agenda of Gorkhaland."
A Morcha leader who didn't want to be named said the party was confident that the Prime Minister would grant Gurung an appointment.
BJP leader S.S. Ahluwalia was elected to Lok Sabha from Darjeeling with the backing of the Morcha. The hill party is an ally of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and Gurung has met Modi after the latter was nominated as the prime ministerial candidate by the BJP. Gurung had also been invited by the NDA for the swearing-in of Modi.
The planned meeting will be the first official engagement between Modi and Gurung after the former became the Prime Minister.
Tamang said 50 members of the Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarthi Morcha, 10 members each from the Morcha's subdivisional committees of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik and 84 elected members of all four hill municipalities would take part in the dharna.
"Party members from Uttarkhand and Delhi will also be present at the dharna," said Tamang.
Asked about the BJP's manifesto, Tamang said: "We are aware of the content of the BJP's Lok Sabha election manifesto. We also know Modi had said the dreams of the Gorkhas are his dreams. We want our dreams to be fulfilled as early as possible."
The manifesto reads: "... the BJP reiterates that it will sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long pending demands of the Gorkhas, the Adivasis and other people of Darjeeling district and the Dooars region; of the Kamtapuri, Rajbongshi and other people of North Bengal (including recognition of their language); and will take initiatives for the permanent solution of the long pending issues of the Bodos and other tribals of Assam, the people of Sikkim, Leh, Ladakh, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep and other such neglected regions."
During the Morcha's last engagement with Union home minister, Rajnath Singh, in November, the party had claimed that he had told the party delegation that a committee would be formed to examine the Gorkhaland demand.
There has been no word on the formation of the committee yet. After the reported assurance, the Morcha had postponed its Delhi agitation, which had been scheduled for December, 18, 19 and 20.

1 Mar 2015

कालेबुङका युवती बेच्ने दुई युवकको दिल्लीबाट पक्राउ

राजे्श शर्मा, कालिमन्युज, दिल्ली, 1 मार्च 2015। कोही काम गरेर पैसा कमाउने त कोही घुम्ने त कोही ऐश् गर्ने रहरले ; कोही घरमा परिवार सदस्यहरुको अत्याचारदेखि बाच्न त कोही पड्न या घरमा काम गर्नको डर र करले या कुनै कुरोमा असफल भई गाउ छोड्ने वाध्यताले देशको शहर या विदेश जाने गर्छन। यस्तै घटना घट्यो कालेबुङ महकुमाकै एउटा गाउमा।
संगीताले अचानक सुटुक्कै आफ्नो गाउ छोडी दिल्ली लागिन। गत 1 फरवरीदेखि घर छोड़ेर यी युवती दिल्ली लागेको खबरले उनको घर गाउ तथा कालेबुङ महकुमानै हलचल मचाएको थियो । उक्त खबर प्रकासमा आउनसाथ उक्त युवतिको परिवारले यस सम्वन्धमा कालेबुङ् थानामा दुइ तारीखनै प्राथमिकी दर्जा गरे जसको आधारमा कालेबुङ पुलिसले खोजी कार्य तिब्र गतिले प्रारम्भ गर्‍यो ।प्राप्त जानकारी अनुसार युवती दिल्लीमा भएको खबर तब प्रकाशमा आयो जब ती युवतीले जबर्जस्ती कुनै घरमा काम गर्न अत्याचार पूर्वक राखेको फोनमा बताइन । तर त्यसपछि तिनीसंग सम्पर्क गर्न सम्भव भएन । तिनलाई अपहरण नै गरेर राखेको स्थितिमा लाने व्यक्तिको खोजी गर्नु र तिनको उद्धार गर्नु पनि जरुरी थियो। धेरै सतर्कता लिदै अभियुक्तहरुलाई भाग्न नदिन पुलिसले बडो कायदासंग युवतिको सुरक्षा पनि लिदै ओपरेशन अघि बडायो। अंतत: काम दिने लोभ देखाएर फकाइ फुसलाई लगि कुनै घरमा बलपूर्वक काममा लगाइरहेको अवस्थाबाट युवतिको उद्धार र अभियुक्तको पक्राउ गर्न दिली क्राइम ब्रांचको पुलिस सफल भएको थियो।
दिल्ली क्राइम ब्रान्चको लगातार प्रयासपछि दिल्लीमा युवती लैजाने एजेन्टले कसैको घरमा तिनीहरुलाई काम गर्न राखेको सुचना प्राप्त हुन सक्यो। दिल्ली पुलिसको क्राइम ब्रान्चको सहयोगमा घर छोड़ेर भागेकी युवतीलाई खोजी निकाल्न अनि जुन ठाउमा उसलाई राखिएको थियो त्यो पत्तो लगाए त्यहाबाट उद्धार गर्न 22 दिन पछि पुलिस सफल भयो। यस सम्वन्धमा कालेबुङ थाना प्रभारी टि एन नाथले बताए अनुसार दिल्ली अनि कालेबुङ पुलिसको माझमा तालमेल मिलेपछि दिल्ली क्राइम ब्रान्चले कालचिनि डुवर्सको चिन्चुलाका पंकज लामा (28) अनि राइमटांग निवासी राजेश बिश्वकर्म (39) लाई पक्राउ गरि उक्त युवतीलाई उद्धार गर्न सफल भयो। युवतिलाई फकाइ फुसलाई प्रलोभन देखाई लगेर दिल्ली पुर्‍याएर पछिबाट जबरजस्ती गरि कुनै एक स्थानमा काम गराउन लगेको अवस्थाबाट पुलिसले उद्धार गरेको थियो। युवतिको उद्धार पछि कालेबुङको एसआइ लक्षमण पोखरेल अनि दुइ महिला पुलिसले दिल्ली पुगेर दुइ अपराधी पंकज लामा अनि राजेश बिश्वकर्मलाई पक्राउ गरि कालेबुङ ल्याइ पुर्‍याएपछि आज कालेबुङ एसिजेएमको कोर्ट्मा पेस गर्यो् । अपहरणको मुद्धामा पुलिसले दुवैलाई हिरासतमा पठाएको छ । यता उद्धार गरिएकी युवतीलाई पुलिसले परिवार समक्ष सुम्पिदिएको छ । कालेबुङ पुलिसले दिल्ली क्राइम ब्रान्चको सहायतामा सफलता प्राप्त गरेर युवतीलाई घर फर्काउन सफल भएको छ तर यस संजालको सुइ र यसको कार्यशैली बारे धेरै कुरो गर्न अझ बाकीनैछ। यसमा दिल्ली गोजमुमो युवा मोर्चाको मूल सचिव आकास रामुदामु अनि नारी मोर्चा रेबिका राईले पनि सहयोग पुर्यालएको थियो जसमा युवा मोर्चाको लाक्पा लेप्चा, रमेस सेवा, योगेस शंकर, सुकबिन्द्र राणा, सुनिल शेर्पा, समिर राई, संचिन राई, हरि घतानी, दिपेन संकर लगायत नारी मोर्चाका रेबिका राई (रिना) पेट्रीसिया निकोलस, निमा राई, सपना रसाईली, मिनू सुब्बा, उर्मिला घतानीको भुमिका पनि अहम रहेको छ ।

28 Feb 2015

Seeking attention to Darjeeling area in the Budget 2015-2016, DDUDF writes to FM

PR, KalimNews, Kalimpong, 28 February, 2015: Darjeeling Dooars United Development Foundation (DDUDF), has sought attention of the Finance Minister to some vital matters related to Darjeeling hills and adjoining areas. In its memorandum addressed to Arun Jaitly, the finance minister it has drawn intervention of the ministry for its development demanding implementation of National Mission on Himalayas, revitalisation of Darjeeling tea industry, implementation of 3 tier panchayt, enlistment of Darjeeling tea industry in the UNESCO's World, to reshape, redirect and revitalise the medicinal plantation directorate, to include Darjeeling and Dooars in the North Eastern Council.
The excerpt of the memorandum signed by Dr Mahendra P Lama Founder Trustee of DDUDF civil society organisation based in Darjeeling, is as follows.
I would like to extend our warmest congratulations and felicitations to you for your significant achievements in the last 9 months as the Minister of Finance. we remain deeply impressed by your oratory skills, intellectual prowess and overarching command over various issues of national and global importance'your core competence, political sagacity and professional commitment will clearly be reflected in the forthcoming budget. 
All categories of Indians both within and outside the country, global development partners and investors and more critically varied geographies of India are expecting out-of-the-box Budget this year. A budget that will kindle hope across the communities and geographies, a budget that will enliven the spirit of nation building and a budget that will sustainably transform the basic tenets of our economy so that we could also be a global economic power' you are aware that the Hills and Mountain areas from Kashmir to Uttarakhand and Darjeeling to Arunachal which constitute over 16 % of the total geographical area (3'28'726 thousand hectare) in the country are not only critical to our geo-politics and national security interest but also to ecological and economic sustenance. 
Most of the water towers that feed our country are located in this magnificent region and we have one of the most gorgeous socio-cultural heritage, unparallel bio-diversity and of course undocumented knowledge and intellectual resources. 
All the famous trade routes including the silk Route actually originated from this region which actually brought together a chain of civilisations for both cultural cooperation and economic and geographical integration. The global world is again re-focusing on the hill and mountain areas because of various reasons including the climate change and fresh water crisis. They plan to revive Silk Route, the Chinese are moving from the coastal areas to land frontiers of the South West region comprising of Sichuan,Tibet and Yunan and more critically the rich biodiversity and diverse cultures are rediscovered, water resources are reconfigured and natural disaster and vulnerabilities are re-studied.
We in Darjeeling and Dooars region strongly feel that the budget this year should have strong and far reaching programmes for this sensitive region of Hills and Mountain areas in India. For us in Darjeeling and Dooars region we have the following suggestions to make which require your both professional and intellectual interventions.
1 National Mission on Himalayas as announced by the Hon'ble President of India in his address to the Parliament should now be implemented. This could in a way facilitate the setting up of a full fledged Ministry on Hills and Mountain regions of India. A time bound action of /by this Mission and support from your august Ministry may be incorporated in your budget speech.
2 The establishment of Central University and the Central University as mentioned in the address of the President of India may be located in Darjeeling and Dooars region. Why this University should be located in Darjeeling and Dooars region is comprehensively explained in the Press Release and Appeal of the DDUDF made on 20 June 2OI4 (enclosed herewith)
3 The historic Darjeeling Tea Industry is in a state of doldrums and ruins and is fast losing its lustre, global reputation and international market day by day.The famous Dooars tea gardens are also in irreparably bad shape. The tea workers who have served this industry for last 160 years are the worst sufferers and they fear that the situation is going to be worse in the next few years. In the tea gardens of Dooars despite scores of hunger deaths (latest being in Red Bank tea gardens that have remained closed for more than a decade now) among the workers for last 10-15 years, the West Bengal govt remains unperturbed and callously indifferent. The workers' wages which were few Annas per day in 1860s, have reached the pathetic level of Rs 9O/- per day in 2014 that too after a prolonged and harrowing labour movements and unending negotiations. What could be more demeaning than this ?
The Darjeeling and Dooars tea brought so much of foreign exchange and income and gave an unparallel brand name to the country. At one time, it made the owner companies one of the richest in India and possibly abroad. It is very essential for revitalisation of this world famous tea industry. 
The following 8 steps are the minimum policy interventions that are required for this purpose a One time rejuvenation grant/development investment of Rs 1000 crore. This includes replantation, technological upgradation, skill and capacity building, diversification of products, access to global market and re-establishment of Darjeeling brand. This amount could be mobilised from within and outside the country including from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
b Implementation of 3 tier Panchayati Raj and making the people accessible to at least all the central govt development schemes /projects. 
c Implementation of provisions of Minimum Wages Act 1948 for the tea workers as is done in various factories and industries in West Bengal and in rest of the country.
d Enlistment of Darjeeling tea industry in the UNESCO's World Heritage List. 
e Establishment of value adding facilities like tea bag, herbal tea, flavoured tea, wine etc in various tea gardens of Darjeeling. These value adding facilities will generate huge income and employment for the local Youths.
f Gradual shifting of Tea Auction Centre from Calcutta to Siliguri-Dooars region with a view to use the under utilised and much easily accessible Chittagong and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh.With tea from Dooars, Darjeeling, Assam and neighbouring countries Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, this will be the largest auction centre in the world.
g Steady transfer of entitlement of houses, and surrounding hearths and lands to the workers by thoroughly revising the colonial and archival provisions of the Plantation Act 1951. 
4 Similarly, over 150 years old world famous Cinchona (quinine) Plantation of Darjeeling which served as a major cure/relief to millions of people affected by Malaria for decades together in the 19th and 20th centuries has now been in a dilapidated and near wrecked condition. With its verdant location, huge land area, over 5000 skilled manpower, salubrious climate and global brand name, this unique medicinal farming and production unit could in fact have been made a World Organic Garden of Traditional Medicines. But for the lackadaisical, short-sighted and unprofessional handling by the West Bengal Government and the present GTA.
Today the entire production system is in a crumbling situation. The main processing factory has remained closed since 1999. Once an object of global attraction, the Cinchona Plantation could again be revived and rejuvenated to make it a World Organic Garden of Traditional Medicines. The following 6 interventions could be made in order to reshape, redirect and revitalise this magnificent eco-cultural commercial activity. 
a) One time rejuvenation grant of Rs 450 crore mainly focussing on the newer cultivation crops, organic farming and mechanisation of production, technological and professional up-gradation, capacity and skill building of the workers, reassessment of markets and This grant could also be accessed from national and global development funding institutions.
b) Diversification of crops with varieties medicinal plants and folk medicines based organic produces to directly cater to the national and global markets. 
c) Integrate this plantation with similar initiatives on organic and traditional medicine cultivation and production bases in the entire Himalayan regions of India 
d) Setting up of a World Class Research and Training Institute on organic farming of traditional medicines in collaboration with national and global partner institutions including the World Health Organisation and UNESCO.
e) Putting the entire Plantation in UNESCO's World Heritage List for conservation, development and tourism purposes.
f) Complete revamping of the amenities to the workers and their families 
5 Incentives provided to existing and new industrial units in North-Eastern Region including Sikkim and the Special Category States like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand may be extended to Darjeeling and Dooars region as urgently as possible. In the absence of any major industrial and manufacturing industries this region despite huge and endless potentials has suffered incessantly. Except the investors in tea industry who came 150 years ago and some in the hydel power projects, no investor and investment in real sense of the term has come to this region. This is despite the fact that Darjeeling also has the special category status and has comparatively huge potentials for such investments. This region has been deprived of these incentives only because it is not a state as yet. The West Bengal Governments have made announcements after announcements about setting up various industries both private and public but have failed to do anything substantive. The West Bengal Govt by its very nature, orientation and work culture believes in incrementalism and cannot think of any leap forward or a big push which is actually the crying need today. lt works for 'cms and inches' whereas people think of and want to walk 'yards and miles'. There is a clear mis-match in both thinking and action and hence Darjeeling and Dooars want to determine their own destiny.
At the moment, only Transport Subsidy Scheme (modified as Freight Subsidy Scheme in 2013) is applicable to Darjeeling district of West Bengal to provide subsidy on transport cost incurred on movement of raw material and finished goods. In the absence of poor information base, de-motivated work culture and also delays in deliveries, this incentive has also become ineffective.
Like in other relevant states these incentives should include Capital Investment Subsidy, Central Interest Subsidy, Comprehensive Insurance Subsidy, Excise duty exemption and Income Tax exemption. The schemes under North East Industrial and investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPPI2007 will expire on 31st March, 2O17 and FSS will expire in 2018. This could attract and inject industrial and investment activities in crucial areas including in harnessing of natural resources, manufacturing, horticulture, floriculture, pharmaceutical, service related activities like tourism, health, education, lT etc and cross border trading and investment activities. In fact investment in this region could cater to the whole of North east region, entire Easter India and all the neighbouring countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal and Myanmar.
6 It is high time that the region of Darjeeling and Dooars are included in the North Eastern Council [established by a Parliamentary Act viz., North Eastern Council Act 1973 which is a regional planning body. This will make the geographical definition and political characterisation of the North East region complete. Both Darjeeling and Dooars are the crucial entry points of the North East region. The famous 'Chicken Neck' that connects the North East region with the rest of India is actually in this region. Sikkim was included in the North East Council in 2OO2 and Darjeeling's inclusion in the same is just a natural and logical corollary as Sikkim is physically accessible only through Darjeeling. Ethnically and culturally the entire region is the same. Historically like the North East region, Darjeeling also was in the excluded area and partially excluded area categories. Both the regions have significant tribal communities both in the hills and plains, food habits are same and institutional backwardness and communication and transport linkages are still in a nascent stage. There are several advantages for both the Govt of India and the people of this region of Darjeeling and Dooars in case of inclusion in the North East region. The people of this region could take advantage of the wholesome development benefits from the NEC and the Ministry of Development of North East Region (MDoNER). The Govt of India could treat the entire region from a specific national security perspective and promote the Look East Policy in a pragmatic and meaningful way.
The people of the Eastern Himalayas where Darjeeling and Dooars is a pivotal organ and which has already witnessed two violent movements for a separate state, are very sincerely expecting some substantive initiatives and path breaking interventions from your august Ministry. We very fervently hope that this budget will reorient the entire hill and mountain areas in terms of development dynamics, prudent use of natural resources and building a chain of institutions including on climate change and cross border trade and investment and tourism with neighbouring countries that sustain and reposition this critical region of the country. Some of the above issues have also been raised in our letter of 1Oth June 2OL4 addressed to the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India.
We shall be very much available for any consultations and supportive documents to cater and consolidate the cause of Hills and Mountain regions. We pray for your success and cherish your local to global reach both as the Finance Minister and the Defence Minister of India.

NBMCH surprise visit

TT, Siliguri, Feb. 27: A three-member team of the Medical Council of India paid a surprise visit to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital here today, two months after it had sought a compliance report from the hospital on augmentation of infrastructure and teaching faculty.
NBMCH sources are considering this the final visit of MCI for determining whether the hospital should be granted additional 50 MBBS seats for the 2015-2016 session starting in July.
"The team came for a compliance verification assessment. Two visits have taken place in the past one year and we feel this is probably the last visit. After this, they will take a final call on granting 50 MBBS seats to NBMCH," a source said.
The MCI had granted additional 50 MBBS seats in 2013 and slashed those in April 2014. In July, the seats were restored on the condition that the hospital would fulfil all MCI stipulations in six months. The NBMCH initially had 100 MBBS seats.
Today, when the MCI team reached NBMCH at 9.15am, the hospital officials and staff were caught off guard.
"In the previous two visits, the physical verification was conducted in the second half so doctors who were out of station had enough time to reach NBMCH by train or flight. This time, the team visited the wards and college only for an hour in the morning and sat for physical verification,"said an NBMCH official.
"At that time, around 75 doctors were not present in the hospital and had not signed the attendance register and this meant 30 percent absentees. The MCI gives utmost importance to attendance of teaching faculties. The MCI team members accept around five per cent absenteeism but 30 per cent is not acceptable to them," he added.

27 Feb 2015

Marathon runners' with a dream to run in Mumbai may come true

KalimNews, Kalimpong, 27 February 2015: Marathon runners having a dream to run in the metro cities or in national level marathons may have their dream come true. This time Run with Roshni team is giving an opportunity to run in Mumbai marathon. It will sponsor to the winners of the half marathon (21km) in Kalimpong on 1st May, 2015 race to be held in Kalimpong. 
The first, second and third in girls’ category and boys’ category, will be sponsored to run Mumbai Marathon 2016. Marathon runners has started online registration for Kalimpong Half Marathon 2015. Only fifty runners (30 boys and 20 girls) from all over Darjeeling District, who are above 17 yrs will participate in this half marathon will be allowed for registration. 
According to the team there is limitation and they have only 10 places for the runners coming from outside Darjeeling. Four runners have already done their registrations. The team has some rules like online registration can be done by submitting the participation certificate from previous race, which should not be of less than 10km. Registration without previous race certificate will be rejected and registration fees of Rs.100/- (one hundred only) for local runners, will not be refunded. 
The link for online registration is http://youtoocanrun.com/races/kalimpong-half-marathon/ . Other runners from Darjeeling District can do the registration by filling up the registration forms, which are available at http://on.fb.me/1Bjk6Jx. Its also available at Premika’s shop ( Stationary) at Maa Super Market from 10 am to 1 pm from Ranjit Rai (8906957337) and in Darjeeling & Kurseong at St. Robert’s High School, Darjeelng from 9 am to 3 pm from A.K Subba, Assistant Teacher (9563488282). 
Runners are required to submit birth certificate or any age proof certificate, participation certificate from previous race of minimum 10km, address proof, passport size photo and Rs.100/- (One hundred only) as registration fee along with the form.
Since 2011, this team has been organising Friendly Group Long Run (FGLR) in which many runners from different parts of India participated in the run held in Pedong /Kalimpong. FGLR 2011 was of 50 km, FGLR 2012 was of 65km, FGLR 2013 and 2014 was of 21km from Pedong to Kalimpong. 
Runner friends of Roshni Rai pioneer and founder of this group participated from all over India and still are interested to come to run this year as well. One of her runner friends is willing to sponsor the first among local runners to run Mumbai marathon 2016. Roshni managed to sponsor them to different national level marathons and has a dream to take these runners to Olympic marathon.

Railway budget big disappointment for Sikkim, North Bengal

PRASHANT ACHARYA, EOI with PTI inputs, SILIGURI, 26 Feb 2015: For the people of north Bengal and Sikkim, the railway budget that was presented by railway minister Suresh Prabhu in Lok Sabha on Thursday has come as a big disappointment.
The minister did not announce any new train service for the region that serves as a crucial gateway to Sikkim and the neighbouring countries of Bhutan and Nepal. The budget also did not mention a word on plans for running electric trains in north Bengal as also any thought on doubling railway tracks in the region. Most of the respondents to this correspondent’s queries however, agreed on one point: that the rail budget has brought a smile among residents of metros and other major cities.
Critics of the budget feared that the emphasis on public-private-partnership models and involvement of private sector companies in future plans in the railways would in effect help metropolitan India and leave the peripheries like north Bengal and the northeast out in the cold.
CPM veteran Ashok Bhattacharya criticised the rail budget as anti-people saying it has given nothing to the people of north Bengal. “This is just a shrewd move to indirectly support favoured private companies,” he alleged.
The railway minister had allotted a large fund for extension of railway lines – like trebling of tracks where there are double lines – on the trunk routes connecting the four metros but this would bring little relief to people living in the outlying areas like north Bengal and the northeast, critics pointed out.
In fact, Prabhu in his entire budget speech made only one reference to the northeast, saying Meghalaya had been joined by the railways, there was now a direct train service between Arunachal Pradesh and Delhi and that train services would be extended to the Barak Valley.
But, there was no mention of the plan to extend train services to Rongpo in Sikkim, a project important not only for the common people in the landlocked Himalayan state but also from the point of view of defence, observers pointed out. China had extended train services to Lhasa long ago, they pointed out, and would soon reach Xigaze, which is close to the India-China border in Sikkim.
People of Darjeeling were also feeling deprived as former railway minister Mamata Banerjee had promised that broad gauge train services would be extended to the foothills with new termini but these had not materialized.
Darjeeling district Trinamool Congress secretary Krishna Chandra Pal also believes the rail budget has failed to make the middle and lower class people happy. In Kolkata, Trinamool leader described the railway budget as "anti-people and anti-development" aimed only at befooling people. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the Centre was trying to befool the people in the country by saying there was no increase in passenger fare."But they have already hiked the rail fare after coming to power," she pointed out.
Mamata said the Centre had earlier promised that any decrease in diesel price would get reflected in the rail fare with a corresponding decrease.But, this was not done although diesel prices were reduced several times.
"With the decrease in diesel price six-seven times in the last one year, the fare should have been decreased too. But without doing that they are trying to take credit for not hiking the rail fare. It is an attempt to befool people," she regretted.
The proposal of a Centre-state joint venture in Railway projects would ultimately go against the interest of states since state governments hardly had any source of earning revenue of their own, state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee said.
But, Darjeeling district BJP president Rathindra Nath Bose described the budget as a historic one and beneficial for all classes. He said the railway minster may not have announced new trains or new tracks, but his budget will surely help the Indian Railways achieve unprecedented levels of success.
The Confederation of Indian Industry also believed this year’s rail budget is forward-looking and considerate of all classes of society.
“While recognising that under-investment has been a persistent problem in the Indian Railways, railway minister Suresh Prabhu unveiled a comprehensive plan for modernising the Railways and improving customer experience,” noted CII president Ajay S Shriram. He pointed out at the several innovative financing mechanisms proposed by the minister including setting up special purpose vehicles for raising long-term investment from pension funds and multilateral agencies. Prabhu has set an ambitious target of bringing in investments of Rs8.5 lakh crore to the Railways over the next five years. This would result in a truly modern rail system for the country, one that would significantly propel economic growth, remarked Shriram.

CM sets up tea fund

TT, Calcutta, Feb. 26: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today told the Assembly that the state would set up a welfare fund for tea gardens workers. 
"We are going to set up the West Bengal Tea Plantation Workers Welfare Fund with Rs 100 crore," Mamata said in her reply to the governor's address on the floor of the House. 
"There are around 12 lakh workers in the tea gardens. We have decided to give scholarships to the children so that they can complete their education. Health schemes, housing loans, skill development training," will also be given Mamata said. 
The government had earlier decided to provide a Rs 1,500 monthly financial assistance to workers of five closed tea gardens in north Bengal and rice at Rs 2 per kg for the families.

Docs flu test negative

TT, Siliguri, Feb. 26: The two junior doctors of North Bengal Medical College and Hospital here, who complained of fever after treating two swine flu patients admitted there, have tested negative for H1N1 virus.
Biswaranjan Sathpathy, the director of health services of the state, however, said: "The first samples of the two doctors at NBMCH which were sent to National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases yesterday have tested negative for H1N1 virus. Fresh samples of the doctors have been sent for tests again to be twice as sure."
The two doctors had been treating Anuj Saikia and Sukhopa Hendrik, two 19-year-old youths from Assam who had been diagnosed with swine flu, without wearing any protective gear and masks until the reports confirming the disease came on Tuesday.
The two youths were staying in Matigara and were admitted to an isolation ward at NBMCH on February 20.
"The total number of swine flu cases reported (from across the state) until today is 100 which include the six deaths that have occurred so far. Apart from the two patients from Assam, no fresh cases of swine flu have been reported from north Bengal," said Sathpathy.

Morcha to agitate in Delhi for Gorkhaland

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Feb. 26: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has decided to hold dharnas and rallies for nine days from March 9 in New Delhi to "draw the Centre's attention" to the party's demand for the creation of Gorkhaland during the ongoing budget session of Parliament.
The party had announced that a two-day dharna and a public meeting would be staged in Delhi in December but later suspended the agitation citing Union home minister Rajnath Singh's purported assurance to set up a committee to look into the demand for Gorkhaland.
Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha, today, said: "From March 9, the Morcha will be organising rallies and dharnas in Delhi for nine days. They will be held at Jantar Mantar to draw the Centre's attention to the Gorkhaland demand during the ongoing budget session."
He said all chairpersons, vice-chairpersons and elected members of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik municipalities would participate in the Delhi agitation.
"There are 84 elected representatives at the four municipalities. The Morcha has decided to send 21 members of the Vidyarthi Morcha to Delhi. Other central committee members will also leave for Delhi but their names have not been finalised yet," said Tamang.
The party will hold a meeting at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling on March 2 to concretise the Delhi agitation plains.
Tamang said a delegation of Morcha leaders was likely to meet Union ministers during their nine-day stay in Delhi. "The details will be finalised at the March 2 meeting," he added.
Observers believe the Morcha is trying to send a message that the party is still serious about the statehood demand by holding the agitation during the budget session.
The budget session, which started on February 23, will continue till March 20. There will be a recess from March 21 till April 19, after which the standing committees will examine demand for grants to various ministries.
Around 33 sittings of Parliament are scheduled to be held during the budget session.

Trinamul expels Kabir after CM attack - Mamata carrots for some and stick for other MLAs loyal to Mukul

Humayun Kabir. Picture by Chayan Majumdar
TT, Calcutta, Feb. 26: The Trinamul leadership today expelled a Mukul Roy loyalist and attempted to woo back another who had been shorn of some responsibilities, adopting a carrot-and-stick policy while trying to fight its way out of crises on multiple fronts.
While Humayun Kabir was shown the door a day after he slammed Mamata Banerjee, Roy aide Sabyasachi Dutta, who recently put the party in a spot by welcoming the CBI's Saradha probe, was given pride of place in the same room as the chief minister and offered a snack.
Dutta, the Rajarhat-New Town MLA, spent close to 30 minutes with the chief minister in her Assembly chamber along with other Trinamul leaders and journalists and given a place close to her during a photo-op later in the day.
"Since Sabyasachi came to the Assembly today, Didi did not want to lose the opportunity to send him the message that he stood to gain if he stayed with her. Never before had she ushered him into a room full of journalists with such warmth," a Trinamul leader said.
Mamata called out to the MLA, whom she had removed as the party observer for Tripura earlier this month, as soon as he entered her chamber and asked him to take one of the packets of snacks that was being offered to Trinamul leaders and journalists.
Trinamul sources said that earlier in the day, Dutta had spent considerable amount of time with urban development minister and Mamata loyalist Firhad Hakim.
Dutta is among a handful of Trinamul MLAs who have been publicly seen with party all-India general secretary Roy since his apparent fall-out with Mamata. The other MLAs are Roy's son Subhranshu, Siuli Saha and Silabhadra Dutta. Yesterday, Silabhadra Dutta was removed as parliamentary secretary apparently because he went to Delhi with Subhranshu and met Roy.
Another rebel MLA, Swapan Ghosh, was suspended from the party yesterday for staging a dharna on the Assembly premises.
Hours before Sabyasachi Dutta was given pride of place by Mamata, Trinamul secretary-general Partha Chatterjee announced the expulsion of Murshidabad leader Kabir for six years. Served with a showcause notice, Kabir, who had gradually been sidelined in Trinamul's Murshidabad unit, had gone on the offensive yesterday, saying people would teach Mamata "a lesson" for her "arrogance" and "attempts" to make her nephew Abhishek the next chief minister.
"The disciplinary committee held a meeting today. After the statement he made, it was felt that he could no longer be in the party. The disciplinary committee's recommendation was approved by the party," Chatterjee said.
Kabir stood by what he had said. "Expulsion cannot stop me from speaking the truth about the chief minister. She will have to pay the price for her arrogance," he said.
At a time several of Roy's associates have turned rebellious, the chief minister and her lieutenants are apparently trying to woo back some of them. "This is a crisis period and Didi is trying to win over some of the dissidents," a source said.

टिस्टा नदीमा बन्द उद्धार कार्य सञ्चालन हुनपर्छ -चालक महासंघ

डी.के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 26 फरवरी। टिस्टा नदीमा हुने सडक दुर्घटनाहरूमा रिभर राफ्टिङको रेस्क्यू टोलीले उद्धार कार्य बन्द गरेको तीन महिना भन्दा धेर भएकोछ। उक्त उद्धार कार्य पुन चलाउन प्रशासनले कुनै पदक्षेप ग्रहण गरेको छैन जसको कारण अहिलेघरी राष्ट्रिय राजमार्ग 31 ए रम्फूदेखि सुभुकसम्म भएका सडक दुर्घटनाहरूमा रिभर राफ्टिङको उद्धार टोलीले कुनै उद्धार कार्य गरेको छैन। उक्त उद्धार कार्य सुचारू गर्न प्रशासनिक हस्तक्षेप हुनपर्ने माग गर्दै आज जनमुक्ति चालक महासंघले महकुमा अधिकारीको अनुपस्थितिमा अतिरिक्त महकुमा अधिकारी प्रितम लिम्बुलाई एउटा ज्ञापन पत्र चढाएको छ।
यस सम्बन्धमा प्रशासनिक तहमा अहिलेसम्म किन पहल गरिएको छैन भन्ने प्रश्न गर्दै उद्धार कार्य बन्द भएको कारण मानिसहरूले भोग्न परिरहेको समस्याबारे जानकारी गराइयो। रिभर राफ्टिङको उद्धार टोलीले क्षतिपूर्तिको माग गर्दै उद्धार कार्य बन्द गरे पनि यसलाई सुचारू रुपले चलाउन प्रशासनले एनएचपीसीसँग बैठक बसेर समाधान निकाल्नु पर्ने चालक महासंघका अध्यक्ष महेन्द्र गुरूङले माग गरे।
“टिस्टा नदीमा बन्द भएको उद्धार कार्य यथाशिघ्र सञ्चालन होस भन्ने हाम्रो माग छ। राफ्टिङ व्यवसायीहरूको समस्यालाई प्रशासन अनि एनएचपीसीले ध्यान दिनुपर्छ। उनीहरूले ध्यान नदिएको कारण यसको समस्या आम मानिसहरूले भोग्न परिरहेको छ। यसकारण स्थानीय प्रशासनले राफ्टिङ व्यवसाय अनि एनएचपीसी प्रतिनिधीवर्गसँग बैठक गरेर समस्याको समाधान निकाल्नुपर्छ’ महेन्द्र गुरूङले भने। उनले उक्त समस्या समाधानको निम्ति आगामी दिनमा यथाशिघ्र पहल नभए चालक महासंघले अर्को रणनीति तय गर्ने पनि बताए। ‘राष्ट्रिय राजमार्गमा दैनिक हजारौँ यात्रीहरू यात्रा गर्छन्। उक्त यात्रीहरूलाई बोकेर हाम्रा चालक सदस्यहरूले आफ्नो वाहनमा यात्रा गराउने गर्छन्। कहिले कहीँ दूर्भाग्यवस दुर्घटना हुने गर्छ अनि उद्धारको अभावमा समस्या भोग्न पर्छ। यसलाई प्रशासनले समाधान गर्नुपर्छ। नत्र एनएचपीसी अथवा प्रशासनले उद्धार टोली तयार गर्नुपर्छ’ गुरूङले अझ भने।
स्मरण रहोस टिस्टा नदीमा उद्धार कार्य राफ्टिङ व्यवसायीहरूले बन्द गरेपछि अहिलेघरी दुर्घटनामा पर्नेहरूले अनेकौँ समस्या भोग्न परिरहेको छ। यसका साथै दुर्घटनामा पर्ने कतिपय मानिसहरूको शव समेत प्राप्त हुन गाह्रो परिरहेको छ। विशेष गरेर टिस्टा नदीमा साहसिक पर्यटनको रूपमा बिकसित हुँदै गइरहेको राफ्टिङ राष्ट्रिय जलविद्युत परियोजनाको कारण प्रभावित बनेको छ। टिस्टा नदीमा राष्ट्रिय जलविद्युत परियोजना निर्माण कार्य भएपछि अहिलेघरी टिस्टा नदीको जलस्तर कहिले धेरै वृद्धि हुने अनि कहिले जलस्तर पूर्णरूपले घटेर जाने गरेको कारण राफ्टिङ व्यवसायीहरू पूर्णरूपले प्रभावित बनेका छन्।
टिस्टा नदीमा सञ्चालन हुने उक्त रिभर राफ्टिङ व्यवसायमा लगभग तीनसय भन्दा अधिक परिवारहरू प्रत्यक्ष अनि परोक्ष रूपले आश्रित भए पनि जलविद्युत परियोजनाको कारण यसको प्रत्यक्ष प्रभाव उक्त परिवारहरूलाई पर्न गएको छ।
जलविद्युत परियोजनाको कारण राफ्टिङ व्यवसायीहरू प्रभावित बनेपछि एनएचपीसीले क्षतिपूर्ति दिनुपर्ने माग गर्दै राफ्टिङ व्यवसायीहरूले उद्धार कार्य बिगत तीन महिना अघिदेखि बन्द गरेको छ। उक्त उद्धार कार्य बन्द गरेपछि टिस्टा नदीमा अहिलेसम्म अनेकौँ सडक दुर्घटनाहरू भइसकेको छ भने उक्त सडक दुर्घटनामा उद्धार कार्यको अभावले अनेकौँ समस्याहरू भोग्न परिरहेको छ।

26 Feb 2015

Siliguri docs in flu isolation - North stirs up to alert hospitals

Mrinalini Sharma, TT, Siliguri, Feb. 25: Two junior doctors treating two swine flu patients in North Bengal Medical College and Hospital have complained of fever and have been isolated.

Siliguri MLA Rudranath Bhattacharya, while speaking about swine flu combating facilities, said the doctors were not wearing masks or gloves as they did not suspect the two teenagers to be suffering from swine flu. Hospital sources said Bhattacharya was told about this at the meeting he held with health officials and doctors at NBMCH today.
The doctors monitoring the condition of the two juniors said the duo had been kept in a separate room and taken off duty, but they have not been put in the isolation ward, pending the reports of the tests.The doctors' swab samples have been sent to National Institute of Cholera & Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Calcutta for tests to see if the two have contracted swine flu.
So far, the two 19-year-old youths from Assam who stay in Siliguri have been diagnosed with swine flu. The confirmation that the two teenagers, Anuj Saikia and Sukhopa Hendrik, had swine flu was announced yesterday.
They have been kept in the five-bed isolation ward. The junior doctors have not been put in this ward, keeping in mind that they could contract the H1N1 virus, if they are free of swine flu right now.
In the two district hospitals in Siliguri and Jalpaiguri, two isolation wards were opened today anticipating more cases of swine flu.
Over 50 people have tested positive for swine flu across the state, two-thirds of which are in Calcutta.
Swine flu patients have to be kept in isolation as the infection spreads by air. It affects the upper respiratory system and is accompanied by symptoms like high fever, cough, fatigue, headache, body ache, sore throat, runny nose, breathlessness and loss of appetite.
NICED is the only facility in eastern India where swine flu tests are conducted.
The state government had announced that a detection centre would be set up in north Bengal. But health department officials here said they would not be able to set up laboratories at NBMCH and School of Tropical Medicine in Calcutta soon for testing swine flu immediately.
Reports of swab samples of the two persons fsrom Golaghat district in Assam which were received by NBMCH officials from NICED through email yesterday had confirmed H1N1 virus. The two persons were working as salespersons in Siliguri and are now in the five-bed isolation ward at NBMCH.
They were residing with around 15 to 20 other people from Golaghat at a rented accommodation in Matigara, sources said.
A team of Darjeeling district health officials have already visited the area to check if there are more people with fever and or influenza-like symptoms, both indications of swine flu.
Bhattacharya, the Siliguri MLA and chairman of Assembly's standing committee on health, today held a meeting at NBMCH with health officials of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts, NBMCH officials, doctors of the microbiology department and nursing staff at NBMCH.
"The meeting was conducted to assess the preparedness of the two districts in tackling swine flu in case the disease spreads in north Bengal. As an anticipatory measure, isolation wards have been opened in the district hospitals of Jalpaiguri and Siliguri," said Bhattacharya.
"At NBMCH, too, we will augment the current bed strength at the isolation ward from five to 15 if the need arises. All the necessary items like protective gears for doctors and nurses, medicines, transport for collecting the swab samples and sterilisers are available in adequate numbers.
Asked about the two doctors who were suffering from fever, Bhattacharya said: "It wasn't expected that the reports of the two patients would come positive for H1N1, so the two doctors had been treating them without wearing protective gear and masks. They are suffering from fever and cold and have been kept in isolation."
Biswaranjan Sathpathy, the director of health services of the state, said: "For now, swab samples of patients with suspected swine flu will be sent to NICED, the only lab in entire eastern India to conduct swine flu tests. We are planning to set up two labs at NBMCH and the School of Tropical Medicines but that will take four to six months."