Showing posts with label Gorkha Rangamanch Bhawan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gorkha Rangamanch Bhawan. Show all posts

Bimal Gurung lashed out at party leaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darjeeling Everest girls Trishala & Suloxchana to get grand homecoming reception

3:12 PM
Report by Swareena Gurung

DARJEELING 13 Jun 2016 The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has planned a grand homecoming reception for Everest climbers Trishala Gurung and Suloxchana Tamang who will be arriving at Bagdogra airport from Delhi on June 15. The two girls from Darjeeling  scaled the world's highest mountain on May 21.

GTA Information and Cultural Department executive member Binay Tamang has requested members of all castes and communities including students to welcome the two climbers right from Siliguri all the way to Darjeeling by forming groups in several vantage places. Gurung and Tamang will be felicitated at a programme to be organised at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhawan.

Everest climbers Trishala Gurung and Suloxchana Tamang from Darjeeling
From right Everest climbers Trishala Gurung and Suloxchana Tamang from Darjeeling
The chairmen of the four municipalities of Darjeeling, Mirik, Kalimpong and Kurseong will be present along with GTA and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha members. GJM president Bimal Gurung will  address the function. The climbers will also be rewarded with citizen felicitations on Independence Day in recognition of their praiseworthy feat.


Regularize over 5,000 casual employees within a month - GTA to State govt.

8:58 AM
Darjeeling, Feb. 2: The GTA decided to "bulldoze" its way through to regularize the services of over 5,000 casual employees at the hill body by setting a time-frame of one month for the state government to do so, failing which the autonomous institution itself will appoint them.  “A resolution was passed today in the Sabha that we will give the state government one month’s time to grant permanent status to the casual workers. If the state government fails to meet our demand, the GTA will appoint these casual workers permanently as per the 2011 agreement. We (GTA) will also give them salaries,” said BhupendraPradhan, the GTA Sabha chairman, after the meeting.

The GTA today also formed a committee to look at the possibility of constituting the Subordinate Selection Board on its own, though doubts persist if the hill body has powers to make the casual staff permanent and put in place the recruitment board.

The decisions come in the backdrop of the state's cancellation of a proposed meeting with the GTA on January 29 to discuss the regularisation of the casual staff. The Centre, too, had called tripartite talks with the state and the GTA in Delhi today but the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha alleged that the meeting had been cancelled because of the state's unwillingness to attend the session.
Regularize over 5,000 casual employees within a month - GTA to State gov.
JAKS demanding their right to permanent employment
Today, the GTA Sabha held a meeting at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling and passed a number of resolutions aimed at creating pressure on the state government.

Bhupendra Pradhan, the chairman of the GTA Sabha, said: "The Sabha today passed a resolution to write to the state to make the GTA workers permanent in one month. If they fail to regularise the jobs in a month, the GTA will start issuing appointment letters and we will pay their salaries from the GTA funds."

At the moment there are 5,321 casual employees in the GTA and the hill body has 4,011 sanctioned posts which are vacant now.

Many administrative officials said it was not clear whether the GTA could issue appointment letters. "There can be no clear answer on the issue as it depends on the interpretations of the GTA Act and various government notifications," said an officer.

Another officer, however, was of the opinion that the GTA had the power to issue appointment letters. "This is because there are 4,011 sanctioned posts. That the posts are sanctioned means that the government has given financial approval for the same. If the GTA makes appointment against the sanctioned posts, my opinion is that it cannot be termed illegal," he said.

Some other officials, however, said since the salaries had to come ultimately from the state, it is a must to get a concurrence from the state on the regularisation.

The GTA Act has empowered the hill body to fill up vacancies in Groups B, C and D through the Subordinate Selection Board. The board is to be formed by the state government in consultation with the GTA. However, the board has not yet been constituted.

At today's meeting, the GTA Sabha also formed a seven-member committee, which includes Ravi Inder Singh, principal secretary, GTA, Don Bosco Lepcha, secretary, GTA and Durga Kharel, nominated GTA Sabha member, to explore the possibility of forming the selection board.

"The committee will look into the provisions of forming the board as the state has failed to do so. We will bulldoze our way through as our people need jobs," said Pradhan.

In another resolution, the Sabha said the GTA would regularize the jobs of 515 voluntary teachers if the government didn't take an initiative in that direction.

"We will convene the Winter Session of the GTA on February 11 and 12 and come up with the budget. Our elected representatives will go to Calcutta along with GTA officials to place our budget before the state," said Pradhan.

A resolution was also taken to distribute Rs 60 lakh each to 45 elected GTA Sabha members as part of the constituency development fund which had been due for the past two financial years.

Source Telegraph

Week long Darjeeling Cultural and Tourism Festival 2015

8:47 AM

Tourist in the second day of the ongoing week long Darjeeling Cultural and Tourism Festival (DCTF) did what they had only watched actors do in cinemas and wished. The festival organizers gave enthusiastic tourists a thrilling opportunity, to dance on the moving Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), a first for many of them.

And willing tourists did not let go of the opportunity as some of them climbed aboard the open coach of the toy train and showed their moves. “Fifteen years back I had taken my last ride on the toy train. But, today it was an amazing and different experience, to dance on one of them with people on the streets looking at us. I felt like a movies star,” said an elated Prashant Divedhi from Kolkata.

Burdawan resident Animika Bhowkick did not dance but the ride from Darjeeling to Ghoom and back was a memorable one for her. “I am not much of a dancer so I refrained from joining the others. However, it was just as much a scintillating experience to be a part of the road show. I thank the organizers and wish them well for future, too,” she said.

The DCTF that is organized by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has become an annual affair in the Hills. It is organized every year this month in November with the objective to attract tourists to the Hill station.

This year the festival is being held from November 1 to 7 in Darjeeling sub-division. Similar events will also be organized in the other sub-divisions of Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik, till November 8.

The cultural dance (on different Nepali songs) on the moving DHR train however will only be held for three days from today. Performers from the GTA’s information and cultural department will perform every morning for three days on the 10.40 am diesel run train from Darjeeling to Ghoom and back with a break at the Batasia War Memorial. Bhanu Kanta Ghisingh, the GTA information and cultural department assistant director said, “The idea behind having dancers from the department on the moving train is to bring to highlight and promote our cultural. Tourists can even participate with our dancing troupe, which we believe will give them a trilling experience”.

Not only tourists but the performers too were elated with the opportunity to dance on the heritage train. “I have been dancing for thirteen years but this is the first time on a moving train. This experience I will keep till my last days. Of course, dancing on moving train is never easy but I managed it all the same,” said Ram Limboo, one of the male dancers.

The festival will showcase the various culture and traditions of the Hills communities. Stalls have been put up at the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan dishing our traditional delicacies and in the evening local bands will entertain tourist and locals alike for the next six days.

Source EOI

Bimal Gurung on padayatra from Kalimpong to Darjeeling

12:46 PM
Rally to show Morcha might
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Bimal Gurung has decided to undertake a padayatra from Kalimpong to Darjeeling in an effort to mobilise the supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and send across a message that the party's unity hasn't been affected by rebellion by two of its leaders.

Sources in the Morcha said the decision had more or less been finalised at a meeting held at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling yesterday. The Morcha president is planning the march, whose date is yet to be announced, close on the heels of the defiance by two party MLAs.

Yesterday's meeting was attended by elected GTA Sabha members, hill municipal councillors and representatives of different frontal wings of the Morcha.

The meeting had been called by Gurung to get feedback from the leaders following the resignation of Kalimpong MLA, Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Darjeeling MLA Trilok Dewan from the Morcha.
Bimal Gurung  to tunderake padayatra from Kalimpong to Darjeeling
Festoons of the Morcha at Damber Chowk in Kalimpong on Friday, ahead of the
 September 30 public meeting. Picture by Chinlop Fudong Lepcha
The duo had questioned the Morcha leadership's style of functioning and said Gurung was acting in a dictatorial manner. Chhetri refused to resign as the MLA and instead quit the Morcha. Dewan resigned both from the party and the Bengal Assembly. Only Kurseong MLA Rohit Sharma acted according to Gurung's directive and tendered his resignation from the Assembly.

A source said: "During the meeting yesterday, it was more or less finalised that a padayatra would be organised soon after the public meeting in Kalimpong, which is scheduled for September 30. The public meeting is being organised by the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha."

It is, however, unclear whether the padayatra would start immediately after the public meeting or a day after.

Sources in the Morcha said the march was to mobilise public opinion. "The march is to send a clear message that the Morcha still enjoys support in the hills," said the source.

In January 2011, thousands of Morcha supporters had started a march from Darjeeling to the Dooars. The marchers were, however, stopped at Sibchu on February 8 when they tried to enter Jalpaiguri district. Police opened fire at the venue and three Morcha supporters, Vicky Lama, Neeta Khawash and Bimala Rai were killed.

The march had been organised to demand the inclusion of the Dooars in the Gorkhaland that the Morcha wanted.

This time, the procession will be confined to a distance of about 55km between Kalimpong and Darjeeling. The march is likely to be completed within two days, unless Gurung takes a detour through Teesta Valley to reach Darjeeling from Kalimpong. The detour would double the distance.

Yesterday, Gurung had said after the meeting that "there is nothing to worry over" Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Trilok Dewan leaving the Morcha and asked what these two leaders had been doing for the past four-and-a-half years.

"What were they doing for the past four-and-a-half years? Why did they not discuss issues with me in the past four-and-a-half years? They were also invitee members of the GTA. What were they doing all this while? asked the Morcha president. "There is nothing to worry over these developments. Everything will be fine tomorrow."

Chhetri had yesterday said: "It seems they (Morcha leaders) are giving me more importance when I am out of the party than when I was in the party."

Source Telegraph

GTA to form development boards for all hill communities - Bimal Gurung

1:46 PM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Sept. 20: Bimal Gurung today tried to outdo Mamata Banerjee in her game by announcing development boards for all hill communities, but his speech betrayed his worry about the apparent public acceptance the chief minister has garnered in some parts of the hills.

"Enough is enough," said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief, while addressing a seminar on the issue of tribal status to 10 hill communities at the Gorkha Rangamancha Bhavan. "The GTA will now form development boards for all the hill communities. I promise you, 101 per cent, that the GTA Sabha will soon adopt a resolution to this effect and we will give responsibilities to you (development boards)."

Since 2012, Mamata has formed development boards for the Lepcha, Tamang, Sherpa, Bhutia and Mangar communities in the Darjeeling hills. During her last visit a week back, she said development board demands of the Rai and Limbu communities would be looked into.
Bimal Gurung at Gorkha Rangamancha Bhavan on Sunday
Bimal Gurung at Gorkha Rangamancha Bhavan on Sunday. Picture by Suman Tamang
Gurung has called this a divide-and-rule policy of the state government.

He today reminded the hill people about the importance of their collective identity, on which the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state largely rests.

"Our community is becoming weak every day. We are getting sold for a toilet. Our community is now worth Rs 3 crore, Rs 5 crore," said Gurung, referring to the amounts Mamata has sanctioned for some of the development boards.

Present at the seminar were Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling, Sikkim MP P.D. Rai, Tezpur MP R.P. Sharma and a host of ministers from Sikkim as representatives of the Gorkha community from across the country.

Gurung asked: "Is the worth of our community only Rs 3 crore. Just for Rs 3 crore, our people lined up along the streets from morning to evening, braving torrential rain. However, when a chief minister from Sikkim, who is from our community, has come, I have felt that a certain thing was amiss. I will talk about it later. We must learn to respect the personalities from our community."

The Morcha chief was referring to the welcome accorded to Mamata during her visit to Kalimpong recently. People from different hill communities had lined up the streets to Kalimpong, braving rain during her visit. Also when Mamata had said she would never let go of the hills, people in the audience in Kalimpong had applauded.

Today, Trinamul organised three meetings in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong to highlight "good governance" of the Trinamul-led dispensation, a rarity in the hills where the Morcha is the most powerful party. (See Page 8)

If the GTA does go ahead with the formation of the boards, at least 14 such bodies would be formed in the hills. At least five hill communities would have parallel boards - one formed by the state, another now proposed by the GTA.

The boards under the Bengal government have been registered as societies and are under the state backward classes welfare department.

"People ask me why I frequent Delhi," Gurung said, then explained that he goes to the national capital to meet MPs, ministers and central leaders for Gorkhaland.

"I am ready to touch their feet for Gorkhaland but I will not lose my self-respect on this issue. I go to Delhi because the issue is with the Centre, and not with Bengal. That is why my fight is not with Bengal," he said.

During the seminar, it has also been decided in principle that a national committee would be formed to look into various issues of the Gorkha communities.

Gurung has asked Chamling to lead the national committee. "I appeal to all political parties and all the people of the hills to rise beyond petty politics on the issue of granting tribal status and Gorkhaland," Chamling said.

Source Telegraph

Gorkha Rashtriya Sangoshti / Gorkha‬ National Symposium – Day 1

12:19 PM
The program started at 11:40 A.M with the lighting of the lamps by a few dignitaries such as Col. Alley, Roshan Giri, Jyoti Kumar Rai, Amar Singh Rai and Binay Tamang. 

This was followed by a warm welcome of all the other dignitaries, especially those who had travelled from other parts of India with traditional Nepali topi and khada. Mr. Diwakar Gurung was the Master of the Ceremony. The program was marked by numerous traditional and cultural dance performances by the Mangar sangh troupe, Khas Hitkari troup, Kirati Khambu Rai troupe among others. 
Some of the main points raised by the guest speakers are as follows:

Ajay Mangar, Mangar Sangh: On behalf of the Janjati Mahasangh, Mr. A. Mangar pointed out that except for a few communities in post independent India, the majority of the Gorkha communities are yet to get the tribal recognition, despite repeated attempts to secure one. The lacunae was in their unilateral approach, which, according to him needs to be rectified through a unity and collaboration among the different non-tribal Gorkha communities.

Binay Tamang: Mr. Tamang briefly spoke about the plight of the Gorkha communities not only in the hills but more importantly all over India and called for “chattis jati, chattis varna” unity amongst the Gorkhas diaspora in India. He specifically said “phutera hoina, jutera afno astitwa ko ladai larnu parcha.” He mentioned that the report on the seminary of Gorkhaland Statehood that had taken place a few months ago will be released tomorrow.
Gorkha Rashtriya Sangoshti
Roshan Giri: Mr. R. Giri pointed out that the demand for tribal status for the ten non-tribal Gorkha communities, excluding the schedule caste was to bring “unity” and eventually “uniformity” amongst the diverse Gorkha communities across India. He was critical of the 6th schedule demand by the GNLF, and called upon the people not to confuse the demand for tribal status with 6th schedule.
Prem Tamang, President of All Assam Gorkha Student Union Assam: Mr. Tamang, acknowledged and thanked Bimal Gurung for “bringing Gorkhas together” and uniting them across India. Pointing out the “identity crisis” that the Gorkhas cross India face and the need for “Gorkha Identity”, he assured the support of more than 35 lac Gorkhas living across Assam – for Gorkhaland as well as for the tribal status of all the non-tribal Gorkhas in India.

Nabin Tamang, President, Nagaland Gorkha Association: Stating that the cause of Gorkhaland as an “emotional issue”, and morally supporting the demand for the tribal status for the non-tribal Gorkhas in India, Mr. N. Tamang, however cautioned the audience and the dignitaries about the unintended repercussions such demand on the Gorkhas living in various parts of India, specially Nagaland. Giving a brief background of the Nagaland, he pointed out the danger of potential conflicts that such status of the Gorkhas across India could entail. 

Arun Upadhyaya, President, Assam Gorkha Sammelan (ASG): Mr. A. Upadhyaya spoke of the support of the AGS to GJM under the leadership of Bimal Gurung. He spoke of the various technicalities for the recognition tribal status, and stressed upon the need to undergo Sociological, Anthropological, and Ethnographic (SAE) study.

Buddhi Singh Rana, President, Gorkha Samaj Kalyan Samiti, Roorki, Uttarakhand: Mr. Rana was saddened by the fragmentation within the Gorkha communities, particular by the (state) government, but was happy that the demand for the tribal status has been resurrected, particularly under the leadership of Bimal Gurung. He pointed that that till date we have resorted to the Gandhi an principles but can resort to the ways of Subash Chandra Bose as well.

Sanu Tamang, Secretary General, All Arunachal Gorkha Welfare Society: Mr. S. Tamang gave his full support to the cause of Gorkhaland – “practically, physically and financiall.” He expressed his concern about the looming threat of the Gorkhas being driven out from AP because of the change in status of the Permanent Residence Certificate to Residence Certificate. He forcefully requested the formation of North East Gorkha Federation.

B.R. Joshi, Meghalaya Gorkha Welfare Union: Mr. Joshi briefly spoke about the numerous issues that the Gorkhas in the North East region experience. Talking about the valour and bravery of the Gorkhas during the Indo-Burmese war, he lamented that despite such acts of bravery that the world recognizes, the Gorkhs’s do not have “hamro afnu swaraj(ya).” He further gave his full support to the demand for the tribal status for the non-tribal Gorkhas in India.

Trilok Raj Jaisi, Organising Secretary, GJMM, Mizoram and Mizoram Gorkha Youth Association: Mr. Jaisi gave his support to the Gorkhland Movement as well as the demand for the tribal status for the non-tribal Gorkhas across India. He acknowledged that being from Mizoram, despite being fine socially, the Gorkhas in Mizoram lack political voice. He further called for the Gorkhas to unite.
Vikas Basnet, Executive member Sadar Hills, Automonous District Council, Manipur: Mr. Basnet stated that the Gorkhas in Manpur are “not secure” and are treated as “foreginers” in the absence of Gorkhaland. Because of the lack of political voice, he pointed out that Darjeeling and the Gorkhaland movement here has provided the Gorkhas across India, particularly Manipur the platform – the voice. He also feared the repercussions of anything that happened in Darjeeling but wholeheartedly supported the Gorkhaland movement as well as the demand for tribal status for the non-tribal Gorkhas across India.

N.B. Pradhan, Gorkha representative from Haryana: Mr. Pradhan was cautious of the attempts to divide the Gorkha unity and called upon the current leadership to take the struggle to Delhi. He also called for a “non-violent, non-khukure” and deliberative solution to achieving Gorkhaland. 
Rustam Chettri, GJM representative from Delhi: Mr. R. Chetri expressed his severe disappointment for overlooking the unit in Delhi and keeping it in suspension for the past four years. He asserted and recognized the significance of having a functioning units in places like Delhi, where there are numerous cases of discriminations and harassments.

R.P. Waiba, Ceremony Chairperson: Mr. Waiba pointed out that unless we get Gorkhaland, no Gorkha is secure. He summarized the observations of the speakers for a greater unity among the Gorkha communities across India.

Finally, Mr. M.S. Rai, Secretary, Gorkha Janjati Sangarsh Sangoshti Committee: Mr. Rai concluded the program.

One of the common traits that emerged very distinctly among all the guest speakers was the appeal amongst the Gorkha’s all over India to “come together and work in unity” towards the cause of Gorkhaland and the vocal consent, particularly from the dignitaries coming across India in securing the tribal status of the ten non-tribal Gorkha janajati communities in India.

Bimal Gurung directed Darjeeling Municipality to stop demolition drive

9:25 AM
Gurung stops demolish drive

Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Aug. 16: Bimal Gurung today directed Darjeeling municipality not to dismantle buildings above the stipulated height of 11.5m and said the height limit will be increased to 14.5m.
Bimal Gurung directed Darjeeling Municipality to stop demolish drive
Bimal Gurung directed Darjeeling Municipality to stop demolish drive
The directive to stop pulling down illegal structures comes less than a month after Gurung instructed the municipality to start dismantling such buildings.

Today, Gurung held a meeting with civic body officials and building owners, who had been served notices for violating the 11.5m regulation, at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan.

"After hearing all sides, we have decided that no building in town would be dismantled. We have also decided to raise the height restriction from 11.5m to 14.5m as done by the previous board. We will strictly monitor all new constructions and no buildings beyond 14.5m height will be allowed to come up (from now)," Gurung said after the meeting. "Well, there is also political controversy," he added without elaborating.

On July 27, Gurung had directed the civic body to pull down illegal structures and two floors of an under-construction market building were dismantled the next day. Gurung mentioned nothing about the building today.

Gurung's volte-face, however, comes as no surprise as his party is set to face three elections in the next two years. While the municipality and Assembly polls are scheduled next year, GTA will complete its five-year term in 2017.

The GTA chief executive's decision to raise the height ceiling came as a surprise.

In 1997, the GNLF controlled Darjeeling municipality had written to the state to increase the height restriction from 11.5m to 14.5m. D.K. Pradhan, a central committee member of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, was the chairman of the civic body when the resolution was adopted.

In Darjeeling, an 11.5m building is usually four storied. A five-floor building is around 14.5m high.

Although a resolution had been forwarded to the state, there has been no amendment with regard to the 11.5m restriction.

A recent survey conducted by the Darjeeling civic body found 337 buildings, including the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan where Bimal Gurung sits as the GTA chief, had violated the 11.5m limit. Rangamanch Bhavan has seven floors and is more than 18m tall.

"The survey gave a clear indication that it would be impossible for the civic body to go ahead with such an extensive drive. It was also revealed that many flats, five, six or seven storied, had been bought by local people and builders had nothing to do with the structures any more. There would have been a lot of problems if the municipality had gone ahead with the drive," said a source.

The Darjeeling civic body has also been directed to form a board to take legal opinion on what stand would be taken on the illegal buildings (over 14.5m). The earlier board had regularised such structures (by imposing fines on them) but the present board had recently said it would not consider the buildings as legal. "A legal board will be formed. D.K. Pradhan and P.T. Ola (GTA Sabha members) who are lawyers, will be part of the board," said Darjeeling civic body chairman Amar Singh Rai.

According to Darjeeling municipality records, there are 9,996 registered holdings (houses) under the civic body.

Today, Gurung said GTA was exploring the possibility of constructing a circular ropeway between Ghoom and Darjeeling and setting up satellite townships at Rangit and Happy Valley tea garden areas. "During construction of the circular ropeway, few floors of some buildings might have to be dismantled as we might have to set up six towers. We will adequately compensate the building owners," he said.


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