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13 Oct 2015

Oli takes oath as Nepal's 38th prime minister

PRASHANT ACHARYA, EOI, Siliguri, 12 Oct 2015: It was a momentous occasion today in the history of Nepal when Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli took the oath of office after the new constitution came into force in the neighbouring country. President Ram Baran Yadav, who is from the plains region of Nepal, administered the oath even as Madeshi parties continue to agitate for changes in the constitution. 
The oath-taking ceremony was held at Sheetal Niwas in Maharahgunj, Kathmandu. Oli was elected as the 38th premier of Nepal when he defeated Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala yesterday by garnering 338 votes. Oli was supported by UCPN (Maoist), Rastriya Prajatantra Pary-Nepal, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik and 11 other parties. The new prime minister has formed a small cabinet by incorporating two deputy prime ministers, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal chairman Kamal Thapa, and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic chairman Bijay Kumar Gachhadar. The other ministers include Agni Prasad Kharel, Som Prasad Pandey and Satya Narayan Mandal of the CPN-UML, Haribol Gajurel of UCPN-Maoist and Ram Kumar Subba of RPP-Nepal.
India’s ambassador to Nepal, Tanjit Rae, went to Oli's residence this morning to covey his greetings to the new prime minister. He also conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's congratulatory message to Oli. Modi has reportedly invited his counterpart to India. Speaking to the media later, Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar said the new constitution will be amended with revisions on the federal structure in order to address the demands of the Madheshi and Terai parties.

India-China joint military exercise begins

EOI, SUKNA, 12 Oct 2015: The fifth joint military exercise between India and China, Hand-in-Hand 2015, commenced today at Kunming Military Academy in Yunan Province, China.  
The twelve-day exercise will lay emphasis on joint handling of insurgency, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. 
The inaugural function put up demonstrations of skills by personnel of the two sides, the two largest armies of the world, including display of weapons and equipment used at the sub-unit levels. The Indian contingent enthralled the audience by a yoga display followed by the vibrant and energetic tribal dance of Nagaland. 
The show ended with a display of unarmed combat skills by Indian army personnel. The inaugural function was attended by Lieutenant General Surinder Singh, Corps Commander, Trishakti Corps, along with senior officers of China’s People’s Liberation Army. Singh noted such events are building blocks for fostering mutual trust and confidence between the two great nations.

Tea planters slam bonus agitation

TT, Oct. 12: Tea estate owners today said workers were resorting to demonstrations in many gardens over bonus although an agreement had been reached between planters' associations and trade unions on the rate and the mode of payment.
Prabir Bhattacharjee, the secretary general of the Tea Association of India, said planters and trade unions had agreed in Calcutta on October 7 that bonus would be paid at 20 per cent in gardens in the Dooars and Terai.
"It was also agreed that the bonus would be disbursed among workers in two tranches. While 15 per cent bonus will be paid by October 15, the rest 5 per cent will be disbursed before Christmas this year. Besides, some financially weak gardens have been allowed to pay the bonus at lower rates, ranging from 13.5 per cent to 19 per cent. However, in many gardens, particularly those in the Dooars, there are reports that workers are demanding the bonus payment at one go or at a higher rate. We want the labourers to adhere to the agreement and co-operate with the management in paying the bonus," said Bhattacharjee.
The planters said workers had held demonstrations in over 50 gardens in the Terai and Dooars last week to demand the payment of bonus at one go or at higher rates.
"While workers in some gardens agreed to accept the bonus in two instalments after demonstrations which continued for around an hour, estates like Dima (in Alipurduar district) were closed because of consistent protests. The Dima garden was reopened today after a meeting between the management and trade unions," said a planter who didn't want to be named.
Today, workers of Metelli and Murti tea estates, both located in Metelli block under Malbazar subdivision of Jalpaiguri district, held meetings for over three hours to demand the payment of 20 per cent bonus before Durga Puja. "It is disappointing that trade union leaders and workers do not understand our limitations. Our expenses have increased after revision in wages earlier this year. On the other hand, the tea price has come down. Still, we agreed to pay bonus at 20 per cent. If the protests continue, many gardens will close down," said P.K. Basu, who owns a tea garden in the Dooars.
Trade union leader Chitta Dey said workers were resorting to protest in some gardens as respective management had paid the first installment of the bonus at lower rates, not at 15 per cent. "In a few cases, workers were demanding bonus at one go and demonstrated in gardens. We have spoken to them and have made it clear that they should adhere to the agreement," he said.

SDF clean sweep in civic polls

TT, Gangtok, Oct. 12: The ruling SDF won all seats at the Gangtok municipality, two nagar panchayats and three municipal councils that voted on October 9.
The results were published today.
The SDF won all 17 wards of the Gangtok Municipal Corporation.
The party bagged all seven wards at Namchi municipal council (including one unopposed), seven in Nayabazaar-Jorethang municipal council and two wards of Gyalshing municipal council. The party had won five other seats in Gyalshing unopposed.
At the nagar panchayats, the SDF won five wards each at Singtam and Rangpo.
At Mangan nagar panchayat, the SDF bagged all five seats uncontested.
"This is a victory of the people who have voted for peace and development. I congratulate the people of Sikkim for the thumping triumph," said the chief minister Pawan Chamling while talking to reporters here this evening.
He said the win had injected new energy into the government to work more for the people.
"The opposition party in Sikkim tried a different propaganda to mislead the people but their whole exercise proved futile as people have voted for us with absolute majority" said Chamling.
SKM president P.S. Golay and party MLAs have thanked all workers for the hard work they put in for the elections. The party thanked the voters for their participation.
In a press release, the party said SKM had always fought for the right of the people and will accept with humility the outcome of the poll.
The SDF is planning to organise a victory rally in Gangtok tomorrow.

पञ्चायत चुनावबारे मुख्यमन्त्रीले 15 दिनभित्र अडान स्पष्ट पार्नुपर्छ – विष्णु छेत्री

डी.के.वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 12 अक्टोबर। “दार्जीलिङ पहाडमा पञ्चायत चुनावलाई लिएर मुख्यमन्त्री ममता ब्यानर्जीले आफ्नो अडान एक महिना भित्रमा स्पष्ट पार्नुपर्छ। यदि एक महिनाभित्रमा आफ्नो अडान स्पष्ट नपारे उनको पहाड भ्रमणमा पहाडका चेली कृषकवर्गले रित्तो गाग्री देखाएर स्वागत गर्नेछन”-उक्त कुरा कालेबुङ कृषक कल्याण महासचिव विष्णु छेत्रीले भनेका हुन्। 
दार्जीलिङ पहाडमा लगभग 10 वर्षभन्दा धेर समयदेखि पञ्चायत व्यवस्था नभएको कारण ग्रामीण क्षेत्रका मानिसाहरूले समस्या भोग्न परिरहेको बताउँदै यसबारे सरकारले आफ्नो अडान स्पष्ट पार्नुपर्ने कृषक कल्याण संगठनले माग गरेको हो। ‘अहिलेघरी त्रीस्तरीय पञ्चायत चुनाव हुन सक्दैन भने दुईस्तरीय पञ्चायत चुनाव गर्नुपर्छ। यसबारे हामीले सरकारलाई अघिबाटै पत्राचार पनि गरिसकेका छौँ। अब यसबारे सरकारले आफ्नो अडान एकमहिना भित्रमा स्पष्ट पार्नुपर्छ भनि हामी अल्टिमेटम दिँदछौँ’ विष्णु छेत्रीले अझ भने। 
यसभन्दा अघि कालेबुङ कृषक कल्याण संगठनले दार्जीलिङ पहाडमा पञ्चायत चुनावको माग गर्दै कोलकोता उच्च न्यायालयमा जनहित याचिका दर्ता गरिसकेको छ। यसैसम्बन्धमा आज यहाँको डम्बरचौक नजिक कृषक कल्याण संगठनको भवनमा विभिन्न कृषक संघका प्रतिनिधीवर्गलाई लिएर बसेको सभामा पहाडमा पञ्चायत चुनाव विषय लिएर चर्चा परिचर्चा सम्पन्न भएको थियो। उक्त सभामा उपस्थित सम्पूर्ण कृषकवर्गले दार्जीलिङ पहाडमा आजसम्म सरकारले पञ्चायत चुनाव नगराएको सन्दर्भमा विक्षोभ प्रदर्शन गर्दै हात-हातमा कालोपट्टी बाँधेका थिए। 
संगठनले दार्जीलिङ पहाडमा यथाशिघ्र पञ्चायत चुनाव गर्नुपर्ने माग गर्दै आज शहरको विभिन्न स्थानहरूमा व्यापक पोष्टरिङ पनि गरेको छ। भारतीय संवैधानिक मान्यताप्रात पञ्चायत व्यवस्था दार्जीलिङ पहाडमा 10 वर्षभन्दा धेर समयदेखि अचल रहँदा पनि आजसम्म सरकारले पञ्चायत चुनाव नगरेको सन्दर्भमा संगठनले व्यापक आक्रोष प्रकट गरेको छ। 
यसैक्रममा संगठनका महासचिव विष्णु छेत्रीले पहाडमा पञ्चायत चुनाव गर्नुपर्ने माग गर्दै यसबारे मुख्यमन्त्री ममता व्यानर्जीले आगामी एक महिनाभित्रमा आफ्नो अडान स्पष्ट गर्नुपर्ने माग गरेका हुन्। पञ्चायत व्यवस्थाको अभावमा ग्रामीण क्षेत्रका मानिसहरूले व्यापक मात्रमा समस्या भोग्न परिरहेको संगठनको भनाई रहेको छ। यदि सरकारले जनतालाई सही बिकासको अर्थ बुझाउन चाहन्छ भने पञ्चायत व्यवस्थालाई सञ्चालन गर्न पञ्चायत चुनाव झट्ट गर्नुपर्ने संगठनले माग गरेको हो। 
विभिन्न कृषक संघका प्रतिनिधीवर्गसँग सभा बसेपछि पत्रकारहरूलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै यसभन्दा अघि सरकारले दार्जीलिङ पहाडमा पञ्चायत चुनाव नगराएकोमा विरोध गर्दै कोलकोता उच्च न्यायालयमा जनहित याचिका दर्ता गरेको पनि छेत्रीले जनाए। उनले पञ्चायत व्यवस्थालाई लिएर दार्जीलिङ पहाडका विधायक अनि सांसदले पनि आगामी 15 दिनभित्रमा आफ्नो अडान स्पष्ट पार्नुपर्ने अल्टिमेटम दिएको छ।
जनप्रतिनिधी भएको कारण उनीहरूले जनताको आवाजलाई सही प्रकारले उठान गर्नुपने माग गर्दै आजसम्म जनप्ततिनिधीवर्गले पञ्चायत व्यवस्थाबारे आवाज नउठाएको छेत्रीले आरोप लगाएका छन्।
‘पहाडमा जनप्रतिनिधी विधायक अनि सांसदले पञ्चायत चुनाव सम्बन्धी आफ्नो अडान 15 दिनभित्रमा स्पष्ट पार्नुपर्छ। यदि आफ्नो अडान स्पष्ट पार्दै भने हामी जनप्रतिनिधीवर्गको पुत्ला दहन गर्नेछौँ’ विष्णु छेत्रीले स्पष्ट भने।
दुईस्तरीय पञ्चायत चुनाव गर्नका निम्ति दागोपाप अनि जीटीए कुनै बाधा नरहेको दाबी गर्दै पञ्चायत चुनाव नभएको कारण जनताको प्रजातान्त्रिक अधिकार हनन् भएको पनि छेत्रीको आरोप रहेको छ।
पञ्चायत व्यवस्था लागु गर्ने मागमा संगठनले भारत सरकार अनि पश्चिम बङ्गाल सरकारको ध्यान आकर्षण गर्दै आगामी दिनहरूमा कृषक कल्याण संगठनका प्रतिनिधीवर्गले यात्रा गर्दा वाहनहरूमा समेत कालो झण्डा लगाएर सांकेतिक विरोध गर्ने बताएका छन्। जनताका प्रतिनिधीवर्गले पञ्चायत व्यवस्थाको आवाजलाई एकैपल्ट सम्म उच्चारण नगरेको आरोप लगाउँदै बहुसंख्यक जनताको आवाज नउठाउने प्रतिनिधीवर्गको आवश्यकता समेत नरहेको संगठनको भनाई रहेको छ।
यसैक्रममा मुख्यमन्त्री ममता ब्यानर्जीले दार्जीलिङ पहाड भ्रमणमा आउँदा बारम्बार बिकासका कार्यहरूबारे बोलेको बताउँदै उक्त बिकासका कार्यहरूलाई संगठनले स्वागत जनाएको बताए। यद्यपी मुख्यमन्त्रीले ग्रामीण क्षेत्रलाई छोडेर कस्ता बिकासका कार्यहरू गर्दैछन् भनि तिनले प्रश्न तेर्साएका छन्। ग्रामीण क्षेत्रका मानिसहरूको सर्वाङ्गीन विकास केवल पञ्चायत व्यवस्थाले मात्र गर्न सक्ने बताउँदै यसलाई सरकारले झट्ट लागु गर्नुपर्ने कृषक कल्याण संगठनका महासचिव विष्णु छेत्रीले माग गरेका छन्।

GTA finds a hero in Harka backyard - Gesture to boost Kalimpong support base

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Oct. 12: The GTA has found a local hero in Kalimpong, a subdivision where Harka Bahadur Chhetri has started a campaign to make the area a separate district.
Ari Bahadur Gurung, a lawyer who breathed his last on July 4, 1980, but who represented the Gorkhas in the Constituent Assembly is the poster boy of the GTA's choice.
Binay Tamang, an executive GTA Sabha member and senior Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader, said the hill autonomous body would posthumously felicitate Ari Bahadur and also honour his family on November 26, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared would observed as Constitution Day.
The Morcha's Bimal Gurung and Chhetri, who recently quit the hill party, have been in a game of one-upmanship to get district status for Kalimpong.
Tamang today said: "The GTA has decided to observe Constitution Day on November 26, as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday. At the event we will pay our respects to Ari Bahadur Gurung, a member of the Constituent Assembly and one of the signatories to the Constitution. We will also felicitate his family members."
The Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949.
The GTA had previously never shown any interest in Ari Bahadur Gurung who, when alive, was a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) whose chief Madan Tamang was hacked to death by suspected Morcha activists.
Although the felicitation will be organised by the GTA, which the Morcha controls, Tamang said senior BJP leaders and Union ministers would be invited to the event. "But their names haven't been finalised yet," he said.
Observers believe the felicitation will give the Morcha base a fillip in Kalimpong, where local MLA Chhetri has been mobilising other parties to demand a separate district.
Chhetri is now the chief co-ordinator of Kalimpong District Demand Committee on Saturday.

12 Oct 2015

Tea garden shut after bonus row

TT: Oct. 11: The management of Panighata tea estate yesterday announced suspension of work alleging lawless behaviour by labourers after garden authorities and the workers had a disagreement over the Puja bonus.
"There was a proposal that the management cannot pay the bonus at 20 per cent rate, which had been fixed for the industry through a bipartite settlement. We told the management to pay at the rate of 15 per cent before Durga Puja and agreed for talks before December, by which time the management needs to pay the remaining five per cent," said Rajen Mukhia, an INTTUC leader in Panighata that is in Darjeeling.
A section of workers said the garden managers left with their families as the owner did not want to pay the bonus.
Harihar Acharya, the Terai committee president of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-backed Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union, said the management had also piled workers' arrears over the past few months. "Before the Durga Puja, when the workers eagerly wait for the bonus, the management has left the garden."
"We suspect that the decision is a tactical move by the management which wants to defer payment of the bonus and other dues of workers," said Acharya.
According to Acharya, the management has not been depositing the provident fund of workers with the provident fund authorities for several months. Also, the workers are yet to receive rations for 42 weeks.
"Even a portion of the current wages of the workers is due and the employees have not received their salaries for the month of September. The management has also not paid the arrears accrued after the wage rates were revised earlier this year. Now, the bonus is also due," Acharya said.
Tea industry sources said that on October 9, a bipartite meeting was held in Matigara, near Siliguri. There, the management had asked for a concessional rate for the bonus. It was decided that the owner would pay bonus at the rate of 15 per cent of the pay now.
The garden in Mirik employs 2,000 workers.
The union leaders said that on September 21, Subrata Saha, the manager, left the garden. "Some assistant managers were running the estate. But on October 9, the assistant managers also left," Mukhia said.
Representatives of the Tea Association of India (TAI), to which the Panighata garden is affiliated, said they had received a notice from the management announcing suspension of work. The management cited several reasons for the decision, "including activities by some workers which were affecting the garden," Sumit Ghosh, the additional secretary of association, said.
In Alipurudar's Dima Tea Estate, which was shut last Friday, the workers and the management have agreed to a bonus payment at the rate of 12 per cent of the salary. The garden may open tomorrow.
Tea death
A former worker of the closed Dharanipara tea estate in Jalpaiguri died yesterday of suspected malnourishment, although health officials have denied that to be the reason.

'Blade runner' in Darjeeling

TT: Major (retd) DP Singh, who had lost his right leg during the Kargil war, took part in a 6km run from Batasia Loop to Chowrasta in Darjeeling on Sunday. 
With a prosthetic leg, Singh took part as the chief guest of the event, organised by MARG, a Darjeeling-based non-profit organisation.  
"It was fun. I loved it. People of Darjeeling are charming. I am feeling blessed to be part of the town and the run for a cause. People were standing everywhere and cheering us," said Singh who lost the leg when a shell landed near him and burst during the Kargil war. Known as India's first "blade runner", Singh has been taking part in half marathons across the country for a couple of years.
The sobriquet is a reference to Oscar Pistorius (above), the South African double amputee who took part in the 2012 London Olympics with carbon fibre prosthetic legs. Pistorius has been sentenced to five years' jail term for killing his girlfriend.
The Darjeeling run was organised with the slogan "stop violence against women and children". Since 2009, Singh has taken part in 16 half-marathons. The ex-army officer has a Facebook page called "The Challenging Ones".


Morcha lists 'false' projects - Hill party targets CM on district demand

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Oct. 11: The Gorkha Jannmukti Morcha today listed several projects that Mamata Banerjee had announced as railway minister and as chief minister for the hills but failed to start.
But Bimal Gurung's party said the people would forgive Mamata for the alleged false promises if she upgraded Kalimpong subdivision to a district and Mirik block to a subdivision.
Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha, reeled off 11 projects announced for the hills by Mamata as the railway minister and 18 projects as chief minister. He said none of the projects had been started.
"Chief minister Mamata Banerjee always announces lollipops for the hills just before the elections and to prove this, we are making public the list of unfulfilled projects announced by her. ... The formation of the Kalimpong district and the upgrade of Mirik block to a subdivision will not only bring administrative benefits to these places but also help in our demand for Gorkhaland. That is why we want the chief minister to take a decision before the 2016 Assembly election. In such an event, people from the hills will forgive her for all the unfulfilled announcements she has made for the region so far," Tamang told journalists.
Some of the allegedly unfulfilled announcements of Mamata as the railway minister include a Railway Recruitment Board Campus in Darjeeling, a nursing training college in Kurseong and a skill development centre in Kurseong and upgrade of Tindharia railway hospital to a super-speciality hospital.
A film city and software park in Kalimpong, golf course at Tiger Hill and setting up a Bhanu-Rabindra Nepali Academy at Mungpoo are among the promises which Mamata had made as chief minister but failed to keep.
Observers believe the Morcha was using Mamata's development plank to corner the chief minister and to take credit if she declares Kalimpong a district, especially before the Assembly elections. "If the chief minister does not announce the formation of Kalimpong district immediately, the Morcha can tell the people that Mamata only makes false promises," said an observer.
The other motive behind the Morcha's decision to link the Kalimpong district demand to Mamata's failure to keep the promises, observers say, is to score over MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri.
Ever since he quit the Morcha, Chhetri has been demanding vociferously that Kalimpong be declared a separate district.
The Morcha also welcomed the formation of the Kalimpong District Demand Committee and said it was willing to consider joining the panel if approached formally. The Kalimpong MLA is the chief co-ordinator of the committee.

District demand committee

RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Kalimpong, Oct. 11: Political parties and social organisations together formed the Kalimpong District Demand Committee yesterday to raise the pitch for a separate district and Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri was chosen as the chief co-ordinator of the panel.
Two other co-ordinators, Yusuf Simmick, the vice-chairman of the Lepcha Development Board, and Nayan Pradhan, a member of an NGO called Centre for Mountain Dynamics, would assist Chhetri in the committee.
"Yesterday, I held meetings with representatives of different social organisations and NGOs, civil society leaders and leaders of political parties, following which it was unanimously decided that the Kalimpong District Demand Committee would be formed. I have been chosen as the chief co-ordinator," said Chhetri who quit the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha recently.
Representatives of anti-Morcha parties like ABGL, CPRM and Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Morcha were present at the meetings, along with social organisation members.
The committee will start its campaign with street corner meetings across the subdivision from tomorrow. On October 16, a public meeting will be held here. The venue has not been decided. "People need not change their political allegiance to support the district demand," Chhetri said. He said although Morcha was in favour of the demand, it did not pursue the matter seriously.

11 Oct 2015

गोर्खाल्याण्डको माग गर्दै क्रामाकपाको पथसभा ..... टालटुले व्यवस्थामा सम्झौता गरेर गोर्खाहरूलाई धोका हुँदैछ – सुधन प्रधान

डी.के.वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 10 अक्टोबर। ‘सम्पूर्ण भारतभरी छरिएर बसेका गोर्खाहरूलाई १९८६ अनि २०११ को दुवैवटा सम्झौताले धोका दिएको छ। गोर्खाल्याण्डको नाउँ गरेर आन्दोलन गर्नेहरूले यसरी बारम्बार सम्झौता गरेर धोका दिएकै कारण आजसम्म लक्ष्य प्राप्ति गर्न नसकेको हो’ – उक्त कुरा क्रामाकपा पार्टीका युवा नेता सुधन प्रधानले भनेका हुन्। 
क्रान्तिकारी मार्क्सवादी कम्युनिष्ट पार्टीले आज यहाँको थाना डाँडा स्थित त्रिकोण पार्कमा पथसभा गरेर छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्डको आवाज उठाएको हो। गोर्खाल्याण्ड गठनको नारा लिएर गठन भएको पहाडको सत्तासिन राजनैतिक दल गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाले जीटीएको सम्झौता गरेर जनतालाई धोका दिएको आरोप लगाउँदै उनीहरूले पुन: जनतालाई छुट्टै राज्य प्राप्तिको निम्ति एकवद्ध हुने आह्वान गरेको छ। यसक्रममा उनीहरूले छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्डको माग गर्दै जोडदार नाराबाजी लगाएका थिए। पथसभालाई सम्बोधन गर्ने क्रममा सुधन प्रधानले छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति क्रामाकपाले दिल्लीमा अघिबाटै धर्ना प्रदर्शन गरिसकेको बताउँदै मोर्चाले पनि सम्पूर्ण आन्दोलन दिल्ली केन्द्रित बनाउनुपर्ने सुझाव दिएका छन्। 
“गोर्खाल्याण्ड प्राप्तिको निम्ति सम्झौता विहिन संघर्ष गर्नुपर्छ। टालटुले व्यवस्थामा अल्झेको खण्डमा हामी लक्ष्यदेखि टाडो हुँदै जानेछौँ। गोरामुमो अनि गोजमुमो दुवै दलले टालटुले व्यवस्थामा सम्झौता गरेकै कारण भारतभरीका गोर्खहरूलाई बारम्बार धोका भएको हो” सुधन प्रधानले अझ भने। उनले आफ्नो सम्बोधनको क्रममा महिषासुरलाई विजय दशमीको दिन जसरी वध गरिएको थियो ठिक त्यस्तै महिषासुरहरूलई सबैले यसपालीको विजय दशमीमा बध गरेर आफ्नो एकमात्र राज्य प्राप्तिको लक्ष्यमा एकवद्ध हुनपर्ने आह्वान गरे। 
यसैक्रममा पथसभालाई सम्बोधन गर्दै क्रामाकपा कालेबुङ शहर जोनल समितिका संयोजक विक्रम छेत्रील गोजमुमो पार्टीप्रति टिप्पणी गर्दै पहाडमा पैदल यात्रा गरेर केहि उपलब्धि ल्याउन नसकिने बताएका छन्। ‘गोजमुमो अध्यक्षले पहाडमा पैदल यात्रा गरेर केहि हुँदैन। उनले आफ्नो शरिरलाई कष्ट दिएर पनि केहि हुने होइन। यसरी गोर्खाल्याण्ड प्राप्त गर्न सकिन्दैन। काम संसदमा हुनपर्छ’ विक्रम छेत्रीले भने। 
उनले यसका निम्ति मोर्चाले आफ्नो सांसदलाई लगाएर संसदमा कार्य गर्नु भनि सुझाव दिएका छन्। क्रामाकपा कालेबुङ आञ्चलिक समितिको आयोजनामा सम्पन्न भएको उक्त पथसभामा क्रामाकपा उपाध्यक्ष जे.बी राई, किशोर प्रधान, मोहन पौड्याल, अरुण घतानी आदिको उपस्थिति रहेको थियो। 
यसक्रममा उक्त पथसभालाई सम्बोधन गर्दै सुदर्शन राई, भीम गुरुङ, कमल राई, विक्रम छेत्री, सुधन प्रधानले सम्पूर्ण भारतभरी छरिएर बसेका गोर्खाहरूको राष्ट्रिय राजनैतिक सुरक्षाको निम्ति छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्ड गठन हुनपर्ने कुरामा जोड दिएका थिए। आजसम्म पहाडमा गोर्खाल्याण्डको नाउँ गरेर जन्मिएका पार्टीहरूले गोर्खाहरूलाई बारम्बार ठग्ने गरेको आरोप लगाउँदै क्रामाकपा पार्टीले टालटुले व्यावस्थामा कहिल्यै सम्झौता नगर्ने अनि एकमात्र लक्ष्य गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति क्रामाकपा प्रतिवद्ध रहेको वक्ताहरुले बताएका छन्।

‘कालेबुङ जिल्ला माग समिति’ गठन ..... समितिको माध्यमबाट मुद्दालाई अघि बडाउन सहयोग पुग्नेछ – डा. छेत्री

डी.के.वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 10 अक्टोबर। कालेबुङ जिल्लाको मागलाई अघि बढाउन आधिकारिल रुपले ‘कालेबुङ जिल्ला माग समिति’ गठन भएको छ। उक्त समितिका मुख्य संयोजकका रुपमा कालेबुङका विधायक डा. हर्कबहादुर छेत्रीलाई चयनित गरिएको छ भने नयन प्रधान अनि युसुफ सिमिकलाई सयोजक चयनित गरिएको छ। उक्त जानकारी विधायक डा. हर्कबहादुर छेत्री आफैले पत्रकार सम्मेलन आयोजना गरेर दिएका हुन्। 
यहाँको एक होटलमा सम्पन्न भएको सभामा सर्वसहमतिले जिल्लाको मागलाई जोडदार अघि बडाउन उक्त समिति गठन गरिएको हो। उक्त सभामा विभिन्न राजनैतिक दल, संघ संस्था, जातिय बोर्डका प्रतिनिधीवर्ग अनि जातिय संघ संस्थाका प्रतिनिधीवर्ग उपस्थित रहेको डा. छेत्रीले जानकारी दिएका छन्। उक्त सभामा गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाका प्रतिनिधीवर्गलाई आमन्त्रित गरेपनि पार्टीका प्रतिनिधी उपस्थित नरहेको उनले जनाए। 
“छुट्टै जिल्लाको माग कुनै दल अथवा स्थानको विरोधको निम्ति होइन। कालेबुङका आम मानिसहरुले भोग्दै आएका प्रशासनिक समस्या समाधान गर्नका निम्ति उठाइएको माग हो। यसको निम्ति सम्पूर्ण राजनैतिक दलका साथीहरूले आपसी मतभेद भुलेर सहयोग निश्चयनै सफल हुनेछ”-डा हर्कबहादुर छेत्रीले भने। 
जिल्लाको मुद्दालाई राज्य सरकार समक्ष उठान गर्नका निम्ति आफू एकजना विधायक भएको कारण सजिलो हुने अनि यसलाई थप बल प्रदान गर्न थप सबैको समर्थनमा ‘कालेबुङ जिल्ला माग समिति’ गठन गरेको पनि उनले अझ बताएका हुन्। 
डा. छेत्रीले पत्रकारहरूलाई सम्बोधन गर्नेक्रममा यस मागलाई अझ बृहत रुपले अघि बडाएत जनमानसमा पुर्‍याउन आगमी दिनमा समितिले ठाउँ-ठाउँमा जनसभा गर्ने योजना तयार परेको खुलस्त पारेका छन्। यसैक्रममा सम्भवता आगमी 16 अक्टोबरको दिन कालेबुङमा पहिलो जनसभा आयोजना गरेर मानिसहरूलाई जिल्ला मागको औचित्यबारे जानकारी गराउने उद्देश्य राखेको पनि उनले जानकारी दिएका छन्। हाल उक्त जिल्लाको मुद्दालाई विभिन्न राजनैतिक दल अनि संघ संस्थाहरूले समर्थन गरिरहेको जानकारी गराउँदै यसले मुद्दालाई अघि बडाउन अझ सहज हुने तिनको भनाई छ। उक्त जिल्लाको मागबारे आगामी दिनहरूमा समितिले कालेबुङको ग्रामिण स्तरहरूमा पनि जनतालाई बुझाउने कार्य गर्ने योजनाहरू तयार पारेको पनि डा छेत्रीले जनाए। 
“जिल्लाको मुद्दालाई अघि बडाउन दल त्यागेर अघि आउनुपर्छ भन्ने होइन। जहाँ-जहाँ बसेका छन् त्यहीँबाट समर्थन गरे यस मागलाई सरकारसमक्ष राख्न अझ सहज हुनेछ” डा.छेत्रीले भने। यसक्रममा उनले पत्रकार सम्मेलनकै माध्यमबाट गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चालाई विशेष आग्रह गर्दै आफ्नै स्थानमा बसेर मुद्दालाई सहयोग गरिदिने आह्वान गरेका छन्। 
‘गोजमुमो पार्टीले यदि जिल्लाको मागलाई ईमान्दारसँग उठाएको हो भने यसलाई आफ्नै ठाउँमा बसेर समर्थन गर्न सक्नेछन्। यसले भविष्यमा उनीहरूको मागलाई अघि बडाउनका निम्ति पाइला टेक्ने एउटा खुट्किलो निर्माण हुनेछ’-डा छेत्रीले भने। हाल राज्य सरकारसित मोर्चाको सम्बन्ध राम्रो नभएको कारण राजनीतिमा सम्बन्धले धेरै प्रभाव पार्नसक्ने बताउँदै अहिले स्थितिमा मोर्चा आफैले जिल्लाको माग गरे सरकारले दिन नसक्ने शंका व्यक्त गरे। यसकारण उनीहरूले अहिलेको अवस्थामा जिल्ला मागको आवाजलाई अघि बडाउँन ‘कालेबुङ जिल्ला माग समिति’लाई समर्थन गरे पार्टी आफैलाई लाभ हुनको साथै जनतालाई समेत फाइदा पुग्ने बताएका छन्।

10 Oct 2015

Govt in a hurry to select full-time poll boss - Court-wary state moves

Pranesh Sarkar, TT, Calcutta, Oct. 9:The government today hurriedly initiated steps to appoint a full-time state election commissioner, apparently worried that Calcutta High Court had expressed displeasure at the manner in which an interim poll panel chief was deployed.
"It was decided today that Alapan Bandyopadhyay would act as the temporary state election commissioner till October 16. A full-time state election commissioner will take oath either on October 16 or the next day," a Nabanna source said.
Sources said the proposal to appoint a full-time commissioner was readied quickly and it would be sent to the governor tomorrow for approval.
The sources said former land reforms commissioner A.K. Singh was one of the strongest contenders for the post. Singh, an IAS officer who retired in 2014 as an additional chief secretary, had been given re-employment for 15 months as the land reforms commissioner. His tenure of re-employment ended on August 31. Till the appointment of S.R. Upadhaya, all state election commissioners had been retired IAS officers.
Senior government officials said the move to appoint a full-time commissioner was part of the government's "Plan B" to ensure that the civic poll process was completed before the Pujas.
"The fast-forward button was pressed during the day's developments in the high court. At one point during the hearing, it had appeared that the court could stay the counting of votes, which is scheduled for tomorrow, because of the manner in which Bandyopadhyay was appointed the interim election commissioner," an official said.
Justice Dipankar Dutta refrained from passing any interim order and the hearing will continue on November 23. The petitioner had sought a stay on the counting of votes.
The sources said "Plan A" was to move a division bench in case the single bench stalled the counting. "At the same time, the government wanted to have a back-up plan by appointing a full-time poll panel boss by next week," an official said.
A minister said the ruling establishment wanted to complete the election process before the Pujas as a delay would hold up development projects ahead of the Assembly polls next year.
A source said Mamata Banerjee entered Nabanna in the afternoon and watched on TV the developments in court.
"When news channels flashed that the court was raising several questions on the appointment of the temporary election commissioner, she called home secretary Basudeb Banerjee, who was attending a seminar at the Administrative Training Institute in Salt Lake, to Nabanna. The home secretary was asked to prepare the file to appoint a permanent election commissioner," the source said.

Factory shut over bonus row....... Estate work suspended

TT, Jalpaiguri, Oct. 9: The management of a plywood manufacturing factory at Odlabari declared a lockout at the unit today following frequent demonstrations by workers to demand higher bonus.
The Dosmit Plywood Factory Limited in Malbazar subdivision has 405 workers who now doubt if they will get the due wages and bonus before Durga Puja.
"The management had unilaterally announced 8.33 per cent bonus, which is the minimum rate allowed under the law. Besides, labourers were not paid the wages for the past week. These things prompted the labourers to hold hour-long demonstrations at the entrance to the factory everyday in the past seven-10 days, demanding a higher rate of bonus and immediate payment of due wages," said Shankar Biswas, a CPM leader Malbazar.
He is in charge of the CITU unit at the factory. The CITU is the predominant union at the factory which is owned by Roshanlal Agarwal.
Sources said the management had locked out the factory apprehending law and order problems following frequent protests by the labourers.
Odlabari is 50km from here.
Krishna Sen, a Jalpaiguri district secretariat member of the CITU, said the workers had wanted at least 15 per cent bonus.
"The management was reluctant to agree to the demand but was ready to hold talks with us. It was agreed that there would be talks between the workers and the management today and if a consensus was reached, the disbursement of bonus would also begin soon as just 10 days are left for Durga Puja. However, the management plastered the lockout notice on the factory premises today. The workers are worried whether they will receive bonus and the due wages before the Puja," said Sen.
He said the Jalpaiguri district administration and the state labour department should intervene and ask the management to reopen the unit immediately.
The management couldn't be contacted.
J. Tanti, the subdivisional officer of Malbazar, inquired about the lockout and also passed on the information to the officials of the labour department in Jalpaiguri.
Arthur Horo, the assistant labour commissioner of Jalpaiguri, said he was yet to get a formal intimation from the management about the lockout. "Once we get the official intimation, we will start negotiations. The local police have been asked to keep vigil at the unit," said Horo.

Alipurduar, Oct. 9: The management of Dima Tea Estate left the garden today after issuing a suspension of work notice.
Sources said for the past 10 days, 1,000-odd workers had been agitating from 7am to 10am daily demanding bonus at the rate of 20 per cent. A tripartite meeting was called on October 7 and the bonus rate was fixed at 12 per cent#.
But yesterday, some workers agitated and demanded bonus at 20 per cent#.
The estate in Kalchini block has 1,854 workers.
The notice issued by Surajgovind Estates Private Limited said around 8.30am, 900-odd workers "gheraoed the garden office and demanded 20% bonus..." The workers confined the deputy manager and other officials to a room. They could leave after the police arrived at 12.30pm. The garden manager could not be contacted.
The joint labour commissioner, Siliguri, has called a meeting on October 14 to discuss the issue.

Deb tries Asok pill, Cong rejects it - TMC tells all to join hands against Left

TT, Siliguri, Oct. 9: Gautam Deb today sounded remarkably similar to rival Asok Bhattacharya when he requested all elected non-Trinamul representatives of the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad to shun the Left and join the ruling party.
During the campaign for the rural mahakuma elections, Bhattacharya, the mayor of Siliguri who is a senior CPM leader, had requested the electorate to vote for anyone but Trinamul.
Deb, whose party suffered a setback in the elections that the Left won, said the Congress had already "surrendered to the CPM".
He appealed to what he called the "conscientious people in the Congress" telling them not to forget "the sacrifices of their former leaders and workers, who had fought against the CPM's atrocities". At a news conference in the Darjeeling district Trinamul office, he said: "We appeal to them to join hands with Trinamul on the issue of development. They can join Trinamul or stay as an ally. We would like to make a similar request to elected representatives of all other anti-Left parties to stand by us and form boards at the panchayat samitis and gram panchayats together to stop the Left."
The October 7 results of the three-tier polls have shown that 11 of the 22 panchayats and two of four panchayat samitis are hung as no party alone has secured the magic figure. To form a board, a party needs to get half plus one of the total seats. Or the party can go into an understanding for support from other parties and Independents.
The Left, which had an informal understanding with the Congress, yesterday proposed a formal alliance with the party to keep Trinamul at bay. "We could form boards in most of the panchayats and in both the panchayat samitis which are hung by allying with Congress. Our only intention is to keep Trinamul away from power," Bhattacharya said yesterday.
An understanding between the Left and the Congress can allow them to form boards in at least six of the 11 hung panchayats and in one of the two hung panchayat samitis.
District Congress leaders today rejected Deb's proposal. "He (Deb) should first apologise to Congress workers, whom his party workers attacked and terrorised ahead of the elections. False police cases were slapped on our workers. We are well aware of our stand and our conscience is also very clear," said Shankar Malakar, the Darjeeling district Congress president, who is also the MLA of Matigara-Naxalbari. "There is no question of joining hands with Trinamul to form boards in the two lower tiers."
After the statement by the CPM's Bhattacharya yesterday, Malakar had said his party would think about the proposal once it receives it in writing from the Left.
The BJP said the party leadership had told its "elected representatives at the two lower tiers to make the decision on their own" for the sake of development.

Same booths, opposite picture - Few voters, more police in Bidhannagar

Bidhannagar MLA Sujit Bose tells police to drive away journalists during the voting in
FD bloc of Salt Lake on October 3. Electoral malpractice was reported in this block,
the block is a picture of calm during repolling on Friday. Pictures by Sanjoy
Chattopadhyaya and Amit Datta
Tamaghna Banerjee, Snehal Sengupta and Abhijeet Chatterjee, TT, 
Repolling in nine booths of Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation and two in Asansol were a study in contrast to what played out on October 3.
The booths were crawling with policemen and the unfamiliar faces were missing, but so were voters. Metro presents the difference on the ground
Oct. 9: Each booth had 50-odd policemen outside. Most of them carried guns and officers of the rank of inspectors were seen in charge of every booth. The policemen did not even allow residents who had cast their votes to stroll around the polling premises and chased away any suspicious presence. Around 8am, nine cars and two buses full of policemen were found posted outside the Administrative Training Institute in FD Block (the booth that had recorded close to 92 per cent of votes and where journalists were assaulted for photographing outsiders last Saturday). Today, only one voter was inside the booth when the policemen arrived. The booth finally recorded 8.88 per cent votes, the lowest among the nine.
In Asansol's booth No. 126 at Kalla Welfare Free Primary School in ward 14, at least 20 policemen, including four officers and eight lady constables, were deployed. Although voting was slow, no untoward incident was reported.
Oct. 3: Two constables stood guard outside each booth. One of them carried a gun, the other a lathi. They did not attempt to drive away outsiders who walked in and out of the booths freely all through the day or beat up journalists and Salt Lake residents. When the polling officers called the cops for help, they did not respond. Special teams of policemen who were on patrol also avoided the trouble-prone areas and left the place minutes after chasing mobs of unknown faces, allowing them to come back.
In the Asansol booth the previous voting day, a group of armed men had arrived in SUVs and opened fire at voters in front of three policemen armed with sticks. Two of the injured were BJP supporters.
Checks inside
Oct. 9: The voter I-card seemed to be a must. Many who had brought ID proof like driving licences or PAN cards were sent back and asked to bring the voter card. "I was carrying my driving licence, PAN card and office ID. But the poll officers refused to listen to me. I had to go back home and get the voter-I card," said Sandip Paul, a resident of AB block.
The polling officer at the booth said they had strict instruction from the state election commission to ask for only voter cards. "However, those who have genuine reasons for not having the voter- I card in possession were allowed to vote after thoroughly scanning other documents," the officer said.
Even journalists had to show their card and photo ID every time they entered a booth one at a time.
Oct. 3: No one checked the voter ID cards or any other photo identity credentials of voters. The CCTV at a booth at the AB community centre was broken while the cameras at several other booths were allegedly switched off when outsiders began rigging votes. While several polling agents worked under the instruction of the outsiders and the ruling party's polling agents, the presiding officer kept mum as was seen in a booth at FE block. Another presiding officer, in the FD community centre left the room.
Oct. 9: At the gates of the community centre, schools or other premises, where poll booths were set up, policemen looked for photo ID proof of every voter before letting them enter. A man accompanying Anindya Chatterjee, the ward 41 candidate, was not allowed to enter the premises after he was found belonging to another ward. The man was to supply food packets to the polling agents. When policemen did not allow him, Chatterjee himself distributed the food packets and water bottles to the agents.
Oct. 3: Anyone could enter the poll booth premises. Some outsiders and Trinamul supporters were seen camping inside the school on community hall premises as the police took no steps to drive them away. None of the photo identity cards were checked and anyone accompanying the candidate was given special treatment by allowing them to enter the booth before any voter.
Unknown faces
Oct. 9: There were none. This newspaper looked for them at every park, alley, crossroad and even some of the safe houses where they had put up since the election campaigns but they were nowhere.
"I had come to vote last Saturday but was intimidated seeing so many outsiders roaming around the booth. Someone told me the group had been attacking residents and reporters. We did not attempt to enter the booth and came back home. But we voted today without any interference," said Debopriya Paul, a post-graduate student in economics from Calcutta University and a resident of AB block.
Oct. 3: Across all the booths in Salt Lake, unfamiliar faces outnumbered real voters. They stood outside booths and crossroads intimidating the electorate, went in and out of the booths at ease, jammed booths for several minutes, beat up residents and journalists when faced with protests and rampaged in parts of the entire township by hurling bombs.
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