Showing posts with label Report. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Report. Show all posts

Locals initiative to clean Polluted and toxic Mirik Lake

9:28 AM

TIRED OF WAITING MIRIK RESIDENT START CLEANING THE LAKE - GTA Fisheries Dept, GTA Tourism Dept, Mirik Municipality, Mirik Block Development Office Turn Blind Eye

On 18th Dec 2012, Bimal Gurung had invited all the social leaders from Mirik to Lal Kothi in the presence of then GTA Tourism Secretary, Mr. Sonam Bhutia, to discuss the issue of cleaning up the Lake. Bimal Gurung had invited people to inform that the lake water has become toxic, so we have to empty the lake, clean it up, and properly sanitize the lake.

However, nothing happened.

Later a boat (rumoured to have cost 9 crores) was bought, and it was expected to clean up the lake. However, the boat is useless and hasn’t really cleaned the lake, even Bimal Gurung had then (in 2012) agreed that it wasn’t helping the lake.

Since 2012, December the lake has continued to become more and more polluted and  toxic. In fact, back in 2012 itself, after the boat wormers started to get sick a test was done and it was found that the lake had become 75% toxic. Imagine the toxicity level after 3 years.

Well if you are in Mirik, you won't have to imagine, juat walk upto the lake and you will see hundreds of dead fishes floating, and the entire lake region stinks. Now the fishes have started to turn up dead in large numbers. All the big fishes are dying. There is one particular point, near the bazaar – Home Dara, where most number of fishes have died.

Thana Line resident Mr, Suresh Rai was the 1st one to notice large number of fishes turning up dead, he was horrified and worried, so he wanted to clean up the lake region. He then went and talked to his friend Phupu Tshering Bhutia from Nigalay and within hours a few other youths Mr. Shankar Pradhan from Nigalay and Arbin Subba, Krishannagar had joined in and agreed to help clean the lake.

Yesterday the volunteers toiled for over 5 hours and took out a large number of dead fishes from the lake, the water is so toxic, that the portion of body of the volunteers dipped in water while cleaning up, have changed colours. They have become darker and brownish in colour,

Speaking to TheDC, one of the volunteers Mr. Phoobtshering Bhutia said, "Tired of waiting for the authorities to do something, we took the initiative today and took out the fishes. But what we took out is only 10% of the number of fishes that are lying dead... there are lots of dead fishes and we fear more may die... the concerned departments need to wake up and deal with this situation at the earliest, otherwise not just the lake will die, but it will cause diseases here and people may start dying."

Another volunteer Mr. Arbin Subba said, “how can anyone see all of this happening and remain oblivious to these issues? Last time the locals got together and build the garden, it got politicized and the locals had to stop. Now this we waited for over 3 years, and no one did anything. We are ready and willing to clean the lake ourselves, we have the capacity and capability to change our own place, if we can help people in Nepal after the earthquake, if we can help people after the landslides, then we can definitely clean up our own lake.”

Following our reporting in 2014-15 GTA has sanctioned a project of Rs 37 crores, meant for renovating the lake region entirely. However, there is no visible sign of change. Locals informed us that the contractor has employed only around 35 labourers to undertake the renovations. Which roughly translates to each labourer having to do over 1 crores worth of work.

This is not just impractical, but also insane.

Let us assume 37 workers have been employed, so each worker is expected to complete Rs 1 crores worth of work. Even if the material cost + transportation + engineering + contractual profit stands at is at 90% (accounting for 90 lakhs out of 1 crore), given the wages paid to the labourers @ Rs 200 per day and assuming that the labourers work every day (365 days a year), it will require each labourer to work everyday for 13 and a half years to finish the rest 10% (10 lakhs).

So despite the funds allocation, we are not sure why the contractor or GTA have not begun the work in all seriousness? Who is profiting from dirty, dab, and toxic Mirik lake region?

After the clean up, as the volunteers brough the dead fishes onshore, local Municipality Councillor – Bikram Golay from Kauley had come and proposed that they will bury the fishes, however, after we went to have our launch and come back on our way to Dsrjeeling, nothing had been done.

Such is the apathy and indifference of our politicians and administrators.

We however, deeply THANK ALL THE VOLUNTEERS... Who despite such a severe cold day drove in to clean our our beloved lake... we hope that GTA and local Municipal Authorities will kindly continue the giid work these volunteers have started and clean up the lake entirely.

Via TheDC

Darjeeling Doctors Are Prescribing More Expensive Branded Medicines

1:35 PM
Reports: Amitava Banerjee

A prescription audit at the Darjeeling Sadar Hospital by the District Consumer Protection Council (DCPC), Darjeeling revealed that majority contained names of branded drugs instead of their generic counterparts. The DCPC has asked the hospital superintendent to look into this.

 Expensive Branded Medicines
According to the Medical Council of India guidelines, “All physicians should, as far as possible, prescribe drugs with generic names. He / she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs.”

The West Bengal government too has asked doctors in government-run hospitals and health centres to prescribe generic drugs. To keep check, the health directorate has also been conducting prescription audits in state-run hospitals.

In order to promote generic drugs, the state government has opened up fair price shops. Generic medicines can be procured at a 48% rebate on the maximum retail price.

The DCPC comprising of members from different government departments conducted an inspection at the hospital and the fair price shop in the hospital premises on Tuesday morning. The district magistrate is the chairman of the committee.

“When we checked the prescriptions generated from the out-patient department (OPD) we saw that in most cases generic medicines were not being prescribed. Our visit to the fair price shop also revealed that many of the generic medicines were not available. We have asked the shop to make available these generic medicines,” said Kausik Bhattachariya, ADM, Darjeeling.

Anand Moktan, in-charge of the fair price shop, said that 142 generic medicines are dispensed from fair price shops. “However, doctors mostly prescribe branded drugs,” he said.

Later the DCPC visited the hospital superintendent and requested him to look into the matter. The superintendent was told to ensure that doctors adhere to the Medical Council of India’s guidelines by prescribing generic drugs.

“For years Doctors have been prescribing branded drugs. However, we are constantly telling them to prescribe generic medicines. Around 70% of doctors are prescribing generic drugs. In cases of single composition drug it is easy to write. However at times it is difficult to remember combination drugs. The doctors are trying,” said Dr Saikat Pradhan, Superintendent, DarjeelingSadar Hospital.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, which had met in June 2010 to discuss the status of using drugs in generic names, found that doctors in Bengal, Bihar and Maharashtra were flouting norms and prescribing branded drugs. Health Department officials claim that Rajasthan, Delhi and some southern states are way ahead of West Bengal in prescribing generic drugs.


According to the Medical Council of India guidelines, “All physicians should, as far as possible, prescribe drugs with generic names. He / she shall ensure that there is a rational prescription and use of drugs.”

The West Bengal government too has asked doctors in government-run hospitals and health centres to prescribe generic drugs. To keep check, the health directorate has also been conducting prescription audits in state-run hospitals.

To keep check, the health directorate has also been conducting prescription audits in state-run hospitals.

In order to promote generic drugs, the state government has opened up fair price shops. Generic medicines can be procured at a 48% rebate on the maximum retail price.

Source: Hindustan Times

Yeti, actually existed - Himalayas mystery solved

9:15 AM
One of the greatest mysteries of the Himalayas may have finally been solved.

Genetic testing has led scientists to believe that the abominable snowman - the Yeti, actually existed but it was actually a cross between an ancient polar bear and brown bear.

Hair samples from what is believed to be that of the Yeti have been found to genetically match that of an ancient polar bear dating back 120,000 years.

Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at Oxford University, conducted the research.

Dr Sykes has over many years assembled substantial physical evidence, which he has subjected to the most sophisticated DNA tests available, to answer scientifically the mystery of Bigfoot.

The professor said "This is an exciting and completely unexpected result".

Dr Sykes however said the finding does not mean ancient polar bears are still wandering around the Himalayas.

"But it could mean there is a sub species of brown bear in the high Himalayas which descended from the bear that was the ancestor of the polar bear. Or it could mean there has been more recent hybridisation between the brown bear and the descendent of the ancient polar bear," Dr Sykes said.

Bone chilling stories of the horrifying Yeti have been synonymous to the Himalayas for centuries with local people and some of the world's greatest mountaineers including legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner, who became the first man to climb Everest without oxygen, claiming to have had a terrifying encounter with a large hairy, ape-like creature.

Himalayan folk lore is rife with tales of an elusive beast that have hardly been photographed.

Professor Sykes has collected and tested hair samples of several animals found in the Himalayas.

He tested two ancient hair samples which locals of high Himalayan villages claimed were that of the Yeti. One of the samples was that of an animal found in Ladakh (India) and the other from Bhutan, 800 miles away.

The DNA tests then compared the results to other animals' genomes stored on the GenBank database. Professor Sykes to his amazement found a 100% match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway, that dates back at least 40,000 years - and probably around 120,000 years.

This has made professor Sykes believe that the most likely explanation is that the Yeti is actually a hybrid between polar bears and brown bears.

A Yeti footprint on the base of Mount Everest taken by British climber Eric Shipton sparked a global interest in the abominable snowman post 1951.

Sorce : timesofindia

Report - Darjeeling Foundation seminar on Gorkhaland issue in Delhi

10:06 PM
The seminar on Gorkhaland, organized by the Darjeeling Foundation was held at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Auditorium, Teen Murti House.Senior Congress leader and former union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar today said the Centre as well as the West Bengal government must reach out to Indian Gorkhas and the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha to resolve the problem in Darjeeling hills. Former union home secretary RK Singh also endorsed the option of a union territory for Darjeeling hills, supporting the proposition suggested by senior journalist Swaraj Thapa that a centrally administered model in the form of a union territory may be a permanent solution to the issue.

“I agree that a union territory can be considered for Darjeeling provided that the West Bengal government is agreeable to the idea,” he said speaking at a seminar organized by the Darjeeling Foundation, a Delhi based think tank promoting the cause of separate state of Gorkhaland. The foundation has been initiated by Swaraj Thapa and a few other like minded individuals in Delhi.  Criticizing  the Trinamool Congress for its unyielding attitude , Aiyer said he was its founding member but quit within three months after realizing that Mamata Banerjee was not  democratic in her approach .

Senior BJP leader and Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh also supported the idea of a union territory, recalling that the sacrifice of Gorkhas towards the nation is commendable. Speaking in the seminar, Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha spokesperson and Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chettri maintained that the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration was only a temporary arrangement and the GJM was committed to the issue of Gorkhaland. Telengana Rashtra Samiti leader and former MP B Vinod Kumar said that the demand for Gorkhaland was being misrepresented in the national media in general and in the Telegu media in particular. “The media is very biased and it has tried to project it as if creation of Gorkhaland will lead to disintegration of India. This is wrong. You must counter it effectively” he said and added that more states were necessary for the country if development was to reach to all segments of the people. He also contended that national integrity would be strengthened if more states were formed.

Addressing a packed audience at the Teen Murti Auditorium here in Delhi, the speakers acknowledged the contribution and role of Indian Gorkhas in the development of the country and said that they would have to be given their due. Mani Shankar Aiyar specifically recalled his association with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and said that as an OSD in the then Prime Minister’s Office, he had been assigned to organize the (infamous) public rally in Darjeeling in 1986 which was boycotted by the then GNLF. Disregarding the advise of the PMO and state Congress leadership, Rajiv Gandhi went ahead with the rally and addressed just a handful of policemen and Congress workers at the St Joseph’s grounds for over an hour. “Later while I was travelling back with Rajivji in the car, I asked him what possessed him to agree to such an embarrassment and address empty stands. Rajivji told me that people may not have come to see him but they were hearing every part of what I said. ” Mani Shankar Aiyar said. In other words, Rajiv Gandhi wanted to reach out to the Indian Gorkhas notwithstanding the fact that they had boycotted him. And the results paid when two years later an accord was signed with the GNLF leading to the creation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. “We need to help Indian Gorkhas rather than alienate them. An answer has to be found” he said.

Aiyar also gave a historical perspective to the DGHC accord, saying that much of the autonomy proposals and devolution of powers through the DGHC was actually drawn from the Sri Lanka accord. “At that same time, Rajiv Gandhi was tackling the Sri Lanka problem. We in the PMO had to devise proposals that were aimed at devolution of powers in the Sri Lanka provinces, especially to the provinces in the Tamil majority Southern part of Sri Lanka. Much of the DGHC proposals were modeled along the same lines as the Sri Lanka devolution of powers proposal” he said. Supporting the concept of smaller states, he said that they were easier to administer. Former union home secretary  RK Singh conceded that he had earlier opposed statehood for Gorkhaland as well as Telengana on the ground that it would lead to more such demands elsewhere. However, after listening to the participants like Swaraj Thapa and Harka Bahadur Chettri, he said that he was convinced that there is considerable merit in their arguments. He admitted that the region had been neglected for long and development was negligible in the Darjeeling hills. Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh underlined the need to narrow down differences in the perception on Gorkhaland between the Indian Gorkhas and the Centre and the state government.

Ranjan Sharma , Media Coordinator has in a press report stated that the response of the guests was positive and they supported the idea of creation of a state of Gorkhaland. We shall frequently organize such events in future and support our cause . After all we are not asking anything out of the box and it is a constitutional demand which should be treated at par with Telangana. 

Sexual assault and molestation rising in Siliguri

12:22 PM
Siliguri -Like some of the metros in the country, Siliguri too is fast turning into a haven for criminals with incidents of rape, physical assault and molestation becoming almost a daily affair.

Sexual assault and molestation rising in Siliguri

"Despite new amendments, there is no fear of law among people. Our justice delivery mechanism is slow; cases are not tracked in fast-track courts. The ratio of policemen to people is extremely low, how does one bring about respect for law?" CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury recently said in a panel discussion organised by Apne Aap Women Worldwide (AAWW) and Press Club of India.

According to neurologists, most molesters and rapists suffer subtle damages in the part of the brain that is responsible for arousing sexual fantasies.

Siliguri-based senior neurologist Dr Joydeep Dey has informed a disorder in the frontal lobe of the brain leads to abnormal behaviour. He further said the temporal lobe - the part of the brain near the ear - in 40 percent of rapists and molesters recognises distinct patterns and triggers sexual fantasies arousing the limbic system, and such people try to practice unusual sexual behaviour.

Dey added psychopathy is another reason behind personality disorder, which is characterised by shallow emotions, including reduced fear, lack of empathy, lower stress tolerance, cold-heartedness, egocentricity, superficial charm, manipulative prowess, irresponsibility, impulsivity, criminality, antisocial behavior, lack of remorse and a parasitic lifestyle.

The expert said some of the main reasons behind incidents of rape and molestations are separation from family, solitary living, addiction to porn movies and alcoholism.

Reports of molestation and sexual assaults in the region within this year have begun piling up. Some of them have been listed below:

-    April 26, 2013: Man arrested in Balasan Colony near Matigara for allegedly molesting a British teacher.

-    July 4, 2013: Rita Gurung arrested in Siliguri for allegedly misguiding a minor and allowing her husband and another man to rape her and attempting to sell her afterwards.

-    July 24, 2013: 16-year-old at a missionary hostel in Siliguri reveals to police she was being sexually harassed over the last three years by two tutors.

-    July 26, 2013: 17-year-old student in Siliguri allegedly molested inside an auto-rickshaw in Sevoke Road area.

-    July 29, 2013: 17-year-old tribal from Damdim, Dooars gang-raped inside a truck heading towards Siliguri from Kalimpong.

-    August 3, 2013: 21-year-old accuses male friend of sexually assault and false promise of marriage.

-    August 6, 2013: 42-year-old Madhusan Sarkar from Niranjannagar area, Siliguri arrested on charge of attempting to rape minor.

-    August 26, 2013: 32-year-old sexually gang-raped in Singhia Jhora tea estate near Bagdogra.

Source :

Report - The demand for Gorkhaland

9:46 PM
The demand for Gorkhaland is not the type of issue to just crop up today and dissolve tomorrow. This issue rose up decades ago and is re-reacted upon by the group of people who've merged up as one just a year ago.

A very challenging and difficult question has been floating around the people of Bengal and in the centre: “Why GORKHALAND?” The answer to this question have been answered in many of the articles by the journalists, writers and many of the scholars.

But still these people are not yet convinced. Why? What’s there that they want? The evidences are already given. The cause of creation of new of state under ARTICLE 3A and separation of Darjeeling and it’s regions from the rest of Bengal under ARTICLE 3C of the Indian constitution, Darjeeling is demanding for the different state of Gorkhaland which is in one sense a reasonable demand.

Why Gorkhaland? What is the cause of Gorkhaland?   The cause of the demand for GORKHALAND is very genuine and simple. Firstly, it’s the Bengal government domination towards the Gorkhas which has provoked them to rise against these Bengal governments’s domination. So now these people just don’t want to live in Bengal and there is no point forcing them and beating them to live in Bengal.

They are still an Indian even after being separated from the territory of West Bengal. So what’s the reason forcing these people to Bengal if they can develop better after being separated to GORKHALAND? Secondly, the culture of the Bengalis and the Gorkhas is far different. Their dress, customs, architecture, literature, dance, music and every thing is different. Especially if the language pattern is different then, how can these people interact with each other? Thirdly, these people are quite humble as a result of which they are looked down by the Bengal government and the process towards domination takes place. Fourthly, these are the tribe, which are known for their bravery all over the world i.e., “The Gorkha Regiment” and but also why such domination.

So, the centre should not worry about them as it can never be a move to separate from India. These people are real Indian by blood. Their blood is infected by Indian spirit and it can always be taken as granted that they will never betray India. So, the centre should take a stand to support these people and give a second think to what it should be to give or not to give. The protests is on the process for the demand for Gorkhaland and even the educational institutions are not spared from it .

But, in fact this was not a right decision of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s because this step is going to effect the future of Darjeeling because the studies are being affected and which will also effect the youth’s life been brought up here. Darjeeling is still known for the best elementary educational industry and here we have students coming from all across the globe. If this carries on the educational system will be affected and the economy of Darjeeling will also be affected because one student staying as a boarder also contributes a lot to the Darjeeling economy.

Talking about the economy, Darjeeling was famous for 3 T’s i.e, TIMBER, TEA, and TOURISM.These strike is creating a loss of crores due to the disturbances in tourism industry and tea gardens were also down during the peak of their flush season so there also the loss were in millions. So, in fact, the loss is of jumbo amount which means a lot to Darjeeling. If Darjeeling can sacrifice all thee amount for the shake of Gorkhaland we all can imagine how strong are these people with their stand and I’m scared what will happen to these people if the strike goes too long . So, I hope so the strike will be lifted or withdrawn very soon.          

Source :

Androgen deprivation therapy risk of developing kidney problems

8:50 PM
The treatment, known as androgen deprivation therapy, lowers the risk of death among men with advanced, aggressive prostate cancer.

Androgen deprivation therapy risk of developing kidney problems
Coloured scanning electron micrograph of two prostate cancer cells in the final stage of cell division. Photograph: VVG/Science photo library

However, researchers said it's increasingly being used to treat possible recurrences among men with less advanced disease - for whom the benefits are less clear, and the risks more worrisome.

"Our study does raise the concern that perhaps we should be more careful in prescribing androgen deprivation therapy in patients who do not have the clear indication for it," said Laurent Azoulay, who worked on the research at McGill University in Montreal.

"It's all about the balance, finding the right population for which the benefits clearly outweigh the risks," he told Reuters Health.

Hormone-targeted treatment has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.

For their study, Azoulay and his colleagues used UK data on 10,250 men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1997 and 2008. The men were followed for an average of just over four years after their diagnosis.

During that time, 232 of them developed an acute kidney injury - a rapid drop in kidney function. The researchers compared those men to 2,721others from the study who were the same age and were not diagnosed with kidney problems.

In total, just over half of the men were taking androgen deprivation therapy.

Azoulay and his colleagues found that men taking hormone-targeted therapy were between two and three times more likely to have their kidneys stop working, once their other health conditions and medicines were taken into account.

Unlike current use, past use of androgen deprivation therapy was not tied to a higher risk of kidney injury, the study team wrote Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Azoulay said it's possible that changes in testosterone and estrogen levels among men on hormonal therapy might affect kidney health and how the kidneys repair themselves after an injury.

If the finding is replicated in other studies, he said doctors should consider checking men's kidney function before prescribing androgen deprivation therapy.

Dr. Vahakn Shahinian, who has studied risks of hormone treatment at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, called the findings "a bit of a surprise."

He told Reuters Health that it's still not clear if a link between androgen deprivation therapy and kidney injury makes sense biologically.

"It's interesting, but it certainly would require some kind of further validation… before I'd be willing to believe that this was a real effect," said Shahinian, who wasn't involved in the new study.

Still, he agreed with Azoulay that doctors should be cautious about prescribing hormone-targeted therapy.

"Where there's a clear-cut benefit, people should continue to use it and not worry about this," Shahinian said.

However, he added, "it's in those settings where there's an uncertainty about the benefits that you have to be more worried about the side effects. And I think this adds to that list."

He said that if men's doctors prescribe androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer, they should ask how much evidence there is for its use in their particular situation.

"They should find out if it's an area where there's been a clear-cut established benefit or if it's an area where there's a gray zone," Shahinian said.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, online July 16, 2013.
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