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28 Jul 2015

Deb hands over cheques to deserving students

EOI, SILIGURI, 27 Jul 2015: North Bengal Development Department minister Gautam Deb on Monday handed over cheques assigned by the State Youth Development Department to deserving students from various senior secondary schools, colleges and madarsahs in Darjeeling district. 
Deb distributed the cheques to around 78 students from 19 colleges, four higher madarsahs, one blind school and 78 senior secondary schools from the district at a function held here in Siliguri. 
The amount provided by the State Youth Development Department includes Rs.5,000 each to students from madarsahs, Rs1,000 to blind school students, Rs10,000 to college students and Rs5,000 to senior secondary school students. Speaking at the function, Deb slammed critics who accuse the government of providing such funds only when elections are around. 
He said there are central, state and regional elections during the 5-year tenure of a government, “Therefore it is foolish to make such lame allegations,” Deb emphasised. 
He urged the students to make good use of the money. 
The students appreciated the initiative taken by the state government and appeared happy to receive the cash benefit.
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Encephalitis death toll touches 45 in north Bengal

EOI, SILIGURI, 27 Jul 2015: The deadly Encephalitis epidemic has spread cold chills among the people of north Bengal as the dreaded disease continues to kill people almost on a daily basis. 
Following the death of an elderly person in Jalpaiguri on Saturday, three more deaths were reported from different parts of the region on Sunday, taking to toll to 45. 
With the pace at which the disease is taking lives in north Bengal this year, it looks apparent that the toll could touch 50 in just a matter of days. 
The state health department has already set up isolation wards and specialised teams at various state hospitals in the region to tackle the disease, but these efforts have not shown any positive results yet. 
To make matters worse, the number of patients has neither decreased nor stayed at the same level as more patients continue to get admitted with symptoms of Encephalitis. 
On Sunday, five more people, including a child, were admitted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital taking the total number patients with the disease to 19. Later the same day, three people including a child died of the disease. 
The deceased have been identified as Pratima Devnath (47) from Alipurduwar District, 4-year old Pinky Mallik from Durga Nagar Colony, Darjeeling and Mangru Oroan (50) from Kamalpur in Bagdogra. 
A total of 32 people have already died due to Encephalitis so far this month.
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Medical team to visit NBMCH

TT, Siliguri, July 27: The Medical Council of India has written to the authorities of North Bengal Medical College and Hospital stating that a team will visit the institution any day after September 1 to see if the requirements mentioned by previous MCI teams were fulfilled for the renewal of permission to admit 50 additional MBBS students for the 2016-2017 session.
According to an NBMCH official, they received a letter from the MCI in mid-July.
"The MCI team will visit any day after September 1 for an inspection related to the renewal of permission for admitting 50 additional MBBS students for the 2016-2017 academic session," said an NBMCH official.
"The letter states that the MCI will take very strict note of doctors who are absent on the day of the inspection on any ground and the absentees will not be considered as the strength of the teaching faculty of the institute. They have written that an inspection of the infrastructure like hostel for students, lecture theatres and other requirements as per MCI stipulations would be conducted," he added.
The MCI had provisionally sanctioned 50 additional MBBS seats to NBMCH since 2012, and renewed the permission every year.
This year, the third batch of 50 additional students was admitted for the 2015-2016 session.
Earlier, NBMCH had 100 MBBS seats.
The stipulations mentioned by the MCI were a 600-seater auditorium, 250-seater and 400-seater lecture theatres and hostels to accommodate over 300 students. The previous MCI teams had also sought adequate senior residents and residential medical officers at NBMCH.
"We have been admitting 150 MBBS students for the past three years. However, the MCI has strictly said that the corresponding infrastructure should be provided as soon as possible. Work is on to construct hostels for boys and girls and the auditorium and lecture theatres and they are expected to be completed within the next two to three months. We are also trying to fulfil the faculty requirements recommended by MCI," an NBMCH official said.
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Gurung doubt on statehood sincerity

Gurung pays homage to martyrs in Darjeeling
on Monday. (Suman Tamang)
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, July 27: Bimal Gurung today wondered whether those demanding the creation of Gorkhaland, including leaders of his party Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, were sincere about the statehood demand.
He flagged unity among hill parties as a requirement for the Gorkhaland movement to succeed.
Gurung was addressing a meeting on Shahid Divas at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan when he said: "We give big speeches, talk big but are we really serious (about statehood)? Has this (demand) just become a show, is it just a begging bowl?" the Morcha chief asked.
Shahid Diwas or martyr's' day is celebrated to commemorate the death of 13 people in a police firing in Kalimpong on July 27, 1986.
"Neither the leaders, nor those running the administrative machinery and family members of martyrs, seems sincere. Is this martyr's day only about song, dance and collecting gifts? Are we forgetting the sacrifice of the martyrs now. The martyrs' sacrifice was for Gorkhaland and unless we achieve it, we cannot be satisfied," Gurung said.
He then spoke of Gorkha unity across political outfits. "Unless we are united, we will not be able to achieve our goal for generations," he said.
"At the moment, most think only about themselves, it is about I, my house and my family. People are getting involved in selfish politics. The martyrs' sacrifice was not for an individual but for a cause and for a demand by everyone," the Morcha chief said.
The hill leader also said it was time for the martyrs' families to question the hill leadership.
"You should question everyone, including Opposition leaders, my sabhasads (GTA Sabha members) and also me about our vision for Gorkhaland," Gurung said.
Gurung, who formed the Morcha on the mantle of seeking the separate state in 2007, was of the opinion that it was time for the general public, political parties, social workers and intellectuals to come together for the statehood cause.
"It is the same Gorkhaland that all of us are demanding. Why can't everyone come to a common platform for the demand?" Gurung said. "...Social workers, political parties, intellectuals, everyone must come together, and when Gorkhaland is formed, everyone can go and start their own political parties."
It is not that the Morcha had not formed a common platform of all political parties demanding statehood. The initiative could never flourish and with the Morcha being the principal party, it was blamed by rival outfits for the failure of the joint movement.
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Bagdogra backs CM flight path - Tax waiver fuels air traffic growth

Sanjay Mondal, TT: Chief minister Mamata made the proposal moments before she took off for London on Sunday to scout for investment, choosing Air India's Calcutta-Delhi-London flight in the absence of direct connectivity with Europe. The sales tax sop at Bagdogra airport is valid for three years, starting August 2013. 
"Since the announcement, there has been an increase in the number of flights and passengers. Several airlines have contacted us to start new flights," Rakesh Sahay, the director of Bagdogra airport, told Metro. In 2012-13, the total number of flights to and from Bagdogra was 7,376. 
The number increased to 9,374 in 2014-15 (till February). The number of passengers shot up from 6.66 lakh in 2012-13 to 9.48 lakh in 2014-15 (till February). Bagdogra airport has gained 2,000 more flights and three lakh more passengers a year since sales tax on aviation turbine fuel was waived in 2013, the statistics backing Mamata Banerjee's offer of a tax break to international airlines ready to start direct flights between Calcutta and Europe.
Vistara, a joint venture between the Tatas and Singapore Airlines, chose Bagdogra over Calcutta and started a New Delhi-Bagdogra-Guwahati flight last April. "We have plans to operate flights to and from Calcutta as well," an official of the airline then said.
On Monday, when asked whether tax on ATF in Calcutta - it is the highest among the metros -was preventing Vistara from starting operations, a spokesperson for the airline declined to comment.
IndiGo has also added three new flights to its Bagdogra operations since ATF tax was waived. Before the tax break, the low-cost carrier would operate a lone flight between Bagdogra and Calcutta. Now it operates two flights from Calcutta and one each from Delhi and Guwahati.
"The tax waiver on ATF has definitely been the push factor when it comes to increasing flights to Bagdogra," said an official of IndiGo.
Airport director Sahay said another Bangalore-based airline had recently approached him to start flights.
Since the state government decided to have zero tax on fuel in Bagdogra, Cooch Behar and Andal near Durgapur, Calcutta airport remains the only one where airlines are taxed at the rate of 30 per cent.
Travel industry sources said airfares to and from Bagdogra had declined since the tax waiver. "Earlier, airlines were forced to pass on a percentage of the ATF tax to passengers. So fares were higher, prompting many tourists to opt for overnight trains from Calcutta," said Anil Punjabi, chairman (east) of the Travel Agents' Federation of India.
Two years ago, the average return fare for Calcutta-Bagdogra was between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000. Now it is between Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000.
The bulk of the traffic to and from Bagdogra comprises tourists visiting Darjeeling, Sikkim and Dooars.
At Calcutta airport, officials said they would start approaching European airlines now that the state government had committed itself to a tax waiver. Previous attempts to woo international airlines, including British Airways and Lufthansa, didn't elicit any response.
Even after a tax break, airlines with business-class seats might not be interested in starting direct flights between Calcutta and any European destination because of the historically low demand for high-yield seats in the industry-starved state.
"We intend to approach low-cost airlines of Europe," said airport director Anil Sharma.
Transport secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay has said he would speak to some low-cost operators during his London trip with Mamata.
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APJ Abdul Kalam's smile was deadlier than all his missiles

Age couldn’t catch up with him, death had to sneak up and grab him from the workplace. Because this son of a boatman wouldn’t be caught resting, even after climbing the highest position a man can hold in our country.
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam honoured every chair he held, and India honoured him with the best it could. Dr Kalam meditated, played the veena, taught children and adults, tended to plants and found enough time to write relentlessly to author some 20 books. He parted his hair in the middle, wore really simple clothes, but the child-like smile beat all the weapons he developed as a scientist. His demeanour could disarm the biggest enemies. He didn’t have many, anyway.
There are presidents and there are precedents. After the first three, the politicians adorned the chair. Kalam was an outsider, no-contest man. The tallest building on the Raisina Hill stood taller when this tall man was a resident.
When another tall leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee proposed his name as the President, there was little doubt he would win, even though his opponent was no less than Capt Lakshmi Sehgal. When he won, then Vajpayee’s Man Friday Pramod Mahajan asked him whether he would take oath at an auspicious time. Dr Kalam told him that as long as the solar system was in place, it’s auspicious all the time. He would have moved on to explain how the solar system worked, but Mahajan didn’t have time.
The passion to share knowledge was Dr Kalam's hallmark. During his presidential visits abroad, he would be talking to reporters about various international issues, but in case the plane experienced turbulence, he couldn’t help explaining them what turbulence is.
He was a scientist first, the President and everything else later. Scientists dream to fly, explore beyond horizons. His parents saw that dream in his eyes, and his barely-managing-to-make-both-ends-meet family made sure he chased the dream. The physics graduate from University of Madras missed his chance to become a fighter pilot by a whisker. But his interests led him to Defence Research and Development Organisation, where he would later be known as the Missile Man. His work with the ISRO in the PSLV project helped India become a leader in space and satellite technology. Later, he would play a key role in India’s nuclear programme. In as late as 1998, he continued developing technology. His work with cardiologist Soma Raju resulted in an inexpensive coronary stent, now known as the Kalam-Raju stent.
He was a busy man after he left the Rashtrapati Bhavan, following his passion to teach. IIM, Shillong, was one of the places he lectured at regularly. On Monday morning, he was all smiles as he arrived. In the evening, a cardiac arrest ended his journey. A journey unmatched in its width and heights. India lost one of the greatest Indians in recent times.
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Inspiring quotes by APJ Abdul Kalam that changed Indians forever

The 11th President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam’s sayings and deeds has inspired a whole nation. It is a sad day for India as the former president breathed his last. A Muslim, a player of the veena, as comfortable with the Quran as the Bhagvad Gita, Secretary of DRDO, president of India, as happy to write scientific papers as to write bestsellers for young India.
1. “It is very easy to defeat someone, but it is very hard to win someone”.
2. “Suffering is the essence of success!!!”
3. “If you fail, never give up because FAIL means "First Attempt In Learning".
4. End is not the end, if fact END means "Effort Never Dies" - If you get No as an answer, remember NO means "Next Opportunity". So Let's be positive."
5. “Dream, dream, dream. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result in action.”

Five reasons why India will miss APJ Abdul Kalam 

1. He was the youngest 83-year-old India has ever seen: Even when he died, it was while delivering a lecture to students at IIM Shillong on a liveable plant. As Meghalaya chief secretary PBO Warjiri said, he passed away in his element, while delivering a lecture to youngsters, on a subject he loved.
2. He was the perfect symbol of meritocratic India, the ideal citizen, and the most positive Indian: Born in a village to a poor fishing family in Rameswaram, he rose through dint of his own hard work.
3. He was a Renaissance man: A Muslim, a player of the veena, as comfortable with the Quran as the Bhagvad Gita, Secretary of DRDO, president of India, as happy to write scientific papers as to write bestsellers for young India.
4. He always put India First: Whether it was as a scientist or President, he was a patriot first. From reportedly advising Sonia Gandhi to not becoming prime minister in 2004 to fathering the Pokharan explosion, he always said what he felt was right. He was inspired by three of India's greatest scientists - Dr Vikram Sarabhai, professor Satish Dhawan and Dr Brahm Prakash. He took only two holidays in his life, it is said - both for deaths, of his father and mother.
5. He was the master of inspiring quotes: Here are just five:
"You have to dream before your dreams come true."
"Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended."
"To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal."
"Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success."
"We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us."

Former President APJ Abdul Kalam died on July 27. He was admitted to a hospital following sudden illness. Kalam (84) took ill at a function here and was rushed to the hospital, M Kharkrang. The former President collapsed during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management here at around 6.30pm and was taken to the hospital.
Born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, Kalam studied physics and aerospace engineering. He served as the President of India from 2002 to 2007 and was awarded the nation's top civilian awards, including Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Bharat Ratna.
Kalam spent four decades as a scientist and science administrator, at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He was the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime and the Secretary of the DRDO from 1992 to 199. The Pokhran II nuclear tests were conducted during this period.
He also wrote 14 books on various topics including India 2020 and Wings of Fire and Ignited Minds.
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Missile man of India APJ Abdul Kalam passes away, National holiday on 28 July and 7 day state mourning to be observed

APJ Abdul KalamIndia Today and agencies, New Delhi, July 27, 2015 : Former President APJ Abdul Kalam passed away in Shillong on Monday following a massive heart attack. He was 83.
The Central Government has declared a National holiday on Tuesday 28 July mourning the sad demise of Former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. All the Senior political leaders of the Country have paid their homage to the sudden death of Abdul Kalam who was never a politician himself.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee has expressed their condolences over the former President’s death.
Kalam collapsed at Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Shillong at about 6.52 pm while he was delivering a lecture. He was rushed to a nearby private hospital at Nongrim Hills where doctors pronounced him dead.
Arriving at the IIM-Shillong around 5.40 pm, he took rest for sometime and started the lecture on 'Livable Planet' at 6.35 pm. He collapsed minutes later, according to director, IIM-Shillong, Professor De. Kalam's last tweet said," Going to Shillong to take course on livable planet at IIM."
Kalam's body has been taken to the Military Hospital in Shillong and will be kept there for the night. It will be flown to Guwahati at 5.30 am on Tuesday by an Indian Air Force helicopter and from there to Delhi by a special aircraft. 
Government has decided to declare national mourning for seven days as a mark of respect for late former President Abdul Kalam, Union Home Secretary L C Goyal said. During the period of state mourning, the national flag will fly at half mast on all buildings throughout India where is it flown regularly. The Home Ministry is overseeing the arrangements for the funeral in consultation with members of the late President's family.
Kalam, who served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007, was born in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu on 15 October 1931, and studied physics and aerospace engineering.
Kalam spent four decades as a scientist and science administrator at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
His role in development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology earned him the moniker - 'Missile Man'. Kalam played a pivotal role in the nuclear tests that India conducted in 1998 in Rajasthan's Pokharan.
Kalam, who was popularly referred as people's president of India, also wrote 14 books on various topics including bestsellers like India 2020 and Wings of Fire and Ignited Minds.
Kalam was conferred with Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, in 1997 for his immense and valuable contribution to country's scientific research and modernisation of defence technology.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his condolence message, described Kalam as an inspiring individual. "India mourns the loss of a great scientist, a wonderful President and above all an inspiring individual. RIP Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam," PM Modi said.
To mourn the death of Kalam the Union Government has also declared Tuesday as national holiday.
Kalam was the people's president. His endearing nature and undying commitment to see India progress and prosper had turned him into one of the most popular personalities of our times. One of his biggest passion was to interact with students to instill in them a fire to succeed in life. His personal life story starting from a poverty-ridden childhood, to a struggle to get education, and his contribution to India's missile technology was and will always remain a source of inspiration for the country. 
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27 Jul 2015

Anna Hazare returns for OROP stir

anna hazare, anna, hazare, one rank one pension, orop, anna protest, armymen, service men, latest news,
Hazare takes part in the demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Sunday.
(Express Photo by: Ravi Kanojia) 
ENS | New Delhi| July 27, 2015: Social activist Anna Hazare returned to Jantar Mantar — the venue that saw him spearhead the anti-corruption movement — this time to throw his weight behind a protest for the implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) by the Centre. 
Attacking Centre, Hazare accused the Modi government of failing to deliver even on a “single promise”. 
He vowed to travel across the country to rally support for the OROP cause. “They promised implement OROP at a rally in Rohtak before the elections. Shaheed Diwas (Kargil Vijay Diwas) is not a day to make speeches. We will do whatever (we can) for (implementation of) One Rank One Pension. I will go to many states across the country and do rallies,” Hazare said. 
He declared that at the culmination of his travel across India on October 2, a massive protest will be staged at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan. 
Referring to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, he said, “Our Defence Minister is good man… I know him well. In February, he had taken a decision that Rs 500 crore will be taken from the Finance Ministry and that he would ask for more if he fell short. But this isn’t happening.” 
Hazare also attacked the Modi government for failing in its fight against corruption. 
“Before elections, they had assured us that we will prioritise the fight against corruption. But wherever you go corruption has increased and inflation has risen. What about the black money? If you think that you have majority and no one can harm you, there will be losses in store,” he said. 
Later in the evening, Hazare met his old protege and the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who was accompanied by Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. 
After the meeting, Sisodia said that Hazare was informed about the work that the Delhi government is doing in the fields of education and health. He added that they assured him that they were working to bring a Lokayukta in Delhi. 
“He was happy to hear about our mohalla initiative,” Sisodia said. 
Before the meeting, however, Hazare seemed to speak against the split in the AAP, telling reporters, “Differences can be sorted out but people should be ready to discuss issues and clarify misunderstandings.” 
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On Kargil Vijay Diwas One Rank One Pension run in Delhi and Mumbai

One Rank One Pension, Major D P Singh, Kargil Vijay Diwas, OROP scheme, D P Singh, Nation news, india news
KalimNews, Indian Express and agencies, 26 July 2015: On the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas Major D P Singh who lost his right leg while fighting the 1999 Kargil War, ran the run with his prosthetic limb from Dhaula Kuan, and joined by other military veterans,  members of Gorkha Youth and Students Association (GYASA) in t-shirts emblazoned with slogans seeking the implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme. 

Singh, popularly known as the Indian Army’s ‘blade-runner’, started his 11-km run through Teen Murti Marg, Akbar Road and Connaught Place — including a homage at Vijay Chowk — before culminating at Jantar Mantar. The run was organised to support the larger cause of OROP, Singh also had another reason to undertake the gruelling physical exercise. That was running for the sake of the army’s many faceless and nameless soldiers. On July 15, 1999, four of them had risked their lives to rescue him from the battlefield, in the thick of the Kargil conflict. “If those four jawans had not picked me up from the battle zone, I would not have been alive today. It is for them, for the Indian soldier, that I feel I should run,” Singh . 
Photo Courtesy: Indian Express and Michael Dsouza
At Jantar Mantar, where he was joined by social activist Anna Hazare, to demand the implementation of OROP. Singh’s long and arduous journey to overcome his physical limitations, after being seriously injured in Kargil War, is fairly well-known. Not so well-known is the fact that the officer had to fight a long, gruelling legal battle to claim his rightful dues. 
The 14-year-long fight culminated with an order from the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) in 2013, asking the Army to pay Singh the correct pension amount due to him. But Singh is reluctant to talk about it. “It is in the final stage of implementation now,” he says without divulging any more details about the “personal” struggle. Singh also happens to be part of a committee, proposed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, to resolve issues and litigations related to pension and service benefits of army personnel.
In Mumbai Roshni Rai and running fraternity of Mumbai ran the 8 hrs at a stretch run organised by Runstastics "Dilse" Family across Mumbai-Thane road supporting OROP for Indian Soldiers.
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जयगांउमा एकलाखको लागतमा मुर्दा जलाउने स्थान निर्माण

राजेश शर्मा, कालिमन्युज, जयगांव 26 जुलाई 2015। भारत भोटाङ सिमा क्षेत्रमा अवस्थित जयगांउको तल्ला बस्ती मुर्दा खेल मैदान तथा भोटांङ्बाट भएर बहने तोर्सा नदिको किनारमा मुक्तीधाम मुर्दा जलाउने घाट्को उदघाटन आज गरियो । यस चुल्हा उद्घाटनको कारणले स्थानिय वासिन्दाहरुको धेरै दिनको समस्या समाधान भएकोछ ।
स्थानिय व्यापारी शम्भूदयाल अग्रवाल (एसडि अग्रवाल)ले एकलाख रुपिया लगाएर यस सामाजिक मुक्तीधाम घाटको निर्माण गरेर यसलाई समाजको निम्ति सुम्पेका छन ।
पश्चिम बंगाल सरकारका बनमंत्री विनय कृष्ण बर्मनको बाहुलीबाट आज एक कार्यक्रम बीच यस मुर्दा जलाउने घाट्को उद्घाटन सम्पन्न भयो। कार्यक्रममा कालचिनि विधायक विलसन चम्प्रमारी , कालचिनि सभाधिपति मोहन शर्मा लगायत स्थानिय जयगाउका गन्यमान्य ब्यक्तिहरुको उपस्थिति थियो ।
यस अवसरमा प्रमुख दानकर्ता शम्भू दयाल अग्रवाललाई स्थानिय खाटु स्याम गौरक्षक समितिको तर्फबाट एक पितलको गाईको मुर्ती दिएर सम्मान गरियो।
उसरीनै कालचिनिका जिल्ला परिषद एंव अलिपूरव्दार जिल्ला सभाधिपति मोहन शर्माले बताए कि शम्भुदयाल शर्माले जुन काम समाजको निम्ति गरे यो प्रशंसनिय छ, यो सबैले सिक्न पर्ने एक असल उदाहरण हो, आउने दिनमा यसै तरहले काम गर्ने उर्जा सबैलाई मिलेको छ ।
अर्कोतिर बनमंत्री विनय कृष्ण बर्मनले भने कि उक्त घाटमा मुर्दा जलाउने दाउरा बनविभागले दिलाउने छ । यता कालचिनिका विधायक विलसन चम्प्रमारीले पनि सांसद एंव विधायक लगायत जिल्ला परिषदको तर्फबाट् शव जलाउन लाने वाहन प्रदान गर्ने घोषणा गरे ।
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Heavy rains to hit West Bengal in next 48 hours

ENS, | Kolkata | July 27, 2015: The MeT department has forecast heavy rains on Monday and extremely heavy rains from Tuesday in Gangetic West Bengal even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that all precautionary measures have been taken by the administration to deal with the situation. 
“I have formed a task force led by Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee to monitor the situation. Parts of Birbhum, Murshidabad, Burdwan, North and South-24 Parganas are submerged owing to the downpour. The district administration along with the respective civic bodies have been directed to be on alert and stay prepared,” Mamata said, before leaving for her five-day trip to London on Sunday. 
“If there is an emergency situation, I will curtail the trip and return,” she added. 
While heavy rains have been forecast on Monday in Gangetic West Bengal, heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur in several districts on Tuesday and Wednesday, said a senior Met Department official. 
The rainfalls are a result of a depression over northeast Bay of Bengal, which lay 60 km southeast of Patuakhali (Bangladesh) at 2.30 PM on Sunday, the official said. The system was likely to remain stationary but might turn into a deep depression during the next 48 hours, the Met Office website said. 
Meanwhile, districts such as North and South-24 Parganas, East and West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly were inundated after experiencing heavy rainfall throughout the day. People were seen wading through knee-high water in Salt Lake, Behala and other parts of Central Kolkata. 
Deputy mayor Iqbal Ahmed said, “Even in the absence of Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, there will be no problem in handling the situation. The MMICs are doing their bit.” 
In Murshidabad, several areas of Kandi and Jangipur got submerged owing to the downpour and release of water from barrages. Kandi-Salar state highway near Angarpur Bridge and Farakka-Haldia state highway near Biplabi Setu were cut off. About 25 flood shelters have been put up in Kandi. 
Basudeb Banerjee said there was no reason to panic at the moment as the state was prepared with relief materials to deal with an emergency situation. 
“We are closely monitoring the situation, especially the catchment areas. Patharpratima in South-24 Parganas and Labhpur in Birbhum are some of the worst affected areas along with some areas of Burdwan and Murshidabad. All the barrages are at a high level. There are localised floods, but at the moment there is nothing to worry about,” Banerjee told The Indian Express. 
“We are in touch with the CM and are updating her of the developments. We have to deal with the situation as and when it develops,” he added. 
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Darjeeling minorities demand reservation in GTA

EOI, DARJEELING, 26 Jul 2015: The minority community in the hills has come together under the banner of Gorkha Janmukti Muslim Morcha (GJMM), to put its weight behind Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for the demand of a separate state and uplift of the community.
On Sunday, a 35-member committee was formed in Darjeeling that will look after the welfare of the community. “On the direction of the GJM president Bimal Gurung, today we formed the GJMM at Patleybas in Darjeeling. We will work for the people of our community and also strengthen the activities that the GJM party under takes,” said N.A.Khan, who was nominated as GJMM’s president during the day. The GJMM also nominated 24 executive members to look after the daily affairs of the association.
In June last month, Gurung had invited the entire Muslim minority community from the three hill sub-divisions and also from the Terai and Dooars for a meeting which was hailed by members as the first ever in the hills. On that occasion Gurung had asked the community to unite and work for the benefit of the people.
“The GJMM was formed informally last month but today a central committee was set-up with 35 members representing the sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong and Mirik in the foothills,” Khan said.
According to Jaitun Nisha, the newly elect organizational secretary from Kurseong, the GJMM’s objectives was also to take up the problems presently being faced by the community. “We have several problems in our community such as unemployment, financial conditions in whole, lack of cemetery in areas where people of our community reside and Masjids. We will try and address these issues with the help of the GJM party,” she said.
The community also plans to persuade the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) for representation in the council body. The GTA has 45 elected and five nominated members.
However, there is no reservation for the minority community.
“We have full faith on GJM and the party president and are sure that our demand will be given a good thought,” said Khan. Adding, “I say this because never ever has our community been invited by any political parties of the Hills for interaction. Gurungji  did that for the first time last month. In fact, for the first time also an Iftar party was organized by the GJM in the hills which gives us the belief that the party will work for the development of our community”.
Like the minority body, the schedule caste community of the Hills has also demanded reservation in the GTA few days ago in a programme in which Gurung was present.
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No car for minister - Krishnendu stuck at NJP

Krishnendu Choudhury plants a sapling
in  Siliguri on Sunday. 
(Kundan Yolmo)
Siliguri, July 26: Minister Krishnendu Choudhury was stranded at NJP for around 40 minutes this morning as no car was sent by the Darjeeling district administration to pick him up from the station.
The state food processing and horticulture minister got into a police escort car and went to the PWD inspection bungalow in Siliguri, where his stay had been arranged.
Choudhury said he rang up the district magistrate and the Siliguri subdivisional officer (SDO) to seek an explanation about the "harassment" and they had apologised.
A source in the SDO's office said the minister's office sent three letters - one to the Siliguri police commissionerate to arrange for his security, one to the PWD to book the bungalow and the third to the district magistrate's office to send a car to NJP for the minister. Such letters are emailed and faxed.
The source said there may have been a delay in acting on the request as offices are shut on Saturday and Sunday.
Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastava said: "I regret the inconvenience faced by the minister, who rang me up. I will take up the matter with the protocol officer to find out why such a mistake happened."
When asked if any mail had reached his office, Srivastava said: "There may have been a communication gap."
The minister reached NJP from Malda around 9.30am by the Padatik Express from Malda. "The GRP officers received me at the platform.... To my dismay, no one had turned up to receive me and no car was sent to pick me up. I, along with my security personnel, waited at the station for approximately 40 minutes," he said.
Choudhury wasn't ready to wait longer and took the police pilot car to the PWD bungalow from where he went to attend a tree-planting event.
Before that, he called up the DM and SDO Deepap Priya P. "The two officials said they had not received information about my trip. But I don't understand why there was a miscommunication," he said.
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Three die of JE : death toll 40

TT, Siliguri, July 26: Three persons died of Japanese Encephalitis in Siliguri and Alipurduar in the past 24 hours.
Puspa Roy, 75, from Jalpaiguri died in North Bengal Medical College and Hospital here last night. Sanjib Tirki, 22, from Kumargram and Laxmibala Barman, 45, from Fakiragram in Assam died this evening in the Alipurduar district hospital.
A team from the Union ministry of health and family welfare today visited NBMCH to take stock of diagnosis and treatment of the patients suffering from JE and those who have symptoms of the disease but whose tests have not been confirmatory.
"The Union ministry of health and family welfare has sent a team to conduct a survey of the districts in north Bengal that are affected by JE and symptoms of the disease. A neurologist and an entomologist from New Delhi visited NBMCH today," said an NBMCH official.
"They had come to see if the diagnosis for JE at the laboratory here was being conducted properly and treatment being given to the patients. A representative of the Calcutta-based All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health will join the two members tomorrow," he added.
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Dooars tea strike today

TT, Jalpaiguri, July 26: Two tea unions have called a 12-hour general strike tomorrow in the Dooars and Terai to protest the Duncan Goenka Group's inability to clear pending wages to garden labourers since April. 
The strike has been called by the John Barla-led Progressive Tea Workers Union and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-affiliated Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Workers Union. 
Barla said the Duncan group, which has several tea gardens in the region and employs around 25,000 labourers, has failed to commit during a meeting with labour minister Malay Ghatak on when it will clear the wages. 
Neither K.K. Mehra, the advisor to Duncan Goenka who was present at the meeting today, nor minister Ghatak took calls from this paper.
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