Showing posts with label Sherpa development board. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sherpa development board. Show all posts

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

Hill development boards to support the Trinamul Congress in Assembly polls

8:27 AM
Darjeeling, April 8: The chairmen of six development boards of different communities in the hills today said they wanted members of their communities to support the Trinamul Congress in Assembly polls as a token of gratitude for the formation of the bodies.

The heads of six development boards formed by the Mamata Banerjee government were present at the first-of-its-kind meeting at the Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan Hall today. The meeting was addressed by the chairmen of Tamang, Sherpa, Bhutia, Mangar, Limbu and Rai development boards.

The chairman of the Lepcha development board, however, was absent from the meeting "as the representatives of the community were busy with preparations for their own meeting".

Sanjay Moktan, the chairman of the Tamang Development and Cultural Board, said: "The state government has helped us in our development and we have, therefore, decided to help that political party."

Asked if that political party was the Trinamul Congress, Moktan said: "Obviously. If the leadership of that party is supporting us, we, too, need to back them. However, we cannot tell all our community members to vote for a particular party. We believe that it is our responsibility to support that party which is helping us."
The chairmen of the 7 hill development boards at the meeting.Picture by Suman Tamang
The chairmen of the 7 hill development boards at the meeting.Picture by Suman Tamang
The seven communities, including the Sherpas, for which the boards have been formed, make up more than 35 percent of the hill population.

Observers, however, believe every member of a particular community is not expected to follow the chairman's line of thought. "Moreover, there are also rival organisations within the communities which are not too enthused about the development boards," said an observer.

Moktan said the meeting had also been called to end the "oppression" being perpetuated by a political party. "The meeting has also been called to seek freedom from the oppression that is being perpetuated by a political party. We believe the party is not allowing us to develop our language and culture."

Although Moktan did not take the name of the political party, it was clear that he was referring to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Asked about the oppression, Moktan said: "When a member of the Tamang community was killed in broad daylight here, we could not even protest."

The killing was in reference to the murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League leader, Madan Tamang, in May, 2010.

Palden Bhutia, the chairman of the Bhutia Development Board, said: "All we want to say is that we need to feed the cow that provides milk to us."

Bhutia said the meeting had been organised not by the development boards but by organisations representing the six communities.

Nima Wangdi Sherpa, the chairman of the West Bengal Sherpa Development Board, said: "Apart from the chairmen of the six development boards, representatives of the Darjeeling Indigenous Schedule Caste Welfare Association and the Bhujel community were also present. The two communities are demanding development boards and we would extend support to them."

With regard to the absence of the chairman of the Lepcha development board, Sherpa said: "As the representatives of the community were busy with preparations for their own meeting, they could not attend today's meeting."


Hill Development boards meeting on Assembly election in Darjeeling

7:57 PM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, April 6: The heads of seven development boards formed for different communities in the Darjeeling hills have decided to hold a meeting here on Friday to discuss the stand they will take on the coming Assembly election.

Although the chairman of West Bengal Sherpa Cultural Board said the meeting would discuss "issues related to the upcoming election", sources said the purpose of the talks was to decide whether the heads of the boards should support any party in the polls and if so, how they should send the message to the members of the communities.

The development boards' formation by the Mamata Banerjee government has given a toehold to the Trinamul Congress in the hills, where the writ of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha largely runs.

The meeting is considered significant as this is the first time that the chairmen of the boards are formally sitting together to discuss an election strategy.
Hill Development boards meeting on Assembly election in Darjeeling
Lyangsong Tamsang, the chairman of the Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board,
after receiving a cheque for Rs 10 crore from Mamata Banerjee at
Ronaldshay Park in Kalimpong
Nima Wangdi Sherpa, the chairman of the Sherpa cultural board today told The Telegraph: "It is true that a meeting of the chairpersons of seven boards will be held at the Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan Hall in Darjeeling on April 8. The agenda is basically to discuss issues related to the upcoming election."

He, however, refused to get into the details of the meeting's agenda.

Sources said the chairmen of the development boards would be discussing the stand they would take in the polls. "If they decide to support any party, then, they will have to find a way to present it before the members of their respective communities. Those things will also be decided at the meeting," said an aide to the chairman of one of the boards.

The state government has so far formed boards for Lepcha, Tamang, Sherpa, Bhutia, Mangar, Rai and Limbu communities which make up 35 per cent of the hill population.

"Apart from the chairpersons, leaders of other communities like Scheduled Caste, Bhujel and probably Newars, which are also demanding development boards, are likely to attend the meeting," said Sherpa.

Asked about the likely outcome of the talks, Sherpa said: "We cannot say anything at the moment."

Observers believe the board chairmen will most probably decide on supporting the Trinamul candidates in the hills. "It is obvious that they will decide to support the Trinamul candidates because they were given positions by the state government. Most of the board chairmen were present at Mamata Banerjee's election rally in Kurseong on March 15," said an observer.

"However, the most interesting thing would be how they appeal to community members to support Trinamul. Will it be a direct appeal or will they send across a subtle message to voters," said the observer.

The observers believe the chairmen of the boards are under pressure. "Mamata Banerjee has nominated them to the posts with a belief that they wield a lot of clout among their respective communities. So, these leaders are obviously under pressure to deliver," said an observer.

Morcha president and GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung has always said the boards were created to divide the hill population. Realising the importance of the development boards in the upcoming election, he had met leaders of different communities over the past few weeks.

"Gurung has held meetings with leaders of Sherpa, Limbu, Rai and Christian communities throughout March at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling. Gurung is confident that development board leaders cannot influence a lot of voters ," said a close aide to Gurung.

The GTA had announced in February that development boards for 19 hill communities would be established with an allocation of Rs 5 crore each.


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.


GJM Wants Development Boards Under GTA

Writes: Vivek Chhetri

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) today said more boards could be formed for other hill communities, but all such bodies should function under the GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration).
GJM Wants Development Boards Under GTA
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Roshan Giri - a file photo
The comment came a day after chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced a development board for the Bhutia community - the fourth such body to be formed by the state - and said that no more such bodies would be formed.

Asked about Mamata's announcement, Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha and an executive member of GTA, said: "We won't comment on the issue but would like to say that all such development boards should function under the GTA. There are some other communities dwelling in the hills for whom such development boards can be formed as it can help in conservation of their culture and in their socio-economic development. However, let us reiterate that all such boards should come under the GTA."

All development boards are under the state backward classes welfare department, while the GTA runs the hill administration.

This afternoon, Giri and few other Morcha leaders, led by party chief Bimal Gurung, reached Bagdogra airport from Darjeeling to take a flight to Delhi.

Gurung did not speak to reporters.

Yesterday, at a programme to launch the "Clean Darjeeling, Green Darjeeling" project at Chowrasta in Darjeeling, Mamata had announced the board for the Bhutias.

"A Bhutia development board will be formed. We will sanction a sum of Rs 5 crore for it. Now, we will not create more boards. How many boards can we have in the hills? We will tag various communities to different boards," Mamata had said.

The state has already created three other development boards for the Lepchas, Sherpas and Tamangs.

On February 6, 2013, the state cabinet cleared the formation of the Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board and before the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, the chief minister announced a board for Tamangs.

On January 23 this year, Mamata announced a Sherpa development board in Darjeeling.

The Morcha had protested the formation of such boards and soon after the January announcement, Giri had said: "This is a divide-and-rule policy. If a board is formed for the Sherpas, similar boards must be set up for all hill communities."

The chief minister's assertion that no other development boards would be formed comes at a time the Mangars, another hill community, are demanding a board.

"The Morcha leadership had alleged that the state was following a divide-and-rule-policy by creating such boards. It is significant that after the chief minister said there will be no more boards, Morcha leaders are advocating for boards for all other communities in the hills," said an observer.

Yesterday, Mamata had said 115 cases slapped on Morcha leaders and supporters for blocking roads before 2011 would be withdrawn."

Today, Giri told reporters: "We had a meeting (with the chief minister) yesterday. It was decided that 115 cases pending against Morcha supporters would be withdrawn."

Today, Morcha leaders Binay Tamang, P.T. Ola, Bikram Rai and Anit Thapa, along with Giri and Gurung, took a flight to Delhi. "From Delhi, we will visit Varanasi, Mirzapur (in Uttar Pradesh) and Vindhyavasini temple," Giri said.

GTA chief executive Gurung was supposed to leave for Delhi on August 24. But he stayed back in Darjeeling and attended yesterday's programme at Chowrasta.

Source: Telegraph,
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