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24 May 2016

SSB makes important seizures in north Bengal and northeast India

Dwaipayan Ghosh | TNN | May 23, 2016, KOLKATA: Sashastra Seema Bal 29th Battalion, Khaprail seized Nepal made cigarettes along with one pickup van worth rupees nineteen lakhs near border pillar number 71/13. 
On the tip off, Sub-Inspector Bipin Kumar, a team with seven jawans made the seizure along the Indo-Nepal border under the BOP Hilleybhanganj of 29th Bn Khaprail. The seized items smuggled from Nepal to India and handed over to custom office at Sukhiapokhri. 
Two smugglers were apprehended namely Suman Rai residing in Gopal Dara village of Darjeeling district and Kumar Thami of Nepal. 
In another development 41st Battalion, Ranidanga recovered 35 cattle along with one truck at Kistorpur village on 17th May 2016 at 0900 hours. The seized items worth rupees six lakhs seventy thousands smuggled from Nepal to India. 
Jawans of SSB 41st Bn made the seizure and apprehended one person aged 55. The 41st battalion also recovered 152 boxes of Chinese apples along with an Eicher Truck near Power House in Mirik. 
The seizure worth rupees five lakhs was made by Assistant Commandant Praveen Kumar Hasde along with eight SSB Jawans of 41st Bn Ranidanga. They also apprehended one person residing in Kurseong.

NOTA, a choice for many in Hills

title=SNS | Kurseong | 24 May, 2016: Gradually, during elections, the mood of the voters seemto be diverted in pressing the ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option button while voting throughout the nation, including the hills. At the same time several opinions are surfacing on the subject of NOTA. It was learnt that a large number of voters in the plains and in hills had opted for the NOTA option in the recently concluded West Bengal Assembly election. Only in the three assembly seats in Darjeeling hills, the NOTA option has bagged a total of 16607 votes (Kurseong- 7426, Darjeeling- 5817 and Kalimpong 3364).
Meanwhile, like in other places, in Darjeeling hills too, people are discussing about the NOTA option and also the voters who opted to cast their votes in favor of NOTA. A local resident said that the NOTA has got good votes in the hills and several notions on the subject has come out. He added that people should not take NOTA for granted but go for it as a conscious choice.
He believes that to cast one’s vote in NOTA does not only mean that he does not like any candidate instead by franchising this vote one actually wants to express that none of the candidates or parties are of his choice. He said he has cast his vote in NOTA because he does not like the political system. He further added that he believes that there should be one more option besides NOTA, with the symbol of Ashoka Chakra for those people or voters, who want governor’s or president’s rule in the particular area leaving politics aside.
As there are several people who want governor or president rule, he added. Notably, it was learnt that the Election Commission of India had introduced NOTA option on ballot papers displayed on EVMs and all other ballot papers with effect from 11 October 2013 pursuant to Supreme Court’s Order dated 27 September 2013. Later, on 18 September, the ECI also introduced a specific symbol like other election symbols for NOTA option to facilitate the voters in exercising their NOTA option.
Accordingly, since then, such symbol of NOTA option has appeared in the last panel on all EVMs and other ballot papers at all elections. The main objective of the NOTA option is to enable electors who do not wish to vote for any of the candidates to exercise their right not to vote for any candidate without violation of the secrecy of their decision.

Darjeeling girls succeed in summiting Everest

Trishala Gurung (L) and Sulaxna Tamang (R)
EOI, Darjeeling, 23 May 2016: Two Darjeeling girls - part of the National Cadet Corps all girls’ team - have successfully scaled Mount Everest, according to unconfirmed reports coming in. Sources said the 10-member team made the summit on May 22 at 7.30 IST.
The two girls are Trishala Gurung (22) and Sulaxna Tamang (21), while the eight others are from Mizoram, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradhesh and Rajasthan. The team is led by Colonel Gaurav Karki.
Officials of the NCC directorate in Delhi as well as in Darjeeling said they are awaiting a confirmed report from the team at Everest even as they said news of the summit had reached them through other channels.
However, Ganesh Kumar Gurung, Trishala’s father, today said he had spoken to one of the expedition members over the phone who confirmed that the summit was made on Sunday. “On Sunday at 10 am, one of the expedition members from Camp II gave me the news that the team had made the ascent. I was told they would be returning back to Base Camp by evening today,” he said.
According to the father, Trishala last called him on May 18 from Kala Patthar at Base Camp. “That was the last time I spoke to her. She was confident and even joked that she would have a new title after the summit. It is a proud feeling being her parents. She has made the hills and the nation proud,” Gurung said.
Anuradha Rai, principal of Southfield College where, Trishala is presently studying, said she too had heard of the successful Everest summit but was awaiting concrete reports from the NCC head office in Delhi. “I cannot say much as I do not have the actual report or information. But we are proud of Trishala’s achievement. She has made the college and the hills proud,” she said when asked for her comment.
Trishala and Sulaxana were selected from more than 100 aspirants from across the nation to participate in the all girls’ expedition organised by the Army. The selection process started at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling after 29 days of basic training. Of the 100  hopefuls, 40 were short-listed for the two-month pre-expedition training at Deo Tibba in Himachal Pradesh from May to June, 2015. Further, 15 were then selected from the 40 to undergo advance training at Trishul Peak in Uttarakhand from August to October, 2015.
Finally, after further short-listing, 10 girls were selected for the grueling 28-day training at the Siachen Glacier from January 8 of this year. The expedition team was flagged-off from New Delhi on March 9 and reached Kathmandu on March 30. Then it was a 16-day trek to base camp, then acclimatisation at Khambu Glacier to Camps I, II and III before the climb atop the highest mountain in the world. 

Daily toy train trips to resume

TT, Siliguri, May 23: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway will resume its daily train service between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling next week, more than five months after it had been rescheduled to thrice a week because of lack of diesel engines.

Narendra Mohan, the area officer of the DHR, said daily services between NJP and Darjeeling halted in January when one of the four diesel engines had developed problems.
"We had to run the services on alternate days, instead of everyday, because one of the diesel engines had developed a snag and was sent for repairs. We were short of engines and we had to reduce the number of trips on the route. Since January, we have been operating the trains on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays," Mohan said.
"But the engine has been restored and is back with the DHR. We will conduct trial runs to see if it is functioning properly and will commence regular services from NJP to Darjeeling by next week," he said.
Additional coaches have been attached to toy trains on the Darjeeling-Ghoom route since May 19 to cater to tourists.
"Normally, there are two first-class coaches but now there are four. The footfall of tourists has increased in the past one week. Two coaches were not enough," Mohan said. "We are planning to keep the additional coaches till June."

The four coaches can ferry around 120 passengers and the cost is Rs 630 per person.
"But the engine has been restored and is back with the DHR. We will conduct trial runs to see if it is functioning properly and will commence regular services from NJP to Darjeeling by next week," he said.
Additional coaches have been attached to toy trains on the Darjeeling-Ghoom route since May 19 to cater to tourists.
"Normally, there are two first-class coaches but now there are four. The footfall of tourists has increased in the past one week. Two coaches were not enough," Mohan said. "We are planning to keep the additional coaches till June."
The four coaches can ferry around 120 passengers and the cost is Rs 630 per person.

Deb to find out reasons for debacle - TMC leaders to submit reports to CM

BIRESWAR BANERJEE, TT, Siliguri, May 23: Trinamul leader Gautam Deb today said he would visit every nook and corner of Siliguri subdivision to identify the reasons for the party's consecutive defeats in the polls and submit a report to Mamata Banerjee.
"After May 27, I will visit different areas of Siliguri subdivision and speak to local leaders and supporters to find out why Trinamul lost the elections to municipal corporation, mahakuma parishad and the Assembly. It is indeed an aberration that Trinamul is losing polls in Darjeeling district, unlike other districts, except Malda," said Deb.
There are three Assembly constituencies in Siliguri subdivision, Siliguri, Matigara-Naxalbari and Phansidewa. While Asok Bhattacharya of the CPM won from Siliguri, the Congress has bagged the other two seats.
"Out of 294 booths in my constituency, Trinamul did not get lead in 55. I will visit the areas under every booth to know what went wrong," said Deb.
He defeated Dilip Singh of the CPM by a margin of 23,811 votes.
"Once I finish my visit, I will prepare a comprehensive report, mentioning the shortcomings and issues which worked against Trinamul. The report will also contain opinions of local leaders and supporters. I will submit the report to our party supremo Mamata Banerjee. The purpose is to take up all necessary political measures and launch any work required at the government level to augment our support base," said the Trinamul leader.
Deb's decision has come after Bhaichung Bhutia, who was defeated by Asok Bhattacharya in Siliguri, obliquely trained guns at the district Trinamul leadership for the drubbing. Ranjan Sarkar is the Darjeeling district Trinamul president and many in the party feel his position has become untenable after the defeat in the polls.
Sarkar was brought to the post in November last year. He replaced Deb, who had failed to bring success to the party in the civic and rural polls.

पिउने पानीको माग गर्दै जापको सप्ताहव्यापी धर्ना सुरू

डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 21 मई। पिउने पानीको मागमा आजदेखि जनआन्दोलन पार्टीले सप्ताहव्यापी धरणा शुरू गरेको छ। यहाँको त्रिकोण पार्कमा एकहप्ताको निम्ति शुरू भएको धरनामा 40 भन्दा अधिक जाप कार्यकर्ताहरूको सहभागिता रहेको छ। उक्त धरना 24 घण्टै जारी रहने भएको छ। जाप टाउन कमिटीको आयोजनामा सम्पन्न भएको धरनामा जाप युवा प्रकोष्ठ, चेली एकाईँ एवं युवा कार्यकर्ताहरूले सहभागिता जनाइरहेका छन्। 
महिनादेखि जापले पिउने पानीको मागमा विविध कार्यक्रमहरू गरिरहेको भएपनि सम्बन्धित निकायहरू मौन रहेको कारण आजदेखि जापले लगातार धरणा बस्ने निर्णय लिएको हो। ‘जबसम्म कालेबुङबासीले पिउने पानी पाउँदैन तबसम्म हाम्रो कार्यक्रम जारी रहनेछ। पानीको मागमा हामी दिनरात धरनामा बस्नेछौँ’-टाउन कमिटीका संयोजक प्रदीप छेत्रीले भने। आजदेखि शुरू भएको धरना विशेष गरी दुईसूत्रिय मागमा आधारित छ। 
अहिलेसम्म शहरमा लगभग सप्ताहमा एकदिन पानी वितरण भइरहेको छ भने पानीको सरवराह सप्ताहमा होइन प्रत्येक दिन हुनुपर्ने जापको माग रहेको छ। पिउने पानी सप्ताहमा एकदिन वितरण गरिएपनि वारटवर्क्सले वर्षभरिको बील पठाउने गरेको कुरालाई आधार गर्दै जापले दैनिक रूपमा पानी पाउनुपर्ने माग गरेको छ। य
सबाहेक बितेको तीन वर्षभित्र पिउने पानीको निम्ति नगरपालिकाले गरेको कार्यप्रणालीमाथि पनि जापको असन्तुष्टि छ। यसैले बितेको तीन वर्षभित्र नगरपालिकाले पानीको निम्ति गरेको आय व्ययको विवरण पनि जापले धरनामार्फत मागिरहेको छ। ‘कालेबुङमा जुनप्रकारको पानीको समस्या छ त्यो एकदमै जटिल समस्या हो। जुन समस्या समाधानको निम्ति आजसम्म कुनै ठोस् पहल भएको छैन। यसैले पिउने पानीको स्थायी समाधान हुनुपर्छ भन्ने हाम्रो माग हो’-छेत्रीले भने। आजदेखि शुरू भएको धरनाले एकहप्ता पूरा गरिसक्दा पनि विभागीय पहल नभए जापले आगामी दिनमाअझ वृहत कार्यक्रमहरूको आयोजना गर्ने चेताउनी दिएको छ। पहिलो चरणको कार्यक्रम अन्तर्गत उक्त धरनापछि पनि कालेबुङबासीले पिउने पानी नपाए भावी कार्यक्रमहरू लिएर आन्दोलन गर्ने जाप टाउन कमिटीले चेताउनी दिएको छ।

चुनाव परिणामले जापले जितेको छ – युवा प्रकोष्ठ

डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 21 मई। विधानसभा चुनाउको परिणामपछि आज पहिलोपल्ट जनआन्दोलन पार्टीको युवा प्रकोष्ठले एक पत्रकार सम्मेलनको आयोजना गर्दै चुनाउ परिणामलाई लिएर साङ्गठनिक अडान स्पष्ट पारेको छ। आज स्थानीय पार्टी कार्यालयमा सम्पन्न पत्रकार सम्मेलनमा युवा प्रकोष्ठका प्रवक्ता विशाल राई, व्यूरो मेम्बर भुपेन्द्र राई, हाइवे ब्लक कमिटीका संयोजक लेखराज छेत्री अनि निर्मल सुब्बा उपस्थित थिए। 
पत्रकार सम्मेलनलाई सम्बोधन गर्ने क्रममा युवा प्रवक्ता विशाल राईले जापले चुनाउ हारेर पनि जितेको बताए। ‘जुनप्रकारले यो छोटो समयमा पनि हामीले भारी जनमत प्राप्त गऱ्यौँ यसै घटनाले नै जापले चुनाउ हारेर पनि जितेको कुरा प्रमाण हुन्छ। जापको मेनिफेष्टो, दर्शन, कार्यक्रम, योजना र कार्यकौशल हेरेर अनि हाम्रो अवधारणालाई पछ्याएर नै हामीले सचेत भोट पाएका हौँ। चुनाउको समयमा हामीले जनतालाई जुन मुद्दाहरूमा प्रतिबद्धता देखाएका थियौँ आगामी
दिनमा पनि हामी त्यही प्रतिबद्धता लिएर नै अघि बढ्नेछौँ’-युवा प्रवक्ता राईले भने।
उनी अनुसार शुरूका दिनमा छोटो समयमा नै राजनैतिक दल खोल्नुपर्ने अनिवार्यता आएको थियो। यसपछि अडाई महिना नबित्दै चुनाउ मुखमा थियो। यो छोटो समयभित्र साङ्गठनिक विस्तार गर्दै चुनाउको प्रतिस्पर्द्धा गर्नु अनि यो चुनाउमा जनताले भारी मात्रामा जनमत दिनु भनेको योभन्दा ठूलो जीत जापको निम्ति अर्को छैन। उनले अझ भने अनुसार हिड्नुभन्दा उभिनु ठूलो कुरा हो। 
आज कालेबुङमा जाप उभिन सक्षम भएको बताउँदै यसपल्टको जनमतले कालेबुङलाई हेरेर बसेको दार्जीलिङ खरसाङ तराई-र डुवर्समा पनि कार्यकर्ताहरू पाउन सकेको राईले बताए। यस क्रममा उनले हाल विभिन्न ठाउँहरूमा मोर्चाले जाप कार्यकर्ताहरूलाई धमक्याउने अनि ढुङ्गा-मुँडा गर्ने कामहरू गरिरहेको आरोप लगाउँदै यस्ता कार्यमा लिप्त आरोपीहरूलाई पुलिसले यथाशिघ्र कार्यवाही गर्नुपर्ने उनले माग गरेका छन्। 
यसरी नै अर्कोतिर जाप युवा प्रकोष्ठका ब्यूरो मेम्बर भुपेन्द्र राईले जुन ठाउँहरूमा जाप पुग्न सकेको थिएन आगामी दिनमा ती ठाउँहरूमा पनि पुगेर साङ्गठनिक गतिविधि अघि बढाउने बताएका छन्। जुन ठाउँहरूबाट जापले कम मत पाएको छ ती ठाउँहरूमा पुगेर जापको पार्टीको अवधारणा बुझाउने अवसर पाएको राईले बताए। उनले कालेबुङमा गोजमुमोले जति मत प्राप्त गरेको छ त्योभन्दा धेर विपक्ष खेमामा मत खसेको कारण गोजमुमोले खुशी मनाउने औचित्य नरहेको बताए। 
यसरी नै हाइवे ब्लक कमिटीका संयोजक लेखराज छेत्रीले हाइवे लगायत जापलाई मतदान गर्ने सबैप्रति आभार प्रकट गरे। उनले हाइवेबासीले भोगिरहेको विविध समस्याहरूसितै हाइवे क्षेत्रका वनवस्ती अनि सिन्कोनाबासीको पर्चापट्टाको समस्यालाई प्रमुखता दिँदै कार्य गर्ने बताएका छन्।

मुख्यमन्त्री चामलिङको बयानको चौतर्फी बिरोध

डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 21 मई। सिक्किमका मुख्यमन्त्री पवन चामलिङले ‘गोर्खा भन्ने नेपालबाट यहाँ सेनामा काम गर्न आएका हुन्’ भनि दिएको व्यानको चौतर्फी विरोध सुरु भएको छ। उक्त बयानलाई लिएर आज यहाँका विभिन्न राजनैतिक दलहरूले जोडदार विरोध गर्दै मुख्यमन्त्री चामलिङले आफ्नो बयान फिर्ता लिनुपर्ने माग गरेका छन्।
यसक्रममा गोरामुमो, क्रामाकपा, गोर्खालिग, गोरानिमो आदि राजनैतिक दलहरूले आ-आफ्नो प्रतिक्रिया व्यक्त गर्दै उक्त बयानको खण्डन गरेको छ। मुख्यमन्त्री चामलिङको उक्त बयान सार्बजनिक भएपछि आज गोरामुमो कालेबुङ महकुमा समितिका संयोजक मौरिस कालिकोटेले पत्रकारहरूसँग कुराकानी गर्दै उक्त बयान फिर्ता लिनुपर्ने माग गरे। ‘सिक्किमको आन्तरिक राजनीतिसँग हामीलाई सरोकार छैन तर, भारतभरीका गोर्खाहरूलाई आघात पुग्ने बयानको हामी विरोध गर्छौँ। उनले आफ्नो बयान फिर्ता लिनुपर्छ। यदि फिर्ता लिँदैन भने बयानलाई प्रमाणित गर्नुपर्छ’ मौरिस कालिकोटेले भने। 
यसैक्रममा उनले मुख्यमन्त्री चामिलिङको उक्त बयानको गोर्खा अनि गोर्खाल्याण्डलाई लिएर राजनीति गर्नेहरूले जोड्दार विरोध गर्नुपर्ने आह्वान गरे। ‘भारतीय गोर्खाहरू सुगौलि सन्धिको धाराले काटेको भूभागसँग आएका हौँ। सेनामा भर्ना भएर मात्र आएको हो भन्नु गलत हो। उनको बयानले सम्पूर्ण भारतीय गोर्खाहरूलाई आघात पुगेको छ’ कालिकोटेले भने। यसक्रममा उनले केहि वर्ष अघि त्यहीँ सिक्किमको विधानसभामा गोर्खाल्याण्डको प्रस्ताव पारित गर्ने मुख्यमन्त्रीले आज यसरी गोर्खा विरोधी बयान दिनु दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण रहेको दाबी गर्दै ‘गोर्खा’ शब्दले भारतीय गोर्खाहरूको मान सम्मान र अस्तित्वलाई बचाएर राख्ने कार्य गरेको दाबी गरे। यस्तो अवस्थामा मुख्यमन्त्री जस्तो गरिमामय पदमा बसेका व्यक्तिले सम्पूर्ण गोर्खाहरूलाई नै आघात पुग्ने बयान दिनु उचित नहुने बताएका छन्। 
यसैक्रममा मुख्यमन्त्री चामलिङको उक्त बयानलाई क्रामाकपाले पनि तिब्र खण्डन गरेको छ। क्रामाकपा कालेबुङ आञ्चलिक समितिका प्रवक्ता मोहन पौड्यालले मुख्यमन्त्री पवन चामलिङले इतिहास पड्नुपर्ने सुझाव दिँदै उक्त बयानको बिरोध गरे। ‘मुख्यमन्त्री चामलिङले यस्तो बयान दिन अघि इतिहास हेर्न आवश्यक थियो। यस्तो बयान गोर्खाहरूकै मुख्यमन्त्रीले दिनु दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण हो हामी यसको घोर बिरोध गर्छौँ’ मोहन पौड्यालले भने। 
यता अभागोलि महासचिव प्रताप खातीले पनि उक्त बयानलाई दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण रहेको बताउँदै यस बयानको भर्त्सना जनाए। ‘यस्तो बयानको गोर्खालिगले जोडदार बिरोध गर्दछ। हामी बयानको बिरोध गर्दै फिर्ता लिनुपर्ने माग गर्छौँ’ प्रताप खातीले भने। 
यसैक्रममा गोर्खा राष्ट्रिय निर्माण मोर्चा अध्यक्ष दावा पाख्रिनले पनि चामलिङको उक्त बयानलाई गोर्खा बिरोधी बयान हो भनि बताएका छन्। ‘मुख्यमन्त्री चमालिङको बयानले गोर्खाहरूलाई आघात पुगेको छ। यस्तो बयानको हाम्नी घोर भर्त्सना जनाउँछौँ’ दावा पाख्रिनले भने। यता उक्त बयान सन्दर्भमा नाटककार सी.के श्रेष्ठले पनि बिरोध गर्दै सम्पूर्ण भारतभरीक्ज़्ज़् गोर्खाहरूले यस बयानको बिरोध गर्नुपर्ने बताएका छन्।

23 May 2016

West Bengal Elections 2016: Didi's land to have 40 women MLAs

DNA: West Bengal will have a woman chief minister for the second consecutive term but the new 294-member state assembly will have 40 women MLAs. Of them 29 are from Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress.
Four from Congress, six from its ally CPI-M and one from Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. Besides Banerjee, who was the chief minister also held a number of other portfolios like home and health in the last government, there is only one more woman minister who has been re-elected this time. Shashi Panja, who was the Minister of State for Women and Child Welfare and Social Welfare, has managed to retain her Shyampukur seat in north Kolkata by a margin of over 13,000 votes.
Two women ministers who were in the fray this time - Chandrima Bhattacharya and Sabitri Mitra lost out.
Baishali Dalmiya and Mahua Moitra are two new entrants in the corridors of power.
Baishali, daughter of former BCCI president late Jagmohan Dalmiya, debuted in the world of politics with a victory from Bally constituency in Howrah district on a TMC ticket.
Moitra, on the other hand, is a former investment banker who quit her lucrative job as vice-president of J P Morgan in London to join politics in 2008. She contested on a TMC ticket this time and won the Karimpur seat in Nadia district by 15,989 votes.
Bengali film actress and TMC leader Debasree Roy, who is also known as an animal rights activist retained her Raidighi seat. Other prominent women TMC leaders who made it to the house this time also are Nayna Bandopadhyay (Chowringhee), Smita Bakshi (Jorasanko) and Sonali Guha (Satgachia).

Tourist flow to Bhutan witnesses a surge

HT, 23 May 2016, Kolkata: Will the tiny kingdom of Bhutan be able to sustain the increasing rush of Indian tourists?
Tour and travel operators in India and Bhutan believe that the tiny kingdom should follow a more liberal tourism policy to lessen the pressure on the western region while Bhutanese officials want to be assured that there should be no long adverse impact of unrestricted arrival of tourists.
Bhutan, which believes in the principle of Gross National Happiness, has long been encouraging high value low volume tourism. Though the country has limited infrastructure to handle the tourists, it also boasts of having some of the finest hotels in the region.
For years there has been a sudden rise in Indian tourists and the figure is on the rise each passing year.
Following restricted tourism, the government of Bhutan has largely been promoting tourist destinations in the western parts bordering Bengal. Tourists are given permission to visit the western region on their arrival at Phuntsholing, the western border town. Tourists visiting other regions of Bhutan have to go through a cumbersome process as they have to get separate permission once they reach Thimpu, the capital town.
Raj Basu, convener of Association for Conservation and Tourism (ACT), said, “We hope Bhutan will soon liberalise its tourism policy and would expedite the process of issuing permission for Indian tourists.”
Talking to Hindustan Times, Basu said, “There has been a phenomenal increase in the number of Indian tourists.” On certain days, 1,500 to 2,000 Indian tourists reach Bhutan every day which in itself is a record figure, said Basu.
Bhutan has a small population of just over seven lakh.
However, some officials in the Bhutanese tourism department opined that Bhutan was never prepared to handle the pressure of unrestricted arrival of tourists. The arrival of a large number of tourists has forced the government to introspect.
Bhutan considers the tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives as regional tourists while the country had been earning large revenue from international tourists.
The meeting of Tourism Council of Bhutan held in Thimpu on April 7 and April 8 took some decisions for policy planning for better cooperation between Bhutan and the North eastern states of India in regard to tourism.
The meeting was also attended by Rakesh Mathur, the vice president of Eco Tourism Society of India, MP Bezbaruah India’s permanent member in United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation, and Basu himself.
Suggestions like issuing of online permits for Indian tourists and to open more borders to facilitate easy arrival of tourists were placed.
The demand for separate centres to issue permission for Indian tourists and Indian labourers at Phuntsholing the border town was also placed. At present the permissions are issued from the same centre.

Mamata to attend Mother Teresa's canonisation in Rome

PTI | Kolkata | 22 May, 2016: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be travelling to Rome this September to attend the canonisation ceremony of Mother Teresa where she will be declared a saint.
"I have accepted Sr Prema's invitation to be present at the canonisation of blessed Mother Teresa in Rome on September 4," Banerjee said on Twitter.
In March, Pope Francis had announced that Teresa, who founded the Missionaries of Charity, will be elevated to sainthood after the Church recognised two miracles she was said to have carried out after her death in 1997.
The city-based Missionaries of Charity is now led by its Superior General German-born Sister Mary Prema.
Banerjee will be accompanied by Sister Prema and Archbishop D'Souza in Rome.
Teresa, who will now be a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church, was beatified by then Pope John Paul II in a fast- tracked process in 2003.
The Nobel Laureate had spent 45 years serving the poor and sick on the streets of Kolkata.

Trinamool to restructure party organizations in Malda and Darjeeling after ‘whitewash’

SOUMYA DE SARKAR, EOI, Malda, 22 May 2016: There is likely to be huge reshuffle in the organizations of Trinamool Congress in Malda and Darjeeling following the debacle of the party in those two districts of North Bengal in recently concluded assembly elections.
According to some influential sources in the state’s ruling party, the district Trinamool chiefs of both the districts would be asked to step down shortly. “The change in the organizations in Malda and Darjeeling is only a matter of time. It is expected that both Moazzem Hossain, the district Trinamool president of Malda and Ranjan Sarkar, the party chief of Darjeeling would voluntarily tender their resignations. Otherwise they would be asked to quit the crucial posts,” said the sources.
It may be mentioned that out of 12 assembly constituencies in Malda Trinamool failed to bag a single one. In Darjeeling as well the ruling party failed to open its account. The Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee despite her emphatic victory across the state expressed strong discontent with the party’s disaster in two of North Bengal districts.
Moazzem Hossain was appointed the district Trinamool president of Malda replacing Sabitri Mitra, the then minister, in 2014 after he had been defeated in Malda south parliamentary constituency. He was not only defeated in the parliamentary elections but ended as the ‘poor third’ also.
This year Hossain contested in the assembly elections also for Trinamool from Malatipur constituency where Left Front and Congress fought against each other in exception to the poll-alliance between the two parties. But incidentally even in such a quadrangular fight he ended in third position again. Trinamool sources said that party leadership observed apart from his consecutive failure in poll-battles no significant development in the organizational strength in the district was recorded during Hossain’s tenure as the district party chief.
According to sources in the Trinamool, recently defeated minister Krishnendu Choudhury may be made the district Trinamool chief again. Choudhury was in the post before also. Hence, his experience may be utilized.
But the same sources informed that party’s top brass was also considering whether it would be wise to make Choudhury the party’s face in Malda especially after his recent defeat by a huge margin of nearly 39927 votes.
Choudhury, however, refrained from commenting in this regard. “Party’s decision is the ultimate. I have no comment. I am happy that our leader Mamata Banerjee herself is overseeing the district.”
Hossain, on the other hand, sounded as if in a dilemma. “Mamata Banerjee asked me to meet her on Tuesday. If I am given any other assignment, I would try to fulfill with my capacity,” was his brief comment.
Ranjan Sarkar, who was appointed the district Trinamool president in October last year after the party’s consecutive defeats in elections of Siliguri municipal corporation and Siliguri mahakuma parishad, did not receive the phone despite several attempts.
It is further learnt from Trinamool sources that the name of Nantu Paul, the opposition leader of Siliguri municipal corporation is at the top among the alternative-faces for the post of Darjeeling district Trinamool president. “Paul was formerly attached to mass organization of CPM. Hence, he acquired the organization skill. As he was in the Congress as well, he knows the weaknesses of the political rivals,” the sources in the Trinamool said.
Paul, however, made a cautious reply. “I have not yet heard that such changes are in the pipeline. I am an obedient soldier of the party and would fulfill whatever the responsibility is bestowed on my shoulder by the party supremo,” he said.

22 May 2016

Bhaichung suspects sabotage behind defeat

Pramod Giri, HT, 22 May 2016, Kolkata: Was he defeated by his own party men or was he not accepted as he was an outsider? Bhaichung Bhutia, the vanquished Trinamool Congress candidate from Siliguri, on Saturday pointed fingers at a section of TMC leaders in Siliguri saying that they had played a role in his defeat. He also said the party will be in serious trouble if a post-mortem isn’t done or action isn’t taken against those leaders.
Bhutia, the former India football team captain, lost to CPI(M)’s Asok Bhattacharya by a margin of 14,072 votes. While Bhattacharya got 78,054 votes, Bhutia got 63,982. This was Bhutia’s second election defeat after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Addressing a press conference, Bhutia said, “The party (Trinamool) should introspect and find out why it was defeated or why its winning margin went down in the seven wards of Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) from where its candidates won by big margins in the 2015 SMC elections.” Out of the 33 SMC wards that fall under Siliguri Assembly constituency, Bhutia was leading in 23 while he performed badly in 10. Out of these ten wards, seven are under the control of the Trinamool.
Ridiculing the claim that the success of the Siliguri Model — an alliance between the Left Front and the Congress — was the main factor behind his defeat, Bhutia said, “It cannot happen that the Siliguri model would work only in Siliguri. There could be other factors which led to my defeat.”
T hough Bhutia did not directly blame the Trinamool leaders and councillors for his defeat, the fact that he repeatedly questioned how the party got less votes in those seven wards compared to the 2015 SMC election was a clear pointer that he was holding a section of Trinamool leaders responsible for his defeat. The seven wards are believed to be TMC’s stronghold.
Citing an example of a municipal ward won by the TMC’s district president Ranjan Sarkar (Rana), Bhaichung said that in the 2015 SMC elections, the party got 2,056 votes in the ward while this Assembly election it got only 1,855 votes. Bhaichung trailed by 643 votes in this ward.
Similarly, he cited examples with figures of six other wards where the party fared badly.
Bhutia said, “It is high time that the party ponders over the development (his loss) and takes necessary action.”
He also said that he will submit a report to Mamata Banerjee.
From the very beginning, Bhutia was apprehensive that the ongoing factionalism in the party could prove costly for him. In his first election meeting here on March 7, he had said, “Unless we are united, the battle will be very tough.” He also said that the party leaders and workers should work as a team and ensure that no one sabotages the party’s chances.
Sources in the Trinamool who are close to Bhutia also said that many party leaders were hoping to get a ticket from Siliguri and were not happy with his candidature. They considered Bhutia an outsider and did not work with full dedication for him during his election campaign.
“Bhutia’s rise in politics could have gone against their interests,” said a source.
Though Bhutia did not answer when asked if the party leaders had sabotaged his chances, he said that the party would face serious problems if a postmortem is not done and action is not taken.
The fact that TMC’s senior leaders, including the party’s district president, were not present during Bhutia’s press conference spoke volumes about whom he was holding responsible for his defeat. Only the TMC’s founding district president, Pratul Chakraborty, was present along with Bhutia at the press conference. Chakraborty virtually has no say in the party.


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