Showing posts with label Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. Show all posts

Term of GTA2 Board of Administrators extended by 6 months

4:27 PM
Amitava Banerjee

Darjeeling: The term of the Board of Administrators, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, has been extended for another six months.

A notification from the Home and Hill Affairs department, government of Bengal on September 15 stated that an Authority (read Board of Administrators) was appointed under the provision of Section 65(b) of the GTA Act 2011, to exercise, discharge and perform all the powers, duties and functions of the GTA.
Term of GTA2 Board of Administrators extended by 6 months

"The said Authority has been functioning as the Caretaking Authority of the GTA in terms of that notification. And holding of general election to re-constitute the GTA Sabha does not appear to be possible in the present situation" stated the notification.

 "The Governor, in terms of the relevant provision of Section 17(1) of the GTA Act 2011, is pleased to allow extension to the aforesaid Caretaking Authority of the GTA to function for a further period of six months with effect from 20-09-2018," read the notification. Incidentally, on September 20, 2017, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced the formation of an administrative board to run the GTA with Binay Tamang as Chairman and Anit Thapa as the Vice-Chairman.

Via : www.millenniumpost.in

Forest Rights Activist Transferred - Says "Its Vendetta Politics"

2:51 PM

Residents of nearly 24 odd forest villages that fall under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration have been demanding the implementation of the Forest Rights Act 2006 before the Sevoke-Rangpo rail project kicks off. A major portion of the railway tracks between Sevoke, around 30 km away from Siliguri, to Rangpo in Sikkim is a part of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts that are under the GTA and will cut through several forest villages and hamlets under the GTA areas.

Fighting for their rights is Himalaya Forest Village Organisation (HFVO) which comprises of members from forest villagers in the GTA region.

HFVO Secretary Mr. Lila Kumar Gurung who is a teacher at the local Kumai High School has now been transferred to Rimbick [You can check the transfer order here: https://khabarmagazine.com/archives/21396]. He claims this is a vendetta, for taking a stand in favour of the forest dwellers and asking the government to provide land rights to forest dwellers under the Forest Rights Act 2006.

The situation in the hills and terai is complicated because Panchayat elections haven't been held here since 2005. In the absence of Gram Sabhas, which can give a go-ahead to such projects, the Union ministry of tribal affairs had given elected GTA members the right to act as panchayat members. However, since GTA stands dissolved, the Gram Sabha - comprising of all the villagers naturally have the latitude to issue or deny such a no-objection certificate.

Hundreds of residents of forest villages in Kalimpong and Darjeeling, which constitute the Gram Sabhas as per the Recognition of the Forest Rights Act 2006, have started adopting resolutions, demanding conversion of forest villages into revenue villages to ensure their rights, before they issue the no-objection certificate.

The villagers have stated that they would not allow the authorities concerned to begin construction of the railway project without the NOC from each Gram Sabha. They further claimed that authorities cannot carry out work there without the NOC from the Gram Sabha, and that the GTA does not have the right to issue the NOC to the railway authorities for the forest land.

There are no three-tier elected bodies in the Hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong as rural polls have not been held there for the past 18 years due to technical and legal matters which have yet to be resolved. As a result, there are no proper records of the Gram Sabha comprising at least 165 forest villages.

According to sources, 24 of the 165 forest villages will be affected by the tunnel to be dug for the railway project.

“When the administration has converted forest villages into revenue villages in Alipurduar and other districts for other projects, no initiative was taken to ensure forest rights for us in Darjeeling and Kalimpong district,” said Mr. Lila Kumar Gurung recently, following GTA Board of Administrator Chairman Binay Tamang's extreme reaction to him and HFVO in Kalimpong.

Mr. Gurung has further claimed that a conspiracy was being hatched to deprive the forest villagers of their rights. “We had met the then GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung and discussed the matter. Mr. Gurung had taken a decision in our favour, and it was decided that all the 165 villages would be converted into revenue villages.

Later, as Binoy Tamang was appointed as the GTA chairman, we also approached him in writing. But we came to know all of a sudden that he will issue the NOC to the railway authorities,” he further claimed.

Forest villagers from Rangpo, Kinley, Melli, Teesta, Rambhi and some others also claimed that they had written to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, demanding that forest villagers’ rights be ensured before implementing the Sevoke-Rango railway link project.

A resident of Rangpo village in Kalimpong area, Smaran Rai, said: “Villagers are worried about their future following continuous threats from the administration during a survey on the railway project.

Nobody knows what is in store for them, rehabilitation and alternative livelihood.” “Residents living in the small stretch (of the project) that falls in Sikkim are not facing such problems. The Sikkim government has already compensated them properly,” Mr. Rai said.

A rights activist Soumitra Ghosh said the present situation in the Hills is “not suitable” for some persons to assemble in a particular place and demand their fundamental right.

“Where will the forest villages go, seeking justice? Authorities have not yet started talking to villagers, when no work can be carried out without the NOC from the Gram Sabha as per a circular of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests under the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, ensuring compliance of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006,” he said.

Speaking against the transfer, Mr. Neeraj Zimba of GNLF said, "This transfer order of Sri. Lila Kumar Gurung, General Secretary, Himalayan Forest Villager's Organisation from Kumai High School to Rimbick High School is part of Binay Tamang's "Political Deal(ing)" as openly declared by him recently at public meetings in Kurseong, Kalimpong and Bijanbari respectively. For the first time in the history of Gorkha Politics we have ever seen a Nominated Stooge openly declare from a public platform that he will politically victimise all those who doesn't support him and endorse his views. Mockery of Democratic values and free speech.फरेस्ट बनबस्तिको अधिकारको कुरा गर्दा आज लिला गुरुङलाई भिक्टिमाइज ट्रास्फर गरिएको छ। के यो नै हो गणतन्त्र?

All Should Protest Against this as this is not just a routine exercise or a mutual transfer but political victimization of a person who chose to speak truth to the power - a right which has been given rightly by the Constitution." [sic]

Mr. Lila Kumar Gurung in the meanwhile seems to be unflustered with the transfer order and said, "I am a teacher - my primary duty is to teach and I will do that anywhere. They must assume by transferring me to Rimbick they will weaken the movement, but they are wrong. The movement will only grow stronger. Rimbick is comprised of many forest villages that are also deprived, I look forward to working with those villages and organize them to seek inclusion into FRA 2006 at the earliest".

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

Rohingya entry in the hill rumours, says Binoy Tamang

5:00 PM

SNS, Darjeeling/Kurseong, 29 April 2018: The chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Board of Administrators, Binoy Tarnang, has put to rest speculations that a group of Rohingya Muslims may have found their way up to the Hills.

Two youth leaders of a national party and some other local leaders and political parties have been misleading the Hill people by highlighting the Rohingyas in a wrong way for their own vested interests and keeping in mind the upcoming 2015 parliamentary elections," he said at a programme in Kurseong yesterday.

A video showing a group of Muslims getting down from a bus in Kalimpong had gone viral very recently, fuelling speculations that they may be Rohingya refugees. 

Fugitive leader of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) Bimal Gurung had alleged that the state government may have been trying to have Rohiugyas settled down in the region, while leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League, Pratap Khati had written to the Kalmpong District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police, urging them to look into the matter.

"The people who have reached Kalimpong are actually Indian citizens and students from a polytechnic college in Kolkata who have come to visit the place." Mr. Tamang said, adding that as the GTA chairman,he has been monitoring the issue seriously.

According to him, he will leave the GTA if anybody provides him proof of even a single camp of Rohingyas in Darjeeling Hills.

Defending the state government, Mr Tamang said that Darjeeling Hills or North Bengal is surrounded by international borders guarded by central forces and "not by the state government or Nabanna."

Mr. Tamang also issued a press release today and said that the rumours were the handiwork of political parties outside Darjeeling, which have set their eyes on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

"This is a ploy of parties outside Darjeeling to destabilize the Hills that are gradually getting back to normal (after last year's violent Gorkhaland agitation), while these parties have set their eyes on the 2019 general elections and are trying to take political mileage by spreading violence again." Mr Tamang said. He further urged all the Hill people to ignore such false campaign and rumours and keep intact Darjeeling unity and communal harmony.

Sns

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

GNLF seeks non-political person at GTA helm

8:14 PM

Gorkha National Liberation Front president Mann Ghisingh on Thursday said he would soon write to the state government, demanding non-political person to be appointed as the head of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).

The party said that the Hill body was being presently run in a “biased manner.” Mr Ghising was speaking during an event to mark the 38th foundation day of the party, which they call the ‘Gorkhaland Namikaran Diwas,’ at a community hall at Lumthang at Happy Valley here.
Mr Ghisingh was said that they would write to the Election Commission, seeking panchayat elections in the Hills, even if it is for a single tier.

“Until the problems of the Hills are solved and a permanent solution comes forward, a neutral person with no political affiliation should be at the GTA helm. We are hearing a lot of complaints that the GTA is running in a biased manner and is one-sided. If a neutral person is appointed, he/she would listen to all sides. If this is not done in the coming days, there could be unrest in the hills. The situation here has finally normalised and the same thing should not be repeated, so we want a government person to run the body. We will soon send a letter to the state regarding this,” Mr Ghisingh said.

On the panchayat elections, he said, “The panchayat elections are being held everywhere in Bengal, but not in the Hills. People living in the panchayat areas are facing a lot of problems. A three-tier panchayat election in the hills may not be possible now as the constitution has to be amended, but a single-tier panchayat was possible during the DGHC (Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council), so they could do it now as well. We will write to the Election Commission, demanding for panchayat elections.”
Mr Ghisingh also commented on their present “good relationship” with the state government. “In chapter 1, we kept a good relationship with the state government and maintained diplomacy and did what we had to do, and now that chapter has ended, and there is no guarantee that chapter 2 will also be the same.

There could be a different strategy.” “We have to keep good relationships with the state government and move forward. But it should not be like, we sit when they ask us to, and stand up when they wish so. The GNLF is not like that, and till now, I have not bowed down my head for anyone. Even if my nature is that of a soft spoken person, I will only bow down my head for the one who has taught me to keep it high. I request leaders here not to threaten me, as we are not afraid, but just do not want this area to be disturbed,” he added.

[Via: Statesman News Service]

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

GJM CALLS INDEFINITE BANDH IN GOVT AND GTA OFFICES, MAMATA WARNS OF STRICT ACTION

6:32 AM

Situation continues to remain tensed as both sides ramp up political rhetoric.

The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) today called an indefinite shutdown of government and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) offices in Darjeeling hills from Monday.

The GJM, however, exempted schools, colleges, transport, hotels from the purview of the shutdown and said banks will remain open only twice a week.

"There will be indefinite shutdown in GTA offices, banks and government offices from Monday. The banks will open twice a week for public transactions. We have exempted schools, colleges, transport, hotels from the purview of the strike," GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told reporters here after the organisation's central committee meeting. He also announced that all the signboards written in Bengali will be removed from Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Mirik, Siliguri, Terai and Dooars region and signboards only in English and Nepali would be allowed.

"We will not attend GTA offices. Thrice a week we will organise torch rallies in the hills," he said. GTA and government offices will, however, remain open for four days from June 27. Earlier in the day, GJM supremo Bimal Gurung said that he was not for strikes. Gurung also called for "non-cooperation" movement with the state government and accused it of looting resources from the hills and depriving it of basic amenities. He said that agitation in Darjeeling hills will not stop until and unless a separate Gorkhaland is formed.

"If TMC wants to play with fire they will regret it," he said. "We will appeal to the people not to cooperate with the state government. It is taking away so much resources from the hills and what are the people of the hills getting? We are getting nothing. "This has to stop. We will fight for our freedom and will not allow the divisive politics in the hills," Gurung said. The GJM leadership today wrote to the Centre urging it to look into the Gorkhaland demand.

Mamata warns GJM of action, says will not go for compromise

In a stern warning to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for resorting to violence in Darjeeling, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said the state government would not go for any compromise and deal with those who violated law.

"They (GJM) have become politically bankrupt and resorted to violence. I hope good sense will prevail on them. We cannot live in peace by resorting to terror and violence," she told reporters at 'Uttarkanya', the mini-secretariat, here. "We have compromised a lot and it seems that now we have our back against the wall. You can compromise for the good and for peace but it cannot be done for bombs and arms," she said.

Indicating that the state government would act tough, the chief minister said the superintendent of police for Darjeeling has been changed and three senior IPS officers were sent to deal with the situation in the hill town. Asked whether GJM chief Bimal Gurung would be arrested for the violence in the town on Thursday last, she said law will take its own course. "If anybody has violated the law, he will be dealt accordingly".

The hill station had turned into a virtual battlefield after GJM supporters clashed with the police on Thursday when they were stopped from marching to the Raj Bhawan where the state cabinet meeting was underway. Reiterating her opposition to the bandh, Banerjee said, "Bandh is illegal. Even the High Court has declared it illegal." She said the election to Morcha-controlled Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) would be held and the new board will assume office by August 2.

"We will go to the people. They will also go. We will wait for the people's verdict", she said. Yesterday, Banerjee had stated that Morcha-led GTA had "failed" to carry out any development work in the hills and when their term was scheduled to be over next month, they have started "torturing the public". She also called for strengthening tourism industry in the hill town.

The situation in Darjeeling is "very stable and peaceful", the chief minister said, adding she was hopeful that everybody would contribute in maintaining peace. About the situation in the tea industry, Mamata accused CPI-M, Congress and BJP of "playing dirty politics" in the hills and said they would be held "responsible" if tea gardens are closed. "The Modi government had promised to acquire seven tea gardens but they have not done anything. We are helping the tea garden workers in every possible way," she said. The chief minister said the state government was open to negotiation and urged tea gardens workers not to pay heed to the CPI-M, Congress or the BJP and go for strike.

Via: PTI

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]

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

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)

AAY digital card state govt ploy to curb statehood demand - Bimal Gurung

12:25 PM
Bimal Gurung asks people to surrender AAY digital card, alleges state goverment ploy

DARJEELING 2 Aug 2016 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today accorded a different connotation to the Antyodaya Anna Yojana, terming it a state government ploy to quell the statehood  demand, and appealed to the people of the hills to surrender their digital cards.

The GJM president also questioned the state government’s inability to identify and implement the categorisation of APL (above poverty level) and BPL (below poverty level) people in the hills, even though the process started 16 years ago in 2000. Apparently, the AAY contemplates identification of the poorest of poor families from among the BPL covered under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) within the states and provides them food grains at a highly subsidised rate of Rs2 per kg for wheat and Rs3 per kg for rice.
Bimal Gurung asks people to surrender AAY digital card, alleges state goverment ploy
Bimal Gurung asks people to surrender AAY digital card, alleges state goverment ploy
“Issuing digitalised AAY cards is a state government conspiracy to prove that we (Gorkhas) are refugees, as is one of the criteria of the scheme," Gurung alleged today. "Through the AAY, the Bengal government wants to send out a message that refugees cannot demand a separate state."

He said the process started last month during the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee. “The President was invited to Darjeeling in July by the state government to convey him the message that the Gorkhas are not the only ones who reside in the hills. Bengal hijacked the birth anniversary programme of our poet Bhanubhakta Acharya on July 13. And now no instruction in Nepali is provided in  the digital card,” Gurung said, adding he would write about this to the state government.

The GJM president said it was his responsibility as a leader and chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration to make the people aware of the state government’s ill intentions. “Bengal is trying to create a scenario to deprive our rights and drive us out from the hills, slowly but surely. I appeal to those who have received their AAY digital card to surrender it to the district administration.

I have also asked the municipalities, Sabhasads and leaders in the panchayat areas to stop the distribution of AAY cards,” he said, and urged all political parties including the hill TMC to forget political differences and unite to oppose the state government's imposition.

Incidentally, the word refugee is not mentioned in government papers or notifications as a criterion, although slum dwellers, landless agricultural labourers, and persons earning on daily basis in informal sectors in rural and urban areas, among others are listed. Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastava said the term “refugee” was just a propaganda and asked people not to pay heed to it.

“The AAY is being implemented as the hills do not produce food grains and they have to be purchased from outside at high costs. As far as the issue of returning the digital card is concerned, people may do so if they wish to,” he said.

With no categorisation as BPL or APL, the entire hill populace is being treated as AAY, according to which 7,95,640 people will be given the digital cards. Almost 75 per cent of cards have already been distributed in the hills since it was introduced in July.

Via EOI

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.


Bimal Gurung threatens fresh statehood agitation

10:58 AM
DARJEELING 27 Jul 2016 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today vented his frustration and anger at the state government for its alleged interference and threatened to re-start the statehood movement. He said so during a programme organised by the party to observe Shahid Diwas, to commemorate the deaths of more than 1,200 people killed during the 1986 agitation. The GJM organised separate Shahid Diwas programmes in various parts of the hills to pay homage to those killed in the first statehood agitation and also felicitated the families of the martyrs.

Gurung is upset with chief minister Mamata Banerjee for forming community development boards, which he said, was a ploy to divide the hill people. He has repreatedly accused the state government  of interfering in the independent functioning of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. And very recently, Gurung was visibly upset when the state government observed the birth anniversary of

Nepali poet Bhanubhakta Acharya on July 13, which he claims, was conducted without adequate participation from the Gorkha community.
Bimal Gurung threatens fresh statehood agitation
GJM chief Bimal Gurung with his associate Roshan Giri during a media conference. File photo
Speaking at the programme today, a charged up Gurung said, “She (Banerjee) comes to Darjeeling and only sees the Kanchenjunga smiling. But she is unaffected by the people’s anguish.

Do not try to divide our community and test our tolerance. This is not good as in time a volcano will erupt in the hills and it will not be easy to handle."

The GJM chief said the chief minister was trying to spread her party’s tentacles in the hills by playing on people’s sentiments. “The Bhanubhakta birth anniversary celebration was hijacked, and now the state government will also do the same with the July 27 Shahid Diwas programme. Such injustice and interference will only give rise to frustration among the people, which may take a terrible turn in the near future,” said Gurung.

He invoked the martyrs of the 1986 agitation saying the Shahid Diwas event could be a turning point for the hills. “In the first statehood movement, 1,200 died and in the second phase in 2007, seven sacrificed their lives. But now thousands may become martyrs. We must be mentally prepared to fight,” said Gurung.

The GJM chief had actually embarked on a padyatra last year to pursue the statehood demand, and today he said without specifying he would go far away from his family.

“I will be going far away from my family and will only return when a separate state is achieved. This is my last appeal to the people to support me as you have done in the past.

The youths must come forward and party leaders and Sabhasads must be prepared to struggle for a separate state and not only go to jail but also lay down their lives,” he said.

Gurung also took a dig at the central government urging it to understand the aspirations of the people. “We are not demanding a country but a separate state within the Union. The central government should understand this demand is our right and is justified. We want the Centre to give us justice,” he said.

Via EOI

Plight of Indian Gorkhas - have to decide what they really want?

11:12 AM
The Indian Gorkhas have to decide now as to what they really want and where they want to go from here.

While India vies for a global position, various communities in the country are reasserting their roles and striving to get maximum mileage from the country’s global entry. Many of them have already devoured the political and development pie. Every community wants to be a player and a difference maker. The game is on. Meanwhile, more than 10 million Indian Gorkhas find themselves at the crossroads.

The Indian Gorkhas have to decide now as to what they really want and where they want to go from here. Should they go with the rest of India to compete at the regional, national and global levels? Should they reorient their community thinking, redesign their societal approaches and restructure their collective action? Should the younger generation ‘re-focus’ on education that will make them professionally competitive?
Plight of Indian Gorkhas - have to decide what they really want?
Can they afford to cling on to their Khukuris and be driven by emotions, while they have the capability to be an example of ‘knowledge generation’? They could use the same blood, sweat and tears to re-identify and re-position themselves as the gyan-vir (literally, knowledge brave) and acquire national leadership. They have done it in the past at an individual level and now they have to do it collectively as this path provides an entry into the club of a national entity.

All the flaws
The Indian Gorkhas are known for integrity, courage, resilience and perseverance. They have a rich culture, tradition and unwritten intellectual heritage. They have made immense contributions in almost all the fields of the nation-building process both in the pre- and post-independence period.

It is a historic folly on their part that nobody from them made an effort to deconstruct and reconstruct their history in independent India. Therefore, the historical narratives on them at the national level are biased or remain largely untold. Nobody wrote an exclusive history of the Gorkhas in India. —a shocking degree of intellectual-gap. This is where they failed. This is a major societal failure and a reflection of a self-centric political leadership.

The Indian Gorkhas have a distinct disadvantage in that they are scattered geographically all across the country. In terms of population, they are a minuscule lot. They are one of the least educated communities. Economically, they remain deeply downtrodden and have no national forum to champion their cause.

Their present political leaderships have been of sub-regional character with a myopic vision, which has failed them in every respect. They are ignorant to the core, marginalised by virtue of their background and acts, and highly self-centric. These leaders are seemingly full of emotions, hollow promises and dangerous instincts of self-survival. And, they do not count at the national level at all; they have merely become local lords.

As a result, the national image and power of the Indian Gorkhas have steadily eroded and been widely stigmatised. It has jeopardised the very future of the next generation. Some of them, like in Sikkim, have done irreparable damage by dangerously dividing the Gorkhas into different castes and religious entities. And the Bengal administration has only replicated this model in Darjeeling by creating ‘development boards’ based on caste and creed. This is the least expensive approach to kill the demand for a separate state. History will never forgive this retrogressive policy of these leaders.

Change in discourse
For a new future for the Indian Gorkhas, their steady entry into the policy and decision-making processes and institutions of the country is essential. Many of them have done it in the past in education, national security, sports, media, music, corporate institutions, literature and even politics. This is how a small district like Darjeeling produced 5-8 Olympic players, possibly a record in the country. However, as opposed to the trickle in the past, they have to join the India’s up-and-coming generation in hordes.

They should no longer overplay their weakest conventional excuse of “hepyo, chhutayo, atyachar garyo, apthyaro lagyo” (looked down upon, discriminated, persecuted, felt embarrassed). They cannot rise and fight with the spirit of someone vanquished. They cannot play outside the field and lament about discrimination to the referees of the game, the public. This amounts to using the weakest weapon against strong opponents.

Relatively successful Indian Gorkhas are emphatic: “If we are weak in knowledge and arguments, and shy away from competition, the story of discrimination becomes more about manko bagh (tiger within oneself) rather than banko bagh (tiger in the jungle).” India is a nation of innumerable communities, unparalleled geographies and diverse development stages along with a plethora of scattered democratic institutions. Thus, the Indian Gorkhas are left with only two choices: either to fall into the crevice or climb the mountain.

An example of poor choice is the discontinuation and refusal of ‘constitutionally provided’ Panchayati Raj institutions in Darjeeling since 1991 and the wilful acceptance of non-performing, capricious and cantankerous Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (1988-2007) and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (2012), which was provided through a ‘gazette notification’ by a very hesitant and cunning state of West Bengal.

Rights under Panchayat Raj are constitutionally given to the people everywhere in India. Here the Indian Gorkhas sacrificed the Constitution of India for a mere gazette notification with hugely deleterious implications. What can be more paralysing and unfortunate that this?

However, they made a rational choice when they nationally fought for the recognition of the Nepali language in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India in 1992. All India Nepali Bhasha Samity, Bharatiya Nepali Rastriya Parishad and many other institutions and individuals across India deserve kudos for this.

Playing the game
The scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and the other backward classes among the Indian Gorkhas have a distinct place and recognition in the constitution of India like others belonging to the same categories across the country. Yet, why do others succeed in becoming IAS/IFS officers in hordes and but the Indian Gorkhas hardly figure in the higher echelons of bureaucracy, governance and other national institutions? This is a tragedy that has been perennially repeated. Where is the discrimination? It is an open competition for all.

We see this so blatantly and remarkably when we sit in the Interview Board of the Union Public Service Commission to select government officers. The children from the hills are actually equally bright, quick, multi-cultural in thinking and have untapped competitive instincts. Yet they are nowhere in the competition. Who will tell the inspiring words of “timile garnu sakchhou” (You can do it!) to the young Gorkha children? Who will inject confidence and courage in them? Their confidence should be built better from the societal level.

The Indian Gorkhas have to rebuild modern institutions and revive the traditional ones that keep them united and vibrant. This is what we did while setting up and building a central university in Sikkim—an institution with a global perspective, national orientation and strong local ethos. The hope lies in the resurrection and active role of Gorkha youths to come together from across the nation and question their incompetent leaders. This requires a renegotiation within the pan-Indian Gorkha community, with a focus on the larger issues of aspirations of the youths and emerging national and global opportunities for them.


Via thestatesman

Hill Trinamool Congress geared up for Municipality and GTA elections

8:32 AM
TMC
DARJEELING 1 Jul 2016 It is no work, no rank for hill Trinamool Congress leaders holding portfolios, as the party gears up to take on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the upcoming municipality and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) elections.

Having tasted bitter-sweet defeat in the hills from the GJM in the 2014 Lok Sabha and the state Assembly elections, the hill TMC leadership is wary of a possible backlash from the high command in Kolkata in the event of another rout. “We just cannot keep losing elections. The party high command in Kolkata has expectations from us and we will have to deliver.

Therefore, from today we are going to take drastic measures within the party,” said Rajen Mukhia, the hill TMC president, who on Thursday was re-elected for the second consecutive term.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, TMC candidate Bhaichung Bhutia lost to the BJP’s Surendra Singh Ahluwalia, who was supported by the GJM, by more than one lakh votes.
Hill Trinamool Congress geared up Municipality and GTA elections
Rajen Mukhia  - a file photo
Similarly, in the Assembly election earlier this year, TMC candidates from Darjeeling and Kurseong constituencies lost to the GJM, although the margin of victory was narrower.

On Thursday, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee announced in Siliguri separate committees of the party for the hills and plains regions. Gautam Deb, the state tourism minister, was made the president of the plains committee. Meanwhile, Mukhia said, “It is an honour and a huge responsibility to be made the president for a second term. I thank Didi for appreciating and recognising my sincerity in running the party in the hills.  I will try and live up to the expectations of the party leadership."

Today, the hill TMC president held a meeting in Sukhaypokhari near Darjeeling and asked party leaders there to form a new committee with a strong leadership. “I have made it clear that leaders holding portfolios and staying at home and working will not have it easy. They will be stripped off their rank and will have to be satisfied with being a general member of the party,” Mukhia warned, adding he had asked the Sukhaypokhari unit to form a new committee within a week.

“We will hold similar meetings and form new block committees in various municipality and panchayat areas and conduct fresh membership drives. We will also constitute the district committee within a week and send it to Kolkata for approval,” Mukhia said. Mukhia, who will be in Kolkata tomorrow to attend a meeting of district presidents with Mamata, said he was hopeful that elections to the  two-tier panchayat in the hills would be held at the end of this year. “We are hopeful that by October-November, the two-tier panchayat election will be held. We will contest the panchayat,  municipality and GTA elections,” he said.

Of the possibility of an alliance with the Gorkha National Liberation Front and Jan Andolan Party, who had extended support to the TMC in the Assembly elections, Mukhia said, “We are of the belief that those against the GJM misrule will ally with us. As for seat adjustments, it will be done by our high command whenever required."

(EOIC)

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha reshuffled, 29-member Central Working Committee formed

9:50 AM
DARJEELING 28 Jun 2016 In a major reshuffle, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has decided to hand over the party’s reigns to a 29-member Central Working Committee with a view to help strengthen the organisation as well as chalk out future policy matters.

Addressing a press conference today after a grueling day-long central committee meeting at the party’s Patleybas office in Darjeeling, GJM assistant general secretary Binay Tamang said, “During the day-long session of the party’s central committee, we deliberated on several issues including reshuffling our present organisational body. The aim of the reshuffle is to strengthen our party with fresh initiatives.”

The move to reshuffle the party comes at a time when it is facing heat from rival parties that have started making inroads in the hills. The GJM was victorious in the Assembly elections but a large chunk of its previous vote bank was lost to parties such as the Jan Andolan Party and the Trinamool Congress, slashing its victory margin by nearly half in the three hill assembly constituencies.

The TMC is gaining ground albeit with help from the state government, which is doling out development carrots including development boards for various hill communities. The Gorkha National Liberation Front too has started its political activities in the hills and is slowly on the revival path.
binay-tamang
Binay Tamang
Political observers have suggested that these factors, along with growing unemployment issues and corruption in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, which opposition parties are taking advantage of to gain popular support, were making the GJM wary and hence the major re-jig within the party. “People have become aware of the politics being played out in the hills. The GJM is facing heat from various quarters, be it from the opposition or non-cooperation by the state government in running the GTA smoothly. They (GJM) emerged victorious in

the recently concluded Assembly elections but the win margin is something that has got them worried. Therefore, a reshuffle in the party ranks was due for sure,” reasoned a political pundit, not wishing to be named.

Earlier, in the party hierarchy, an 87-strong team of the central committee and a seven-member core committee took decisions on the party’s activities and political programmes. All these will now be done by the CWC to be headed by Bimal Gurung, the GJM president.

“This is our first central committee meeting after the Assembly elections. We have segregated some of our present organisations and also formed new committees,” said Tamang. The party has also increased posts of vice-presidents and assistant general secretaries including leaders from the Kalimpong and Mirik regions to give better representation.

The GJM has an existing legal cell but a decision was made to constitute a Legal Advisory Body comprising seven members to advice the party on all legal matters, given the many litigations pending in the courts.

This aside, for better coordination among its various organizations and parent body, leaders from the party’s central committee have been appointed as coordinators. At present the GJM has 23 frontal organisations. The 12-member Study Forum that has been entrusted with the responsibility of advising and studying the Gorkhaland demand has been left intact.

The GJM assistant general secretary also said that on July 12, a new committee would be formed to take forward the demand for tribal status to 10 communities of the hills, effectively disbanding the existing Bharatiya Gorkha Janjait Sangharsh Mahasangh.

(EOIC)

The following Report was published on the Telegraph

Writes Vivek Chhetri
Darjeeling, June 28: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today put in place a new body called the central working committee that would be the highest policy-making wing of the party at it's first major meeting after the recent Assembly polls.

Till date, the highest body of the hill party was the 87-member central committee.

"We have decided to form a 29-member central working committee that will decide policy and organisational matters. The changes have been brought about to further strengthen the party," Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha, told reporters here today.

Most central committee members were present at the meeting.

The Morcha has made several other changes and appointed leaders from Kalimpong and Kurseong subdivisions to important posts to make the party more inclusive.

This year, the Morcha had to face tough competition from rival parties in Kalimpong and the hill party's victory margin in the subdivision came down from around 1 lakh in the 2011 Assembly polls to around 11,000.

The Morcha's victory margin in Darjeeling and Kurseong seats also went down by nearly 50 per cent this time.

"We had three vice-presidents in the party and today, we decided to appoint L.B. Rai from Mirik as another vice-president," Tamang said.

Till now, Tamang and Jyoti Kumar Rai were the Morcha's two assistant general secretaries. Today, the party decided to appoint R.B.Bhujel (Kalimpong), Bimal Darjee (Kurseong) and S.N. Ghisingh (Mirik) as assistant general secretaries as well.

The Morcha also formed a seven-member legal advisory committee today.

"We already have legal teams in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong and we have formed the advisory committee to advise those," said Tamang.

For better co-ordination, the Morcha has decided to attach two or three co-ordinators to each of the party's 23 frontal organisations, like the Nari Morcha and Yuva Morcha.

"All co-ordinators are from the central committee," said Tamang.

According to Morcha sources, at the meeting today, the leaders discussed at length the party's performance in the recently-held Assembly elections and there was an agreement on the need to make the organisation more cohesive.

"The effort is to activate all leaders. Moreover, given the number of frontal organisations in the party, it was not possible to address the issues of all of them unless the party was decentralised," said a source.

Earlier, Morcha leaders had raised complaints that only a handful leaders would take decisions for the party.

"Let us see if things change. Although, old habits are difficult to change," said a Morcha central committee leader.



"GTA cannot be Dissolved" says Darjeeling MP S.S. Alhuwahila

9:20 AM
MP to Voice Gorkhaland. Not to Defend GTA.

Writes Neeraj Zimba Tamang

The historic mandate bestowed by the people of Darjeeling Hills to Shri. S.S. Alhuwahila, MP BJP, is only for a Single Point Agenda of Gorkhaland. He is expected to deliver the wishes of his electorate, to be the advocate of the Gorkhaland cause and be its loudest VOICE in the highest political forum - the Indian Parliament.

So far, apart from speaking on a few developmental related issues in Parliament and fixing few courtesy appointments in the PMO and MHA for Bimal & Co. he has not been able to utter in the Indian Parliament, even a word "Gorkhaland" to the utter dismay and exasperation of the Indian Gorkhas who gave him such a thumping victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Now, our MP is advocating the cause and legitimacy of GTA over Gorkhaland and making loose statements like, "GTA cannot be Dissolved". This are words put to his mouth by Bimal & Co who all know very well that GTA is a unconstitutional body and be scrapped anytime. The case challanging the constitutional validity of GTA will come up for hearing soon in the Kolkata High Court under the directives of the Supreme Court. There is NO proviso in the GTA Agreement which says that GTA cannot be dissolved without the consent of the Center Government as GTA is a State Subject and the State Government can scrap it anytime.
"GTA cannot be Dissolved" says Darjeeling MP  S.S. Alhuwahila
Why is GJM so serious and scared about the dissolution of GTA.? Wasn't it was Bimal Gurung who once said Bye Bye to GTA and resigned? After signing the GTA Agreement the GJM had told the public that it was just a temporary set up and their ultimate goal is Gorkhland and that it was just on an experimental basis they had consented to GTA while catogorically accepting the region to be an "integral part of the State of West Bengal" and rhetoricially "not dropping their demand of Gorkhaland". Then why is it so vehemently protecting and propagating the validity and legitimacy of GTA?


 
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