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17 Jul 2018

DM warns hills against WhatsApp 'teachers'... Clarification on land rights

Joyoshi Das Gupta 
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Jul 17, 2018 , Darjeeling: GTA chief Binay Tamang and Darjeeling district magistrate Joyoshi Das Gupta on Monday appealed to the hill people to verify information with government officials and refrain from believing in "rumours" being spread through social media.

In the changing political landscape of the hills, Tamang had publicly spoken on "negativity" being spread in the social media and the DM poke on similar lines on Monday.

Following a meeting of a district committee on granting land rights to forest dwellers, Tamang on Monday said: "Many are saying that work (on land rights) has not started. They should find out details from backward class welfare department and other offices. One should not just stay outside and talk in the social media."

Tamang said district and subdivisional committees had already been formed and land claims sanctioned.

Dasgupta was more forthright.

"My appeal to all, lot of rumours are being spread in the social media and we are aware of it. For information, Facebook and WhatsApp are not the source of information. If you want to find information, read the forest Act, everything is written clearly and we cannot go against it," said Das Gupta.

Sources said 36 claims to land rights in Runglee-Rungliot had been cleared at the Monday meeting, apart from 189 in Sukhiapokhri block.

"Sukhiapokhri land claims were approved in principle but we have sent them back to the block for drawing a map. Everything, including details of land for household and cultivation, along with the map, has to be mentioned in the document given to the dwellers," said Das Gupta.

The DM said messages were being posted in the social media that forest villages had to be first converted into revenue forest.

"Individual and community claims will first have to be settled and then the villages will be automatically converted into revenue villages," clarified Das Gupta who then added: "Please read the forest act first, Facebook teacher, WhatsApp teacher, they are not our teachers."

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