Showing posts with label GTA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GTA. Show all posts

पर्जा-पट्टा दिलाउन 3 सदस्यीय कमिटी गठन: ४ जुलाईदेखि आवेदन स्वीकार गरिने।

7:42 AM
पर्जा-पट्टा दिलाउन 3 सदस्यीय कमिटी गठन:
४ जुलाईदेखि पर्जा-पट्टाको आवेदन स्वीकार गरिने।

दार्जीलिङ,१४ अगस्त।

सरकारी जमीनभित्र बसोबासो गर्दै आइरहेको भएतापनि हालसम्म पर्जापट्टा नभएका जीटीएक्षेत्रका वासिन्दाहरूको निम्ति निज गृह, निज भूमि प्रकल्पअन्तर्गत पर्जापट्टा दिलाउने दिशामा गोर्खा जनमुक्ति नारी मोर्चा निक्कै अघाड़ि बड़िसकेको छ। उक्त प्रकल्पमार्फत जीटीएक्षेत्रका वासिन्दाहरूलाई पर्जा-पट्टा  प्रदान गर्नको आधिकारीक तौरमा 3 सदस्यीय कमिटी गठन गरिएको छ भने आगामी 4 जूनदेखि पर्जापट्टाको निम्ति आवेदनहरू पनि स्वीकार गरिने भएको छ।

आज लालकोठीमा पश्चिम बगांल भूमि एवं भूमि सुधार विभागका शीर्षस्थ अधिकारीहरू अनि जीटीएका मुख्य सचिव सुब्रत विश्वास, जीटीए अध्यक्ष विनय तामाङलगायत गोर्खा जनमुक्ति नारी मोर्चाका प्रतिनिधिहरूमाझ एक बैठक बसिएको थियो भने सोही बैठकपछि उक्त निर्णय लिइएको नारी मोर्चा संयोजिका छिरीङ दाहालले जनाएकी छिन्।

दाहालले बताएअनुसार, गत 7 तारीखको दिन जीटीए अध्यक्ष विनय तामाङलाई नारी मोर्चाले यस प्रकल्पबारे अवगत चड़ाउँदै यस विषयमा आवश्यक पहल गर्नुको निम्ति अर्जी चड़ाएको थियो भने जीटीए अध्यक्षले तुरून्तै यसमाथि पहल शुरू गर्नुपर्ने जनाउँदै आजको बैठक आयोजन गरेको थियो। यसैकारण आज 2.30 बजी लालकोठीमा जीटीए एवं भूमि एवं भूमि सुधार विभागका अधिकारीहरूनाझ मा एउटा आधिकारीक बैठक भयो।

आजको उक्त बैठक अति नै सकरात्मक एवं फलदायक बनेको बताउँदै नारी मोर्चा संयोजिका छिरीङ दाहालले अब चाड़ै जीटीएक्षेत्रवासीहरूले आफ्नो जमीनको मालिकाना अधिकार पाउने दावी गरेकी छिन्।

हाम्रो मान्छेहरू सरकारी जमीनमा धेरै बर्षदेखि बसिरहेका छन्। तर पर्जा-पट्टा बिना उक्त जमीन मेरो हो भन्नु हाम्रो गलत धारणा हो। आफ्नो जमीनको आफै मालिक नभइञ्जेल हामी यहाँ हामी सुरक्षित बन्न सक्दैनौं।आफ्नै जग्गामा हामी भूमिहीन भएर संकटजनक स्थितिमा बाँचिरहेका थियौं। अब त्यो संकट हटिरहेको छ।5 डेसिमल सही तर हाम्रा मानिसहरूले आफ्नो पर्जा-पट्टा प्राप्त गर्नेछन्। यही वर्षभित्रमा हाम्रो मानिसहरूको पर्जा-पट्टा दिलाउन हामी प्रतिवद्ध छौं, पत्रकारहरूलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै दाहालले भनिन्।

उल्लेख्य, 2011 सालमा पश्चिम बगांल सरकारले निज भूमि निज गृह प्रकल्प शुरू गरेका थिए जसअन्तर्गत भूमिहीन मानिसहरूलाई प्रतिव्यक्ति 5 डेसिमल सरकारी जमीनको पर्जा-पट्टा प्रदान गरिने प्रावधान रहेको छ भने हालसम्म दार्जीलिङ पहाड़का कतिपय क्षेत्रहरूमा उक्त प्रकल्पको निम्ति प्रक्रिया शुरू गरिएको भएतापनि सम्पूर्ण जीटीएक्षेत्रभरि नै उक्त प्रकल्प लागु गर्नुपर्ने माग नारी मोर्चाले चर्काइरहेका छन्।

छिरीङ दाहाले बताएअनुसार, पर्जा-पट्टाको प्रक्रिया शुरू गर्नको निम्ति अब जीटीएक्षेत्रका कूल 8 वटा ब्लकमा नै 3 सदस्यीय कमिटी बनाइनेछ। उक्त तीन सदस्यीय कमिटीमा बीएलएलआरओ, बीडीओ अनि एकजना बीओए सदस्य रहनेछन्। प्रत्येक ब्लकमा आगामी 4 जूनदेखि उक्त प्रकल्पका आवेदनहरू शुरू गरिनेछ भने आधिकारीकरूमा आवेदन फारम वितरण गरिनेछ। सरकारी जमीन चाहे त्यो चियाकमान होस् या अन्य कुनै पनि सरकारी जमीनमा बसोबासो गर्ने भूमिहीनहरूले आवेदन बुझाउनसक्नेछन्। 4 जून पछि 3 साताभित्रमा सबै आवेदनहरू लिइसक्नेछ भने त्यसपछि जाँचकार्य गरेर बीएलएलआरओद्वारा जीटीए अध्यक्षलाई बुझाउनेछन्। जीटीए अध्यक्षको अनुमोदनपछि त्यसपछि जिल्ला प्रशासनले पर्जा-पट्टाको प्रक्रिया अघि बड़ाउनेछ।

आगामी 18 मईको दिन जीटीए अध्यक्षले उक्त तीन सदस्यीय कमिटीका सदस्यहरूसित बैठक बसी आवश्यक निर्देश एवं चर्चा-परिचर्चा गर्ने पनि छिरीङ दाहालले जनाएकी छिन्।

हरेक जनाले रूचि देखाएर यस प्रक्रियालाई सफल बनाउन व्यक्तिगतरूपमा पनि सहभागी बनिदिने पनि उनले सबैलाई आह्वान गरेकी छिन् भने नारी मोर्चाले पनि पूर्ण तत्परताको साथमा यस कार्यको निम्ति खट्ने पनि उनको भनाइ छ।

मिरिक नगरपालिकामा भूमिहीनहरूलाई लीज दिने प्रक्रिया चलिरहेको उल्लेख गर्दै दार्जीलिङ, खऱसाङ अनि कालेबुङ नगरपालिकाहरूले पनि चाड़ै यो प्रक्रिया शुरू गर्नुपर्ने पनि उनले माग गरिन् भने वनवासीहरूलाई पर्जा-पट्टा प्रदान गरिनुपर्ने विषयमा आजको सभामा चर्चा भएको उनको भनाइ छ। वनवासीहरूलाई पर्जा-पट्टाको मुद्दा हालमा जीटीएको पहलमा नै वन मन्त्रालयमा पुगेको र विचाराधीन अवस्थामा रहेको जीटीए अध्यक्षले बताएको दाहालले बताइन्। कानूनमुताविक वनवासीहरूलाई पट्टा दिनुको निम्ति ग्राम पञ्चायत हुन आवश्यक रहेको छ तर दागोपापकै कालमा 2005 सालदेखि  पहाड़मा पञ्चायत चुनाउ नभएको गर्दा वनवासीहरूलाई पट्टा प्रदान गर्न समस्या भइरहेको छ तथापि जीटीएको पक्षबाट सम्बन्धित क्षेत्रहरूका विधायकहरूलाई सदस्य बनाएर वनवासीहरूको पर्जा-पट्टा प्रदान गरिनुपर्ने माग जीटीएले उठाइरहेको र यही वर्षभित्रमा 168 वटै वनबस्तीहरूलाई पर्जा-पट्टा दिलाएरै छोड़्ने आजको सभामा जीटीए अध्यक्ष विनय तामाङले प्रतिवद्धता जाहेर गरेको पनि छिरीङ दाहालले बताएकी छिन्।

साभार:- प्रतिबिम्ब न्युज

Gorkhaland 2017: When Miracles Failed and Criticism Invited FIRs

8:28 AM

Writes - @oyeketa

During the 104 days of the shutdown, Darjeeling experienced what every political uprising faces - blockades, food scarcity, police brutality, unlawful arrests, media-blackout, and everything else that can make any movement fall on its knees. But, what broke the back of Gorkhaland agitation in 2017 was its dependence on the ‘miracles of Delhi’ and lack of vision of the incumbent Hills leadership. When the miracle story failed to deliver, the incumbent Hills leadership had to run for covers, lost its credibility, and were exposed for their gross mismanagement Gorkhaland administration in 10-years tenure.

Everybody believed that the GTA, with all its limitation, could have brought major changes in the region. However, the ruling party of the Hills chose to sleep through it for 10 years, before being alarmed by the end their term. The fact is that the politicians never took GTA seriously, and it was only used as an excuse to embalm the egos self-proclaimed leaders.

It was not the public who needed Miracles, it was the Leaders. The public was tired equally of a failed leadership, as it was of the Police brutality. Tragically, the frustration reached a level where the public simply didn’t care. Leaders who were till now sitting on the fence until now too timid to speak up suddenly found a reason to rejuvenate when the promised Miracles failed to arrive and they quickly jumped into the pool.

Without a strong or accountable leader on the ground, rising food scarcity, it was just about a matter of time before the public would receive with both arms whatever little they get from the State government. Today, there is a semblance of normality in Darjeeling Hills, restored through a proxy administration, special economic packages and even forceful coercion. Democracy is yet to shine. But is Darjeeling happy and smiling? I will leave that for you to answer.

Amidst the deaths, heavy police crack-down, and economic hardships, Darjeeling lost control of the Gorkhaland issue and the movement had to be outsourced to people and organizations living outside the region. Starting June 2017, the Gorkhaland movement had its own little 'Arab Spring' moment, whereby the movement which till now was confined to the Hills, spread like wildfire across the globe. It was for the first time in its history of 107-years that Nepali-speaking people of the world came together to show their solidarity and support for the movement. Right from Manipur to Mumbai, and Bangaluru to Kashmir and Kathmandu, UAE, North America, Israel, Hongkong, and Europe, people stood up for Darjeeling. All thanks to Interment and Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and WhatsApp.

It is highly debatable whether the global outcry and Facebookization of Gorkhaland issue actually benefitted the movement. But, thanks to the mobilization, funds were collected to send food to the Hills during the shutdown and to organize legal aid for any other assistance victims. Neither the fund recipients nor the donors are talking about it, is a different matter altogether.

One section of the public is happy and satisfied to see their Social Media walls filled with Gorkhaland protests and support across the globe. Movement supporters and sympathizers were able to speak up, disagree, and even exchange ideas. At the surface, it appeared that the Gorkhaland movement has finally opened up for democratic reforms where people could share ideas and collaborate.

However, there is another section that thinks while the publicity was good, it has created further divisions and polarized groups into extremes. The Leadership vacuum in the 2017 agitation has opened grounds for different individuals and organizations to assume a leadership position. Certainly, ‘the more, the merrier’ did not bring any good. The coveted Gorkhaland leadership soon became the tug-of-war, and the actual issue gets sidelined. The problem becomes dangerous when each group begins to think of themselves as the saviour of the Gorkhaland movement, the place, and its people.

The Politics of Criticism:

Some individuals, parties, and groups spearheading the 2017 agitation grew bigger than the ‘Cause’ itself. And as is the routine, when you become big and powerful, you don’t like dissenters. Any chapter of a history book is full of such example, and Gorkhaland is no exception.

We have witnessed right from the 1980s, that Gorkhaland has very little tolerance for opposition and criticism. The forceful exodus of dissenters, political murders, and persecution are normal to us.

Legal jargons and constitutional terminologies were also a mainstay of the 2017 agitation. The level of legal consciousness is highly praiseworthy but becomes worrisome when it also becomes a tool for threatening anyone who raises a question or criticizes a move. Court notices, FIRs, threats of defamation have been used against one another by those who claim to fight for Gorkhaland.

From a condescending ‘your criticism makes us strong’ to filing FIRs, and threats of defamation became the new tool against those criticizing and demanding accountability. Legal notices, court orders, were sent for criticizing leaders, organization, or even seeking financial accountability. The only difference from the past is that it is done in a much more polite and sophisticated manner than in the past. The underlying message remains the same though – Fall in Line or you Shall be brought down.

So, the bigger question is 'what about Gorkhaland? What good did the global outcry yield for Darjeeling? Are the problems of education, economic sustenance, poverty, employment, any better now? What about the people who sent truckloads of food during the shutdown? Will they need another shutdown to be awakened again? Are we doing anything to uplift education? Is any group adopting villages and schools that was planned so much during the emergency? Is anyone volunteering to help students improve?

To be honest, I cannot sacrifice my comfortable job and life to worry about these petty things. When there is another emergency, I shall send whatever is possible and will help with likes and shares on Social media. What will you Do?

Via TheDC

GTA2 to reorganise the engineering division

7:06 AM
GTA pops decentralise pill

Vivek Chhetri (The Telegaph)

Darjeeling: The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has decided to decentralise some functions to ensure better governance at the hill body, which many believe was directionless in the previous regime.

Binay Tamang, chairman, board of administrators, GTA today held an administrative meeting in Kalimpong, which was attended by the board members and senior GTA officials including Subrata Biswas, principal secretary and C. Murugan, secretary of the hill body among others.

Saran Gurung, media executive, GTA,said: "The GTA has decided to reorganise  the engineering division and henceforth, there would be an engineering cell at each block which would be monitored by a centralised engineering cell."
Binay Tamang with Mamata Banerjee
Binay Tamang with Mamata Banerjee

There are eight blocks within GTA's territorial jurisdiction and so far a centralised engineering department was largely overseeing all works in the GTA area. "The engineering cell is among the most important wings of the GTA and we have decided to decentralised this cell for better governance," said Gurung.

It has also been decided that sub-assistant engineers will have to make weekly visits to various sites, assistant engineers have to visit fortnightly and executive engineers have to make field visit every month.

"The engineers will have to maintain site visit book and the progress needs to be reported to high authorities regularly. Agencies would not perform will be blacklisted and terminated with immediate effect," said Gurung.

Rs 26 crore for Darjeeling hill schools

7:08 AM

Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling: The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has decided to invest around Rs 26 crore to build 56 school buildings across the Darjeeling hills.

Amar Singh Rai, Darjeeling MLA and member of the education department of the GTA's board of administrators, said: "Under the Sarva Siksha Mission, the GTA has decided to construct 20 primary school buildings and 36 upper primary school buildings. Tenders have already been floated."

Upper primary schools have classes till VIII.

Sources said that primary schools building would be built at a cost of Rs 28 lakh each while construction of a upper primary school building would cost of Rs 58 lakh.

In total, Rs 5.6 crore will be spent on building primary schools and Rs 20.88 crore for upper primary school buildings.

Rai said: "Our aim has been to give a major thrust in education in the hills. We have identified those schools which are situated in far-flung areas of the hills. The GTA is holding continuous meeting with the state government on various developmental initiatives."

" Following the meetings with the state government, it has been decided that 99 school buildings will be constructed in the hills. The 56 buildings that are being constructed is part of the first phase of work," Rai added.

The minister informed that the GTA was working in tandem with the state government to ensure that the educational standard is improved in the hills.

"We are committed to improving education in the hills and regain the past glory. We will go our best and will place our progress report before the public for them to judge," he said.

In the last couple of months, the state government and the GTA has regularised jobs of 137 ad-hoc teachers.

In January, Binay Tamang, the GTA chairman of the board of administrator, had handed approval letters to 429 secondary teachers, solving a decade long problem.

The secondary teachers had been given appointment in various hill schools in 2010 by the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council but with the approval only coming from DGHC education secretary and not the district inspector of schools, the teacher's post retirement benefits were in doubt.

However, with the DI giving its approval, after the GTA pursued the issue, the secondary teachers problem have also been solved.

Via Telegraph

500 crores for GTA

12:27 PM

Since the month of June, the Gorkhaland Agitation has damaged and destroyed many Government and private properties in the Darjeeling hills. Within this three months, many violent incidents took place like burning down of the offices, properties, conducting raids and many others.As a result, the loss of the total properties approximately is more than one thousand crores.

The Chairman of GTA Binay Tamang had demanded the allocation of fund to the State Government for the initiation of renovating works of the damaged properties and also to restart the various development works which have been in complete halt since June in the hills.

Responding to the same the Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee has allocated Rs 500 crores for the development of hills yesterday.Chief Minister has clearly said that the above fund has to be utilized in a proper way, especially keeping in mind the cleanliness of the hills.

According to their plan, the GTA has to submit the fund utilization certificate to the State government. After that, the State Government will again allocate the funds.

As per source, the GTA members are quite satisfied with 500 crores allocated by the State government for the development of the hills.

Via Darjeelinghills

Bengali optional in hills: CM Mamata Banerjee

4:48 PM

-BIRESWAR BANERJEE

Mirik, June 5: Mamata Banerjee today said Bengali would not be compulsory at schools in the Darjeeling hills and in certain areas of the Dooars and the Terai.

The chief minister's about-turn is perceived to be aimed at meeting the twin objectives of soothing the frayed nerves in the hills and retaining the advantage Trinamul had made in recent civic polls.

Despite Mamata's announcement, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha said it would continue to hold processions across the hills till June 8 on the language issue.

Mamata made the announcement at a government programme here amidst an agitation launched by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on the language issue.

"Some persons here are playing politics and trying to divide people. The GTA elections are ahead and as they lack a proper issue, they are spreading rumours. We want to make it clear that Bengali will not be a compulsory language in the hills and in some parts of the Terai and the Dooars," Mamata said.

After the state government had made public its plan to make learning of Bengali compulsory at schools, Mamata and education minister Partha Chatterjee said the decision would be applicable to the hills as well.

However, the chief minister made a U-turn in Mirik today and said Bengali would be the fourth language in the hills.

"If Bengalis can read Nepali, then why can't Gorkhas read Bengali? We want to keep Bengali as an optional language as students in the hills need to know Bengali. In due course, when they will move out to other parts of the state for jobs, this learning will help them. It will be an optional language here," she said.

The change in the decision, observers said, was necessary to ensure that the hills did not shun Trinamul that had just won Mirik municipality and some seats in three other hill civic bodies.

"The decision had led to protests in the hills and the Morcha that was a bit upset after losing Mirik to Trinamul got a pertinent issue to revive its support base. After today's announcement, the situation has again become favourable for Trinamul," an observer said.

Mamata also said the state government would audit the spending of funds by the GTA that is administered by the Morcha.

(Via:Telegraph )

WILL NOT SPARE GTA IF GOVERNMENT’S MONEY FOUND MISUSED - MAMATA

9:42 AM

Kolkata, June 5 (IANS) Coming down heavily on the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration – the development body in the north West Bengal hills, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced a special audit to check how it has utilised the government aids and a punishment ifany discrepancies are found.

“I have decided to run a special audit on the money that GTA received from the government. If GTA has stolen money, I will not spare them. This is common man’s money,” Banerjee said at a public meeting in Darjeeling district’s Mirik.

“I have instructed the Finance Department to run a special audit on how the money has been used. If they have done a good job, we will reward them. But if we find some discrepancy, we will not spare even the secretary of the GTA,” she said.

The Trinamool Congress supremo also attacked the semi-autonomous administrative body on the issue of the state government’s new three language policy.

Claiming that she has never said Bengali would be compulsory in the hills, Banerjee alleged that GTA is spreading “such lies” to create a divide between Bengalis and Nepalis of the region, as they do not have any other political issues.

“I have never said that Bengali would be compulsory in the hills. This is 100 percent lie. I haven’t seen such a liar in my life who always resort to the politics of lies. (Gorkha National Liberation Front chief Subash) Ghising was not like this,” Banerjee said in a veiled reference to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung.

The Ghising-led GNLF was in the forefront of the movement for a separate Gorkhaland since the 1980s, but lost its dominance to the GJM in 2008.

On July 18, 2011, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM, and the state and central governments for setting up a new autonomous, elected GTA, a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) formed in the late 1980s.

The GJM won the first GTA elections held in 2012, and is running the board since then.

“The GTA election is approaching and they have no other issues. That is why they are resorting to this sort of politics. They are trying to divide the Bengalis and Nepalis here,” she claimed.

Pointing out that the state government has never objected to the students of the hills learning Nepali, Banerjee said it is important to know a little bit of Bengali to get job elsewhere in the state.

“We have never asked the students of the hills to stop learning Nepali, Hindi or English. It is always better to know as many languages as possible. But if we do not keep Bengali as an option, how would you people come to the other places in Bengal and work there?” she asked.

“In a Nepali-speaking region, knowing Nepali is important but in Bengal, knowing a little bit of Bengali is also important,” she added.

[Via: IANS]

Why has the demand for Gorkhaland returned to Darjeeling?

9:52 AM
Why has the demand for Gorkhaland returned to Darjeeling?

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal

The demand for a seperate Gorkha state is an issue that since its first origins in the 1970s has dictated politics in the hills.

September 28, 2016  In 2009, Mamata Banerjee’s proximity to Bimal Gurung was a cause of great concern for the Left. At the time, Gurung-led GJM had perfected the bandh-boycott movement in their Gorkhaland movement – indefinite shutdowns, boycotting government taxes, telephone, electricity bills, blocking national highways to paralysing panchayats. As a 12-hour bandh returns to Darjeeling, it is apparent that while a lot has changed since 2009 – some things haven’t.

Prime among them is the sheer fervor of the Gorkhaland demand – a fervor that Bimal Gurung, now on the back foot hopes will provide him enough ammo to combat friend-turned-foe Mamata Banerjee as she continues her tactic of dividing the hills, combining development with the creation of different boards. Meanwhile, Darjeeling waits, anxiously.
demand for Gorkhaland
Demand for Gorkhaland a file Photo

Bimal Gurung and Gorkhaland, today
On the face of it, the 2016 Assembly elections were a victory for Bimal Gurung. But the party’s performance – particularly in Kalimpong, which had historically been Gurung’s political backyard – have left the party worried. Even more worrying is the string of senior party leaders fleeing ship and joining the Trinamool Congress, including GTA chairman Pradeep Pradhan, joining the TMC. Unsurprisingly Gurung relaunched the Gorkhaland demand, while simultaneously filing a plea in the Supreme Court challenging the West Bengal government’s refusal to transfer administrative power and various subjects to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, in spite of a tripartite agreement that was reached within the state and union governments in 2011.

Gurung’s dominance of politics in Darjeeling began in 2007, with him emerging as the voice for the demand for a seperate Gorkha state, the issue that since its first origins in the 1970s has dictated politics in the hills. The movement had seen its most violent phase between 1986-88 when Subhash Ghishing’s Gorkha National Liberation Front lead the movement, until his lieutenant Gurung began his own party with the GJM in 2007. Journalist and long time observer Romit Bagchi, in his book, “Gorkhaland: Crisis of Statehood” points out that the “singular quality” that allowed Gurung to replace Ghising’s leadership was “his invincible loyalty to the paramount cause of the community” – the demand for statehood. Writing in 2009, Bagchi predicts that “people would not accept a mellowed Bimal Gurung who speaks the voice of reason and restraint”.

His opposition believes that Gurung’s popularity has been waning, with many believing that he fell into the very trap of “reason and restraint” while joining hands with the Trinamool. Now, Gurung knows that he’s cornered by Trinamool Congress – who has begun a tactic of ‘divide and rule’ – that has left him virtually alone. His decision to relaunch the Gorkhaland protest – with bandhs and boycoots – is not just a case of ensuring political relevance, but also a return to the form of politics that he is most familiar with.

Mamata Banerjee’s tactics
Meanwhile Mamata Banerjee’s politics, of divide-and-rule combined with the unwavering rhetoric of development (which the opposition alleges is just that, rhetoric) has allowed her to make inroads into the hills. On October 2009, Mamata Banerjee – the then rail minister – flagged off the long awaited New Jalpaiguri-Digha Weekly Express and said that the railway link between Darjeeling hills and the sea would usher in a “new era” with “enormous possibilities” and “fresh employment opportunities”. In the past six years, none of this has changed. In her last speech in Kalimpong, Banerjee announced the government’s decision to accord Kalimpong seperate district status, a longstanding demand of the area while once again launching into a speech laden with the rhetoric of development. A slew of new announcements and projects, along with the customary call for “peace” – Banerjee’s politics seems unchanged.

But in the run up to the 2016 elections, Banerjee started announcing the creation of development boards for different communities living in Darjeeling – the Lepcha Development Board and the Tamang Development Board. This apart from the GTA which is responsible for governing the whole of Darjeeling district. While the Gorkhas remain the dominant community here, the Lepchas, Limpus, Tamangs, Bhutias, Rais, Dukpas, Sherpas, and Tibetans also form a sizeable population. In the speech at Kalimpong, Banerjee announced, “More boards will be announced”

Via indianexpress

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) threatens bandh in the Hills, Mamata warns no violence

8:19 AM
23rd Sep 2016 Darjeeling Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung has threatened to go for a bandh in the Hills on 23 September if Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee fails to give detail break up of this Rs 4000 crore which, according to the chief minister, has been given to the GTA.

"You carry forward several development schemes which you have already taken up. Our government will give money for such schemes. Don't worry for money. You just go ahead with your goals for developing the Hills," the chief minister Mamata Banerjee said, making it clear that her government would not allow any disruption in the ongoing development in Darjeeling.
Battle between Mamata and  Bimal Gurung
"Yesterday, she had announced that her government has given Rs 4000 crore to the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA). We want a detail break up of this Rs 4000 crore which, according to the chief minister, has been given to the GTA. If the chief minister Mamata Banerjee fails to give any break-up by September 27, we will go for bandhs in Darjeeling from September 28," Gurung said on Friday.

According to a PTI report, GJM chief Bimal Gurung said that CM stated that Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) was given Rs 4000 crore by the state government and that the CM should give details of the money spent.

"Let her give the details of the amount by 27 September. Failing which we will call a bandh on 28 September," he said.

"The state government is forcing us to call a strike," Gurung said in Darjeeling around 1pm today. "An atmosphere of agitation is building up in the hills. Tourists should check the situation before making their travel plans," he added.

Around two hours later in Kalimpong, Mamata said she would not allow any shutdown.

"There will be no bandh. We will not allow negative and disruptive politics," Mamata said, before specifying why tourism was so important for the livelihood of the people in the hills.

Following the call for bandh, Mamata threatened that her government will not allow any bandh in the Darjeeling Hills and will resist any attempts to disrupt the development activities in the region.

Banerjee said that instead of working for development, they are indulging in politics.

"We want peace in hills. We will not allow violence. Enough is enough. We must work for development. We have developed Lamahatta, Mirik, Tiger Hill, Lava Lolegaon. But they want to destroy it all by violence," she said.

"We will not stop the process of development in the hills. We want people to get employment. We are here to address the issues of the hills. If the hills smile, we will smile," she said.

Gurung - already reeling from a spate of defections from the Morcha to Trinamul - said today: "It is not good for a chief minister to speak in excitement. She has given us Rs 238 crore for the development of the hills in the past four years and now, she claims that she has given Rs 4,000 crore. Even if she includes the salaries of staff and administrative expenses, the figure is a lie," said Gurung.

Morcha leaders today rolled out a set of numbers to drill holes into Mamata's claims. Government sources also produced their fact sheet to prove the chief minister's point (see chart).

Amid the debate on whose numbers were right, Gurung issued the strike threat, first call of the kind from the Morcha after more than three years. The last phase of the shutdown went on for a month till September 10, 2013, over the Gorkhaland demand.

The chief minister has announced to set up a development board for the Gurungs in Darjeeling. Mamata  has already formed development boards for ten tribal groups in Darjeeling including Lepchas,Bhutias, Tamangs. Now she has announced to set up Gurung development board in Darjeeling after the Pujas.

He took care to explain the two other reasons behind the strike call - increasing interference in the affairs of the hills by the state government and an alleged attempt to divide the community.

Although Morcha leaders tried to stress that the main reason behind the strike call was to expose the state government, an official said the threat was an indicator that Gurung was getting increasingly restless with the turn of events.

"He is realising that he is losing control over the hills and the strike call is a desperate attempt by him to remain relevant. The state government would not let the strike happen and a confrontation is imminent," said the officer.

To start with, the Trinamul Congress is gnawing at the Morcha's support base by forming development boards.

During the last Assembly elections, the Morcha's winning margin in the three hill constituencies fell by 68.5 per cent, compared to the 2011 results

"The civic and panchayat elections will take place in a few months. Of the four civic bodies in the hills, we are comfortably ahead of the Morcha in Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik. Didi has endeared herself to the rural people in the hills through repeated visits. Gurung is doing all this to retain his turf. He is scared," said a Trinamul insider.

According to him, Gurung is aware that the GTA would become redundant if Trinamul performs well in the civic and panchayat polls as major government projects could be carried out through these elected bodies.

The GTA has already become a fringe player in the hills as the state government is using the development boards to shower benefits on various communities. Today, Mamata handed over a cheque for Rs 10 crore to the Tamang body to build houses for the poor before inaugurating a youth hostel.

"All the development boards are with us. Harka (Bahadur Chhetri, a former Morcha leader) is with us... Bharati Pradhan is with us. Ghisingh's son is with us. We have the support of the hills," said Mamata.

Tomorrow, Trinamul will deal another blow to the Morcha as PWD and youth affairs minister Aroop Biswas will preside over a programme, where hundreds of Morcha supporters would join the ruling party.

Various sources

Roshan Giri's Effigy burnt in Darjeeling

3:05 PM
DARJEELING 24 Aug 2016 More than 200 voluntary teachers of primary schools in the hills today burned the effigy of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Sabhasad Roshan Giri in Darjeeling town and submitted a mass resignation from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, the party they were linked to.

Five hundred and nineteen teachers are presently serving voluntarily in 129 junior, high and higher secondary schools in the hills over the last 10-15 years. Now, these teachers, under the aegis of the Janmukti Insecure Secondary Teachers' Organisation (JISTO), want to be regularised. On July 8, the GJM disbanded the JISTO’s ‘movement committee’, a sub-unit that was spearheading the  regularisation demand after it went vocal about the party leadership’s inability to solve the issue.

The JISTO had issued an ultimatum to the GJM and the GTA to find a permanent solution failing which the unit had threatened to leave the party. “He (Giri) should quit as a Sabhasad on moral grounds, as he has failed to help us. Of what use is the GTA if it cannot even solve small issues like ours?” said Amit Gurung, spokesperson for the voluntary teachers.

Giri is the GTA Sabhasad in-charge of the education department and is also the GJM general secretary. A rally was organised by the voluntary teachers after which Giri’s effigy was burnt in Chowk Bazar  in protest.

The GJM general secretary though, was unfazed and said it was up to the voluntary teachers to do what they wanted. “If they (JISTO) want to burn my effigy, then who am I to stop them? If burning my effigy will fulfill them their demand, they are most welcome to do so,” retorted Giri when asked to comment.

On June 5, the GTA Sabhasad had met state education minister Partha Chatterjee in Kolkata and got an assurance that the process to regularise the voluntary teachers would be started as soon as the  state’s chief secretary gave direction to that effect. However, before that, on May 20, the joint secretary of the state school education department wrote to the home and hill affairs department saying  regularisation, absorption and appointment of voluntary teachers in the GTA could not be entertained until they secure their candidature through the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC). But the SSC  has remained non-functional since 2003 in the hills.

Meanwhile, seven members of the Gorkha Janmukti Vidhyatrhi Morcha (GJVM) started an indefinite relay hunger strike today in Darjeeling in support of the demand for a separate state. The youth front has said this is to send a message to the central government. “We have nothing to do with the state government as the matter of giving a separate state lies with the Centre. Modiji has already said that the dreams of the Gorkhas were his too. So we want the central government to fulfill our demand,” said Satyam Lama, the GJVM president.

(EOIC)

Bimal Gurung's announcement to quit the GTA a "political gimmick" - Mamata Banerjee

10:42 AM
Writes Bireswar Banerjee

Siliguri, Aug. 24: Mamata Banerjee today termed as "political gimmick" Bimal Gurung's recent announcement that he would quit the GTA within three months.

The GTA chief executive had said on August 18 that he would quit the hill body "in the next two to two-and-a-half months" and start an agitation for a separate state.

Gurung had told a news conference that he was making the statement without consulting other GTA Sabha members or the central committee of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Asked about Gurung's statement, Mamata said at Sukna today: "This is just a political gimmick because whenever an election approaches in the hills, such announcements are made, as if they are opting for a voluntary retirement scheme. Municipality elections are due in January or February next year in the hills. Panchayat polls are also scheduled for that time, after which election to the GTA will be held."

During the last phase of the Gorkhaland movement in 2013, Gurung had resigned as the chief executive of the hill body on July 30 but again assumed office on December 26 the same year.

Gurung had repeatedly been saying at almost every public meeting that he was not interested in any position. "If I was bothered about the GTA chair, I could have developed a very close relation with the state government and lived comfortably," Gurung said on August 18.

Mamata said today that there was no place for armed movements in a democracy. She said any armed movement in the hills would be dealt with according to the law.

"I am always in favour of development and against any armed movement. But it is under some influence or sometime even with the help of Delhi that such issues are raised, which I think common people of the hills will not support. So many tourists are expected to come to the hills during Durga Puja and Diwali, which will help generate income for traders and residents. In case there is an armed movement, the law will take its own course," she said.

Gurung hadn't said yet that he would launch an armed movement for Gorkhaland.

Asked about the kind of agitation he had in mind on August 18, the Morcha president said: "The type of agitation, its form, everything will be known as and when it is decided."

Addressing a public meeting in Darjeeling on August 7, the Morcha president had urged the hills youths to "talk their hearts out", making an indirect reference to a movement.

Today, Mamata didn't refer to any of those statements by Gurung.

She welcomed GTA Sabha chairman and Morcha vice-president Pradip Pradhan joining Trinamul Congress today.

"There are so many talented people in the hills. They should come forward and take part in the development of the hills, which are lagging behind in growth by more than 25 years. We are discharging our duties and responsibilities. If we get a chance in future, we will make the hills prosperous," said Mamata.
Mamata said she might visit Kalimpong in September. "There is an annual programme of Lepcha community in Kalimpong and apart from that, Kalimpong will be a new district. Keeping these things in view, I may visit Kalimpong next month," she said.

Asked about Mamata's comments: Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said: "It is our right to decide when to resign or not. We don't need to seek permission from Mamata Banerjee in this regard."

He went on: "The demand of Gorkhaland has not been dropped and this has also been mentioned in the memorandum of agreement of the GTA. It is our constitutional and democratic right to demand Gorkhaland. Our agitation will be peaceful and democratic in nature."

Referring to Mamata's statement that municipal and panchayat polls would be held simultaneously early next year in the hills, he said: "We believe in democratic processes. Regarding, panchayat elections, it has been mentioned in the GTA agreement that a three-tier election will be held in the hills. We will welcome the three-tier election as we want the state government to honour the GTA agreement."

Via telegraph


Pradip Pradhan joined Trinamul blaming GJM not delivering on its promise

10:19 AM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Aug. 24: Bhupendra Pradhan, a founder member of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the GTA chairperson, today joined Trinamul, blaming the hill party for failing to deliver on its promise of development.

Pradhan, who is better known as Pradip, joined the state's ruling party in the public meeting at the Kurseong Motor Stand in the presence of Trinamul minister Aroop Biswas.

Pradhan said his decision to join the Trinamul was to ensure development in the hills, particularly Kurseong. He accused the Morcha of failing to carry out any development work in the past four years.

The GTA elections are expected to be held around July 2017. The Morcha today decided to expel Pradhan.

The hill leader arrived at the venue in the car of Biswas, who is Trinamul's observer for north Bengal.

He said the Morcha leadership was not sincere about the Gorkhaland demand and added that if a sincere leader comes ahead for statehood, he would definitely support the demand.

"In the past four years, we have been able to do nothing for the hills. I have had a talk with Mamata Banerjee and she has promised to look into issues related to the development of Kurseong. I have also raised the issue of granting district status to Kurseong. I am confident that with the TMC, there will be development here," Pradhan said.

He, however, said that if development was not ushered in even by Trinamul, he could think of leaving his new party too.

Pradhan accused the Morcha of corruption, saying some party leaders "did not have the means to even buy a good brand of cigarettes" but now "when they go to Bagdogra airport they enquire about the cost of a helicopter run by the Sikkim government. Where has this confidence come from?"

At the sidelines of the meeting, Pradhan said Bimal Gurung would not resign from the GTA as he had recently threatened. "He will not resign, note it down, as there is money in GTA," Pradhan said.

Pradhan urged the people to ponder over why Harka Bahadur Chhetri, Anmole Prasad, Trilok Dewan and Amar Lama had left the hill's biggest party.

Pradhan said in the next three months, the Morcha will have "only 20 per cent support" in the hills.

Morcha to oust Pradhan
The central committee of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today decided to expel Bhupendra Pradhan, popularly known as Pradip Pradhan, who switched to Trinamul today, from the party.

Soon after the central committee session, the GTA Sabha members met at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan and submitted a written request to the GTA Sabha vice-chairman, Lopsang Yolmo, to convene a special meeting where, sources said, they would seek the removal of Pradhan as the GTA chairman.

The meeting is likely to be held on August 26.

Morcha general secretary and the GTA Sabha member in-charge of education, Roshan Giri, said: "At the central committee meeting, we discussed the Gorkhaland issue. The party has also decided to expel Pradip Pradhan from the primary membership."

A source in the GTA said: "According to Section 37 of the GTA Act, a special meeting can be requisitioned by one-third of the Sabha members and once the vice-chairman convenes a meeting, the chairman can be removed by a resolution adopted by a simple majority of the total number of elected members of the GTA Sabha."

There are 45 elected members in the GTA Sabha.

The Morcha has also decided to hold a public meeting in Kurseong on Sunday.

According to sources, the move is an attempt to boost the morale of party cadres in the area and counter the Trinamul gathering where Pradhan switched allegiance.

Today, around 300 voluntary teachers, who were members of the Janmukti Insecure Secondary Teachers' Organisation (JISTO) Movement Committee, burnt the effigy of Giri here before resigning from the Morcha.

The hill party had disbanded the Movement Committee last month after some of the members had criticised Giri alleging that he had not been working towards regularising the jobs of the 500-odd voluntary teachers in more than 120 schools across the hills.

Amit Gurung, the co-ordinator of the erstwhile Movement Committee, said: "We burnt the effigy of Roshan Giri today. Around 300 members have resigned from the party. We will soon meet chief minister Mamata Banerjee and decide our future course of action."

The teachers have decided to remain apolitical at the moment, sources said.

Told about the development, Giri said: "If by burning my effigy, their jobs are regularised, they are most welcome to burn my effigy everyday."

At Darjeeling Motor Stand, the Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarthi Morcha started a relay hunger strike "for Gorkhaland" today with seven student leaders participating in it.

Satyam Lama, the president of the Vidyarthi Morcha, said: "Our hunger strike is a message that our agitation is democratic in nature. We demand that the Centre open a dialogue on Gorkhaland and efforts be taken to constitute a committee to look into our demand."


Via Telegraph

GJM youth supports Gurungs agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland

5:21 PM
DARJEELING 19 Aug 2016 A day after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung announced he would resign from the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration to spearhead an agitation for a separate  state, the party’s youth front pledged wholehearted support to his decision asserting they were ready to shed the Gandhi-wadi style of struggle.

Bolstered by Gurung’s speech on August 7 in Darjeeling where he urged the youths to promote agitation, almost all GJYM leaders today emphasised the need to give up the GTA for the sake of securing a separate Gorkha state. “We welcome our party president’s decision to quit the GTA and start the statehood agitation. We have are being suppressed by the state government while the central government appears least interested in our issue. Now we cannot continue with the Gandhi-wadi Andolan because the water has gone over our heads,” thundered Barood Thapa, the GJYM Kalimpong sub-division president, in a public meeting held today in Darjeeling.

The youth wing supports Gurung’s decision to kick-off an agitation, but it also wants the GTA to be discarded outright. “Allegations have been hurled by the Opposition that an agitation cannot be started while running the GTA. By doing away with the council, our party president will give a fitting reply to the detractors and that is exactly what we want,” said Thapa.
Gorkha Janmukti Yuwa Morcha (GJYM)
Gorkha Janmukti Yuwa Morcha (GJYM)
During the last phase of the Gorkhaland movement in 2013, Gurung had resigned as the chief executive of the GTA on July 30 but assumed office again on December 26 of that year. Last year too, on September 10, Gurung had threatened to resign but did not carry out his threat.

Thapa also warned of a Kashmir-like situation in Darjeeling in a thinly veiled threat to the state and central governments to get their attention. “We have pledged to follow Gandhian principles and have done so. But now we will be forced to make Darjeeling into another Kashmir if the central government does not give us justice,” warned Thapa.

Samardeep Blone, the Kurseong sub-division general secretary of the GJYM, put the onus on the Centre to come true on its assurances. He said BJP leaders should take note of the situation developing in the hills. “Through this public meeting, we want to ask the Prime Minister when would his statement of ‘Gorkha ka sapna, mera sapna’ become a reality. We are also tired of requesting the Darjeeling MP of placing our demand in Parliament. Now time has come for the BJP led Centre to keep its promise as mere assurances will not work anymore,” he said.

Other youth leaders took barbs at the hill TMC, the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and Jan Andolan Party (JAP) alleging they had sold the statehood demand for petty politics. “They speak what they are directed by Bengal. The 1986 agitation was compromised because of betrayers and the same is happening now. But now we will not forgive the betrayers,” said Bhim Subba, president of the GJM Bijanbari-Goke constituency.

Meanwhile in Kurseong, GTA Sabhasad Anit Thapa said eight Sabhasads including himself would also resign if the party president went ahead and quit.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said the decision taken by the Sabhasads from Kurseong sub-division to resign was right. “The decision by the Sabhasads from Kurseong is a right one. We expect more Sabhasads to follow suit. We will be holding meetings over the next few days to discuss the issue,” said Giri, who is also a Sabhasad from the Sitong-Latpanchar constituency.

GTA Sabhasads Anit Thapa, Yogendra Rai, Anju Thapa, Ratan Thapa, Pranay Thapa, Prabha Chhetri, Mahendra Pradhan and Champa Bibar from Kurseong and Mirik sub-divisions today announced  they would also follow suit if the GJM president did go ahead and resign from the GTA within two and two and half months, as announced on Thursday.

“We will only do politics after we achieve a separate state. Our party president has decided to resign and start an agitation and we will follow him as a separate state is our ultimate aspiration,” said Yogendra Rai, Sabhasad of the Kurseong town-Deorali constituency, after a meeting in Kurseong this evening.GJM youth front welcomes Bimal Gurung's announcment to quit GTA.

(EOIC)

Youths should talk about Agitation like the 86 agitation - BImal Gurung

8:31 AM
Writes: Vivek Chhetri

At a public meeting of the Gorkha Yuva Morcha, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s youth wing, in his constituency of Vah-Tukvar, Gurung said: “I had told the youths I should not speak here because if I am to speak or chair (the meeting), your voices would be held back.”

He said: “The youths should speak their hearts out, the youths should talk about dignity, about the land, the land wanting blood. The youth brigade should talk about an agitation like the ’86 agitation, They should talk about lifting guns and wielding khukuris. This is what I had told them.”

Observers said Gurung wanted to draw the Centre’s attention with his speech. At one point in his 45-minutes speech, Gurung said: “I have told the Centre that we have extended all support and it is your duty to show us by doing karma (good deeds).” The Morcha chief’s anger at the state government’s supposed interference in hill affairs was clear.
Youths should talk about Agitation like the 86 agitation - BImal Gurung
Bimal Gurung in his constituency Tukvar
Gurung told the youths, about 1,000 were in attendance, that playing madals and chabrungs (musical instruments) would not lead to any “struggle”.

In the rest of his speech, Gurung repeatedly mentioned the state government’s alleged “discriminatory” attitude towards the hills.

“Everyone is bullying us, looking down upon us,” Gurung said. “We should live a life of dignity and not that of a coward. One should even be ready to give one’s life,” he said.

The 1986 statehood agitation Gurung was referring to had gone on for around 28 months. It was led by Subash Ghisingh, then Gurung’s leader, but later his rival.

Around 1,200 people had lost their lives during the statehood movement.

“The Bengal government is dividing our community. The black policy of the Bengal government towards the hills is creating such a situation that there could even be a division between husband and wife if they come from different communities. One should not give up one’s dignity for a toilet, a one-room house,” Gurung said, criticising chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s plan to make hill bodies for various hill communities.

The state government has announced development boards for 10 communities and among the major initiatives taken up by the boards, one is to construct toilets and houses for people of the respective communities.

Gurung said: “This (meeting) could be a turning point.”

The Morcha chief said he was increasingly feeling that the GTA cannot function. “There has just been too much interference in the working of the GTA. What is the use of a body that cannot even recruit a peon in the hills. Perhaps you will one day find me in a jungle. You must love me even then because I will be there for the cause of Gorkhaland,” he said.

The hill leader reminded the youths that nothing came without struggle. “One does not achieve anything without a struggle and struggle is not about playing madal and chabrung (musical instruments),” he said.

[Via: Telegraph]

Didi's Development Board win support in Darjeeling

7:09 PM
Amitava Banerjee, HT, 31 July 2016, Darjeeling:At the time when Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has been labelling the creation of numerous development boards as “divide and rule policy” of the state government, the Biswakarma Youth Association (BYA) has rallied for the development boards saying development activities of these boards will result in the uplift of Gorkhas as a whole. The state government has created development boards for 10 Gorkha communities inviting flak from GJM. The Morcha claims the state government is trying to divide the Gorkhas by creating development boards for various Gorkha sub-communities.

“It is a ploy to dilute the Gorkhaland demand. It is divide and rule policy of the government,” alleged Bimal Gurung, president, GJM.

Gurung’s stand on the development boards has been sketchy. On one hand, he has alleged that the development boards are dividing the Gorkha society; on the other hand, the same Gurung claims he does not have any problem with the development boards provided the boards are under the control of GJM run Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and not the state government.
Didi's Development Board win support in Darjeeling
“The development boards are in no way weakening Gorkha society. Development boards will strengthen the sub-communities thereby strengthening the entire Gorkha community. Rather than weakening the Gorkha community, the Gorkha community is being strengthened by the boards,” said KB Baraily, chief co-ordinator, BYA.

On July 13, chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced the formation of three development boards for Kami (Biswakarma), Damai and Sarki sub-communities in the presence of the President of India and Governor of West Bengal in Darjeeling.


Gorkhaland : Support, Opposition & Lip Sympathy

10:10 AM
Writes: NN Ojha

Gorkhaland 18th July 2016: It is precisely five years since the tripartite agreement setting up GTA was signed between the Government of India, Government of West Bengal and the GJMM. Incidentally 18 July 2011 too was a Monday like it is five years later today.

As the hills prepared for celebrations to mark the signing of the accord parts of Siliguri were bracing up for a protest shut down called by ‘Bangla O Banbla Bhasha Bachao Committee’ (BOBBBC), an outfit claiming to be apolitical committed to safeguarding the language and culture of the Bengalis.

Opposition to the accord from organisations like BOBBBC could be simply ignored. What needed to be noted seriously was the manner in which West Bengal’s (then) newly elected CM Mamta Banerjee sought to disown the agreement in letter and spirit even before she left the venue where it had just been signed. The memorandum signed by her home secretary in her presence and in the presence of the country’s home minister P. Chidambaram was, “keeping on record the demand of the GJMM for a separate state of Gorkhaland……..”. But here was Mamta Banerjee stating, “Statehood cannot be granted to the region……….. Bengal is not going to be divided…..”.
Tripartite agreement setting up GTA was signed between the Government of India, Government of West Bengal and the GJMM.
Tripartite agreement setting up GTA was signed between the Government of India,
Government of West Bengal and the GJMM. 
With GJMM supremo Bimal Gurung stating at the same venue, “GTA was not a compromise on its demand for a separate state and was, in fact, a step in that direction”, it was clear how the just signed agreement and its creation GTA were being pulled in opposite direction with overwhelming force. The result that could be expected was status quo in the best case scenario if neither side out -forced the other or snapping of the rope that held it together and total collapse if any one of the two pulled little harder.

Reactions from most mainstream national parties sounded disappointing for us and at the same time encouraging for Ms Banerjee. Indian National Congress the party to which Home Minister P Chidambaram in whose ‘august presence’ the agreement was signed belonged made no bones about its dislike to the idea of ‘dismembering’ West Bengal.

Leftist leader Surya Kant Misra found the term ‘Gorkhaland’ in the nomenclature of the proposed GTA fraught with prospects of ‘disunity’. Mr Misra apparently forgot that the nomenclature was decided upon during the rounds of tripartite talks held when the Left Front was in power.

Most shocking reaction was to come from the BJP. The party’s West Bengal unit opposed the use of the word Gorkhaland in the name of the proposed body GTA as the word ‘could stoke separatist sentiments in the region’. Coming from the party to whom the people of Gorkhaland had already given one precious Loksabha seat in 2009 the reaction was nothing but ironical.

Has anything changed since 2011 as the Congress’s alliance with TMC is passé, the hill people had helped the Left in Siliguri Municipal Corporation elections and the BJP has once again been gifted the Darjeeling Loksabha seat by us in the 2014 elections? Absolutely nothing, if we look at their manifestos for the latest 2016 state assembly elections. The word Gorkhaland is completely missing across the board from left to congress to BJP. We don’t exist because we don’t matter to any of them.

When we look at the hill based political parties the picture is rather hazy as most of them are vague and ambivalent? The GNLF already carrying the historical baggage of having dropped the demand for Gorkhaland in 1988 and subsequently having bargained for Sixth schedule status ‘as full and final settlement’ still continues to be unsure of their stand. Mrs Bharti Tamang having inherited the glorious legacy of the Late Madan Tamang’s unwavering support for Gorkhaland is unfortunately weighed down by her personal grief that apparently stops her from making common cause with any platform having Bimal Gurung on it. About JAP less said the better. They are in favor of Gorkhaland with consensus of the central and the State government knowing well that no government in west Bengal will ever consent to what they call ‘Banglar bivag’. Could it be that the party has included Gorkhaland in their manifesto only out of political expediency and not commitment?

Thus at the national level TMC, the Left parties and Congress are against Gorkhaland. For BJP it is a matter of political expediency. Those of their leaders who owe their political survival to the hills profess support while the entire state unit of west Bengal is opposed and the national leadership remains totally noncommittal. At the local level there is near unanimity on the issue but a united front to pursue the common cause is not being forged because of ego hassles which must be overcome in larger interest of the region.

Where do we go from here and what do we do? A multitude of opinions is expressed almost on daily basis in the press and also in the social media. There are some who argue that GTA should be wound up as a prelude to an all out ‘do or die’ type struggle. Others call for a change of leadership to let the rationale of the demand be felt at a broader national level, especially in the corridors of power in New Delhi.

I will give you my take for whatever it is worth.

First, GTA should not be dumped by us. In fact that is what the TMC led west Bengal government would wish so as to facilitate its its propaganda that having been unable to run a small institution like the GTA how can we be trusted with the running of a full fledged state. We should play hard-ball to ensure that the west Bengal government complies with the legal, political, administrative and financial obligations of the GTA agreement in toto. My own guess is faced with such prospects it is the west Bengal government itself who will either transfer control on all the agreed upon subjects to us, or, will itself announce breaking up of the GTA. If we get control as per the agreement it will be a precursor to statehood and if it results in break up of the GTA the blame for not being able to run the institution won’t lay at our door.

Second, steps must be taken to strengthen the GTA so as to make it an instrument of clean governance and effective delivery of services to the public. For this the leadership of GTA will have to broaden its HR base by inducting experts and experienced generalist administrators. At present there is perceptible lack of strong bureaucratic support structure and an effective PR mechanism.

Third, all the political parties of the region must forge a common platform to carry forward the demand for statehood. We have shown our ability to forge such unity in July-August 2013 in the form of GJAC. Let that spirit of GJAC be revived. GJMM being the leading political force of the region must take proactive initiative in this direction.

Last but not least, message has to go to the BJP that they have to treat us as equal partners in the political venture that has to be as much for the welfare of the region as for the BJP’s own political benefit. At present the later seems to be the case. Our MP who apart from being a seasoned politician is now a powerful member of he central cabinet has to use his good offices to further the cause of Gorkhaland in the Parliament.

In the wide range of opinions that we keep coming across I haven’t come across a single voice against the idea of Gorkhaland or in favor of the region continuing as an adjunct of West Bengal. Notwithstanding west Bengal establishment’s crude attempts to divide and rule the entire region emerges as a solid monolith. Therein lies our strength that no one can ever defeat. It is upto us and the political leaders of the region to put this underlying unity of the masses to constructive use.

NN Ojha writes exclusively for DT and TheDC


Development boards for Kami, Damai and Sarki communities announced

Writes Swareena Gurung 
Darjeeling 13 Jul 2016 Jubilation erupted among the Kami, Damai and Sarki communities when chief minister Mamata Banerjee today announced their respective development boards at Chowrasta in Darjeeling. The chief minister made this announcement at a programme organised to celebrate the 202nd birth anniversary of illustrious Nepali poet, Bhanu Bhakta Acharya

To mark a momentous event, President Pranab Mukherjee today joined the people of Darjeeling. The programme was organised by the West Bengal information and cultural department, where also in attendance were West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and GTA chief Bimal Gurung. The celebrations took place at Chowrasta where a temporary dais was set up and television screens placed to broadcast the event. The birth celebrations were kicked-off by the garlanding of the statue of Bhanubhakta Acharya by the President, chief minister, Governor and other guests. Ethnic communities such as the Rai and the Mangar presented cultural performances, while Karthik Das and his troupe presented a Baul performance.

Development boards for Kami, Damai and Sarki communities announced
202nd birth anniversary of Nepali poet, Bhanu Bhakta Acharya in Chowrasta Darjeeling
In keeping with the occasion, school children presented a Saraswati Bandana and read the Ramayana paath. President Mukherjee praised Bhanu Bhakta Acharya by saying his message was for the entire world and to humanity. Bhanu Bakta was instrumental in bringing together various princely states in Nepal during his time through his message to thus create modern day Nepal, he said. The bonding between India and Nepal remains unique, remarked the President. Mukherjee said, “We have a good relationship with Nepal and would like to strengthen this unity... Many of you are representatives of this solidarity. We take this opportunity to remember the great contribution of the Nepali poet who was born 202 years ago.”

Bhanu Bhakta Acharya, considered as the foremost Nepali poet, was born in 1814. He is attributed with translating the epic Ramayana into Nepali and is addressed by the honorific ‘Adikavi’ (first poet). Governor Tripathi said the form, the respect and the status accorded to the Nepali language by Adikavi Bhanu Bhakts was unique. He noted that the work of taking the Ramayana, respected and worshipped in every Hindu household, to the masses in their mother tongue, has been very commendable work. Chief minister Banerjee announced her government would hold meetings of the state cabinet in Darjeeling from time to time.

During the occasion, four Sahitya Academy recipients were felicitated by the state government. They included Gupta Pradhan from Darjeeling, Shankhar Pradhan from Bagrakote, Sanjeev Chettri from Kurseong and Shankhar Deo Dhakal from Gangtok.

EOI


Bhanu Jayanti and the Endless Mamata Hypocrisy

9:20 AM
Writes: Upendra
Darjeeling 12th July 2016 Tomorrow we celebrate Bhanu Jayanti, in honour of the 1st poet to write and publish in what is today known and regarded as Nepali language. This will be the first time that Bengal government is officially celebrating Bhanu Jayanti since India became Independent.
There is a reason behind it.

Municipal elections are set to be held in December and GTA elections next year and TMC fancies it is in with a chance to win political mandate in the hills, hence Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee accompanied by the President Pranab Mukherjee, who also happens to be Bengali, are going to celebrate Bhanu Jayanti as a Bengal government sponsored jamboree this year at Chowrasta.
There are multiple layers of hypocrisy in Bengal government holding this event, and had ours been a more self-respecting community, we would boycott this indirect slap on our faces. But given that some of our people have sold their self-respect for a few crore rupees, I am certain that there will be a massive crowd present tomorrow to cheer and hoot to everything that Mamata says.

Despite repeated requests for including Nepali as an Optional paper in WBCS, the Bengal government has turned a complete blind eye and deaf ears to our request, yet tomorrow when Mamata announces how the Bengal government is a champion of Nepali language, the sellouts from our hills in attendance will welcome her every word with a rapturous clap of hands.

Ever since Mamata came to power, there has been a deliberate attempt at undermining Nepali language at each and every turn. The government forms are printed in Bengali, scholarship sites have only featured Bengali language, all the government signs and majority of the posters are written in Bengali, and now even the ration cards are being printed in Bengali. Yet tomorrow, when Mamata announces how she has promoted the use of Nepali and Nepali language, the sellouts from our hills will dance and celebrate.
Bhanu Jayanti and the Endless Mamata Hypocrisy
In Pic: Same content... same class... same book... one is in Nepali... another is in Bengali... both the languages are recognized as NATIONAL languages of India under the 8th Scheduled of the Constitution... both the languages are recognized as OFFICIAL languages of West Bengal... yet Book in Nepali is printed in black and white... Book in Bengali is printed in colour... IF THIS IS NOT DISCRIMINATION, WHAT IS? This is the very reason why we need Gorkhaland... as for Bengal, we will always remain 2nd class citizens.
After taking over the reign of Bengal, Mamata has systematically discriminated against the hill students. Books written for Nepali medium schools, including that of Nepali language are full of factual errors and mistakes, and as if that was not enough, the books printed in Nepali are in black and white, where as the same books printed in Bengali are in colour. To add to our woes numerous schools across Darjeeling and Dooars where Nepali students are in majority, are yet to get any of their government issued textbooks, despite the fact that more than half of their school year is over. Yet tomorrow, when Mamata talks of her love for the Nepali speaking people, the sellouts from our community will call her God and perhaps even pray to her.

Tomorrow, Mamata will again claim "Pahar Hasche" and indeed the news channels will show the laughing, smiling face of sellouts - but what she won't tell you is that, Bengal government has not conducted Panchayat elections since 2000 in the hills, that over 500 Panchayat posts are remaining vacant in the hills, that for the past 15 years there have been no promotion granted to any hill panchayat employee, while Panchayat employees from the plains are being gradually transferred to the hills. Same is the case with schools where over 2500 vacancies have not been filled since 2001. Schools are running without headmasters and colleges are running without any principals. Same is also true for almost every other government department, where permanent posts have remained vacant for decades.

Tomorrow, Mamata will again promise numerous development projects in Darjeeling region, but what she won't promise is the equal treatment of Nepali language or Nepali speaking people in Bengal. She won't promise that the next Chairman of PSC will be from the hills, she won't promise that the next VC in any of the Bengal based universities will be a hill academic. She won't promise that non-Bengali students and youths will be provided with equal opportunity, she won't promise that they will be given equal benefits, and she won't promise that these children will have a bright future in Bengal. While students in the plains are given Kanyashree and Sabujh Saathi, hill students are deprived of even most basic of all needs - text books, that itself should be telling.

Most hypocritical of all though is the fact that Bhanu Bhawan, which is built in the honour and memory of Kabi Bhanu Bhakta Acharya is 5 minutes walk away from Chowrasta, which has a massive hall where such functions could be undertaken, but no that wouldn't assuage Mamata's ego, would it? She had to dig up and destroy Chowrasta so that she could send proper visuals back to Kolkata and non-Nepali speaking homes and proudly claim "Pahar Hasche" and our sellouts would indeed be laughing like mentally challenged retards who don't know right from wrong.

Via TheDC


Bimal Gurung lashed out at party leaders

10:45 AM
Vivek Chhetri Telegraph - Darjeeling, July 10: Bimal Gurung today lashed out at party leaders for not being serious about tackling erosion in the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's vote share that was apparent in the Assembly polls.

Although the Morcha won all the three hill Assembly seats, the party's winning margin dropped by around 68.5 per cent compared to the 2011 elections.

"There has been an erosion in the votes. If we work seriously, things will improve. I, however, think that the elected members (of the party) are not very serious about it," the Morcha chief said at a book release here today.

The thin attendance at the book release event at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan - the place seats 600 but around 150 people were there - may have also triggered Gurung's rage.

Referring to the civic polls due this year and the GTA elections to be held in July next year, he said: "Elections are nearing but proper focus is not there. The Prime Minister did not form a committee to examine the demand of granting ST status to 11 communities for nothing. This is an outcome of my 62 days' padayatra (in October last year)."
Bimal Gurung

The committee headed by Asok Pai, the joint secretary, ministry for tribal affairs, was formed in April this year.

In this year's Assembly polls, the Morcha's winning margin dipped in all the three hill seats.

In 2011, Trilok Dewan, the Morcha candidate from Darjeeling, had defeated GNLF's Bhim Subba by 1,06,555 votes. While the Morcha had polled 1,20,532 votes, the GNLF had bagged 13,977.

This year, the Morcha (Amar Singh Rai) won the seat by 49,913 more votes than Trinamul's Sarda Rai Subba. The GNLF had supported Trinamul in the seat.

In 2011, the Morcha's Harka Bahadur Chhetri had bagged 1,09,102 votes in Kalimpong while his nearest rival, Prakash Dahal of the GNLF, could poll only 7,427 votes. The Morcha's winning margin was 1,01,675 votes.

This year, Chhetri who floated the Jana Andolan Party, was defeated by the Morcha's Sarita Rai by 11,431 votes - a slide of around 90 per cent for the hill party despite Gurung's personal campaign in this seat.

In Kurseong, the Morcha's Rohit Sharma had bagged 1,14,297 votes in 2011 giving the party a lead of 93,096 votes. His nearest rival from the GNLF had to forfeit her deposit.

This time, Sharma won the seat by 33,726 votes defeating Shanta Chhetri of the GNLF.

According to sources, the anti-Morcha votes in the hills began consolidating since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

In the parliamentary polls, the GNLF had joined hands with Trinamul and they stayed allies in the Assembly elections.

In 2014, the anti-Morcha votes in the three seats in total was 1,57,890. This year, in the three Assembly segments that figure has risen to 1,94,699.

Gurung seemed visibly irritated at the low turnout for the release of " Rajnitika Kuraharu" (Talks of politics) authored by P. Arjun, a former member of the party's Study Forum, who had been expelled for his connections with Independent candidate Mahendra P. Lama during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

"I came from Kalimpong last evening to attend the programme today. I was expecting a number of writers and literary figures to felicitate P. Arjun here and a good turnout. This shows how things function when I am not around," Gurung told the gathering of around 150 people at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan.

Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri was present at the book launch, as were the three hill MLAs and senior leader Binay Tamang.

"Even today, many elected GTA Sabha members and municipality commissioners have not come here, probably because they think they will not get a ticket in the next election," Gurung said at the programme that was organised by the Morcha.

"I have asked for the event to be videographed for my reference," he added.

During his address, Arjun said it was time for the party to introspect. "It is time for introspection right from the GTA to erosion of votes in the recent elections," he said.

EOI Report - DARJEELING 10 Jul 2016 A low turnout of party leaders for a programme forced Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung today to announce the re-launch of a book  brought out by a senior member of the Study Forum - the GJM intellectual wing.

The GJM had organised a programme at the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan in Darjeeling to launch the book 'Rajniti Ka Kura Haru' written by P. Arjun, a Study Forum member. Although Gurung launched  the book, he was visibly annoyed by the low attendance and minced no words to express it. “It is sad our leaders including the GTA Sabhasads and municipality commissioners are not present  for such an occasion. Maybe a section of municipality commissioners are apprehensive they will not get tickets for the upcoming election this year,” Gurung said.
Launch of the book 'Rajniti Ka Kura Haru' written by P. Arjun in Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan in Darjeeling
Launch of the book 'Rajniti Ka Kura Haru' written by P. Arjun in Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan in Darjeeling 

Usually during party programmes, especially the ones Gurung attends, senior and unit party leaders, Sabhasads, municipality employees and members of frontal organisations are present.

However, today’s programme at the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan saw no more than 100 people in attendance, despite the venue having a seating capacity of more than 600.

Expressing his frustration in strong words, the GJM chief issued a direct warning to the absentees. “I have noticed and made note of everything. I don't see a lot of leaders. I have asked our party’s official photographer to videograph the whole programme, which I will go through,” Gurung said.

Sources within the party said invitations for the programme had been dispatched well in advance and reminder calls had also been made. “We dispatched invitations to all leaders including the GTA

Sabhasads, municipality staff and officials and frontal organisations. We also called the leaders to remind them about today’s programme. What more can we do besides this?” said a senior leader on condition of anonymity.

The GJM chief said P. Arjun's book would be re-launched with much more fanfare from Kalimpong. “I will be in Kalimpong on July 18 or 19 and we will re-launch this book there.

I will invite prominent dignitaries including personalities from various fields of intellectual strata and felicitate P. Arjun,” Gurung said even as he admitted that the party had failed to live up to expectations in Kalimpong during the Assembly election.

“We have not done well in Kalimpong due to various reasons. But we don’t need to panic as we will sort things out and re-establish our base there. We however, need to retrospect on what has gone wrong  and try to rectify them,” he said.

In the recent Assembly election, the GJM’s margin of victory, especially from Kalimpong constituency, was low. Harka Bahadur Chhetri of the Jan Andolan Party, riding on the separate Kalimpong district plank, managed to tear into the GJM’s vote bank.

Gurung, who is also the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, emphasised the need to respect and preserve the works of writers along with the community’s literature, art and culture and language. “We must respect the work of writers as they contribute immensely to our literature, art, language and culture. Otherwise it will harm us socially and educationally,” he said.

P. Arjun, besides being a Study Forum member, was also a close advisor to the GTA chief executive till he was expelled from the party in 2014, just before of the Lok Sabha election. He however, returned to the GJM fold earlier this year.


JISTO critical of Roshan Giri's handling of regularisation issue

12:24 AM
Darjeeling, July 8: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today dissolved the JISTO Movement Committee that was spearheading an agitation for regularisation of over 500 voluntary teachers in hill schools and was critical of Roshan Giri's handling of the issue.

The movement committee had criticised GTA executive sabha member in charge of education Giri for quite sometime for his alleged failure to solve the issue. The committee had set a deadline of 20 days to fulfil the demand that ended today.

Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha, today said the party's central committee was dissolving the JISTO Movement Committee. "Bimal Gurung has decided to dissolve the JISTO Movement Committee, which had been formed from our frontal organisation, JISTO, to spearhead their movement. The frontal organisation, JISTO, however, will not be dissolved," Tamang said. The claim has been contested by the committee.

Asked about the reason for dissolving the committee, Tamang said: "It is being dissolved for various reasons," but gave none of the reasons.
A demonstration by the JISTO Movement Committee.
The Janmukti Insecure Secondary Teachers' Organisation (JISTO), a frontal organisation of the Morcha, has been demanding that more than 500 voluntary teachers in six junior high schools (till Class VIII), 52 high schools (up to Class X) and 71 higher secondary schools in the hills be made permanent. The School Service Commission (hills), which essentially is to cover the present GTA area, has been defunct since 2003 and that is why the schools had to appoint the voluntary tea-chers.

A demonstration by the JISTO Movement Committee. File picture
Amit Gurung, the co-ordinator of the JISTO Movement Committee, denied Tamang's claim that the JISTO and the committee were different entities. "It is the same entity. The JISTO central committee was dissolved by Bimal Gurung and the JISTO Movement Committee was formed in the Morcha's Patlabas office on November 19, 2015."

"It is because we expressed our displeasure over Roshan Giri's inability to solve the problem that the committee is being dissolved. It only proves that the Morcha is running away from the problem rather than solving it. Efforts are being made to break our unity but all teachers are together and we will continue our agitation," he added.

Asked about the next step, Amit said: "Since they dissolved the committee only today, time will tell what move we will take."

On July 5, Giri had met state education minister Partha Chatterjee and demanded that an ad hoc selection board be formed to make 519 voluntary teachers permanent.

Amit today said Giri was not aware of the number of the voluntary teachers. "At times, he talks about 500-odd teachers. At other times, he states there are 519 teachers. But from the GTA secretariat, we have found out that there are 570 voluntary teachers," he said.

After the Calcutta meeting on July 5, Chatterjee had said there were several part-time (voluntary) teachers who did not fulfil the eligibility criteria recommended by the National Council for Teacher Education, the apex body that regulates teachers' education in the country. He said the government would consider absorbing the teachers with required qualifications.


Telegraph

 
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