Showing posts with label Darjeeling Chowrasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Darjeeling Chowrasta. Show all posts

Darjeeling to organize 60km cycle rally on 1st January 2016

10:05 AM
Darjeeling 24 Dec 2015 Adventure tour operators of Darjeeling, with support from the district administration and the police department, will organise a 60km cycle rally on January 1 with the twofold aim of promoting cycling in the hills as a tourism activity and in helping reduce pollution emitted by vehicles. The cycling event has been christened ‘Rally for Vehicle Free Day’ and will start from Chowrastha and end in Mirik.

According to the tour operators, cycling as a tourist activity is fast becoming a fad since the past two years and the demand from tourists and locals alike have forced them to think of promoting the activity extensively in the hills. Young entrepreneur Sangey Sherpa, who is a tour operator and one of the organising members, said, “The cycle rally is being held on New Year’s day. This is symbolic as we want the year 2016 to remain pollution free.
Presently, vehicles plying in the hills are excess causing rising pollution and affecting the weather pattern. The primary objective of the event is to spread awareness among people against excessive use of vehicles in order to curb rising pollution in the region. Besides, we also want to promote adventure tourism in the hills. Darjeeling is a tourist destination with many tourist spots, and we also want to promote the region as a traveller’s destination. Tourists should get the facility of cycling in the beautiful area during their stay.”

Asserting that cycling facilities are among the key demands of tourists, Urgen Sherpa, another tour operator and also a member of the event organising committee, said, “It has been two years or so now since tourists have started showing an interest in cycling as an activity. We have started offering mountain bikes on hire. Apart from tourists, locals are also keen showing interest in the activity. About 80 bookings are done every month, except during the monsoon season.”

According to Urgen, adventure tour operators who provide bicycles on hire charge anything between Rs800 and Rs1,000 per day. He added that tourists usually prefer cycle trips in the outskirts of Darjeeling town in places such as Rambhi, Sukhaypokhari and Lamahatta. “We also offer packages that include a cycle ride up to Dhotrey from Darjeeling following which there is a trekking route to Tonglu and a night halt. The following day starts with a trek up to Manebhanjyang and back to Darjeeling. We not only offer cycles on hire, but also arrange for accommodation and food along with guides. This roughly comes up to Rs3,500 per person to Rs4,000,” said Urgen.

Speaking about the upcoming cycle rally, Sangey said, “Until now, 60 people have registered for participation in the cycle rally and many more are expected to join on the day of the event. We believe the message of using vehicles in a limited manner will spread further.”

(EOIC)

Downhill in Darjeeling - Prajwal Parajuly 

9:16 AM

Writes: Prajwal Parajuly 

At Tiger Hill, Darjeeling’s famous viewing point, stands an observation tower. As early as 5am, the bottom two floors of the tower are already crammed with standing tourists. We are on our tiptoes—there’s no room. The top deck isn’t crowded. Tourists there sit on sofas that were once plush and sip tea while men stand guard at the door. These men forbid us from entering.

“No tickets,” they say in English. “Sold out.”

We say we’ll pay extra. They say all the seats are taken.

We say we’ll stand. They say that would be obstructive.

One of us speaks in Hindi. It doesn’t work.

One of us tries broken Bengali. They glare at us.

I make a final request in Nepali. They let us in.

“Aye, we thought you were Bengalis,” the burly bouncer at the door says. “You should have told us right away, and we would have let you in.”

“What if we were Bengalis?” I ask, self-righteous now that I’ve already been the beneficiary of this one-sided ethnic rivalry.

“Then, we would maybe only allow you in if you paid us.” The bouncer cackles. His friends hoot.

“That’s discrimination,” I say.

“For good reason,” the bouncer replies.

Inside, the windows are giant, the sofas comfortable enough to snooze on when the mountain—or the sun—decides to delay appearance, and if you fancy closer Kanchenjunga views, you can perch yourself on stools right by the windows. Back in the day, this viewing deck might have been cosy, even luxurious. But it’s in disrepair now. Paint is chipping off. Walls are cracked. The rugs covering some sofas are threadbare. The bathroom needs water.

Around us, mostly Western tourists, bleary eyed yet hopeful, tinker with their cameras and wait.

“It will rise today,” the burly bouncer promises. “It will.”

“Did you see the sun yesterday?” I ask. Early November is usually a great time to visit Darjeeling, but it had been a gloomy few days.

“Yes, we did,” the bouncer replies. “And the day before.”

We amuse the bouncer and his friends. We are from Sikkim, right next door, and yet we’ve dragged ourselves from bed in the cold, even before the crack of dawn, to see what we’ve been taking for granted all our lives.

“You people are behaving like exact tourists,” the bouncer jokes. “One of you must even have a monkey cap.”

We deign to laugh. He’s being snide about balaclavas, favoured by Bengali tourists, who descend on Darjeeling and neighbouring areas in droves. Singara tourists, the locals call them. Travellers on a budget who’ll haggle you down to the last rupee. Their money-spending capacity notwithstanding, the sheer number of these tourists have kept tourism alive in these hills for years.

I ask Prakash, who says he’s not a bouncer but a part-time guide, why the place isn’t well maintained.

“What do you expect, mams (brother)?” he says, slipping into lingo that’s archetypically Darjeeling. “This is Darjeeling. Do you think Bengal cares? Why shouldn’t we hate Bengalis? They’ve robbed us of all our tourism and tea revenue, and we are left with nothing. No money. No Gorkhaland. Nothing.”

“But hasn’t there been some development in the last few years?” I ask.

And that’s invitation enough for Prakash to segue into a 45-minute diatribe on everything that’s wrong with Darjeeling. As the clouds part to make way for the sun to reticently emerge and weave its magic in the sky, Prakash asks me if a place like Tiger Hill would be as poorly maintained in Sikkim. I say it wouldn’t. When shutter-happy tourists scuttle from one end of the room to another for views of the mountain changing hue, Prakash fills me in on the ill- treatment meted out to Darjeeling by West Bengal

Every trip to Darjeeling I’ve taken as an adult leaves me sadder than the last. Nature continues being bountiful. Man continues being destructive.

The click-clacking of horses on the Chowrasta, Darjeeling’s pedestrianized square, is enough to transport me to happier, carefree days. We often spent weekends here when I was a child. Gangtok, my hometown, was a long way from becoming as shiny and Swiss as it is now. Darjeeling was only a 4-hour drive away. A trip wouldn’t be complete without horses to ride on at the square, cakes to feast on at Glenary’s and schools to visit, where, it was understood we’d board for a year or two when we grew older.

Of course, the town—and all of North Bengal—was in the midst of gargantuan problems. The Gorkhaland revolution—that impassioned movement that everyone here hoped would result in the creation of the Nepali-speaking-majority state of Gorkhaland, a separate entity from West Bengal—had reached its crescendo in 1986-87. The Nepali-speaking people of West Bengal, the majority of whom live in the Darjeeling hills, demanded statehood on linguistic and ethnic grounds. It was an often-violent movement, and clashes between the agitators and the CRPF personnel were frequent. Curfews, months-long strikes and killings were normal.

Yet my family was undeterred. The minute we’d hear of things returning to normalcy, we’d pack our bags for a weekend away. We made frequent trips because Gangtok didn’t have a decent bookstore in the late 1980s. Darjeeling’s Oxford Bookstore, bang in the middle of the Chowrasta, was where I purchased my first Puss In Boots book. We went because all of us cousins had unending hankerings for the chocolate éclairs at Glenary’s. We went because the Windamere Hotel, where, we were told, the last king of Sikkim courted the American Hope Cooke, charmed us. We went because we loved to see tea leaves being crushed and curled at the many tea gardens. We went because the Kanchenjunga was visible from far more points in Darjeeling than it was from Gangtok. We went, above all, because we couldn’t get enough of Darjeeling’s toy train, songs about which—Darjeeling’s little train/is ready to start/Listen to the whistle of the guard, brother/the train’s ready to chug along—had been our lullaby since the day we were born.

It was to capture the magic of this era, to relive a bit of our childhood, that we took our most recent trip to Darjeeling. Well-meaning people had warned us. Everyone said we’d be disappointed. We reasoned that if we loved Darjeeling at the peak of the agitation, it couldn’t be so bad now. We were prepared for the worst. We were prepared to return sadder.

If reports are to be believed, all Indian hill stations are going downhill.

No piece on Kashmir spares an allusion to the gross commercialization of Srinagar. Rampant construction is proving to be Mussoorie’s undoing. Ooty has its trash problem. The monkeys in Shimla are a menace. The roads to Gangtok are horrendous. Café Coffee Days and Subways make all hill stations look like clones. Darjeeling’s biggest problem is that it hasn’t quite recovered from the agitation of the 1980s, which spawned several smaller movements, some of them as recent as two years ago. The movements—almost always accompanied by strikes, the closing down of schools and the blocking of the national highway—have done more bad than good. Add to this a state government with whom the local government is perpetually at loggerheads, and the result is massive infrastructure deficit, manifestations of which we could see at the Tiger Hill viewpoint and everywhere else in Darjeeling. That the district is a tiny, tiny part of a big state doesn’t help. The affluence of Sikkim, Darjeeling’s closest neighbour, into which the Central government funnels huge amounts of money, pinches hard.

Phurba, our driver for much of the trip, claims to have participated in the 1980s’ agitation. He says he was shot but doesn’t show us bullet marks when we ask him. Like almost everyone we speak to, he has had it with the West Bengal government. I ask him what his children do.

“Call centres in Delhi,” he says as he manoeuvres a serpentine bend toward the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, where we want to see pandas. “The older one stuck around for four years after graduating from college. But there are no jobs here.”

Darjeeling’s decline is evident not just in the trash-strewn streets, the lack of water and buildings standing cheek-by-jowl but also in the rapidly dwindling youth population. Everyone complains about the absence of opportunities.

“Will they ever come back?” I ask as we whizz by lush green hills of tea. We’re barely 3km from the square, the heart of Darjeeling’s concrete jungle, and here’s 400-plus acres of pure greenery in the form of the Happy Valley Tea Estate. As though to compound the estate’s picture-perfect quality, women plucking tea leaves and depositing them into their doko baskets soon come into view.

“Only when Gorkhaland happens.”

There’s the G-word again. People may be disillusioned with their leaders. They may have little hope in their government. They may encourage their children to move to greener pastures. But everyone believes—fervently believes—that Gorkhaland will happen.

I express pessimism about Gorkhaland. Phurba isn’t too keen to discuss further.

“Don’t forget to see the Royal Bengal Tiger,” he says. “And make sure you see the (Himalayan Mountaineering) Institute Museum.”

We are let off.

The agitation of the 1980s led to the creation of a semi-autonomous body called the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. Since then, the demand for statehood has been the background score to almost all movements. Semi-autonomy has been the greatest extent to which the state and Central governments have budged. Yet another movement that started in 2007 under a different political party led to, five long years later, the abolition of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council and the creation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, supposedly slightly more autonomous than the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. To the masses, there’s little difference.

We are in a meat eater’s paradise called Keventer’s. On the plate in front of me are strings of bacon, ham, salami and sausage. To my opposite are two vegetarians. A hand-written sign on a poster across the street arrests my attention.

“WE BELONGS TO SAME IDENTIFICATION AND COMMUNITY,” the poster reads. “LET WE DO UNIFICATION SIKKIM.”

I do a double take. I ask our waiter what he thinks of the proposed merger with Sikkim.

He’s a Bengali from Jalpaiguri. He doesn’t care.

“Would you like to be merged with Sikkim?” I ask a different waiter.

“I’d like Gorkhaland,” he says. He has a hopeful look.

“And if that’s not an option?”

“The second best thing would be to merge with Sikkim. We were once one.”

That’s true. Darjeeling was a part of the kingdom of Sikkim until 1780, when Sikkim surrendered Darjeeling to Nepal. When the British defeated the Nepalese in the Anglo–Nepalese War of 1814–1816, Nepal was forced to cede Darjeeling to the British East India Company. In 1817, the British returned Darjeeling to the king of Sikkim. So, yes, the Sikkim-Darjeeling merger talk has a historical backbone.

“Like Sikkim would be willing to share her fortunes with you,” I say.

“They have to help us out,” the waiter says. “We are basically the same people.”

“But think of all the trouble you’ve given us—we miss so many flights because you close off the national highway. There’s no other way for us to get to the airport.”

“But we have more in common with people in Sikkim than we do with Bengalis. Our festivals are the same. We speak the same language. We have the same culture. It only makes sense.”

“And all the schools you close off knowing that our children study here. How do you expect support from Sikkim when you’ve made so much trouble?”

The waiter doesn’t know what to say. I am aware I’ve put him in a spot.

“I know you personally didn’t cause me to miss my flight,” I say. I apologize.

We pay the bill and head to Glenary’s. The éclairs are smaller than we remember them. We can’t say if the taste has changed too. Someone at The Buzz, the basement bar at Glenary’s, shows me a picture when I bring up the issue of the Darjeeling-Sikkim merger.

“DARJEELING BELONGS TO SIKKIM. SO DARJEELING UN …” The rest of the poster has been ripped off. 

The Chowrasta, Darjeeling’s square, still smells like horse manure. I enjoy the smell. Of all the mall roads in India, this is my favourite. Gangtok’s square is too sanitized; almost all the old buildings have been torn down. The Chowrasta is dirty in comparison. Some of the stores are housed in buildings that look like they are about to collapse. One of these ancient shops is the Oxford Book & Stationery, that store of my childhood. I still have that tattered copy of Puss In Boots in my New York apartment.

I’ve promised Maya, the owner, that I’ll sign copies of my books when I am in town. As I make my way in, I marvel at the presence of a massive bookstore—so unapologetic about its size—in this location, the best possible site in Darjeeling. Oxford employs six full-time employees, one of whom, Maya says, has been with her family for more than 50 years, and another for 47. The store is spacious, conducive to browsing and well stocked. Maya says tourists this year have been few. If the number of people in the store is any indication, she doesn’t need to worry about business. The store has no problem with footfalls, I point out.

“Not everyone who’s here buys a book,” she says.

“That’s true.”

“But that’s fine. That’s how book stores should be.”

“Haven’t you been tempted to abandon the book store and open something else, do something more lucrative?” I ask. “I mean, this is prime real estate.”

“This place will always be a book store,” Maya says, with finality.

I am filled with affection for this lovely space. It reminds me of all the great book stores in my life—places that made me a writer and are now supporting me as a writer.

Outside, the clouds have vanished. The mountain wows us. The weather hadn’t been very cooperative on the day we went to Tiger Hill. Today is different. The sky is a brilliant blue. Here’s the Kanchenjunga—so close, so confident, so generous—standing sentinel over the hills. We give up taking pictures. We don’t want to trivialize the mountain, the moment.

Soon, the mountain recedes. A sarangi player restrings his instrument while his partner prepares to sing something folksy. A pony neighs and defecates on someone’s shoe. Tourists are alarmed. Locals laugh. A nervous young girl circumnavigates the square on horseback. From a makeshift stage a politician’s rants echo. He says something about Gorkhaland and unfulfilled promises. The crowd breaks into raucous applause. 

Source : Live Mint

Darjeeling police have decided to gear up security in tourist season

11:26 AM
With the tourist season drawing near and a festivity mood in the air, Darjeeling police have decided to gear up security in Darjeeling.

Superintendent of police (SP), Darjeeling, Amit P Javalgi on Monday said the police will intensify patrolling in various places of Darjeeling and also install CCTV cameras at 15 significant points in the town. He added that a 24-hour control room with multiple phone numbers for police assistance will be made effective soon.

The announcements were made after the Darjeeling police conducted an interactive meeting with the Hotel Association of Darjeeling on Monday. Sources said that the objective of the meeting was to make Darjeeling ‘tourist friendly’ and to establish a cordial relation between the Darjeeling hoteliers and the police.

“Mall road, which is located near Chowrastha does not have any lights. Once it gets dark, the road becomes a hub of drug addicts. I request the police to introduce patrolling there,” said one of the Hoteliers in the meeting.
Darjeeling police have to gear up security in tourist season
Darjeeling
Increase in police patrolling in places such as Mall road, near Chowrastha, Jalapahar, Coochbehar road, and TV tower in Darjeeling was suggested by various hoteliers who claimed that these roads are a hub of drug addicts from evening.

The hoteliers also requested the SP to have arrangements made for electricity supply to some roads in Darjeeling, and to take measures against the increasing number of dogs in some roads near the hotels. Javalgi said he will pursue the matter with the municipality at the earliest.

Another hotelier raised concerns regarding the speed of two wheelers in the area that extends from Chowrastha to Governor’s Palace and said, “The road is used by several pedestrians, both tourists as well as locals and yet we witness two wheelers being driven in extremely high speeds.”

“Traffic infrastructure will be renewed and we will make use of all we have to ease the traffic problem,” Javalgi added.

According to Javalgi, another meeting between the hoteliers and the Darjeeling police will be held in December after the implementation of the security measures.

Via ISL


Bengal Government Associated With Madan Tamang Murder? - Public Liberation Association

6:24 PM
Faiyaz Shafique Ansari for TheDC

Poster by "Public Liberation Association" Pasted on Bhanu Bhakta Statue in Darjeeling Chowrasta Asks "Is Bengal Government Associated With Madan Tamang Murder?"

A poster pasted on Bhanu Bhakta statue at the heart of Darjeeling - Chowrasta by a group, which calls itself "Public Liberation Association" has caused mild sensation in the town.

The poster reads, "The PLA party wants to inform the general public that in 2001 GNLF supreme Subash Ghising was attacked at Sat Ghumti, after a few months the Bengal government arrested the revolutionary leader Chattra Subba from near Indo-Nepal border. Bengal government put Chattra Subba in jail for 11 years, without any proof.
Is Bengal Government Associated With Madan Tamang Murder? - Public Liberation Association
Poster by "Public Liberation Association" Pasted on Bhanu Bhakta Statue in Darjeeling Chowrasta
Then on May 30, 2010 our Gorkha leader Madan Tamang jiu was murdered in broad daylight, the government has adequate proof against those who are involved, and despite that the government has not done anything to arrest these murderers.

Could it be that the Government is in cahoots with the murders???

The Bengal needs to answer our query at the earliest"

It is signed PLA and a stamp is also affixed.


Via The Darjeeling Chronicle

Gurung requests CM to reconsider Presidency plan

Vivek Chhetri

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung today took to Facebook to request Mamata Banerjee to reconsider her plans of setting up a campus of Presidency University in Kurseong, mildly prodding the government instead of resorting to belligerent protests like in the past.
Bimal Gurung and Mamata Banerjee together during CMs recent hill visit in Darjeeling Chowrasta
Bimal Gurung and Mamata Banerjee together during CMs recent hill visit in Darjeeling Chowrasta.
"At this juncture, appreciating the motive of the Hon'ble CM, the people of the Hills would appeal to her to reconsider the decision as it may have an adverse impact and the Centre may back out on the decision on the establishment of the Central University," Gurung wrote.

As part of her plans to woo the people of the Darjeeling hills, the chief minister has planned to set up a Presidency campus on the premises of Dow Hill School in Kurseong and also announced a package of Rs 30 crore for the project. During her address at a programme in Chowrasta, Darjeeling's most famous promenade, on August 25, Mamata had iterated her plans in Gurung's presence.


Some Morcha sources linked Gurung's opposition to the university campus to a feeling among academics that it might come in the way of the planned central university in the hills. Others in the party said Gurung wanted to thwart Mamata's attempts to earn brownie points at a time Trinamul is trying to make its presence felt in the hills.

"By forming development boards for several hill communities, Mamata has already got a toehold in the hills. The impact of a university campus by the state government must have been playing on Gurung's mind," a political observer said.

Gurung's Facebook post stood out for its praise of the state government.

"The Hon'ble CM's announcement of a Campus of Presidency University at Kurseong is a positive sign of the vision of the government to make Kurseong an education hub," the post said.

Gurung lambasted the erstwhile Left government, which sources said was an attempt to do a balancing act.

"For the past 60 plus years the people of the Hills have suffered deprivation in the sphere of Higher Education. The University promised for the Hills was compromised by the establishment of the North Bengal University by the Government that preceded the present Government," he wrote.

North Bengal University was set up in Siliguri in 1962. At that time too, hill parties had demanded that a university be set up in Darjeeling by upgrading Darjeeling Government College, which came into being in 1948.

Gurung said a higher education centre was a long-standing demand of the people of Darjeeling and added that the central university, as mentioned in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) agreement, was in its final stage as a detailed project report had been submitted to the Union human resource development ministry in July.

Morcha sources said the theme of the Facebook post was that the party president did not want to antagonise the chief minister.

"Another campus of an university would not have squandered the chance of a central university as it was promised in the GTA agreement," a state government official said.

Via Telegraph

Mamata Announces Bhutia Development Board

8:52 AM
Mamata Announces Bhutia Development Board - "No More Boards" She Says

After the formation of separate development boards for the Lepcha, Sherpa and Tamang communities, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced the formation of a separate development board for the Bhutia community as well.
Mamata Announces Bhutia Development Board
Mamata Announces Bhutia Development Board
She further announced during the Clean and Green Darjeeling programme held at Chowrasta today that Rs.5 crore will be provided for the Bhutia Development Board.

"Initially I had formed development boards for the Lepcha, Sherpa and Tamang communities, now I have formed a development board for the Bhutia community as well," Banerjee said, adding, "They have been living here since a long time. With regard to the other communities, we have incorporated them in the Tamang board. Everyone will work united. After all everyone lives in the hills."

It may be mentioned that during her last visit to Darjeeling, the Mangar community of the hills had also submitted a memorandum demanding the creation of a separate development board for the Mangar community. All India Bhutia Association (AIBA) had been demanding the formation of a separate development board for the Bhutia community for the past three years. "Denzongpa, Drukpa, Singsapa, Toto, Khampa, Yolmo and Tibetan ethnic groups fall under the Bhutia community. We are very happy and we welcome the decision of the chief minister," said Palden Bhutia, president of AIBA.

However, when asked GTA executive member and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, (GJM) general secretary Roshan Giri regarding the formation of the new development board, he preferred not to answer.

Meanwhile, Banerjee announced that the state government will sanction a sum of Rs.500 crore for the 'Clean and Green Darjeeling' project. She added that every development board will have to construct 5000 toilets.

The chief minister said that Nadia district has been number one in implementing the Nirmal Bangla Abhiyan. "I have chosen Darjeeling, and I want Darjeeling to be number one. My dream is sky high for the people of Darjeeling."

GTA and GJMM chief Bimal Gurung also attended the programme.

[Via: SNS]

Mamata Banerjee launched “Clean Darjeeling Green Darjeeling”

5:34 PM
Mamata Banerjee launched Rs. 500 crore “Clean Darjeeling Green Darjeeling” today from Chowrasta in Darjeeling. Bimal Gurung, Chief Executive, GTA, Minister Arup Biswas, Chief Secretary and other senior officials of the state and the GTA were present in the launch of the programme  which is the joint initiative of the West Bengal state government and the GTA. 53,000 toilets will be built across the Darjeeling district under the project.

Mamata Banerjee had arrived at Darjeeling yesterday evening for the event. Sanitation, Water conservation through rainwater harvesting, Waste management, Green cultivation through afforestation and Development of horticulture were some of agendas.
Mamata Banerjee launched “Clean Darjeeling Green Darjeeling”
Mamata Banerjee launched “Clean Darjeeling Green Darjeeling” 
After launching the “Clean Darjeeling Green Darjeeling” Mamata Banerjee made the statement in her FB page.

I am in Darjeeling. I love this beautiful place and its people so much that I come here again and again.

Today is a very significant day for Darjeeling. I launched the “Clean Darjeeling Green Darjeeling” initiative today from Darjeeling Chowrasta.

A joint initiative of the state government and the GTA, “Clean Darjeeling Green Darjeeling” will run on a mission mode to ensure clean living in Darjeeling with sanitation facilities in homes and community sanitary complexes, solid and liquid waste management, ban on plastic bags, cleaning of springs (jhoras) and roadside plantation.

It will encourage water conservation through rainwater harvesting in rural and urban areas and spring shed development and green cultivation through afforestation, development of horticulture and medicinal plants that will also boost the local livelihood.

Bimal Gurung, Chief Executive, GTA, his colleagues in the GTA, Minister Arup Biswas, Chief Secretary and other senior officials of the state and the GTA were present in the colourful programme.

Thousands of school children and others took oath on the occasion for clean and green Darjeeling.
It is our mission to restore the Queen of Hills to its pristine glory. It is our commitment to our future generation.

Let us all work together towards achieving this.
My best wishes to everyone.

Later Bimal Gurung on his Facebook Page wrote "Thank you Ms Mamata Banerjee, Hon'ble Chief Minister of West Bengal for the wonderful initiative of Clean and Green Darjeeling, which is critical and timely, as the burden of waste in the Darjeeling Hills is ever increasing.

A new comprehensive solid and liquid waste management project will be setup in Darjeeling.
More than 50000 toilets will be built in rural places in GTA area.Rain water harvesting projects will started in Educational institute in the hills and various afforestation programs to be introduced in GTA area.

Now its up to us to make this project a success and the people of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Area must use this project to make our our hills, The Queen of the Hills."

Gurung cancelled Delhi trip to attend program with Mamata Banerjee

10:50 AM
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung in a last minute decision has cancelled his Delhi trip and instead has decided to attend Tuesday’s government program (Clean and Green Darjeeling) with chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling, to keep alight the renewed bonhomie.
Bimal Gurung and Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling
 Bimal Gurung and Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling a file photo
The GJM president was supposed to leave for Varanasi today, to engage in pre-planned prayer rituals there. He was than to head to Delhi to meet central ministers and also the Prime Minister and return back to Darjeeling on August 30.

The Bengal chief minister arrived in Darjeeling today evening and will launch the pre-announced “Clean and Green Darjeeling” project at Chowrastha on Tuesday.

The clean and green Darjeeling project was originally scheduled to be launched by the CM on August 6. However, the flood situation in Bengal at that time forced Banerjee to cancel her trip to the Hills. Gurung on the other hand had left for Delhi on August 1 but had apprised the CM about his absence.

However this time, political analysts said Gurung did not want to give the impression that he was avoiding the chief minister. “If Gurung had left without meeting or attending the program it would send the wrong signal that he was purposely avoiding the Bengal CM. After much give and take, relation between the GJM and the state government is started to mend. Gurung now does not want the Banerjee to bear any kind of misunderstanding,” the analyst pointed out.

To ensure no bad-air in the event of his absence, the GJM chief during had instructed his Sabhasads and party leaders to give the CM a warm welcome during the Sahid Diwas program on July 27 when he had initially said he would not be in Darjeeling.

Most GJM leaders were either tight lipped or gave vague reasons for Gurung’s sudden turn. “It has been decided that our party president will attend the launch program of clean and green Darjeeling which is being organized jointly by the state government and the GTA. He (Gurung) will now instead head to Varanasi on August 26,” said GJM general secretary, Roshan Giri without answering if Gurung or other party leaders would sit for a separate meeting with the chief minister.

Banerjee was accorded a warm welcome by members of the All India Bhutia Association (AIBA) near the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan on her arrival. On August 26 the CM will sit for a meeting with the Tribal Advisory Council and then head back to Kolkata the next day.

Source: EOI

 
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