Showing posts with label Dooars and Terai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dooars and Terai. Show all posts

GJM Candidates Declared for Darjeeling and Doors for Assemble election 2016

3:04 PM
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has declared their list of candidates for Darjeeling and Dooars seats for the upcoming Bengal Assembly Election 2016 in April. Interestingly Ms. Sarita Rai is contesting from Kalimpong who will be contesting against Dr Harka Bahadur Chettri.

Here is the full list.

Darjeeling : Mr. Amar Singh Rai
Kalimpong: Ms. Sarita Rai
Kurseong: Dr Rohit Sharma
Nagarkata: Mr. John Barla
Islampur Chopra: Mr. M Altamas Choudhary
Chopra: Mr Hazi Naseer Ahmed Khan
Kalchini: Mr. Bishal Lama
Madirahat: Mr. Manoj Tigga
Kumar Gram: Mr. Lewis Kujur

GJM Candidates  for Assemble election 2016
GJM Candidates  for Assemble election 2016


Via TheDC




Maruni dance to be performed on World Culture Festival by Art of Living

11:56 AM
Writes: Prashant Acharya

A host of traditional Gorkha 'Maruni' dancers from Sikkim, the Darjeeling hills and the Dooars are set to create a world record by performing at the World Culture Festival on Saturday that is being organised by the Art of Living Foundation at Mayur Vihar in New Delhi.

Three hundred and fifty dancers and their team leaders have already reached New Delhi for performing on Saturday evening on a giant stage sprawled across 7 acres of land. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the function in the presence of officials from 155 nations.

The Maruni dancers from Sikkim and north Bengal have undergone rigorous practice over the past two months and will mesmerize an estimated audience of 35 lakh people during the three-day festival, aimed at celebrating diversity among world cultures and uniting peoples across geographical boundaries.

Ramkumar Lama, the dance coordinator from the Dooars, said, "The almost forgotten Nepali folk dance will see a grand revival and get promoted across the world. We intend to make it into the Guinness Book of world records."
Maruni dancers from Darjeeling, Sikkim, and Dooars en route to create world record
Maruni dancers from Darjeeling, Sikkim, and Dooars en route to create world record
Meanwhile, Raj Sharma, the coordinator from Sikkim, said 118 dancers from the state’s West, East and South districts are participating and a huge contingent of Art of Living volunteers from Sikkim have already reached New Delhi to be part of the extravaganza.

“In the days of yore, men used to adorn women’s attire and enact female roles while performing the Maruni dance because women were forbidden to perform in public. But this has changed now, of course,” said Karuna Pradhan, the coordinator from Darjeeling. She said the song for the Maruni folk dance is in the 'Samala' beat and has been written by Rajen Ghimire while the dance choreographer is Lhamu Sherpa.


Via: ECOI


GJM leaders off to New Delhi to meet BJP, seeks Gorkha candidates in Assam

8:12 AM
Darjeeling, March 9: Senior Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders today left for New Delhi for a possible meeting with the BJP to discuss the election strategy in Bengal and request the national party to field Gorkha candidates in nearly 10 seats in Assam.

However, Roshan Giri and Binay Tamang, the general secretary and the assistant secretary of the Morcha, respectively, said they were going to Delhi to attend the World Cultural Festival organised by The Art of Living Foundation from March 11 to 13.

"We had been invited to the festival but since Bimal Gurung is unable to go to Delhi, I, along with our party leader Binay Tamang, are leaving for Delhi," said Giri.

But sources in the Morcha said the two leaders would discuss the Assembly elections in Bengal as well as in Assam.

"There are chances of the two also holding a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah. Since the Morcha is an ally of the BJP, the party wants to hold a discussion before announcing its candidates in Bengal. The two leaders have been told that they should convince the BJP leadership about the need for all opposition parties coming together in Bengal to take on Trinamul," said a source in the party.
Roshan Giri and Binay Tamang
Roshan Giri and Binay Tamang
Giri and Tamang will also be discussing Assam elections. "In the Assam elections, we want the BJP to field Gorkha candidates in at least nine seats. We want them to contest on BJP tickets," said the source.

Bimal Gurung, the Morcha president, today said in Darjeeling that they were confident that John Barla, the adivasi leader in the Dooars, would be fielded by the BJP in Nagrakatta Assembly seat in Jalpaiguri district.

"We have decided to support John Barla in Nagrakatta," said Gurung.

The Morcha also announced Haji Answar Ahmed Khan as the party's candidate in Chopra constituency in North Dinajpur district. "Since Morcha supporters wanted his candidature, we have decided to field him," said Gurung.

Khan is from Kurseong and a member of the Morcha's central committee.

Sources said the Morcha would be announcing the names of other candidates only after discussions with the BJP leadership.

"Apart from three hill seats, the party is looking at either fielding or supporting candidates in at least five or more seats in the plains," said the source.

Telegraph

BGP delegation met Cabinet Minister Kiren Rijiju for separate state for Indian Gorkhas

11:12 PM
A delegation of the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP), lead by its president Sukhman Moktan, had a meeting with Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju in New Delhi today, March 7, 2016. The BGP discussed various issues related to India's Gorkhas with the minister, the primary of them being the creation of a separate state.

Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, a Indian Gorkha Confederation and a non-government national-level Indian Gorkhas organization  has identified six issues of the Indian Gorkhas to be resolved at the national level:

  1. Creation of a separate state for the Gorkhas of India
  2. Identification of the problems of tea garden and cinchona plantation in Darjeeling-Dooars as a national problem
  3. Addressing the sense of insecurity and uncertainty in the minds of Gorkhas of Northeast India
  4. Commissioning of a Doordarshan channel dedicated to the Nepali-speaking Gorkhas
  5. Accessing for Gorkhas all social benefits under Constitutional provisions like SC, ST, OBC, etc., in all parts of India and nomination of Gorkhas to public and government bodies
  6. Recognition of Gorkhas as a linguistic minority community


Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP) also discussed about the protection of civil and political rights of Gorkhas in the Northeast, the rights of tea garden workers in Darjeeling and Dooars, a Doordarshan channel in the Nepali language and the granting of Central OBC status to Gorkhas across India.
BGP delegation met Cabinet Minister Kiren Rijiju for separate state
Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh delegation met Cabinet Minister

Via Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh

GJM wants John Barla to contest election from Jalpaiguri's Nagrakata

10:01 PM

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri today said the party wanted John Barla to contest the Assembly polls from Jalpaiguri's Nagrakata , a seat the tribal leader wanted to fight for.

Barla had said he would certainly contest from the seat but whether he would be a candidate of a party or contest as an Independent was undecided.

Giri, who was in Nagrakata today to attend a party meeting where a block committee of the Morcha was formed, said: "In recent times, some people have left our party and floated a new one. It is nothing but a front of Trinamul. We are confident that this party will never succeed in eroding our vote bank, both in the plains and the hills. For the Nagrakata Assembly seat, we want John Barla to contest as a candidate of our alliance."

Nagrakata is an ST seat. Barla is a dissident leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad.

Earlier, Morcha president and GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung had said the party would never ally with Trinamul for the Assembly polls. He had also said the party would field candidates in 10 to 15 seats in north Bengal, unlike in 2011, when the Morcha had contested from three hill seats and supported Wilson Champramari, an Independent.

Champramari had won the Kalchini seat in Alipurduar.

Gurung had also spoken about the party's alliance with the BJP, which was reiterated by the BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, who had said their only alliance in the state was with the Morcha.

Today, soon after Giri's remark, Barla who was also in the meeting, said: "People from different organisations, including some local BJP leaders, have approached me to contest from Nagrakata. It is certain that I will contest but right now, I can't say if I will contest as an official candidate of a party or an Independent. Discussions are on."

Barla said organisations such as the Progressive Peoples' Party (breakaway faction of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad) and Bharatiya Millat-e-Islamia (a Dooars minority organisation) had spoken to him.

Asked about the prospects of Barla being nominated as their candidate, Dipen Pramanik, Jalpaiguri district BJP president, said: "We cannot comment right now as the candidate selection would be done by the state leadership. But we want to make one thing very clear that we will field the candidate with party symbol."

An observer said Barla was the Morcha's best bet in the Dooars. "There is no doubt that the clout of John Barla in Nagrakata and its surrounding areas is much more than leaders of any other party."

Via Telegraph

Facebook helps find 22-year-old Gorkha woman missing from Dooars

10:13 AM
NGO
Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Feb. 26: From China to Canada, Delhi to Darjeeling, a motley group of people networked across continents to unite a 22-year-old woman with her family almost three weeks after she lost her way from a Dooars tea garden.

Chunnu Tamang went missing from Tulsipara tea garden near Birpara on February 7.

She was tracked, identified and united with her family at Salua in East Midnapore yesterday by several Facebook and WhatsApp users whom she hasn't met and will perhaps never see.

Chunnu had been staying in the tea garden with her mother Bela and three sisters. She lost her father few years ago.

Earlier this month, she lost her way while roaming in the plantation.

Her family lodged a police complaint and while they looked for her in the Dooars, Vivek Lepcha, 23, a graduate from St Xavier's College, Calcutta, got a call from a friend in Siliguri.

"He shared some photographs of a girl with me and said she was seen at the NJP station and added that she must have lost her way. He told me she had been seen in the area for three days. Since my friend is in a government service, he did not want to come out in public. I decided to post the photos on a Facebook page called The Darjeeling Chronicle," Lepcha said.

The Darjeeling Chronicle page lists news and events and it has multiple administrators not only from Darjeeling, Calcutta, Mumbai and others cities of India but also from Canada, the Netherlands and the United States. The page has more than 48,000 followers.

Rinchu Doma Dukpa, one of the administrators, said: "We received the message on February 10 and as soon as we put it up, it was shared 2,400 times. It seems that Rajen Chhetri from Delhi informed Rangu Souriya of Kanchenjungha Uddhar Kendra (an NGO) based in Siliguri, about the message."

Souriya rushed to NJP but by then, Chunnu had left the area.

"She went missing again and all of us were very worried," Dukpa said. "We got information about the girl from Bikash Lama, Ugen T. Bhutia, Simran Sharma (in Calcutta) and Sanjeev Rai."
Facebook helps find 22-year-old Chunnu Tamang missing from Dooars
Facebook helps find 22-year-old Chunnu Tamang missing from Dooars
Bikash, 38, a businessman from Jaigoan in the Dooars, said: "When I saw the post on Facebook, I decided to share it and some of my friends from Birpara told me about the girl's family. Since the FB post said she was seen in NJP, I, along with some of the girl's relatives, went to NJP station but we could not find her."

By this time, other pages on Facebook, like Dooars Express and Hamro Darjeeling, had also shared the posts.

Sanjeev, 30, a travel guide from Alubari in Darjeeling, managed to get in touch with Chunnu's eldest sister, Binu, who works in Chennai.

"I saw a post on FB pages Hamro Darjeeling and Darjeeling Chronicle. I also saw another post stating that someone had gone missing and a contact number had been given," Sanjeev said.

When Sanjeev called that number, he found it was Binu's

On February 21, the DC team received a message from Anmol Mukhia, a international relations PhD scholar from Jilin University, China.

"Anmol had shared the girl's photographs posted by Bishal Tamang from Salua in East Midnapore," said Dukpa.

Anmol in a WhatsApp message from China said: "I had seen a post about a missing person. Once I got the pictures shared by Bishal Tamang, I send those to DC."

Bishal said they got a call from police "saying a girl who spoke Nepali was found walking aimlessly on a highway. They asked if we could help. We tried speaking to her but she could not give proper answers. Sometimes she said she was from Delhi and then she named other places. She was admitted to the sadar hospital here," said Bishal.

Bishal then posted the woman's pictures on the Hamro Darjeeling page. Eventually Amnol came across the posts. "I contacted DC," said Anmol.

The DC got in touch with Sanjeev Rai, who had helped identify Chunnu. "I contacted Binu in Chennai, who confirmed that it was her sister," said Sanjeev.

Binu said: "I heard from my friend that pictures of my sister, who had gone missing from the garden, were being circulated on Facebook. My friend shared the pictures and mentioned my phone number along with that. Later, I was contacted by some people who informed me about my sister. I am relieved that she has been found in Salua (around 800km) from the estate. My mother and relatives reached Salua yesterday. They are on their way home today."

Note Kudos to The Darjeeling Chronicle team, keep up the good work..

Telegraph

Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha plans motorcycle rally for Gorkhaland

10:50 PM
Darjeeling 25 Feb 2016 The youth front of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today said it plans to organise a motorcycle rally from Darjeeling to Siliguri in the first week of March to rekindle the demand for Gorkhaland among the general public of the hills, especially the youths.

Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha general secretary Amrit Yonzon said a series of programmes will be held following the bike rally. “We have lined up a series of programmes in the month of March starting with a bike rally from Darjeeling to Siliguri to garner popular support for the demand of Gorkhaland. We intend to focus more on the youths and raise awareness among them,” he said. “More than 100 bikes will participate in the rally, the date for which will be announced subsequently. We also plan to hold street corner meetings along the way downhill in places such as Sonada,Kurseong and Sukna.”

According to Yonzon, the point where the bike rally is to end in Siliguri will be decided upon by the administration and the GJYM is awaiting confirmation on this. “A few days after the rally, we intend to hold a three-day public workshop on the statehood issue under the stewardship of our party leaders. We also plan to hold public meetings across the hills focusing on the youths,” informed Yonzon further.
Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha plans motorcycle rally for Gorkhaland
GJM Bike Rally 2010
The GJYM is also mulling on reshuffling its central committee in order to strengthen the organisation and increase member numbers from the Terai and Dooars regions to take the total to 50 or thereabouts. According to the youth front leader, “Of late, we have been noticing the lacklustre attitude among the youths in terms of the statehood demand. Hence, we want them to start participating actively in party programmes and meetings. Political observers in the hills believe the GJM leadership may have directed the party’

EOI

Separate Task Force for Gorkhas and Adivasis in Dooars and Terai

11:25 AM
Divide and Rule? Bengal Proposes to Form Separate Task Force for Gorkhas and Adivasis in Dooars and Terai

Minister Arup Biswas yesterday said the Bengal government had decided to form two separate task forces for the welfare of Adivasis and Gorkhas in the Dooars and Terai.

"The state cabinet on February 17 took a decision to form two separate task forces for the development of adivasis and Gorkhas living in the plains. The forces will be formed very soon and will function like development boards," the minister for youth affairs said after a meeting with the office-bearers of the newly formed Dooars Siliguri Terai Bharatiya Nepali Forum.

Biswas did not elaborate on the composition and the functions of the task forces. Sources said chief minister Mamata Banerjee had suggested that the task forces function under the North Bengal Development Department
Mr. Aroop Biswas, Minister of housing and youth affairs with Dr Harka Bahadur Chettri JAP President in Terai n Dooars. 
Asked whether the decision to form the task forces was an attempt to appease the tribal and Gorkha communities ahead of the Assembly polls, the minister said: "The chief minister never mixes politics with development."

[Via: Telegraph, Pic via: JAN Andolan PARTY page]

Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJMM) splits again

7:22 PM

SNS | Kolkata | 06 February, 2016: Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJMM), the political outfit in the Hills demanding separate state of Gorkhaland, suffered another split on Friday when eight of its central committee members broke away and floated a new forum - Dooars -Siliguri - Terai Bharatiya Nepalese Developmental Forum.

Significantly, the eight met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna during the day and sought her help in addressing the problems of the people from the Terai-Dooars areas. Its chief convener, Praveen Singh, said that the forum has placed the demand for a separate board for the Terai-Dooars people on the similar lines of Lepcha, Bhutia, Tamang and Mangar Boards. This is the second time the GJMM is facing a crisis after its MLA from Kalim pong , Harka Bahadur Chhetri, broke away from the party a month ago and formed a political platform, Jana Andolan Party (JAP) in protest against the authoritarian attitude of the GJMM president, Bimal Gurung and the arbitrary way he was running the Gorkha Territorial Administration, an autonomous body formed for executing the administration and development in the Hills.

Chhetri has come in full support of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her vision of development for the Hill people. He said that while peace prevailed in the Hills and people were benefiting from the development work of the Trinamul Congress government, Gurung was unnecessarily trying to create tension in the area by stoking the demand for Gorkhaland.

"People want to live peacefully and they want development, education for their children and jobs," said Chhetri. However, neither JAP nor the forum for Terai and Dooars is willing to show their card as yet. They are considering to contest the election on their own strength as of now. "There are at least 12 assembly segments in Terai and Dooars and whether we will contest or not is yet to be decided," Singh added. On tying up with Trinamul Congress in the coming assembly election, the forum is yet to take a call. Meanwhile, GJMM had already pledged to join any alliance, which will take on the ruling party.

Tea Board of India to take 7 sick gardens from Duncan-Goenka - Gurung Thanks Nirmala Sitharaman and SS Ahluwalia

9:50 AM
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Chief Bimal Gurung has applauded the efforts of Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia which has resulted in the Central government ordering the Tea Board of India to take over the 7 sick gardens from Duncan-Goenka conglomerate.

In an unprecedented and historic move the Central Government has asked the Tea Board to take over the management of the seven tea gardens owned by Duncan Industries in view of their deteriorating conditions.

This is the 1st time in the history of tea gardens that the Central government has directly interfered and used the rarely provisions of Chapter III-A of the Tea Act, 1953 (29 of 1953) - which allows the Central government to take over if "tea gardens are being managed in a manner "highly detrimental" to the tea industry and to public interest."
Tea Board of India to take 7 sick gardens from Duncan-Goenka
Minister Sitharaman attending workers meet with Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwali and GJM
Chief Bimal Gurung in Dooars on January, 2016
Mr. Gurung has stated that, "the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has for the past two years kept up the pressure on the Central Government to take decisive action to protect the rights of the workers, and we are thankful to Ms. Nirmala Sitharam and Mr. SS Ahluwalia who have understood the need for protecting the rights of the workers."

"The decision to take over a sick garden by the Central government has wide repercussions, as it sends a loud and clear message to the tea garden owners that you cannot take the workers and their welfare for granted anymore... every tea garden owner will now be compelled to think and rethink before deciding to abandon a garden" said a local activist working for tea garden worker's rights who is associated with Darjeeling and Dooars Tea Workers Relief Organization - DAWN

While applauding the Central Government, Mr. Bimal Gurung has decried the "double speak" on the part of the Trinmool Congress. In particular, Mr. Gurung highlighted the fact that three tea gardens owned and operated by Alchemist Group - Dhooteria, Miling and Peshok which belongs to Trinmool Rajya Sabha MP KD Singh has not paid its workers or provided ration for the past 8 months, and has demanded action against Alchemist group as well as KD Singh.

In his statement, Mr. Gurung has said, "while the Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee has giving assurances to tea garden workers on numerous occasions, she hasn't done one single thing that would benefit them... if she is serious about providing justice to the tea garden workers , she should take approrpiate action against her own Rajya Sabha MP KD Singh and ask him to resign on the basis on non-payment of wages to the workers in our hills.... Mr. KD Singh owes the hill workers around Rs 5.54 Crores"

Mr. Gurung has also highlighted the plight of workers in Panighatta and has demanded immediate action from both the state and the Central government to resolve the crisis that workers are facing

Via TheDC

Are Darjeeling, Kalimpong and the Dooars part of India?

10:25 AM
Writes: Former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar

A group of Kathmandu-based Nepalese lawyers has filed a petition before the World Court at The Hague challenging India's sovereignty over the Darjeeling hill areas.

It bases its case on Article 8 of the Indo-Nepalese treaty of 1950 which cancels all previous "treaties and engagements" entered into between Nepal and the British authorities in India "so far as matters dealt with herein are concerned".

Through a deed of grant dated 1835, "the hill of Darjeeling" was ceded to India by the raja of Nepal "on account of its cool climate, for the purpose of enabling the servants of the governor-general's government, suffering from sickness, to avail themselves of its advantages". Darjeeling thus came to India as a sanatorium!

The Kathmandu lawyers argue that as Article 8 of the 1950 treaty extinguishes all treaties and engagements concluded by the British, Darjeeling, ceded by such an engagement, must revert to Nepal. The petition will doubtless be rejected by the World Court on the ground that, in terms of the statutes of the World Court, the Government of India cannot be impleaded without its consent. This, however, would be a procedural dismissal. A substantive rebuttal of the petition's arguments is what needs to be made.
Are Darjeeling, Kalimpong and the Dooars part of India?
Map of India in 1805
The mere fact of the petition could spark a fire on the hill. For the Indian Gorkha dreads nothing more than reabsorption into Nepal. And nothing angers him more than being told that the Indian Gorkha and the Nepalese Gorkha, like Natha Singh and Prem Singh, are one and the same thing.
They are not. After all, no Bengali likes being mistaken for a Bangladeshi; any Thanjavur Tamil would resent being looked on as a Jaffna Tamil; and no Indian Punjabi would take it lying down if he were labelled a Pakistani Punjabi.

The problem is particularly acute for the Indian Gorkha as, unlike the Jaffna Tamil or the Pakistani Punjabi, the Nepalese Gorkha has the unfettered right to live and work in this country. Indeed, a Nepalese Gorkha is not only entitled but encouraged to join the Indian Army.

Uncertain of their national status, apprehensive of their future, confounded by an identity crisis imposed upon them, the Indian Gorkhas, under their leader, Subhas Ghising of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), have for over a decade been pleading for the removal of ambiguity about the implications of Article 8.

At the same time, they have asked why the Government of India is paying Rs 5 lakh annually to the Government of Bhutan for retaining Kalimpong and the Dooars in the Union of India. Why pay rent for land that should be ours? The annual payment is an international obligation contracted by us under Article 3 of the India-Bhutan treaty of 1949.

Does this mean these territories are Bhutanese properties, held on lease by India? Will it take another GNLF agitation to get the Government to squarely answer these ambiguities? The last agitation was ended in 1988 when Rajiv Gandhi finally persuaded a blinkered Jyoti Basu to concede a measure of executive autonomy to a besieged micro-minority. In the decade that has passed, the Left Front Government in Calcutta has done everything it can to sabotage the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

Funds have been diverted, held back, denied. The ludicrous argument is made, by a CPI(M) that has salted away uncounted crores into the personal ledger accounts of its cadres, that the DGHC is misusing the peanuts thrown at it.

Darjeeling district is that only in name: more than half its area falls in the plains and vast tracts of hill areas inhabited by Indian Gorkhas have been segregated and placed in the adjacent district of Jalpaiguri. The same goes for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency: two-thirds of the votes are in the plains and fellow Gorkhas have been pushed into adjacent constituencies.

At the Centre, funds for the DGHC are not being sent directly to Darjeeling but funnelled through Calcutta; the CPI(M) not only mulcts its share of the booty but uses its purse strings to make DGHC councillors dance to its tune. Where the memorandum of settlement specified that the "Gorkha language" would be included in the 8th Schedule, the Centre, utterly gracelessly, put it down as "Nepali" and then clarified that that means the same as "Gorkhabhasha". There is insensitivity all around, in Delhi as much as in Calcutta.

Which is why the fire on the hill is being stoked. The fire can yet be doused if three steps are taken. One, on the model of the special constitutional provisions for Tuensang district of Nagaland, the executive and legislative authority of the West Bengal Government in the Darjeeling hill areas is made subject to the DGHC's concurrence, and central funds for the DGHC are channelled direct to Darjeeling.

Two, the district of Darjeeling is reconstituted to include all, and only, Gorkha hill areas, and Parliament's delimitation commission is approached to redraw the boundaries of the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency to ensure a voice for the Indian Gorkha in Parliament.

Three, all ambiguities are removed about the national status of the Indian Gorkhas and the land they inhabit.

Otherwise, the gathering momentum towards a Gorkha Pradesh, that is, the separation of the hill areas from the plains, might prove irresistible. Those who wish to avoid another partition of Bengal had best attend to making the Gorkhas feel a valued part of Bengal.
................................
This article was originally published on Feb 2, 1998 in INDIA TODAY originally posted at: bit.ly/1ntQXah

Does this make the Mr. Aiyar anti-National too?

Via TheDC



National Honour for ‪GORKHA‬ ICON - Rangu Souriya

9:21 PM
NGO

Ms. Rangu Souria is one of the 100 top women achievers of India, and yesterday she received an award at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, New Delhi, in collaboration with Facebook had launched 100 Women Initiative last year to recognize and acknowledge women who are making a difference in their communities.

Ms. Souriya has devoted her life to rescuing children and youth trafficked into brothels, domestic-slavery and other exploitative situations, and has so far rescued over 600 victims from the traffickers.

She has risked her life and devoted all her resources to this cause, and it was befitting to see her hard-work being finally acknowledged by the Hon'ble President of India and the Ministry of Women & Child Development.

We are thankful to all our readers who have supported her cause and we hope that this incredible love and support will continue for her in the future.

Hat's Off to Rangu Di and all the people associated with Kanchanjunga Uddhar Kendra, Marg Ngo Darjeeling and Dooars Express who have worked selflessly and tirelessly to save our most vulnerable children and youth from the traffickers

Via TheDC

THE FACES IN OUR MIDST – NETRA PRASAD SHARMA

9:57 AM
Bijay Sharma

At 84 years of age, Mr. Netra Prasad Sharma is still as active as most people would be in their 30s. Perhaps even more!!

Locals in his village Adarsh Gaon, Singtam – South Sikkim lovingly call him Netra Baje… and everyone is fond of him.

He retired from his job in the Power Department some 25 years ago and has kept himself occupied with one vocation or the other. But of late he has devoted himself to conserving our traditional instruments and equipments.

He makes - Madal, Damaru, Khaijadi, Kathtal, Khikurim Hatepakha, and various handicraft products using bamboo and mato (mud).

Netra Baje doesn’t make these instruments for money, rather he is passionate about transferring the art to youngsters, whom he hopes will carry on his passion and the dying art of making our traditional instruments are conserved.
Mr. Netra Prasad Sharma -  Madal, Damaru, Khaijadi, Kathtal, Khikurim Hatepakha
Netra Prasad Sharma
Netra Baje is particularly popular amongst school going kids, who have often taken his work and showed it as theirs for the compulsory “Work Education” or “Crafts – Haat ko Kaam” classes and secured 1st class marks in their subjects

Netra Baje says “time is precious and we should all make the most of it… you don’t necessarily have to earn money doing something you love… you just need to keep your passion alive.”
Coming from an 84 year old, those are sage advice which we intend to take… and we hope our readers will as well.

If anyone wants to contact him, he can be reached at: 98323-82494

Bijay Sharma, Via: our partner organization The Times Dooars & TheDC


Bibechana Gurung one of the finalist of India's Best Dramebaaz Season Two

1:20 PM
Indian Gorkha, Miss Bibechana (Gungun), one of the finalists of India's Best Dramebaaz Season Two is the pride of gorkhas in India. 12 years old Bibechana Gurung hails from Kurseong and also studies in Dow Hill School in Kurseong.  Her mother is from Bharnabari Tea Garden, Hasimara in ‪‎Dooars.

What is India's Best Dramebaaz?
India's Best Dramebaaz is a Indian reality show. A talent show for children where they will be judged for their acting capabilities. They will also undergo through a series of tasks and challenges which will groom them as actors.

Channel : Zee TV
Days : Sat-Sun
Timings - 09.30pm Onwards

Bibechana Gurung one of the finalist of India's Best Dramebaaz Season Two
About Bibechna Gurung
She lives with her father who is in the police, her mother a homemaker and her elder sister. She started dancing when she was 3 years old and learnt learnt kathak from her mother. She learnt Bharatnatayam and Hip-Hop and considers Madhuri Dixit to be her inspiration. .


‪Darjeeling‬ MP Demands - Land Rights + Minimum Wages Act + BPL Status for Tea Garden Workers in Parliament

9:49 AM
Darjeeling MP Shri. S.S. Ahluwalia yesterday raised the issue of suffering and pain that the tea garden workers in Darjeeling and Dooars have to face.

Highlighting the fact that Darjeeling tea is coveted world over, Mr. Ahluwalia said, "on his recent visit of the Queen of England, our Prime Minister gifted her among other things tea from the Makaibari estate in Darjeeling. While Darjeeling tea is celebrated internationally and was the 1st agricultural product from India to be accorded a Geographical Indicator (GI) status by the WTO, the tea garden workers have continued to languish in abject poverty.

Madam I want to draw your attention, and through you the attention of the Govt of India and the Govt of West Bengal, to the plights and sufferings of the tea garden workers from my constituency of Darjeeling and the adjoining Dooars region.

Since 2002 close to 2000 tea garden workers have starved to death in these tea gardens, and this year alone over 70 tea garden workers have died due to starvation, malnutrition and related diseases. However, nothing has been done to rectify the situation, and to provide assistance to the tea garden workers."
Darjeeling MP Shri. S.S. Ahluwalia
Darjeeling MP Shri. S.S. Ahluwalia
Mr. Ahluwalia stated that the sufferings of the tea garden workers could be directly linked to the Plantations Labor Act of 1951 which is highly feudalistic and nature and called for its amendment, he said, "Plantations across India are guided by the Plantation Labourer Act of 1951, PLA 1951 is heavily tilted in favour of the tea garden owners. So skewed is PLA towards the tea garden owners that, that under Sections 39 and 40, no courts in India (including the Supreme Court) can take any cognizance of any offence undertaken by tea garden management, and can only do so if the “complaint made by, or with the previous sanction in writing of, the chief inspector,” who in most cases is the labour commissioner.

Which means that even the courts cannot interfere against the tea garden management, unless requested to do so by the ‘chief inspectors’ which in today’s term are the ‘labour commissioners’. But the incidences of labour commissioners filling cases against tea garden owners are almost unheard of. The Plantation Labour Act as it stands today, is against the spirit of the Indian constitution and thus should be summarily amended to reflect current realities."

Highlighting the need for granting land rights to the tea garden workers, Shri. Ahluwalia said, "Madam, in addition to the flaws in PLA 1951 which is heavily skewed against the workers, one of the most significant fact working against the welfare of the workers in that the tea garden workers do not own the right to land.

They may live and serve in the tea gardens for generations, but if and when the tea garden owner decides, the worker’s family can be asked to vacate his home and leave the garden. Given which, each tea garden family is expected to send at least one worker to work for the tea garden. This is nothing less than a bonded labour like situation, where the workers have to continue sending their children to work in the gardens, lest they be asked to leave their home, friends and family if they chose not to. Thus, it is most important that the workers are given Land Rights so that they are not subject to whims and fancies of the tea garden owners."

Highlighting the discrepancy in pay that tea garden workers from Darjeeling receive, Mr. Ahluwalia said, "Madam the tea garden workers of Darjeeling and Dooars are the lowest paid workers in the nation. Their salary as it stands today is Rs 112.50 per day. Whereas the minimum wage rates for agricultural workers in West Bengal is Rs 206 per day (with food) for the non-skilled workers, Rs. 228 per day with food for semi-skilled workers, and Rs 252 per day with food for skilled workers [Details: http://bit.ly/1mwBdTX].

Plucking tea, processing them and packaging them require high degree of skills, yet the tea garden workers are only paid Rs 112.50 per day. In comparison the tea garden workers in Kerala get paid a basic wage of Rs 254 per day, in Tamil Nadu it is Rs 209, in Karnataka it is Rs 228, and even in next door Sikkim the workers get paid Rs 220.

I demand that the wages for tea garden workers be set the same for all the tea workers across India, and the minimum wages be set according to current rates."

Highlighting the abysmal state of tea garden governance and management, Shri. Ahluwalia highlighted the stats from a 2013 Govt of West Bengal report, he stated:

Madam the tea companies are expected to provide fringe benefits to the workers, yet an exhaustive survey of 273 tea gardens in the region, by the Govt of West Bengal found that:

87 tea estates could not provide registration certificate/number under Plantation Labour Act. This raises the question whether a large number of estates are being run by fictitious owners

116 tea estates have been run by different management in the last 10 years. Some of these estates are run by the promoters, who do not care for long-term development of the plantations

175 estates do not have labour welfare officers. Five tea estates could not provide registration number granted by Tea Board of India. Leases of 114 tea estates have expired; of them 105 have applied for renewal

41 tea estates did not deposit money towards provident fund contribution in 2012-13. In preceding three years, the numbers were 13, 18 and 24, respectively. In 46 estates total PF dues as part of workers’ contribution are Rs 17.14 crore. In 55 estates dues, as part of management’s contribution, are Rs 33.79 crore

08 tea estates have not paid wages to workers. In 35 estates workers are yet to be paid arrear wages as per last wage settlement. Food rations are due in 35 estates

84 tea estates are getting financial support through the Centrally sponsored employment guarantee scheme, MGNREGS; 22 estates are covered under food subsidy scheme, Antyodaya Anna Yojana

95,835 workers, or 36 per cent of the 262,426 living in tea estates across West Bengal, are yet to be provided with housing facilities as required under the Plantation Labour Act

166 of 273 tea estates have hospitals. The rest depend on visiting doctors. Of the 166, only 56 tea estates have full-time residential doctors and 50 have a nurse. Of the doctors at the 166 tea estates, 92 do not have an MBBS degree

[Details here: http://bit.ly/1S5Swr0]

Shri. Ahluwalia thus demanded:

1. Immediate granting of land rights for all the tea garden workers in Darjeeling and Dooars region.
2. Implementation of minimum wages act in the tea gardens of Darjeeling and Dooars and associated benefits.
3. Declare all tea garden workers as living under Below Poverty Line, until they are included in Minimum Wages Act, and grant them all the facilities and benefits due to those classified under BPL sections.
4. An inter-Ministerial committee comprising of tea garden representatives and local experts (in addition to Govt officials) to study the nature, scope and scale of problems plaguing the tea industry, and to develop a comprehensive plan to revive the tea industry
5. Make comprehensive changes to the PLA to reflect the realities of 2015-16 and to make all those provisions redundant that go against the spirit of our constitution.

8. Allow for immediate amendments to Section 39 and 40 – allowing courts to take cognizance of the offenses in tea gardens.
9. Make it mandatory for the Tea Board of India to provide ration and benefits to the workers, in case of any tea garden owners abandoning their garden.
10. Make it a criminal offense for the tea garden owners to abandon their tea gardens, or fail to provide them necessary wages and benefits that are stipulated by the law.

He also highlighted the failure of estate owners to fulfil statutory benefits for workers, like housing and hospitals.

Following his speech, the TMC MP Mr. Sugata Bose stated that the Bengal government was providing assistance to the tea garden workers, and he said that the Bengal government was willing to change the laws to assist the tea garden workers.

BJP MP Mr. Rajiv Pratap Rudy then supported the issue and requested the Minister for Commerce and Industry Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman to respond.

To which the Hon'ble Minister Sitharam said, "Thank you Madam, the Hon'ble Member has raised a very, very sensitive issue... since last year, this is a matter of great conecrn for us. In fact, I visited North Bengal, particularly, some tea estates from where we have reports of alleged deaths of workers. I have fone and visited and seen the situation then... but certainly the Hon. Member has raised a very, very important issue and a ot of people have also identified and associated themselves. I will come with a comprehensive reply subsiquently."

Via TheDC

Gorkhaland and the turn of 2015 - chat with Gurung

8:59 AM

Writes Jyoti Thapa

A morning chat in New Delhi, 15 December with Bimal Gurung over his achievements in 2015 and what he looks forward to in 2016.

Bimal Gurung, the Chief Executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, is looking slimmer since I last met him a few years ago. He attributes the weight loss to the Gorkhaland Jagran Padyatra that he has undertaken to reach the people of the Darjeeling Hills and Dooars. Non-violent protest marches is the 21st century’s most popular philosophy. The foundation was set eighty-five years ago in British-India, when on 12 March 1930, sixty-one year old Mohandas Gandhi set forth on his historic Salt or Dandi Satyagraha (Truth-Force) march from Ahmedabad to the coastal village of Dandi in Gujerat. The 290 km foot-march triggered the Quit India movement drawing in much attention and admiration as a non-violent form of protest for rightful assertion of justice. Gandhi’s approach of self-suffering to uplift the sufferings of the people continues to influence many national and global leaders till date and Bimal Gurung is one of them.

As the Gorkhaland agitation stretches into a further period of uncertainty, Gurung has launched his long journey to boost the spirit of the hill people, listen to their grievances and reassure faith. The firebrand leader of the demand-for-Gorkhaland-state terms the Padyatra as the most significant event of 2015 for him. He has already notched up 1200km of footsteps starting on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Composed and soft-spoken Gurung reminisces of the pre-2008 era when violence was rife in the hills and how he has succeeded in bringing it down considerably. It may be remembered that Gurung rose to power in 2008, after breaking away from his mentor the late Subhash Ghising, leader of the Gorkha National Liberation Front. Gurung formed the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Party taking over the torch for Gorkhaland and the hopes of the hill people. Between coping with situations at home, the WB State Government and the Central Government, he daily faces the question of when will he deliver Gorkhaland to the people.

Gurung is much satisfied with the Padyatra as he directly gets to meet the people. He seeks to reassure people who were terrified, saying that earlier their leaders would represent them but now he is listening to their issues directly. The march itself is a very taxing ordeal but what keeps him going is that only by suffering himself he can reach the sufferings of the people. Gurung’s Padyatra seeks to keep the hopes of the people’s demand for Gorkhaland alive against all odds.

On the statehood issue, Gurung asserts that the granting of Gorkhaland will create security for India in the most delicate region—the Chicken’s Neck, a narrow corridor through which India connects with the North-eastern states, extremely vulnerable to infiltration as it lies surrounded by three foreign nations, namely Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Where the issue of West Bengal is concerned, Gurung is emphatic that the problem is not with the Indian Bengalis. However, there is no doubt that the Darjeeling Hills is an economically profitable region which the WB state does not want to give up. He says that nobody was ever interested in the region of the Darjeeling Hills till the British from Calcutta decided to build a sanatorium there and try some tea cultivation. Now with its valuable source of tea, tourism and timber the region has become invaluable. But the hill people want their identity as a separate state and not as West Bengal. He has a point there as hills and plains have been and are totally different cultures. That is why it was considered essential to separate the hill states of Himachal Pradesh from Punjab in 1971 and Uttarakhand from Uttar Pradesh in 2000.

Year 2016 for Gurung is to complete the record-breaking 9000 km stretch of the Gorkha Jagran Padyatra. With 7000 odd km more to go he sure has many a mile to walk and talk. It will amount to about two and half months of journeying through backward terrain and some sensitive areas too. It may be recalled here that in February, 2011 while Gurung was conducting a Padyatra in the Dooars, there was police firing on them at Sibchu, resulting in the death of three of the party workers.

Gurung wishes Happy New Year to all with a special message to Gorkhas in all corners of the world ‘Desh-bidesh ma basey bhayo, Hamro Jaati Maya huna parcha’-- ‘Settled in India or abroad, we should always love our community’

Morcha backed Hills, Dooars 12-hour strike successfull

10:25 AM

Dec. 10: The 12-hour strike called by the Darjeeling, Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union and the Progressive Tea Workers' Union today demanding the reopening of Panighata Tea Estate in the Terai and other closed Dooars gardens was total across the hills and near total in the Dooars.

Today, two workers of Panighata garden in Mirik block, around 35km from Siliguri, died. The garden has been shut since October 10.

In Darjeeling and the Dooars, private transport remained off the roads and shops and markets, most educational institutions, banks and private establishments were closed. Government offices were open and attendance was normal.

All tea gardens in the hills were shut but those in the Dooars were open as they were kept out of the strike's purview.

Bimal Gurung, the chief of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha that backs the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union, issued a press release saying the shutdown was successful. "Thank you people for the overwhelming support for general strike called by the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union in Darjeeling and Dooars against the distressed condition of Panighata tea garden and other 20 tea gardens in the Dooars," it read. "From the hills of Darjeeling to Jaigaon (on the India-Bhutan border in Alipurduar), everything remained shut..."

Gurung sought the state's intervention while reiterating the demand for a separate state. "The state government must look into the condition of these tea workers or grant us our separate state so that we can solve the long pending demands of these tea workers," he stated in the release.

The Morcha union had called the strike in the hills. Later, the PTWU joined the agitation and extended its purview to the plains as well.

In the Dooars, bandh supporters picketed Banarhat and Lakkhipara and blocked NH31C. Few government buses ran today. In the morning, some strike supporters blocked the main road to Bhutan in Jaigaon. The protest was withdrawn after police arrival.

"The state is not taking any initiative to see that the estates of the Duncans Goenka Group function properly and the closed tea estates reopen," John Barla, the PTWU president, said. "It (the strike) turned out to be a success."

Unlike the tea strike called by the Joint Forum, a common platform of 24 tea trade unions, on December 1 which was partial, today's strike proved that the Morcha and Barla still have considerable clout in the Dooars. "It is a fresh concern for Trinamul and other political parties," an observer said.

Sourav Chakraborty, the Trinamul president of Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts, said: "The state is putting in the best efforts to provide relief to tea workers and their families in the Duncans Group estates and the closed gardens. The state is sincerely trying to reopen the shut gardens. The strike affected the regular life and economy of the Dooars."

In Darjeeling, Prashant Pradhan, the assistant secretary of the Morcha union, said: "Tomorrow, we will review the strike. If situation remains unchanged in the Dooars and Panighata, we might go for an indefinite hunger strike and a 72-hour general strike."

Yesterday, the state labour department had called meetings with the unions and the Panighata management but no one from the management turned up.

The workers from Panighata who died today are Purna Prasad Chhetri, 50, and Leela Rai, 52. "Purna was weak and died in his home without treatment. Leela had a heart ailment and died at a hospital," Harihar Acharya, the Terai committee president of the Morcha union, said.

Gorkha Students JNU against Starvation Deaths in Hills, Terai and Dooars

1:45 PM
What Lies Behind the Romance of Two Leaves and One Bud: Exploitation and Starvation Deaths!

What every Exquisite Cup of Tea Fails to Narrate is the plight and agony of those workers who have been heavily exploited and marginalized for generations. Beyond the romanticised notions of the beautiful hills and tea estates, the “the two leaves and a bud”, and the “cheerful faces of its people”, what remains Invisible is the Ugly Truth of Sub-Human Wages and Living Conditions, Denial of Basic Rights of Workers, 

More than a Thousand Starvation Deaths and Seething Anger.

Once again the Hills, Terai and Dooars of Gorkhaland are gripped in seething angst when it is forced to witness the misery of its own people in the form of hunger and starvation deaths.  It is outrageous to see the workers of a multi-million industry (tea plantation) dying a slow and painful death due to hunger and starvation. Most deaths are occurring in tea gardens that are owned by the largest corporate houses of Britain and India. Only recently, from April, 2015 till date, 30 workers died due to chronic hunger and starvation in this region. Every tea garden you would visit in free India echoes the cries of those labourers who have been bonded and forced to work at paltry wages. Among many such are the tea gardens of Darjeeling and Dooars whose scenic beauty and unparalleled flavour of tea have gained world reputation, whereas the state of the livelihoods of workers (especially tea-garden labourers) suffering perennial misery and insecurity remain unheard and ignored. The region has remained in grip of the predatory claws of imperialism and colonization which has obscenely exploited its resources, both natural and human in the worst forms. It would be erroneous to estimate the scale of this open loot by factoring in only monetary losses in the form of wages and incomes. In fact, the ramifications of the denial of the same has spilled out to cause starvation (in many cases amounting to death), malnourishment of children, denial of proper education, health care, sanitation and housing, erosion of self-confidence, forced migration for work, sex slavery and human trafficking in the most hazardous industries. Workers have witnessed rampant flouting of labour laws which has made a brazen mockery of their rights. According to law, each tea garden worker must receive, apart from their daily wages, provident fund payments, bonuses, pension (for retired workers), ration, umbrellas and aprons for working, firewood for cooking, housing, electricity, water, medical care and education facilities. The last time the workers got ration in Dhumchipara was in 2011. In Dhumchipara Tea estate in Dooars, a poor woman having two children has been reduced almost to a skeleton due to starvation. These children who have been becoming immobile due to chronic hunger and poor health require at least 750 ml of blood which their family cannot afford. Doctors say, “They may not live long”. Such cases of starvation induced illnesses and death in the tea-gardens of Darjeeling and Dooars are too numerous to quote here.  The irony of this situation is lies in the presence of stark poverty, chronic hunger and exploitation along-side the colossal profits these tea-gardens generate for the owners and the State.  According to an estimate by the Darjeeling Chamber of Commerce, tea industry in the hills generates an average of Rs. 450 crores revenue annually, equal to that of the tourism industry in the region. Absence of workers’ rights, non-payment of minimum wages and benefits is not specific to the tea-industry alone but is rather a persistent feature of work in the highly segment labour-market in India. However, it is pertinent to highlight here the starkly Regional Aspects of Discrimination that lies so strongly visible in the tea industry. The minimum wage paid to unskilled tea labour in Kerala is Rs.301 , in Assam it is Rs.158.54, in neighbouring Sikkim it is Rs. 200 while the same in Darjeeling comes to a meagre Rs.112 . Even the minimum wage paid in West Bengal for MGNREGA is around Rs. 130-151 and for agricultural laborer is Rs. 206 per day. The tea workers in North Bengal are thus made to work for wages which is far below the minimum in any form of work. It is very shrewd on the part of the owners to claim low wages are due to low price being earned from the sales of tea leaves produced from these gardens. If this be the case then why the wages of workers remains same in those tea gardens which fetches the highest price in the world tea market( for instance Rs. 1.1 lakhs per kg of tea is produced by Makaibari tea garden but wages remain still at Rs.112).
Gorkha Students JNU  poster against Starvation Deaths in Hills, Terai and Dooars
Gorkha Students JNU  poster against Starvation Deaths in Hills, Terai and Dooars
In the last decade more than 1400 tea workers have died due to acute malnutrition and starvation. As recent as January 2013, 95 workers of the locked out Dheklapara Tea Estate in Dooars sent a letter to the Chief Minister of West-Bengal seeking her “order” to kill themselves because they were suffering from acute starvation. The tea workers therefore are forced to languish till they die of hunger and malnutrition. Studies show that 70% of the people of the closed tea gardens suffer from chronic energy deficiency III stage. In the gardens affected by starvation death, it was found that workers and their families have Body Mass Index (BMI) identical to those populations affected by severe famine.
 As the tentacles of exploitative markets are always spreading in search of cheap labour; men, women and children in these regions are facing increasing vulnerability to Human Traffickers.  A report of a joint study by UNICEF, Save the Children and Burdwan University (in 2010) estimates 3,500 minors alone were trafficked from 12 gardens of Dooars only. It’s certain that the total number of people forced into sex trade will be much higher when we add up those from Darjeeling Hills and the Terai region.  The Supreme Court’s order dated 06.08.10 categorically directs the Government of India to carry out its statutory duty under Tea Act 1953. The Act mandates the Central Government to take over the management/control of the tea undertakings/units (under section 16 B/D/E) and take steps thereafter to ensure that the interests of the workers are well protected and dues are all paid in time. Sadly the constitutional duty to uphold the ruling of the highest court of the country has not been carried out neither by the Central Government nor by the State Government. Contrary to this the government has even started to privatise a handful of tea gardens which was operated under its supervision.

Beyond some symbolic gestures and tokenism, the larger political establishment has shown apathy and indifference of the highest order in this issue. Labour minister Malay Ghatak denied allegations that there had been deaths from malnutrition and lack of treatment in closed tea gardens and asserted that the government was trying its best to provide relief. If narratives of political establishment are to be believed then it seems that the workers have voluntarily starved themselves to death.

The historic victory (forcing management to increase wages and bonus) by tea estate workers mostly led by women in Munnar, Kerala has shown that only the uncompromising collective struggle can break the status quo and force the tea management/owner  to bow to their demands.

The students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi University (DU), Hyderabad Central University (HCU), Vishva Bharati University (VBU) have expressed their solidarity with the movement of workers and expressed outrage over the horrendous exploitation of workers by big corporate houses. As the workers and trade unions are collectively protesting (from 27th November, 2015), we believe this solidarity statement will strengthen their resolve to fight for their right and also help us bridge the gap between students and workers movements. When Oppressors are always united and consolidated, it is a historic responsibility on our shoulders to unite and fight for a just and egalitarian society!

Gorkha Students, JNU

Gorkhaland is a Need of India - Subash Ghisingh

10:33 AM
The political legacy of Subash Ghisingh i.e. “Treaty of Sugauli, Article 1 & 8 of Indo-Nepal Treaty of 1950, Article 1 (3) C, Article 2 of Indian Constitution and International court of justice Hague” are being used by The Greater Nepal Activist in Nepal to claim its old legitimate Territory from India.

I, still remember once Mr Ghisingh said in his chowk bazar’s speech..., Now Gorkhaland is a Need of India, as India have NO other option BUT to declare Gorkhaland as its union of state under Article 1 (3) C, Article 2 of Indian Constitution as it is only the way out left with India to incorporate the No-man’s land of Darjeeling and Leasehold Land of Kalimpong and Dooars Constitutionally within the Republic of India.

Decoding Article 1 (3) C, Article 2:
Article 1, Name and territory of the Union:
Article (1) = India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States (2) The States and the territories thereof shall be as specified in the First Schedule.] (3) The territory of India shall comprise- (a) the territories of the States; (b) the Union territories specified in the First Schedule; and (c) such other territories as may be acquired.

Article 2 = Admission or establishment of new States.-Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.

Hence, Article 2, Article 1 (3) C here stands with = “The Parliament may by law establish a new state comprise of others / foreign acquired territories"
Subash Ghisingh
Subash Ghisingh
Which means, considering the proposed area of Gorkhaland as unclaimed legally dispute land of Nepal, Bhutan or India; The only option left with Indian to claim the land is to declare the territory of proposed Gorkhaland as its Union of States, considering it to be others acquired territories as per Article – 1 (3) C of Indian Constitution, as it is the only article in our constitution which fits the most to claim the mentioned territories in said circumstances.
The Fate of Indian Gorkhas are waiting for its bad days or good days just like an old graveyard of an unknown soldier.

Watch the video here
Jai Gorkha ! Jai Gorkhaland ! Jai Hind !

Via Gorkhas N Gorkhaland and HAMRO APPA



Three death in Duncans tea gardens where wages and rations are irregular

1:20 PM
Nov. 15: Three persons have died since Friday in two tea gardens of the Duncans Goenka Group where wages and rations have been irregular around eight months.

Family members of the deceased alleged that the three had died because of lack of treatment and proper food. Government officials said two of the three died of tuberculosis.

The deaths at Nagaisuree estate in Jalpaiguri district and Dhumchipara in Alipurduar district raises questions over the efficacy of relief measures announced by the state government in all 14 tea gardens of the Duncans Goenka Group in north Bengal.

Johuran Naik, 50, a worker at Nagaisuree, died at his home on Friday, while Benjamin Munda, 61, breathed his last in the same plantation, Malu Paik, 43, a worker of Dhumchipara, died yesterday.

Since April, the workers and their families of the Duncans gardens - around 75,000 people in total - have been surviving on food and medicines given by the state government as the company has stopped paying wages and providing rations in the 14 gardens because of financial constraints.

Brother Bistar Munda said Benjamin, though, suffering from tuberculosis, had to beg to eat. "My brother would even go out and beg in nearby localities so that he could help us run the family. He was being provided with medicines under a government programme for TB patients. But none of them got proper food required by such patients and they died," Bistar said about Benjamin and Johuran.
Workers in Nagaisuree garden where two persons died. Telegraph picture
Workers in Nagaisuree garden where
 two persons died. Telegraph pictur
e
Malu's neighbours said his wife Gita had left for Delhi in search of a job three months back. "She has neither returned nor communicated with Malu since then. For the past one week, Malu was suffering from fever and had grown weak. He did not have money to go to nearby Birpara for treatment and died yesterday," said Paolina Toppo, a Dhumchipara resident.

Ritesh Lakra, another resident of Dhumchipara, said although a medical team was visiting the garden and examining patients, there was no disbursal of medicines. "If we had money to buy medicines, we would not have waited for anyone's death," he added.

With Malu's death, five persons have died at Dhumchipara in the past two weeks, the workers claimed.

State food minister Jyotipriyo Mallick had launched the distribution of food grains in the Duncans gardens last month.

Prakash Mridha, the chief medical officer of health of Jalpaiguri, said: "The two residents of Nagaisuree were suffering from TB. They were under treatment. There are noreports that they were not getting food and medical help."

The health authorities in Alipurduar district couldn't be contacted for a reaction to Malu's death.

At least 10 people had died at Bagracote, another tea garden owned by the Duncans Goenka Group, in September and October.

The state of the gardens in the Dooars and Terai is a study in contrast with gardens of Darjeeling.

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted tea from the Makaibari garden of Darjeeling to Queen Elizabeth.

While some varieties of Makaibari tea fetches record high prices in the global market, tea from the Dooars and Terai, which are CTC non-flavoured teas, fetch much lesser.

The way the gardens are run in Darjeeling and the Dooars and Terai also paint opposite pictures.

Tea produced in Darjeeling is organic and flavoured.

Annually, around 10 million kg of tea is produced in the Darjeeling hills, known worldwide for its flavour.

Most of this tea is exported to different countries where people drink flavoured tea and thus, Darjeeling tea fetches higher prices. There are 70-odd tea estates in the Darjeeling hills which produce this tea. Given the high demand, there is rarely any funds crisis in these tea estates.

In the Dooars and the Terai, around 300 million kg of tea is produced each year. The CTC variety has no flavour and is not seen as a premium product.

The prices of CTC tea, both in India and outside, is much lower compared to Darjeeling tea.

Altogether, price realisation is low and those manufacturing CTC tea always depend on the volume sold to ensure they get a good earning.

In the past two decades, there were phases when tea estates in the Dooars and Terai suffered because of poor prices at tea auctions. Also, countries like Kenya, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are coming up as new tea growing nations and it is a challenge for CTC tea to compete in the international market.

In her last visit to north Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said if the Duncans group was unable to run its tea estates, the state would take over the gardens. She also said electricity and drinking water supply would be restored in all the 14 gardens.

However, the workers of both Nagaisuree and Dhumchipara said the power and drinking water supply was yet to resume on the two estates.

"The drinking water supply has not been restored in Dhumchipara. We pluck tealeaves and sell them in other gardens. Whatever money we get from the sale is distributed among the workers and a portion of the amount is used to buy diesel to run the water pump. Everyday, we run the pump for two hours and hundreds of residents gather near it to collect drinking water. The labour quarters are yet to get electricity supply," said Bishnu Ghatani, the convener of the Bagan Bachao Committee formed by the Dhumchipara workers.

In Bagrakote, although electricity has been restored at the workers' quarters, the water supply is yet to be normal. "Only a portion of the population in Bagrakote is getting drinking water now. We heard the chief minister saying the state would take over the gardens. When will the state take such a step? Workers are dying everyday," said Laurantus Kerketta, a resident of Bagrakote.

Sources in the tea industry said the state government couldn't take over tea gardens and only the Centre could do it by invoking the Tea Act.

Rajib Dasgupta, the block development officer of Birpara-Madarihat block, said they were trying to restore drinking water supply at Dhumchipara. "Steps have been taken for the distribution of medicines free of cost. Our officers are consistently monitoring the situation in the garden," Dasgupta said.
 
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