Showing posts with label strike news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label strike news. Show all posts

How different medias covered GJM called bandh in Darjeeling

9:53 PM
GJM bandh turned out a success in Darjeeling hills - indiatoday
The stage is set for a mighty showdown in the Hills with both Trinamool Congress and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha gearing up for a show of strength and political space in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.

GJM SENSED LOOSENED HOLD
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the leading party in the Darjeeling hills and advocate of separate state of Gorkhaland for the people, is in a difficult position with members quitting the party either for Trinamool Congress or for JAP (Jana Andolan Party), which is its offshoot. The policy of poaching, which Trinamool Congress adopted to increase its tally has affected the GJM. The party's principal agenda of a separate state is also not finding many takers.

Yet the bandh called by GJM today was a huge success as Hill people preferred to go on a holiday instead of risking their lives in the confrontation between the Trinamool Congress and GJM supporters.

The ruling Trinamool Congress has left no stones unturned in making the bandh a flop show. Three ministers are camping in the Hills to ensure normalcy. But the situation is far from being normal. Schools, colleges, government offices were kept open and public transport was plying, but very few people were willing to step out of their houses.
GJM called bandh in Darjeeling 28th Sep 2016
GJM called bandh in Darjeeling 28th Sep 2016
LOCALS STAYED OUT OF THE SCENE
The division bench of Calcutta High Court has passed an order and asked the government to ensure an atmosphere of normalcy for people. However, the government was unable to build up confidence among people to feel free.


"People of Hills want peace and development. They don't want disturbance. The success of the bandh does not indicate that GJM still holds influence among the Hill people. If people  have stayed away from work, it is because they are peace loving," said Harka Bahadur Chhetri of JAP. For Mamata, the outcome of the bandh cannot be music to the ears, but she is still hoping that appearance can be deceptive.

Bandh in Darjeeling Hills sees dull response - PTI

Darjeeling, Sep 28 (PTI) The 12-hour bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling district today failed to evoke much response, even as over 200 GJM supporters were detained for trying to enforce the shutdown.

Government buses arrived at Darjeeling with tourists escorted by security personnel. Private vehicles were however off the roads.

Around 98 per cent of attendance was recorded in government offices and private schools were open. Shops were mostly closed. Bank ATMs were found to be open also.

At around 11 AM, two toy trains plied with domestic and foreign tourists to Ghoom station from Darjeeling.

This was the first time in the DHR history that a toy train operated during a bandh.

Darjeeling District Magistrate Anurag Srivastava told reporters that more than 200 hundred GJM supporters were detained. Three Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) members were arrested during the bandh.

Three state ministers -- Gautam Deb, Rabindra Nath Ghose and James Kujur monitored the situation in the three hill sub-Divisions.

Opposing the bandh, Chief Minister Mamata Banjeree had yesterday stated that there should be no more shutdown and blockades.

"Bengal's economy was affected by bandhs. There was enough bandh politics," she said.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) called the shutdown alleging the state government has failed to give details of Rs 4,000 crore, which the chief minister has claimed to have given to the GTA.

GJM chief Bimal Gurung, however, claimed that the shutdown was "successful".

"People in the Hills have observed a peaceful bandh," he said, adding TMC has unleashed an autocratic rule.

State tourism minister Gautam Deb, who camped at Kalimpong, said GJM supporters damaged three cars of TMC activists and the police is taking action.

On the closure of shops, he said there was a fear among shop owners and that the state government has taken all steps to maintain normalcy.

Darjeeling reels under GJM bandh - thehindu
Political temperatures went soaring in the Darjeeling hills on Wednesday over the 12-hour bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). The GJM has been demanding a separate Gorkha homeland to be carved out of three hill subdivisions of West Bengal, which is opposed by all major parties of the State.

While the bandh was called by the GJM after recent comments of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has been allocated Rs. 4,000 crore by the State government, the GJM however has raked up Gorkhaland issue. A statement issued by GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said, “Those opposing Gorkhaland will get more energy if the bandh is unsuccessful”

More than 250 GJM supporters were detained till Wednesday afternoon, District Magistrate Anurag Srivastava told journalists.

“We are checking if tourists are stranded. Vehicles are available in the hills… Some shops are open,” he said.

There were reports of vehicles being attacked in Kalimpong and Mr. Srivastava said strong action will be taken.

The three-hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong saw huge deployment of police during the shutdown. Hundreds of supporters of the GJM also took to the streets shouting slogans.

Three Ministers of the Trinamool Congress government were present in each of the subdivisions trying to ensure that shops and commercial establishment remain open.

Supporters of the Trinamool Congress also brought out rallies raising the pitch against the GJM supporters.

Darjeeling tense over bandh call - tribuneindia
Shubhadeep Choudhury Tribune News Service
Kolkata, September 27 Undeterred by a High Court directive, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) is all set to go ahead with its call for 12-hour bandh tomorrow in the Darjeeling Hill areas.
“We have not seen the court order. Bandh will be observed in the hills tomorrow”, Rooshan Giri, GJM general secretary, said.

Responding to a petition filed by Trinamool Congress leader Idris Ali, the Calcutta High Court today directed the state government to ensure that normal life is not disrupted in view of the bandh called by GJM tomorrow.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has vowed to foil the bandh call and the court directive has come to her as a shot in the arm to crack down on supporters of the bandh.

“The court has said it can start a suo motu contempt proceeding against GJM as bandhs are illegal and unconstitutional,” Amit Javalgi, Superintendent of Police of Darjeeling district, said, indicating the police resolve to take strong action against supporters of the bandh.

“Adequate forces are being deployed so that normal life is not affected in the hills tomorrow,” Javalgi added.
However, Harka Bahadur Chhetri, who formed Jana Andolon Party (JAP) after breaking away from the GJM, said if strong arm methods were used against GJM supporters tomorrow, Mamata Banerjee would be walking in the trap of the GJM because this was what GJM leader Bimal Gurung wanted.

“Bimal Gurung wants police to come down heavily on his supporters tomorrow. Violence will benefit him politically”, Chhetri, former GJM MLA from Kalimpong constituency, said.

The state government has also issued a circular making it mandatory for employees in the hills to come to the office tomorrow. Three ministers – James Kujur (tribal welfare), Rabindranath Ghosh (North Bengal Development) and Gautam Deb (Tourism) – are camping, respectively, at Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong.

“The ministers are interacting with public. They are here to give the message that the state government is serious about its opposition to the bandh call by the GJM”, Anurag Srivastava, District Magistrate of Darjeeling, said.

Harka Bahadur Chhetri said the current dispute between the state government and GJM should have been sorted out across the table since the issue involved was about the quantum of funds released by the state government to the GTA for development.
“Why put common people into discomfort by calling a bandh”, Chhetri said. Chhetri, who was backed by Mamata in the Assembly elections held earlier this year, said GJM called the bandh to regain the influence it once enjoyed in the hills.
GJM managed to retain all three Assembly seats in the hills in the 2016 General Elections but the victory margins of its candidates were considerably less than the 2011 elections.

Bandh Called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Halts Public Life in Darjeeling - news18
Sougata Mukhopadhyay | CNN-News18
Kolkata: A 12-hour bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) hit public life in Darjeeling on Wednesday as commercial establishments remained shut, defying the state government calls to boycott the strike.

The bandh, called by the GJM in support of a separate state of Gorkhaland, has been termed “illegal” by the Calcutta high court. Several shopkeepers and transport operators, however, supported the bandh in the upper reaches of West Bengal.

There were no reports of violence but minor tension was reported from Kurseong and Kalimpong towns where sympathisers of the ruling Trinamool Congress who were opposing the strike came face to face with GJM supporters who laid siege to important junctions of the hills to make the bandh a success.

The strike is being seen as the beginning of a new phase of protests in the hills as the GJM renews its calls for a separate Gorkhaland.

Seven companies of central forces and large contingents of the state police have been deployed to thwart attempts at disturbing peace. Trinamool Congress leaders Gautam, Rabindranath Ghosh and James Kujur have set up camp in the area to monitor the situation.

GJM called Darjeeling bandh, State govt. and administration set to foil the strike

11:33 AM
Morcha to TMC: avoid conflict - Ministers to camp in hills on bandh day

Telegraph Darjeeling, Sept. 26: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today "requested" the Trinamul Congress and the GNLF to stay away from confrontation during the 12-hour bandh on Wednesday 28th September 2016, but the ruling party announced that three ministers would be in the hills on that day "to supervise the situation".

The Morcha called the dawn-to-dusk shutdown in the Darjeeling hills on Wednesday to protest the allegedly false claim of Mamata Banerjee that Rs 4,000 crore had been given to the GTA. The chief minister had already announced that she wouldn't allow bandh in the hills.

Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha, held a press conference here today and appealed to Trinamul and the GNLF not to confront the strike.

"The strike is a protest against the domination of the Bengal government. Mamata Banerjee and Aroop Biswas came to the hills, instigated the people and left, leaving the hill residents here. They will not be here during the strike and we request local leaders and cadres of Trinamul and GNLF not to confront the bandh as we are not against our own people," said Tamang.

Tamang also asked the GNLF to cancel its public meeting on the strike day. "We appeal to them to postpone the meeting to any other day so that there is no confrontation that day."
GJM called Darjeeling bandh, State govt. and administration set to foil the strike
Darjeeling Bandh - A File Photo
The GNLF's student wing is scheduled to hold a meeting in Darjeeling on Wednesday.

The Morcha leader said the administration was holding meetings with businessmen and transport operators and taking their phone numbers.

"Holding rallies, demonstrations and burning effigies are part of a democratic movement. But if the administration tries to force open shops, the situation could flare up not just in the hills but across north Bengal and we request the administration to handle the situation calmly and in an unbiased manner," said Tamang, who also requested vehicles from Sikkim not to operate within the GTA area on Wednesday.

Within hours, N.B. Khawash, the spokesman for Trinamul (hills), said three ministers would be stationed in the hills on the strike day.

"Three Trinamul ministers will be coming to the hills. They will probably reach tomorrow. They will be in the hills during the strike day to supervise the situation," he said.

While tourism minister Gautam Deb will be in Kalimpong, north Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh will camp in Kurseong. Tribal minister James Kujur will be in Darjeeling.

Ghosh said: "Three ministers from the state cabinet will be camping in the hills basically to instill confidence in people's mind and help them in all possible manners."

Deb said the strike was "uncalled for" and would not be accepted by the hill people. "The strike has been thrust on the common people at the start of tourism season," said Deb.

Khawash said Trinamul would appeal to the people through the public address system not to take part in the strike and make them aware of the situation. "We are positive that the people will respond to our appeal."

Even though the Morcha decided to call a strike at the start of the tourism season, the party-controlled GTA will hold World Tourism Day celebrations in Darjeeling and Kalimpong tomorrow. The GTA has, however, cancelled its programme in Mirik.

Pradip Lama, the secretary of the Darjeeling Association of Travel Agents (DATA), said: "I will not attend the GTA programmes tomorrow. This is because they will be celebrating the World Tourism Day tomorrow and observing a strike the next day. The strike will hamper tourism. My conscience does not allow me to attend the celebrations."

The government on Monday issued a notification declaring that no leave would be granted to employees posted in the GTA area from September 27 to 29 in view of the bandh called by the Morcha on September 28.

According to senior Nabanna officials, the notice gives a hint that the chief minister is set to take the Morcha head on during the bandh.

Later this evening, principal secretary of the state transport department, Alapan Bandyopadhayay, issued another notification declaring that "wilful non-plying of public service vehicles" might lead to cancellation of permits and licences.

The notification also states that the government will take steps to ensure that traffic is normal on September 28. If damage is caused to any vehicle "by unruly and violent agitators", the state will compensate through insurance, it states.

In August 2013, the Morcha had called a prolonged bandh in the hills demanding Gorkhaland and the government had issued a notification that said salary of the employees would be deducted if they did not attend offices during the shutdown.

But this time, the picture is different as Mamata appears to be tough while dealing with the bandh call.

State government and district administration ready to foil the 12-hour Darjeeling bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

HT, 27 Sep 2016, DARJEELING: The state government and district administration are getting ready to foil the 12-hour Darjeeling bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung on September 28.

While James Kujur, minister in-charge of tribal development, will oversee matters in Darjeeling on September 28, tourism minister Gautam Deb will be camping in Kalimpong and North Bengal.

“Forceful bandh has been declared illegal by the Supreme Court. We have made all necessary arrangements to tackle any eventuality. Senior police officials will be camping in Darjeeling,” said Darjeeling SP Amit P Javalgi.
A notification from the finance department, Government of West Bengal stated that all state government offices in the GTA area, including those provided with grants-in-aid by the state government, will remain open and all employees should report for duty from September 27 to September 29. Absence will result in show cause and salary deduction. Some exceptions including hospitalisation, death in the family have been made.

“Special arrangements for transport have been made. State transport department will run extra buses. We have asked all unions to ply their vehicles. We have tied up with companies to provide insurance in case vehicles are vandalised,” said district magistrate Anurag Shrivastava.

A circular from the transport department stated that the Regional Transport Officer will ensure that public transport remains uninterrupted. “Permits/ licenses are liable to be cancelled for willful non-plying of public service vehicles. Regional Transport Authority will be in charge of cancellation of permits and licenses,” said the circular.
“What can we do? We are caught between the GJM and the district administration. The district administration is pressurising us to keep our shops open. The GJM is saying just the opposite. For how long will the district administration provide us security? We will be marked,” said a shopkeeper.

“The bandh is not the fallout of a tussle between Mamata Banerjee and Bimal Gurung. It is for Gorkhaland and Bengal’s suppression of the demand. We want to see the formation of Gorkhaland by 2019. All proGorkhaland people will support the bandh,” claimed Roshan Giri, general secretary, GJM Binay Tamang, assistant general secretary, GJM warned, “If the police and district administration use force, we will extend the 12-hour bandh and make it indefinite. The jurisdiction of the bandh will then spill over to Siliguri and Dooars.”

The GJM will be sending appeal letters to transport unions of Sikkim not to ply in GTA areas, mainly on National Highway 10 on the day of the bandh.

Though the bandh call was initially called to protest chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement that Rs 4000 crores has been allotted to the GTA in the past four-and-a half years, the GJM hurriedly added the “Gorkhaland” demand to the bandh call agenda- a perfect prescription for a successful strike.
Mamata has announced that under no condition will she allow the bandh to paralyze the Hills while Gurung is adamant to see the strike through.

GJM to spread bandh to plains if police "atrocities" continue

EOI DARJEELING 26 Sep 2016 Accusing the district police of intimidating traders, business establishments and vehicle syndicates to remain open on September 28, the proposed bandh day, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today warned of continuing the strike and even spreading it to Siliguri and the Dooars.

GJM assistant secretary Binay Tamang said the party would make every effort to ensure a peaceful bandh on Wednesday. But he warned that recent police activities had the potential to create a flare-up.

“Why are the police going around and taking phone numbers of traders and syndicate members? Don’t we have the right to protest in a democratic manner by putting up posters, rallying and calling strikes?

If the police attempt to open offices, schools, business establishments forcibly and if the situation turns volatile, the state government and the district administration will have to take the blame,” he threatened.

The GJM has called a 12-hour bandh in the hills on Wednesday seeking clarification from the state government within September 27 on the claim made by chief minister Mamata Banerjee that Rs 4,000 crore has been allocated for development work and that the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration had failed to execute it in the last four years.

The GJM assistant secretary said the party leadership was initially against calling the bandh, but for the intimidating statement by state minister Arup Biswas in Kalimpong on September 24. “It (Biswas' statement) has become an issue of challenge. We will definitely go ahead with our proposed bandh and even continue it and spread it to the plains if the police attempt to foil it,” said Tamang.

The GJM leader also said the party will be writing to Sikkim and apprise it about Wednesday’s bandh. “Since parts of NH-10 fall under Kalimpong sub-division, there is bound to be inconvenience.

We appeal to traders of Sikkim, vehicle owners and others to restrict their movements on the bandh day,” Tamang said.

Interestingly, the Gorkha National Student’s Front, a frontal organisation of the Gorkha National Liberation Front, will be holding its public meeting in Darjeeling on Wednesday. “We appeal to the GNLF  student wing and their party president Mann Ghisingh to postpone their public meeting,” Tamang said today.

But M.G.Subba, the Darjeeling sub-division convener of the GNLF, refused to budge and said the public meeting would go ahead as planned. “The public meeting is our pre-announced programme to highlight  the Sixth Schedule issue. The GJM should understand this. Why did they announce the strike all of a sudden?” he asked.

The GJM has also asked tourists in the hills to leave before September 27 if they have flight or train schedules for Wednesday. Later in the day, leaders of the hill TMC unit told reporters they condemned the bandh and that they would hit the streets on Wednesday to foil it. “We condemn GJM’s strike call and will protest on Wednesday. We don’t want conflict and so have started making the public aware of the disadvantages of strikes. This so because bandhs are not good for tourism, especially with the puja festivities approaching,” said N.B. Khawas, spokesperson for the hill TMC. He also said state tourism minister Gautam Deb, tribal minister James Kujur and north Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh would come to the hills on Wednesday to observe developments.

Bengal Government Goes All Out to Thwart Strike Call by GJM - Threatens Cancellation of Licences, Permits, Mandates Govt Employees Presence on 27th, 28th and 29th 

Vivek Chhetri Telegraph The West Bengal government on Monday issued a notification declaring that no leave would be granted to employees posted in the GTA area from September 27 to 29 in view of the bandh called by the Morcha on September 28.

According to senior Nabanna officials, the notice gives a hint that the chief minister is set to take the Morcha head on during the bandh.

Later this evening, principal secretary of the state transport department, Alapan Bandyopadhayay, issued another notification declaring that "wilful non-plying of public service vehicles" might lead to cancellation of permits and licences.



The notification also states that the government will take steps to ensure that traffic is normal on September 28. If damage is caused to any vehicle "by unruly and violent agitators", the state will compensate through insurance, it states.

In August 2013, the Morcha had called a prolonged bandh in the hills demanding Gorkhaland and the government had issued a notification that said salary of the employees would be deducted if they did not attend offices during the shutdown.

But this time, the picture is different as Mamata appears to be tough while dealing with the bandh call.

HC directive to government on Darjeeling bandh
The Calcutta High Court today directed the West Bengal government to ensure that normal life is not disrupted in view of a Darjeeling hills bandh called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) tomorrow.

A division bench presided by Chief Justice G C Gupta observed that the court can start a suo motu contempt proceeding against GJM as bandhs are illegal and unconstitutional and against existing judgements of Supreme Court and different high courts.


The division bench, also comprising Justice Arindam Sinha, directed the state government to ensure normal life in the hills by ensuring that individual constitutional rights are not infringed.

Moving a petition challenging the 12-hour bandh called by GJM supremo Bimal Gurung on Wednesday, Trinamool Congress MP and advocate Idris Ali submitted that existing Supreme Court and high court judgements have on many occasions declared bandhs as illegal.

Despite that a bandh has been called in Darjeeling Hills during the peak tourist season before Durga Pujas to disrupt normal life and to affect the livelihood of thousands of people involved directly or indirectly with the tourism industry, Ali submitted.

He prayed that if GJM goes ahead with the bandh call and tries to enforce it, then the hills party be directed to pay monetary compensation for any loss to the people or the state.

Gurung has called the bandh alleging that the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government had not done enough for the development of the hills and also sought detail of projects taken up or completed as stated by the chief minister recently in Kalimpong at a public meeting.

Gorkha students Kolkata against Gurung's Darjeeling bandh call

8:05 AM
KOLKATA: Gurung of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha made a last ditched effort to make his presence felt and give fresh air to the now dormant Gorkhaland movement by calling for a 12-hour bandh in the Darjeeling Hills on September 28. The objective of the bandh is to demand details of Rs 4,000 crore spent in hills over four years as claimed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

However, Gorkha students in Kolkata feel that blockades won't help strengthen Gorkhaland movement and on the contrary would only increase distance towards Gurung.

"We had faced a lot of problems during the last spate of bandhs in the hills. But everyone participated without protesting with hope that the bandhs would force Centre and Bengal government to consider our demand for separate statehood. However, Mamata Banerjee played the ethnic cards and divided the Gorkhaland movement. Now, again if bandhs are called, our people will only suffer not achieve anything," said Vandana Pradhan, a 2nd year student of commerce.
Gurung calls for bandh in Darjeeling hills
Gurung calls for bandh in Darjeeling hills
Even though the students feel that Mamata's claims of development through various ethnic boards is just 'eyewash' and in sync with policy of 'divide and rule' over the hills residents, they feel bandhs will push off tourists and cause more hardships.

"Durga Puja is just a fortnight away. Bengali tourists visit the hills in large numbers during this period. Bandhs will not only affect trade and tourism in Darjeeling Hills but also in Sikkim," said Rajesh Chhetri, an arts student and a native of Kurseong.

Some students feel Mamata's carefully planned social engineering coupled with development claims has snuffed the Gorkhaland momentum halt. "The recent annoucement of Kalimpong district is a long pending demand and is a shot in the arm on Jan Andolan Party (JAP), which has been demanding it. As we know JAP leader Harka Bahadur Chetri is an associate of Mamata now. These careful announcements are further isolating the GJM. Hence, this bandh call to show their presence," said Tsering, a final year commerce student and a native of Kalimpong.

Mamata Banerjee on Friday, during a programme in the hills warned against the bandh call given by Bimal Gurung. "We won't let any bandhs happen in the hills. Bandhs won't aid in development of the hills," she had said while leaving space for talks with Gurung. "If you have any issues, we can talk," she said.


Via newindianexpress

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

JAKS Intensifies agitation, will close GTA offices from June 20

10:33 AM
DARJEELING 17 Jun 2016 Intensifying its ongoing agitation, the Janmukti Asthayi Karmachari Sangathan (JAKS) today announced it would enforce the closure of the engineering cells of the various offices of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration from Monday till a solution to its demand for increasing the salary of Group A and B employees is arrived at.

Engineers, doctors, managers and curators, who fall under Groups A and B of the GTA, have begun an indefinite cease-work from June 13. Their demand is enhancement of salary as per an order issued in February 2016 by the finance department of the state government.

“We started the agitation on June 13 and will intensify it in phases. We have decided to close all the engineering cells of the GTA from Monday to press our demand. We know our decision could create problems for the general public and feel sorry, but we request everyone to support the agitation,” said Deepak Sharma, the JAKS spokesperson.
Janmukti Asthayi Karmachari Sangathan (JAKS) at Lal Kothi

At the same time, Sharma said the present deadlock had eased a bit as the GTA had initiated dialogues with them. The GTA principal secretary and secretary, the deputy chief executive and Sabhasads held a meeting in the afternoon with JAKS representatives at Lal Kothi to discuss the issue. It was decided that the principal secretary would hold talks with the state government and a GTA delegation would leave for Kolkata soon.

“The deadlock has been broken and talks have started. However, we will continue our agitation of assembling outside Lal Kothi and close the engineering cells. We will also head to Kolkata as part of the GTA delegation for talks with the state government,” Sharma said.

The JAKS agitation reached its fifth day today with 147 engineers, 120 school teachers, eight doctors, two managers and one curator ceasing work. The other demand the JAKS is spearheading is the regularisation of 5,321 workers of the GTA who were originally on contractual basis with the now-defunct Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

EOIC


GTA casual Group A and B workers to halt work indefinitely for increment - JAKS

10:07 AM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, June 9: The Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangathan (JAKS) today said casual Group A and B employees of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) will halt work indefinitely from Monday to protest the government's decision to increase the salaries of only Group C and D contract staff.

The GTA has total 19,000 workers and the 284 Group A and B staff, including doctors and engineers, who will stop work form a small but important section of the workforce.

"The salary of a driver (Group C) is now more than that of a doctor and an engineer (in Group A#). We have decided that Group A and B employees will not attend work from Monday," Kisan Gurung, general secretary of the sangathan, a frontal organisation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, said.

The GTA has 5,321 contract workers in total.

"There are eight doctors and 119 engineers in Group A. In Group B, there are 147 higher secondary teachers, seven managers of tourist lodges, two lecturers in primary teacher training institute and one curator," said Gurung. "We will stop co-operating with the state unless the issue is settled."
Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangathan (JAKS) file photo
On February 25, H.K. Dwivedi, the principal secretary, state finance department, had issued a notification stating that the hike for Group C and D staff would come to force from March 1, 2016. No changes were made for Group A and B.

A Group D worker with less than 10 years experience who got Rs 7,000 a month will get Rs 10,000. Those with more than 20 years experience will get 20,000 instead of Rs 8,500. For Group C workers with less than five years experience, the salary has been made from Rs 8,500 to Rs 11,500 a month. Those with more than 20 years of experience will get Rs 22,500 instead of Rs 11,000. A Group B worker gets a minimum monthly salary of Rs 13,000. Those in Group A get Rs 22,000.

Telegraph


Janmukti Bidyut Silpa Sahayak Calls for Indefinite Strike - Refuse to Collect Spot Billing From Today

11:29 AM
The JBSS has called for indefinite strike of all spot billing agents from today, following the non-cooperation of West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Corporation Limited.

The members of JBSS have been working in their posts since 2000 when the WBSEDC was not yet formed and all of them were working for West Bengal State Electricity Board. All of the workers were recruited on temporary basis with the promise of giving priority once new posts opened up. However, none of the temporary workers have been made permanent even after 16 years of service.
In 2014 the WBSEDC outsourced their duties to private companies, which has caused an acute sense of job insecurities among the workers, who are the primary face of the company dealing with customers. These workers have to take up multiple roles including Spot Meter Reading, managing blue books and handling all the back-office chores.

“Time and again the WBSEDC have promised us that they will find a permanent solution to our members, however till date they have renegade on all their promises and assurances… we do not have job security and we are working for pittance… we cannot allow this to continue” stated a JBSS executive
.
Especially in the hill region, these workers have to travel long distances in harsh geographical and physical conditions and adverse weather, yet they are not provided with any basic facilities, and now they are put under Private Companies without any consultation with the workers.

The workers have three prong demand, i) Job security under WBSEDC and not private companies, ii) Provisions of EPF, TA, DA and other government sanctioned allowances and regular salaries and iii) Appointment to WBSED against posts that are lying vacant for past many years.

JBSS executive have stated that, “we are the primary source of revenue collection for the company and are doing work way beyond our mandated requirements, yet WBSEDC has treated our members with utter disdain, now time has come for us to demand our rights and we won’t budge till the Chief Managing Director gives us in writing indicating that all the promises made to us will be fulfilled within a specific time-frame.”


Via TheDC



Morcha backed Hills, Dooars 12-hour strike successfull

10:25 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
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