Showing posts with label Development Boards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Development Boards. Show all posts

Khambu Rights Movement - Indefinite hunger strike against 'delay' over Rai board

10:08 AM
Kalimpong, Feb. 16: Fourteen members of the Khambu Rights Movement launched an indefinite hunger strike at Tricone Park here today to protest against interference by some Kirati Khambu Rai Sanskriti Sansthan members that has allegedly delayed the creation of a Rai board.

The Khambu Rights Movement (KRM) was formed on January 16, 2013, and it operated under the Kirati Khambu Rai Sanskriti Sansthan (KKRSS) to demand a Scheduled Tribe status for the Rais. But the two groups started falling apart, particularly after the KRM went whole hog on the development board issue.

Rais and Khambus are synonyms for a single community.

"A board for the Khambus had been announced (by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on January 22) in Darjeeling. When we went to Calcutta earlier this month to complete certain formalities related to the formation of the board, some opportunists associated with KKRSS in Darjeeling also went there and claimed that they would form the board," said KRM spokeman Manoj Rai.
Khambu Rights Movement - Indefinite hunger strike against 'delay' over Rai board
Khambu Rights Movement which was earlier demanding for Tribal Status
"This has resulted in delay in the formation of the (Rai) board. The delay is not affecting those who are well off but the ordinary Khambus, who are a deprived lot," he said.

All 14 KRM members participating in the hunger strike today are from Kalimpong subdivision. Sources said more members from other parts of the hills were expected to join them soon.

Binesh Rai, the KRM coordinator, alleged that the KKRSS was never in favour of a Rai development board but at a time the state government was on the verge of setting it up, some KKRSS members were trying to lay claim to it.

"We were shocked to learn that people, who in the past were against the formation of a board, went to Calcutta and demanded that they be allowed to form one. We are totally against these people. We don't want any of them in the board. We may agree to take few members of the KKRSS, who have not spoken against the board, in the general body but none in the executive body of the board," he said.

The KKRSS president, Tara Kumar Rai, however, claimed that they had already formed a board with a six-member executive body, including the chairman and vice-chairman, and 25 general body members. "The registration has also been completed. We had submitted our list (to the state government) about 10 days back. None of the office-bearers of the KKRSS are in the executive body and general body of the board. The chairman will be N.S. Rai," he said adding that he did not want to comment on KRM's allegation.

The KRM coordinator, Binesh Rai, rubbished the KKRSS claim. "I am cent per cent certain that the board has not been formed yet. They don't know what they are saying," he said.

Now GTA to form Development Boards for 19 hill communities

10:36 AM
Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Feb. 15: The GTA has decided to form development boards for 19 communities in the hills and allotted Rs 5 crore for each of them in an apparent move to neutralise Mamata Banerjee who set up similar bodies to the chagrin of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

The Morcha has been alleging that Mamata has adopted "divide and rule" policy in the hills by forming development boards for different communities. Till date, the state government has created development boards for the Lepcha, Tamang, Sherpa, Bhutia and Mangar communities and also promised to look into the demands from the Rais and Limbus.

The Morcha-controlled GTA Sabha, however, passed a resolution on February 12 to form development boards for 19 communities which have significant population in the hills with an initial grant of Rs 5 crore for each of them. The 19 communities are Gurung, Bhujel, Newar, Rai, Sunuwar, Thami, Yakkha (Dewan), Khas, Mangar, Jogi, Limbu, Tamang, Dukpa, Lepcha, Sherpa, Bhutia, Yolmo, Scheduled Caste and Adivasis.
Now GTA to form Development Boards for 19 hill communities
Bimal Gurung with Mamata Banerjee in the past
"While the government formed boards selectively to divide hill communities and weaken our Gorkhaland demand, we have created development boards for all hill communities to strengthen our unity and the Gorkhaland demand," said Bimal Gurung, the chief executive of the GTA.

Observers believe Trinamul has been able get a toehold in the hills largely because of its decision to form development boards. "The Morcha definitely feels Mamata's development board politics needs to be countered and that is why the GTA launched similar bodies for all communities," said an observer.

The state government has so far sanctioned Rs 131 crore for the development boards. The Lepcha board alone has been given about Rs 86 crore.

The GTA receives funds from the central and state governments, but the actual amounts are not known. There was an agreement that the GTA would be given a special annual grant of Rs 200 crore for three years once the hill body was formed.

Asked about the activities to be taken up by the GTA's development boards, Gurung said: "We will have to first chart out the composition of the boards and their tasks. The boards will then decide what is best suited for every community."

G.N. Lomjel, the general secretary of the All India Nepali Scheduled Caste Association, today said: "We welcome the GTA's decision to form development boards."

Source: Telegraph

Netas fight for control as Hills crisis deepens

8:11 PM
Writes Nirmalya Banerjee 

 Jan 31, 2016 Kalimpong/Darjeeling: Even as political bosses race to wrest control of the Hills, economic problems and social tension deepen in the region. While the tea industry, the main source of economic in Darjeeling and Kurseong subdivisions, is in the doldrums, tourism is also uncertain because of political troubles. In Kalimpong, agriculture, the mainstay of the economy east of the Teesta, is also failing.

In spite of all the crises, the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration refuses to take remedial steps, blaming the government of "non-cooperation" while the ruling Trinamool is hell bent on gaining a foothold in the Hills before the assembly polls. The GJM, on its part, seems to be wedded to the emotional appeal of Gorkhaland, a slogan to fall back upon in times of difficulty.
Netas fight for control as Darjeeling Kalimpong Hills crisis deepens
 Harka Bahadur Chettri, Bimal Gurung, Dr. Mahendra P Lama and Mamata Banerjee
"The GTA did not pay heed to vital issues," said senior CPM leader of Kalimpong Tara Sundas. "Goonda-tax from hydel projects is rampant. Land is barren now. Agriculture holdings are small. Farming did not get due support from the government. There is neither incentive nor subsidy from the GTA or the previous Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council." The presence of two masters-the state government and the GTA-seems to complicate matters further. The CM's backing of Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri, who walked out of the GJM, has added to the political tension.

Cinchona plantation in Kalimpong, which is over 100 years old and employs nearly 8,000 people, including officers, is no longer profitable because of competition from Singapore, says Sundas. The state does not seem to make any effort to market the cinchona products any more. Kalimpong, once a thriving centre of commerce, has witnessed a decline in business since the closure of the border trade with Tibet after 1961. Once education hub, Kalimpong now has to look for students at his schools, Sundas says.

The other problem area is the tea industry. Once over 100 gardens dotted the Hills but now, the number has shrunk to 87. Nearly 21,000 hectares of tea plantation in Darjeeling employs about 55,000 permanent workers, besides 15,000 contract labourers during the plucking season. Tea industry representatives think the Plantation Labour Act is archaic and needs to be amended as garden owners find it difficult to bear the burden of facilities, such as free ration, electricity and medical benefits. "The crisis in the tea industry is going to affect Darjeeling badly," says academic and former Sikkim University vice-chancellor Mahendra P Lama, who suggested that a fresh approach should be made to develop Darjeeling and Dooars as part of the Centre's 'Look East Policy' through Northeast.

In its effort to empower the different communities in north Bengal and offer them financial aid, the state has set up a series of development boards for Lepchas, Tamangs, Sherpas, Bhutias and Mangars. In fact chief minister Mamata Banerjee's move seems to have struck a cord with the people, with Lyangsong Tamsang, chairman of Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board, pointing out that the Tribal Welfare Department of the state government, pucca structures, with toilets, electricity, drinking water and furniture, were set up for over 60 night schools for Lepchas in Darjeeling with the help of an annual grant of Rs 35 crore. Nearly 3,000 pucca residential houses have also been built, besides steps being taken to protect the community's language and culture. But GJM leaders see the development boards as a move to divide the communities and weaken the GTA. A senior Nepali Sahitya Sammelan members claimed the distribution of aids triggered fights and heart-burn and feared, it might lead to social tension.


Khambu Rai and Limbu Development Board to be formed: Mamata Banerjee

8:32 PM

Khambu Rai and Limbu Development Board will be soon announced by Mamata Banerjee who is in a visit to Darjeeling. She is likely to announce these development boards on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary celebration event on 23rd Jan in Chowrasta Darjeeling.

This has come as surprise to many because the Kirat Khambu Rais were fighting for Tribal status. "All India Kirati Khambu Rai Association Strongly condemn the use of our flag for the demand of Development Board. Our organisation ideology do not allow us to accept "Development Board" given by State Government of West Bengal. The use of the Flag without the permission of the organisation is unethical and crime" one of the social media post read.

"I have received several requests for setting up of development boards for various communities, among them, Khambu Rai and Limbu Board will be formed, meanwhile, we will consider for other communities too", Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at the concluding ceremony of Himal Terai Sports Festival 2016 held at North Point today.

She also gave away prizes at the sports festival, which was jointly organised by Siliguri Police Commisionerate, West Bengal Sports Department and Darjeeling Police.

‘I will continue to work for you always. I don't pay attention to hate-mongers. I just do my developmental work,’ she said.
‘We are providing Rs 1 lakh each to the Sherpas for their development. We have provided a grant of Rs 131 crore for uplift of the Hills communities,’ Mamata Banerjee said.

‘We are providing sports equipment and jerseys to the sports-persons who are taking part in these events. All the clubs have been granted Rs 25,000,’ she added.

She will be present during the official celebration to mark Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary at Chowrasta tomorrow.

Source The Darjeeling Times

Hill rival body of Schedule Caste community demands development board

8:37 AM
Rival bodies demand SC board

Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Dec. 22: Two rival organisations of the Schedule Caste community in the hills have demanded a development board for the members from the state government.

The Darjeeling Indigenous Schedule Caste Welfare Association, which was registered as a society in 2014, today said it had got a positive response from the state government on the formation of a board for the SC community.

Bibek Sewa, president of the association, said: "On November 27, we visited the office of the backward classes welfare department in Calcutta. We also met minister Aroop Biswas, who is also the Trinamul observer for the hills. During our visit, we came to know that our demand is under consideration."

Sewa said the organisation had held a rally in Kureong on December 19 with the demand and Siliguri MLA Rudranath Bhattacharya and Trinamul (Hills) president, Rajen Mukhia, had attended it.
Darjeeling Indigenous Schedule Caste Welfare Association
Darjeeling Indigenous Schedule Caste Welfare Association rally
"We grew up under the aegis of the All India Nepali Schedule Caste Association. But its leaders now seem to have a political colour...," Sewa said.

The All India Nepali Schedule Caste Association has also demanded a development board.

It had also organised a rally here on November 8.

R. Thatal, the president of the association, said: "We have already told the state government that they (the indigenous welfare association) do not represent the Nepali Schedule Caste community in the hills."

Asked who would lead the board if the state government granted it, Sewa said: "We will leave it to the chief minister."


Tamang Development board Excluding Community Members - TYA

Hill Tamang Youth Association Accuses Tamang Development board of Excluding Community Members.

A day after accusation of corruption labelled by a senior Tamang Development board member Mr. Kamal Ghising against the Chairman Sanjay Ghising and Chief Advisor Neera Lopchan, yesterday Tamang Youth Association (TYA), Darjeeling sub-division committee has also accused the TD board of not including community members and discriminating against Tamangs from Darjeeling and Kurseong.

Speaking to the Press, TYA Darjeeling President Mr. Anand Lama stated that, "even after a year of formation of the TD board, the Chairman Sanjay Moktan has continued to work in a very shady manner and has been unable to bring together the community members... there is no transparency in the operations and functions of TD board."

Mr. Lama stated, "such is the label of high-handedness that the homes that are supposed to be built for community members are not being done according to the list prepared and approved for in the TDCB meeting... in fact far more houses have been sanctioned for Kalimpong, and not many for Darjeeling and Kurseong."
Hill Tamang Youth Association Accuses Tamang Development board of Excluding Community Members.

Speaking further on discrimination, Mr. Lama added, "even in the TD board executive committee which takes all the decisions, there is no board member from Darjeeling... as a result the poor people from Tamang community here are deprived of the facilities they are supposed to get... there is no one in the board to speak for them..."

Accusing Mr. Sanjay Moktan of running the TD board to suit his own personal needs, Mr. Lama said, "TD board was formed to conserve and promote Tamang language, dresses, culture and traditions... but today Sanjay Moktan is running the board like his personal property... with the 1st round of allocation for building homes, instead of giving money, TD board distributed building materials alone... and poor people were forced to build homes with just the given materials... how can anyone build a home without employing people who know how to build homes - masons, carpenters, electrician, plumbers - all require money... where would the poor people get money to pay?"

Stating that Tamang community is hurt, Mr. Lama added, "The way Mr. Sanjay Moktan is running TD board as his personal property, and its hurting all the Tamang community people... see for example we constituted a committee of 5 Engineers to inspect homes built with funds/materials provided by TD board... but till date no one from that committee has come to inspect houses in Darjeeling... instead Mr. Sanjay Moktan has sent those people who are not experts and who are not in this committee to inspect..."

Welcoming the statement and accusations labelled by Mr. Kamal Ghising against Sanjay Moktan and Neera Lopchan, Mr. Lama added, "the Darjeeling committee of TYA support the statement... we cannot allow a welfare organization to be run like someone's business... and if TD board officials do not change the way they run things, we will take up this matter with Sub-division committee, and even Bengal government."

[Inputs and pics via: Himalaya Darpan]
Via TheDC

Hill Scheduled Caste community wants Development Boards

12:40 PM
8 Nov 2015: Demanding a development board, the Scheduled Caste community of the hills today organised a rally in Darjeeling and threatened to start an agitation that would include dharnas and indefinite hunger strikes. The Scheduled Caste community too wants a set-up on the lines of the Lepcha, Bhutia, Sherpa and Tamang communities which have been granted development boards by the Bengal government. Today, the community under the banner of the All India Nepali Scheduled Caste Association (AINSCA), took out a silent rally in Darjeeling town to highlight their demand. “We too want our community to develop like others in the hills. If the state government can establish so many boards, why not give one for our community? We have raised the issue with chief minister Mamata Banerjee and also submitted a memorandum to her during her last visit to the hills,” said Govind Narayan Lomzel, the AINSCA general secretary. He added, “We had also taken up the matter with GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung, but we were suggested to place the demand with the state government.”

The chief minister has also announced a board for the Mangar community would be formed soon, which has further antagonized the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha that rules the roost in the hills. Besides a development board for the community, the association also wants reservation for the community within the Gorkhaland Territorial.
Hill Scheduled Caste community wants Development Boards
File pic showing one of the Board chiefs
receiving cheque from Mamata
Administration, appointment of 204 teachers in high schools and higher secondary schools and implementation of a 100-point roster in the hills. “We make up 17.2 per cent of the hill population. In the GTA we do not have any reservation, which is why we want proper representation. Our educated youths remain unemployed and therefore we want the 204 teachers from our community to be given appointments in schools,” said Lomzel. The GTA has 45 elected and five nominated Sabhasads who run the affairs of the council and the Sabha.

Although the association has announced its decision to go on the agitation path, it has decided to wait and watch for the time being. “With regard to our three demands we are giving an ultimatum of one month after which we will hold programmes either in Delhi or in Darjeeling. Such programmes could be fast onto death or dharnas,” said Lomzel. When contacted, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said, “We support the demand of the Scheduled Caste community for reservation in the GTA and also appointment of the teachers. We have taken up the matter with the state government and will do so again tomorrow in the bipartite talk in Kolkata. As far as the demand for a development board is concerned, we believe all communities should get one.”


Rais differ in Development board opinion

Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Oct. 18: A youth association of the Rai community has opposed the All India Kirati Khambu Rai Association’s decision to not accept a development board.

The general secretary of the Khambu Rights Movement, Sandip Kulung, today said: “We condemn the decision of not accepting a development board for the community. We have raised the demand after consulting our members from the grassroots level and we are leading the movement.”

The All India Kirati Khambu Rai Association had recently said that it would not accept any board because it could create rifts among the Rais and the main demand of the community is a Scheduled Tribe status. The Rais are now enlisted in the OBC category.

Association president Sachin Rai Dumi had said: “We fear division within the Rai community as the board will not be able to build houses for 3 lakh Rai families in the BPL category. Some Rai members will receive benefits, while the others will not.” Other leaders had said it would dilute their main demand of a ST status. 

The total hill population is about 15 lakh and around 5 lakh Rais live in the hills. The community has three associations, Khambu Rights Movement, All India Kirati Khambu Rai Association and Kirati Khambu Rai Sanskriti Sansthan, which hasn’t yet made its stand clear. The recent development, however, seems to have created a rift in the community. 

Kulung said: “We do not believe that the board will dilute our Scheduled Tribe demand and we have been organising events in Delhi demanding ST status. There were no problems when the Lepchas, Tamangs, Sherpas, Bhutias and Mangars accepted the boards. Why will there be disunity in the hills only because the Rai community will accept a board?

Recently, Mamata Banerjee had declared a board for the Mangars and said she would look into the demands of the Rai and Limbu communities. 

Source Telegraph

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