Showing posts with label Khambu Rai Development Board. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Khambu Rai Development Board. Show all posts

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

Development boards inject identity politics into Hills political cauldron

1:42 PM
Darjeeling/Kalimpong: The creation of Hill boards for the uplift of ethnic communities—Lepchas, Tamangs, Sherpas, Bhutias, Mangars and Rais—has added a new dimension to the effervescent politics in the Hills.

Though the GJM, which runs the GTA, views the boards as an attempt to fracture its support base in the Hills, fuelling identity politics, the move seems to have won Mamata Banerjee many admirers for championing the cause of the marginalized. “What is wrong if the Hills people who have been deprived of benefit for years get something? The indigenous communities saw refugees receive facilities but they never got anything. Though it led to some disquiet, it did not trigger a clash. Now, the state is finally giving what was long overdue. It will definitely have political implications, both in short and long term,” said writer Nanda Hakim.

The announcement of the Lepcha board in August 2011 opened the floodgates with similar development boards being set up for the Tamangs, Sherpas, Bhutias, Mangars and Rais, who account for nearly 10 lakh people in the Hills and elsewhere. Two more boards are in the line, for Limbus and Newars. All these boards receive funds from the state for the development of facilities for the communities.

Lyang Song Tamsang, chairman of West Bengal Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board that has received Rs 86 crore in 2013-2015, says they received a bigger boost in the past three years than in the earlier 60. “The funds have helped build 3,000 homes for poor Lepcha families, and 40 Lepcha night-schools are now housed in pucca buildings. We will convert the remaining 20 into pucca structures and add another 20 night schools by next year,” said Tamsang.

Lepchas learn their language as well as math and English from British and Amercian teachers at these schools. The money has also initiated a stream beautification project. As most Lepcha families live in remote hamlets, adjacent to streams and dependent on agriculture, the project is aimed at providing them with a source of clean water to drink and irrigate their crops.

“The state tried to fulfil a long-standing demand for introducing Lepcha language in primary schools and appointed para-teachers but the GTA went to court, saying it was an interference. Those para-teachers now teach the language at the night schools,” said Tamsang, hinting at the underlying friction caused by the boards.

The West Bengal Bhutia Development Board is yet to run into any hurdle. But board chairman Palden D Bhutia, a former Darjeeling Municipality chief (1999-2004), remains wary. They have spent Rs 10 crore on 500 homes for needy Bhutia families. But the money has also created envy. “The amount that the boards are getting isn’t magic. Even earlier, development funds came but no one knows where it disappeared. Now that it is coming directly to the community, the opportunity to siphon off has ceased,” he said.

Political observers say Bhutias, Lepchas, Tamangs and Sherpas will be favourably disposed towards Mamata. While the communities may not vote directly for Trinamool, a good section could vote for Harka Bahadur Chhetri’s Jan Andolan Party (JAP), which has Mamata’s backing.
“It will be good to receive the support of various communities,” said the JAP candidate from Kalimpong, which houses several board offices.

But Nepali Sahitya Sammelan member S K Giri questioned the future: “Owing to Mamata’s interest, the boards have been set up like para clubs. If the government changes, what will happen to the board that have no constitutional legality?”

Tamsang said board officials have requested the state to make the boards statutory and incorporate them in Government Act instead of Societies Act.


Rai Development Board has started its operation

11:05 PM

Writes: Rajeev Ravidas

The West Bengal Rai Development Board has started its operation with  30 general body members owing allegiance to the Kirati Khambu Rai Sanskritik Sansthan, although the objection raised by the Khambu Rights Movement was yet to be addressed.
M.S. Rai, the chairman of the Rai board, said the first governing body meeting of the board had been held in Darjeeling on Saturday. "The board belongs to all Khambus living in Bengal. It will work for their development. Today, we distributed Rs 1 lakh each to 20 poor Rai families from the hills. This is the first instalment of Rs 2 lakh we intend to give to each of these families for constructing houses," he said in Darjeeling.
The KRM has expressed unhappiness at the board's functioning without taking it into confidence. "We were told by both the Darjeeling district magistrate and S.K. Thade (principal secretary, backward classes welfare department) that even though the notification constituting the general body had been issued on February 12, it would not be acted upon till the differences between us and KKRSS were resolved. This is totally unexpected. We will decide on our next course of action later," said A.K. Rai, the KRM president.
The KRM had staged a hunger strike from February 17 to 24, demanding that its supporters be made the board members.
The 31-member general body has just one supporter of the KRM.
Observers say that the notification could be potentially backdated to skirt around the PIL and upcoming elections code of conduct.

via TheDC

Kolkata HC accepted PIL against Hill Development Boards

Darjeeling, Feb. 25: Calcutta High Court has accepted an apolitical organisation's PIL seeking the dissolution of development boards for different communities in the hills, saying they discriminated against citizens based on caste and creed and no yardstick was followed in the formation of the bodies.

Mamata Banerjee had announced boards for five communities, but the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had alleged that the chief minister was adopting a "divide and rule policy" in the hills by doing this.

The PIL was filed by Pravin Gurung, the general secretary of the Darjeeling Tarai Dooars Gorkhali Adhiwashi Welfare Society.

Speaking over phone from Calcutta, Anand Bhandari, the lawyer for the petitioner, said: "The divisional bench consisting of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Arijit Banerjee is hearing the PIL and has directed the state government to file an affidavit-in-opposition in three weeks. The next hearing will take place after four weeks."

The order to the government to file the affidavit was passed by the division bench on February 19.

The court refused to pass an interim order stopping the distribution of funds to the development boards as demanded by the petitioner.

State law minister Chandima Bhattacharya declined comment on the PIL. She said: "The matter is sub-judice. I cannot make any comment on the issue. But I can say what the chief minister is trying to do is for the welfare of Limbu and Rai communities."

Pravin Gurung today said: "We believe the state government has discriminated against many communities. While some communities are getting benefits, others are being deprived of them. Moreover, the yardstick to grant a development board and funds too is not clear."

Citing some examples, he said: "For instance, as per the 2011 census, literacy rate of the Bhutia and Limbu communities is 81.1 per cent and 87.8 per cent, respectively. However, the literacy rate of Lodha and Savar tribes is 45.5 per cent and 40.6 per cent, respectively. Although boards have been formed for Bhutias and Limbus, there is no such body for communities which are educationally backward."

When the first board was formed for the Lepchas by Mamata, it was said that the boards would be apolitical cultural entities. But Morcha president Bimal Gurung had said development boards should be formed for all communities in the hills rather for a few of them. Gurung, as the GTA chief executive, also announced development boards for 19 communities in the hills. So far, development boards have been formed for Lepchas, Tamangs, Sherpas, Bhutia and Mangars. The chief minister has announced development boards for the Limbus and Rais as well, but they have not been formed. While Mangars and Rais are among Other Backward Classes (OBC), the rest of the communities that have been granted or promised boards are Schedule Tribes.

Pravin Gurung said it was strange that communities whose population was dwindling were not granted development boards. "As per the 2011 census, the Tamangs population was 1,46,203, and a board was formed for them. But the population of Mru and Khond communities is only 196 and 660, respectively and still, no development body was offered to them," he said.

"The Indian Constitution does not have provisions to provide preferential treatment to certain sections even among the STs. In Bengal, there are more than 40 communities which have been classified as STs but development boards have not been formed for all of them. Boards haven't been announced for other OBC sections and it is against the provisions of equality that is enshrined in the Constitution. There should be no discrimination based on caste and creed," said Gurung.

The petitioner has demanded that a single development board covering all tribal communities in the state be formed. "For this, all development boards must be dissolved. Or else, development boards must be formed for all communities in the state," he said.


Nine on hunger strike in hospital - Khambu Rights Movement

11:10 AM
Kalimpong, Feb. 21: Nine members of the Khambu Rights Movement, who were on an indefinite hunger strike at Tricone Park here, have been admitted to the Kalimpong subdivisional hospital in the past three days.

The hunger strike demanding that the organisation be allowed to form the Rai development board started on Wednesday with 14 participants. Since then, the number has gone up to 25, including the nine who have been hospitalised.

Manoj Rai, the KRM spokesman, said those admitted to the hospital were suffering from complications ranging from severe dehydration to low pulse rate. "All nine are refusing to eat and they have been given intravenous drops. We will continue our protest till our demand is fulfilled," he said.

A doctor at the hospital, H.S. Das, said: "The condition of all those admitted is stable."
The KRM was formed on January 16, 2013, and initially it functioned under the Kirati Khambu Rai Sanskriti Sansthan (KKRSS) to spearhead the demand for granting a Scheduled Tribe status to the Rais. The two organisations had differences over the board issue with the KRM alleging that the KKRSS was never in favour of a development board.
Nine on hunger strike in hospital - Khambu Rights Movement
Khambu Rights Movement launched an indefinite hunger strike at Tricone Park to protest against interference
The KRM claims that it should be given the right to form the Rai development board that was announced by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on January 22 as it spearheaded the campaign to secure the board.

The KKRSS, which claimed to have backed the board demand, said it deserved to form the body as it was the primary association of the Rais and enjoys the support of more than 90 per cent of the community members.

Manoj Rai said a four-member team of the KRM headed by president A.K. Rai had reached Calcutta and was in the process of fixing up appointments with ministers and government officials to lay claim to the creation of the board.

"We are also seeking a meeting with the chief minister," he added.

Via Telegraph

Khambu Rights Movement - Indefinite hunger strike against 'delay' over Rai board

10:08 AM
Kalimpong, Feb. 16: Fourteen members of the Khambu Rights Movement launched an indefinite hunger strike at Tricone Park here today to protest against interference by some Kirati Khambu Rai Sanskriti Sansthan members that has allegedly delayed the creation of a Rai board.

The Khambu Rights Movement (KRM) was formed on January 16, 2013, and it operated under the Kirati Khambu Rai Sanskriti Sansthan (KKRSS) to demand a Scheduled Tribe status for the Rais. But the two groups started falling apart, particularly after the KRM went whole hog on the development board issue.

Rais and Khambus are synonyms for a single community.

"A board for the Khambus had been announced (by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on January 22) in Darjeeling. When we went to Calcutta earlier this month to complete certain formalities related to the formation of the board, some opportunists associated with KKRSS in Darjeeling also went there and claimed that they would form the board," said KRM spokeman Manoj Rai.
Khambu Rights Movement - Indefinite hunger strike against 'delay' over Rai board
Khambu Rights Movement which was earlier demanding for Tribal Status
"This has resulted in delay in the formation of the (Rai) board. The delay is not affecting those who are well off but the ordinary Khambus, who are a deprived lot," he said.

All 14 KRM members participating in the hunger strike today are from Kalimpong subdivision. Sources said more members from other parts of the hills were expected to join them soon.

Binesh Rai, the KRM coordinator, alleged that the KKRSS was never in favour of a Rai development board but at a time the state government was on the verge of setting it up, some KKRSS members were trying to lay claim to it.

"We were shocked to learn that people, who in the past were against the formation of a board, went to Calcutta and demanded that they be allowed to form one. We are totally against these people. We don't want any of them in the board. We may agree to take few members of the KKRSS, who have not spoken against the board, in the general body but none in the executive body of the board," he said.

The KKRSS president, Tara Kumar Rai, however, claimed that they had already formed a board with a six-member executive body, including the chairman and vice-chairman, and 25 general body members. "The registration has also been completed. We had submitted our list (to the state government) about 10 days back. None of the office-bearers of the KKRSS are in the executive body and general body of the board. The chairman will be N.S. Rai," he said adding that he did not want to comment on KRM's allegation.

The KRM coordinator, Binesh Rai, rubbished the KKRSS claim. "I am cent per cent certain that the board has not been formed yet. They don't know what they are saying," he said.

Khambu Rai and Limbu Development Board to be formed: Mamata Banerjee

8:32 PM

Khambu Rai and Limbu Development Board will be soon announced by Mamata Banerjee who is in a visit to Darjeeling. She is likely to announce these development boards on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary celebration event on 23rd Jan in Chowrasta Darjeeling.

This has come as surprise to many because the Kirat Khambu Rais were fighting for Tribal status. "All India Kirati Khambu Rai Association Strongly condemn the use of our flag for the demand of Development Board. Our organisation ideology do not allow us to accept "Development Board" given by State Government of West Bengal. The use of the Flag without the permission of the organisation is unethical and crime" one of the social media post read.

"I have received several requests for setting up of development boards for various communities, among them, Khambu Rai and Limbu Board will be formed, meanwhile, we will consider for other communities too", Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at the concluding ceremony of Himal Terai Sports Festival 2016 held at North Point today.

She also gave away prizes at the sports festival, which was jointly organised by Siliguri Police Commisionerate, West Bengal Sports Department and Darjeeling Police.

‘I will continue to work for you always. I don't pay attention to hate-mongers. I just do my developmental work,’ she said.
‘We are providing Rs 1 lakh each to the Sherpas for their development. We have provided a grant of Rs 131 crore for uplift of the Hills communities,’ Mamata Banerjee said.

‘We are providing sports equipment and jerseys to the sports-persons who are taking part in these events. All the clubs have been granted Rs 25,000,’ she added.

She will be present during the official celebration to mark Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary at Chowrasta tomorrow.

Source The Darjeeling Times

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