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

Kalimpong declared as the 21st district of West Bengal by Mamata Banerjee

7:52 AM
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday declared Kalimpong in the Darjeeling hills as the 21st district of the state. So far, Kalimpong used to be a sub-division under the Darjeeling district. Mamata, who is on a three day tour to north Bengal made the announcement while addressing the locals at the Lepcha Board Foundation Day Programme in Kalimpong.

Mamata also promised the allotment of six core rupees for the construction of proper infrastructure of the newly declared district. "Kalimpong will become a new district. We have allotted Rs 6 crore for building infrastructure here," she said on Thursday adding that tourism must flourish in the hills.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banejee wears a traditional headgear at the 5th founation day function of Lepcha Development and Cultural Board at Kalimpoog in Darjeeling
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banejee wears a traditional headgear at the 5th founation day function of Lepcha Development and Cultural Board at Kalimpoog in Darjeeling
Addressing the people of the hills, Mamata said, "I want to work for the development of Darjeeling Hills. I am proud of the young generation here. If the hills do not progress, Bengal cannot progress."

In December last year Banerjee had announced that Kalimpong will be turned into a new district for ease of administration. However, many see it as a way to snub the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) which has been leading a campaign demanding separate Gorkhaland state.

Mamata's announcement comes as a victory for the newly formed Jan Andolan Party (JAP) whose leader Harka Bahadur Chhetri have been lobbying hard to make Kalimpong a separate district after quitting the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in September.

Mamata Banerjee showers sops on Kalimpong, Bimal Gurung says it’s ‘land of Gorkhaland lovers’
With Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announcing a slew of development measures in Kalimpong — which will soon be carved into a separate district — her one-time political ally Bimal Gurung of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) claimed that the hill town was the “land of Gorkhaland lovers”.

Speaking at the foundation day programme of the Lepcha Board, Mamata said: “The Lepcha Board has already built three thousands of homes for the poor. The various development boards must promote cultural activities and make Darjeeling clean and green. We want Darjeeling to prosper and become the best. Kalimpong will become a new district. We have allotted Rs 6 crore for building infrastructure.” Mamata is currently on a three-day trip to the hills concluding on Friday.

Ahead of addressing a rally in Kalimpong, Mamata met several local leaders, including those from the Lepcha, Tamang, Newa, Bhujal, Khas, Kami, Damai, Saki, Vishwakarma and Gurung communities. She was also accorded the status of ‘Kingchuk Dermit’ — the highest award of the Lepcha community, said Trinamool leaders.

Gurung calls meet to counter Mamata - Morcha seeks to score over Trinamul chief in Kalimpong
Bimal Gurung has decided to hold a public meeting of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's women wing in Kalimpong on Sunday, a day after Mamata Banerjee leaves the hill town, purportedly to show that Kalimpong is "a land of Gorkhaland lovers".

The chief minister reached Kalimpong today and will attend a programme of the Lepcha development board tomorrow, followed by another one of the Tamang development board the day after. She is scheduled to leave Kalimpong on Saturday.

In a written statement today, the Morcha president said Mamata was frequenting the hills, particularly Kalimpong, to "suppress the Gorkhaland voice" with the help of "some vested people who are trying to divide the Gorkha community into pieces" by forming development boards.

Gurung went on to say: "In reality, Kalimpong is a land of Gorkhaland lovers. However, some people with vested interests are belittling Kalimpong. The person who is dividing the Gorkha community is being felicitated as the chief minister who wants good of the Gorkhas."

He called on "Gorkhaland lovers" to look into the issue with all seriousness and asked them to give a befitting reply. "The issue of Gorkhaland cannot be suppressed by temporary benefits. To spread this message to Gorkhas across India, the Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha has decided to organise a meeting at Delo on September 25," Gurung said.

"The Nari Morcha members from Kalimpong should attend the meeting to demonstrate to chief minister Mamata Banerjee and anti-Gorkhaland forces the support for Gorkhaland," he added.

Delo is 5km from Kalimpong.

Even though Gurung had yesterday said the Morcha would win any election even if it was held now, his statement today, according to observers, suggests that he feels that the impact of Mamata's three-day visit has to be countered immediately.

Many hope Mamata will make some announcements with regard to the creation of Kalimpong district during her stay there. However, a senior Nabanna official said: "Creation of a new district involves a lot of paper work. But no file regarding creation of Kalimpong has moved yet."

According to sources, the personnel and administrative reforms department would first prepare the proposal and send it to the finance department before seeking clearance from the cabinet. "But nothing of that sort has happened," said a source.

Various web sources

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.

Development boards for Kami, Damai and Sarki communities announced

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

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

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

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

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


Bhujel community memorandum to CM for development board

10:38 AM
Siliguri, July 11: Over 400 members of the Bhujel community met chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Bagdogra airport today and submitted a memorandum demanding a development board.

Mamata landed at Bagdogra around 2.45pm for a five-day trip to the Darjeeling hills.

Soon after she walked out of the terminal, Mamata went up to the Bhujel community representatives and accepted the memorandum drafted by the Bhujel (Khawas) Cultural Association.

"This is the sixth time that we met the chief minister and submitted our memorandum to her mentioning our demand for a separate development board. We met the chief minister for the first time in September last year. We had explained that the board was necessary to preserve our rich culture and tradition, which are on the verge of extinction," Kumar Khawas, the general secretary of the association, said.

"The total population of Bhujels is around 60,000 and we live in all three hill subdivisions, the Terai and Dooars. We are economically, socially, politically and educationally a backward community and most members live in tea estates, cinchona plantations and forest villages. Most are daily-rated workers and only a handful of Bhujels pursue higher education. A development board can help bring about comprehensive development for the community," Khawas added.
Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling hills.
Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling hills.
The state government has formed seven development boards in the hills - for Lepchas, Bhutias, Sherpas, Tamangs, Rais, Mangars and Limbus.

"A couple of days ago, sources in the government had said they would form a board to cover three (more) hill communities. This encouraged the Bhujels to approach the chief minister," an observer said:

On Saturday, a government official had said the state intended to form the West Bengal Biswakarma Welfare Board for the development of communities like the Kami, Damai and Sarki.

Khawas, who is a teacher, said: "In March this year, before the Assembly elections, we had met the chief minister and she had assured us that she would look into our demand after the polls. We have complete faith in her and we hope to hear an announcement that we Bhujels will have a development board soon."

The Newars, Khas and Bahuns from the hills have also demanded development boards


Mamata receives warm welcome from GNLF, and Development Boards

10:13 AM
Writes: Prashant Acharya

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was given a grand reception yesterday afternoon at the Bagdogra airport and in Rohini near Kurseong by hill communities that included the Khambu Rai, Lepcha Development Council members as also cadres of the Gorkha National Liberation Front.

This was the first time that GNLF supporters were seen welcoming the chief minister with khadas and Nepali scarves and reflects the ongoing bonhomie between the Trinamool chief and Mann Ghisingh, who the chief minister has appointed as vice chairman of the North Bengal Board of Sports and Games.
Thousands of people from both the plains and the hills had gathered at the airport since morning to welcome the chief minister, who landed around three in the afternoon and proceeded directly to Darjeeling without uttering a word to the press people present.

In Rohini, she was accorded a grand welcome with flowers, khadas and traditional garlands. The chief minister even alighted from her car to accept the greetings. Banerjee will be in Darjeeling for five days and welcome President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday who will be flying directly to the Lebong helipad from Bagdogra. On Wednesday, July 13 the President and Banerjee will attend a function observing the birth anniversary of Nepali poet Bhanu Bhakta Acharya. The chief minister is also slated to attend the annual meeting of the Darjeeling Tea Association during her five-day stay.
Over 400 members of the Bhujel community met chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Bagdogra airport yesterday and submitted a memorandum demanding a development board.
Mamata receives warm welcome from GNLF, and Development Boards
The state government has formed seven development boards in the hills - for Lepchas, Bhutias, Sherpas, Tamangs, Rais, Mangars and Limbus.

"A couple of days ago, sources in the government had said they would form a board to cover three (more) hill communities. This encouraged the Bhujels to approach the chief minister," an observer said:

On Saturday, a government official had said the state intended to form the West Bengal Biswakarma Welfare Board for the development of communities like the Kami, Damai and Sarki.

[With additional inputs from Telegraph]

Via TheDC

Sherpa Cultural Board vice-chairperson suspended

11:02 AM
Sherpa head & deputy spar

Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, July 3: The West Bengal Sherpa Cultural Board has been gripped by a tussle with the chairman and the vice-chairperson accusing each other of high-handedness and financial impropriety.

The vice-chairperson, Nim Doma Sherpa, said she had been suspended by chairman Nima Wangdi Sherpa though he didn't enjoy such powers. She wrote to Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastava levelling a number of allegations against Nima.

Nim said: "He (Nima) suspended me as vice-chairperson in a high-handed manner and without a prior notice. In fact, he does not have the power to suspend me."

The vice-chairperson sought the chairman's ouster and said there was no financial transparency in the board. "All decisions are taken by the chairman," Nim said.

She further alleged that on June 21, the chairman had written to the owner of a property in Kalimpong, from where the board's office functioned, stating that the premises were not needed from August 1, 2016. "The chairman decided to close down the office because I started questioning his style of functioning."
Sherpa Cultural Board programme in Chowrasta Darjeeling
Sherpa Cultural Board programme in Chowrasta Darjeeling
Referring to Sherwi Khangba, a scheme under which the board builds free houses for financially backward Sherpas, the vice-chairperson said: "Earlier, each beneficiary (of the housing scheme) used to get 2,400 bricks. When I found that only 2,000 bricks were being supplied for the construction of a house, all problems started."

Sources said there were no clear provisions in the board's rulebook on the ways to suspend the vice-chairperson.

Nima said the vice-chairperson had been suspended as there were many charges against her. "We had asked the vice-chairperson to monitor the construction of 100 of 500 houses. However, there were allegations that the materials we had prescribed were not being used. There were also allegations that the vice-chairperson was misbehaving with the beneficiaries and she was working against the interest of the board. That is why the executive body and the general body decided to suspend her. In fact, I had told the chief minister of our decision to suspend the vice-chairperson in Kurseong in March," said the chairman.

Asked about the vice-chairperson's suspension, Srivastava said: "The matter has been forwarded to the tribal development department."

Via Telegraph

Demand for Gorkhaland: Ethnic politics still key cards in Darjeeling

5:28 PM
Writes: Amitava Banerjee

Political debate in the Queen of the Hills this election season continues to revolve around ethnic issues.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), a BJP ally piggybacking on the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, has significant sway in north Bengal’s Darjeeling Hills, which include Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong constituencies.
The demand for Gorkhaland gained prominence in 1986 when Subash Ghising and the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) spearheaded a 28-month violent agitation that left 1,200 people dead. Bimal Gurung, a dissident GNLF leader, later floated the GJM and seized power in 2008.

Ever since, even national parties have been unable to sidestep this ethnic brand of politics.

However, it has been a balancing act for the BJP. Careful not to alienate the rest of the state, it has shied from using the word “Gorkhaland” but included the phrase “sympathetically examine the long pending demand of the Gorkhas” in its manifesto.
Mamata Banerjee, on the other hand, is projecting herself as an antagonist of the new-state demand.
Demand for Gorkhaland: Ethnic politics still key cards in Darjeeling

She set up boards for the “all-round development” of various communities. Lepcha, Tamang, Sherpa, Bhutia, Rai, Limboo and Mangar hill communities already have such boards, while others are in the pipeline.

“If the GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, an administrative setup with all 45 elected members owing allegiance to the GJM) would have done its job sincerely, there would be no need for development boards. Development boards are the demand of the people,” said Banerjee.

Not to miss out on the opportunity, the GJM too has promised similar boards under the GTA, and the BJP is banking on the promise to include 10 Gorkha communities and the Dhimal community in the Scheduled Tribes list.

Harka Bahadur Chettri, the sitting Kalimpong MLA who severed ties with the GJM and floated the Jan Andolan Party (JAP), is gnawing into the GJM support base in Kalimpong with the promise to upgrade the sub-division into a district.

When Gurung accused the JAP and the TMC of being “anti-Gorkhas”, the JAP responded by drafting the West Bengal Reorganization Bill 2016 for the formation of a separate state under Article 3 of the Constitution and dared the BJP to pass it in Parliament.

via: The Hindustan Times

Didi banks on divide and rule policy in Hills

9:54 AM
Writes Drimi Chaudhuri

April 17, 2016, Darjeeling As the Hills go to polls on Sunday, an issue that takes prominence among others is Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to form development boards for individual ethnic communities.

While this could help the Trinamool Congress chief break the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s monopoly and help her gain a foothold in the area, most local leaders criticise her policy of “divide and rule”.

Mamata initiated the process of forming development boards for Hill communities — Lepcha, Mangar, Sherpa, Bhutia, Limbu and Rai— in 2014. Much to the chagrin of Morcha leaders, the process rendered the autonomous administrative body, Gorkha Territorial Administration, somewhat ineffective as the state government started releasing funds for these communities bypassing Morcha leaders, who dominate the autonomous body.

Morcha president Bimal Gurung said the move was taken for “political gain”. “The boards have only built toilets; there has been no real development,” he said.
Gurung found support from Manish Rana Mangar, assistant secretary of Mangar Sangh Bharat.

“The formation of these boards is a ploy to create friction between communities. It has become clear that this was done with the Assembly polls in mind. The government’s long-term plan seems to divide Gorkhas so that no one can demand a separate state in future.”

Gurung’s bête noir Hadka Bahadur Chhetri, who left the Morcha to form his own outfit, however, countered the criticism.

“Morcha leaders are unhappy because the government is directly releasing funds to these boards, which makes it difficult for Gurung and his associates to make money,” he alleged.

He claimed that most of these communities are moving away from Morcha due to the corruption and nepotism of its leaders. Chhetri found support from Neema Shering Sherpa, convenor of the Sherpa Cultural Board. “The board is not confined to community development; it has also given us a separate identity. The demand for Gorkhaland is like a fairy tale, it’s a sentiment. We’ve been with this demand and continue to be with it but common people have always been short-changed in the name of Gorkhaland,” Sherpa said.

Palden Bhutia, chairman of the West Bengal Bhutia Development Board, said, “Everybody used to think Gorkhas were the only community here but now they realise there are others too.

 “Unlike earlier times, when funds used to be sourced through leaders, the money is now going to the needy people only. This makes a lot of people unhappy.”

Sources said Banerjee was unhappy with Trinamool’s failure in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when she fielded ace footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, a move she hoped would help her get a grip on the Hills, which has been out of bounds for mainstream parties since Gorkha National League Front started the Gorkhaland agitation in 1986. “The Left preferred to keep Gorkha leaders in good humour and formed an autonomous hill council. Leaders became flush with crores in government funds but the area remained under-developed. If the boards can manage to change that, it would be a welcome change,” said Darjeeling-based political analyst PN Lama.

Lama, however, pointed out that Mamata’s decision to form individual community boards is in essence a reversal of the unifying process 19th Century Nepalese poet Bhanu Bhakta Acharya had undertaken.

Besides translating the Ramayana from Sanskrit, he had brought together Gorkha tribes and created a nationalistic identity.

A large number of local residents say that their support for Gorkhaland notwithstanding, most would prefer development in terms of education, healthcare and employment so people do not have to move to metropolitan cities in search of jobs.

Via deccanherald

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