Showing posts with label featured. Show all posts
Showing posts with label featured. Show all posts

AWAITING MY SALVATION: Autobiography of a Gorkhaland Martyr

8:57 PM
Writes: Chandan Pariyar 

I reached Martyrdom when I chose death over escape. I was defending the dreams and aspirations of our people, even at the cost of a violent death. So when the bullets actually left the barrel, I didn't run, I thought that my death would unite our people, and that would lead to us breaking free from the chains of sufferings and the oppression for once and for all.

"I Sacrificied my life on 27th July 1986 for Gorkhaland."

It’s been 30 years since then. 

They have built a Memorial for Martyrs like me. I find people coming here only on this day, with candles, khadas, flowers. They have put up flags, banners, posters, apparently for the souls who died for their homeland. They even wet their eyes, and pray for our well being but with a cold heart. 

I find no warmth in them.

30 years since I died, but when I look around, I find that not much has changed in my beloved land.

The roads are still dusty and tattered, tea estates workers are still denied adequate wages, unemployment is still acutely high, no Central University, water crisis, improper drainage system, and the political turmoil still looms large and uncertainties surrounding my community and its future has become bleaker. 
And I ask to myself, did I do the right thing??

But what amazes me is their spiel, under such pitiable slough of the Hills also, they don’t forget to pat their backs and reminisce our heorism and bravery, they want us to believe that they have not forgotten us.

They say today is a Shahid Diwas. So we are remembered today.

When I look around me, I see the genial face of a war veteran, a professor, a footballer, a writer, a poet, a musician, a student and many more, all engulfed in a fire burning deep in them. But all of them have become silent and put up a smile for unknown reasons. They are disappointed but satisfied. I find them being more courteous before doing something, more polite before saying something, and careful before demanding Gorkhaland. I don’t understand what had made them change over time???


Did my death go to vain???

Maybe its due to the two failed agitation or the strikes that had stopped the development of our Hills, or due to the Pipers song that they have started tuning to, that has strategically silenced everyone. 

But I fear the noises that I have ignored for many years, I have heard the "Souls of the Hills," whispering to each other that I haven’t paid much attention to. 

Sometimes I have heard them say that the half-lived life that the people of the Hills live, uplifting and inspiring each other is, in fact, living like a dead without a corpse. 

People like us keep on sacrificing our lives for the sake of Gorkhaland, yet many keep telling me that 'Gorkhaland has now been compromised forever,' but I refuse to believe them.

Sometimes I feel like escaping from you all, but where would I go??? I died for these lands, and now I am bound to it.

My salvation is only possible when the suitcases come to the Hills with the papers of Gorkhaland and not with something else. 

I have faith in my people. They will bring my Salvation, hopefully, sooner than most would think possible.

The Actual Virus Plaguing the Darjeeling Hills

8:56 AM
Writes Chandan Pariyar

Darjeeling Hills is boiling with the fear of virus every passing day, disorder and chaos seems to be the order of the day. Yet  Corona isn't the virus that would eventually take us to our grave it would be unhealthy politics of our local leaders.

With 2021 Bengal Election nearing, the political parties in the Hills have found a new crutch to straighten their political leg, the Coronavirus .
COVID 19 No Facilities as Woman Breastfeeds in Bengal Tea Garde.Screengrab from a video taken by The Quint, was taken at a tea garden in Darjeeling run by the Bansal Tea Corporation.

At a time where the notion should have been  'Unity is Strength ,' the political parties are  busy drawing political blood. The leaders have become performers of a cheap roadside show, whether it is becoming a porter carrying loads in jeans and t-shirts, or the superhuman saviour of a district without doing anything much, or walking through the alleys of hospitals wearing a Modi coat. The cast is simple yet it confuses the Hill flock. With the increasing number of  COVID-19 + patients  in the Hills , the political parties are leaving no stone unturn to garner public sympathy. They should understand that the present problem of dealing with the virus should be their priority else there won't  be any public left in hills for their politics and their parties.

Now,more than ever,the people greatly feel the absence of locally elected political body and leaders who would have governed the people and would have been accountable to them. Whereas now our people are running from pillar to post  in desperation, whether it be finding out how to get  back home or asking for quarantine centers and sometimes even fighting with the administration in keeping and following the lockdown rules( a blatant violation was seen in Kalimpong when a lady had returned from Kolkata while Kpg was still a containment zone and had refused to be admitted to the quarantine center, only after huge protest and uproar by the locals, had the administration and the lady relented). With the numbers rising,  their demand of Testing labs in the Hills has still not been met with.  The lackadaisical treatment which has always been metted to the people from the hills and North Bengal with hundreds of  result of the test still unknown, the fear of an unknown fate seems prevailing within the hills.

The nationwide introduction of Ayushman Bharat in which a BPL family would be benefitted with 5 lacks medical insurance has  not been allowed to function by the TMC Bengal govt. The  people are deprived of basic healthcare facilities,whose fault is that? Thousands of poor families would have been benefitted by the insurance but the politiking of the Bengal govt has made sure we are deprived of even the most basic facility. None of the  local leaders address this issues least the hammer of displeasure of their Master's criticism fall on their puny political ambition.It is not important to them .

Another  scheme is Kishan  Saman Nidhi  which benefits 8crore farmers in the  country . This welfare schemes should have aided the farmers of our Hills in this time of crises but since there is no cut to the syndicate the scheme is not implemented. So when these farmers are deprived of their livelihood, will they take the blame?

The condition of the tea garden workers is well known to everyone, their garden opened even when the lockdwown was in strict accordance, their wages have yet to see any increase, many a times tea garden owners have left without issuing salaries and bonuses and have abandoned the garden. The leaders would not have a say, the agreements in Nabana is also not hidden from us.

Now isn't the time for these political parties to dig deep into their differences  rather they should have come together for their people, showing solidarity .However, it seems that  they have sniffed an opportunity  to suck what is left of the Hills people's blood like  parasites, trying to project the guise of working for the people when is reality very little has been actually done. All this so that  it can encash the Bidhan Sabha election in 2021.

These political party have over the years  stripped every bit of life and self respect from the community, the people, wages of the tea garden labourers of the world renowned Darjeeling Tea still miniscule and bonuses not paid,their sons in the exile, hundreds of them imprisoned for demanding their constitutional right, many being shot down,  many tortured to death in jails, unemployment , no Central University, lack of good government hospitals the list could go on forever. Thousands of our youngesters have migrated to cities and abroad not because they want to but because they have to due to lack of any employment. The money they sent back home is what has kept the hearth of many villages burning,it is what saved the people from the food and essential blockade done by Bengal govt during the Gorkhaland andolan of  2018.And yet during this crisis all the local leaders can do is prune themselves, busy soaking their political projection of having done something and nodding their heads and justifying all the mistakes of their masters at Nabanna. They  had just one agenda to fight for their people and for Gorkhaland. But that it seems has taken a backseat. Gorkhaland and the people don't matter to them, they don't want to rise from their luxurious slumber provided by their masters sucking the lives and blood of the hill people .The Hall of Illusions created by Maya has seeped into their beings lulling them into believing whatever is being projected. Through blindness to reality our political leaders has unleashed destruction and anguish upon our people.
All they are ready to do is make silver potholes for us to fall in the trap.

On the contrary the press conferences have become regular, FB pages are advertising the the work of their leaders , but none of them are addressing the real issue which should have been dealt by now, i.e, to Establish  Testing Lab in the Hills, set up more quarantinne centers, community awareness so that none faces discrimination in their villages.

These issues should have been dealt when the lockdown was announced .All parties should have come together to ask for Testing Labs, restrict movement during lockdwown.  While some became busy in providing relief work, others started watching them  with eagles eyes so that in the slightest error  they would inturn condemn them, and perpare their ground.So even after 2 and half months of shut down we are exactly where we were, deprived of basic  amenities to fight the virus.

When the team from Centre visited Kalimpong as then it  was a hotspot did any leader think it necessary to ask for a testing lab? Did they even go and meet the team? Wasn't  it necessary? Now they fight over claiming things to be done. Pathetic is not enough to describe the so called leaders.

If an honest survey was done about the leaders of the Hills, I am sure they will  have nothing good to share of as every person in the Hills know that they have not only conned us out of resources and life but they have stripped us of our dignity. They have to rise from their comfort zones,  provide public service beyond imagination or else their chances of existing in the Hills as a representatives of the  Hill population seemed hazy and blurred. Their lack of  vision would ensure their fall.

With true net testing being started in Kalimpong and Darjeeling from yesterday  there is still a long way for the battle against the Coronavirus. I am looking forward for their anticipation, are you ???

Via the Gorkhali

Sunil Chhetri Target Of Racist Comment During Live Chat With Virat Kohli

11:35 AM
Instagram user targeted India's football team captain Sunil Chhetri with a racist comment during his Instagram live chat with India cricket team skipper Virat Kohli. "Ye Nepali kon h (who is this Nepali)," an Instagram user by with the handle "yasharma.official" commented during the interaction between two of the country's sporting icons. A Twitter user shared a screenshot of the Instagram live chat with the comment and condemned the racist attitude towards people from the North-East, specifying the derogatory words that are frequently used for them in some other parts of India.

India is one of the most racist country.
The Indian football captain is called Nepali can only imagine the plight of North East people here. People not knowing Chhetri is still fine. But society has sort of normalised chinki, Nepali etc towards them.
It's shameful. — Abhinav kaka (@kabhinav08) May 18, 2020

"The Indian football captain is called Nepali can only imagine the plight of North East people here," the user wrote

People not knowing Chhetri is still fine. But society has sort of normalised chinki, Nepali etc towards them," he wrote, before adding "It's shameful."

Twitter users were enraged by the comment, with one user writing that the user who made the distasteful remark has been reported. "Nobody undermines Sunil Chhetri," he added.

The Instagram user's handle has been deactivated.

"Absolutely pathetic," one Twitter user commented.

Kids should be educated about diversity among people and culture. North East is just mentioned. It deserves much more attention than that. There is a lack of awareness. Sadly we know very little about the North East of our own country," wrote another user.

Sunil Chhetri has established himself as a legend in Indian football. He is India's highest-ever goal-scorer, with 72 strikes for the country.


Darjeeling Youths returning home by foot from Bihar

7:25 PM
22 youths from the Kalimpong district Darjeeling hills are returning home by foot from Sasaram of Bihar during COVID lockdown. The sources were informed by them that they have exhausted their savings. They don;t have money for food and hire vehicle.

The company where they worked asked them to go home. They have submitted the form of Returning Registration in GTA website. The helpless youths had to say that they have not received any correspondence from GTA  (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) yet.

None of them had the resources to return in a vehicle, or even buy food - they have been eating whatever is being served by the community kitchens in different places.

चिया कमानको मजदुरको जीवनको मोल कति?

9:57 PM
सम्पूर्ण चिया कमानहरुमा काम बन्द गर अनि श्रमिकहरुलाई बन्द अवधीको वेतन देऊ!

DTA अनि CCPA को दार्जीलिङ पहाड़को चियाकमानहरुमा काम संचालित रा‌ख्ने कोशिशको घोर निन्दा गरौं!

विश्वलाई त्रासित बनाएको कोरोना भाइरसको महामारी विरुद्ध हर एक देश अनि संस्थाहरु एकबद्ध भएर सक्रिय रुपमा काम गरिरहेका छन्। हाम्रो देशमा पनि यो भाइरसको विस्तारलाई रोक्नको निम्ति सरकारले कतिपय मापदण्ड या नियमहरु तय गरेका छन्। सरकारले जनाएका धेरैवटा सावधानीहरु मध्ये 'शारीरिक दूरी' प्रमुख हुन्। यस विषयलाई प्राथमिकता दिदै सरकारले २१ दिनको 'भारत लॉकडाउन' को घोषणा पनि गरेका छन्। यस निर्णयलाई देश भरिका राज्यहरुले अनिवार्यतापुर्वक पालन गर्ने सहमति जनाएका छन्। COVID-19 को रुपमा प्रकट भएको विश्वरुपी महामारीलाई ठप्प गर्न हरेक व्यक्ति अनि सरकारको जिम्मेवारी बन्न पुगेको छ।

हालैमा कालेबुंग निवासी कोरोना भाइरस पिडित महिलाको मृत्युको घटनाले हाम्रो पहाड़ पनि भाइरसको चपेटमा आइसकेको कुरा प्रष्ट हुन्छ। उनको मृत्यु North Bengal Medical College, Siliguri मा भर्ना भएको एक दुइ दिन भित्रमा २८ मार्च २०२० को दिन भयो। पहाड़मा घटित यो प्रथम मृत्युले सबैलाई सोचनीय स्थितिमा पुर्याएको छ र सरकारी स्वास्थ चिकित्सा व्यवस्था प्रति धेरै प्रश्नहरू उठ्न स्वाभाविक नै हो। के सरकारले यस्तो संकटको परिस्थिति सामना गर्न आवश्यक तयारी गरेका छन् त ? के हाम्रा क्षेत्रका अस्पतालहरु आवश्यक चिकित्सा सुविधाहरू बारे सुचित थियो त ? सामाजिक संजालमा अडियो विडियो मार्फत कोरोना संक्रमित लक्षण हुने व्यक्तिहरुले उचित ढंगमा उपचार नपाएको गुनासो गरिएको खुलासाले हाम्रो सरकारी चिकित्सा प्रावधान कति जिर्ण अवस्थामा छ भन्ने कुराको पुष्टी गर्दछ। यस घटनालाई लिएर अस्पतालको अवस्था मात्र नभएर डाक्टर र चिकित्सा कर्मचारीहरु माथि प्रश्न उठी रहेको छ। तर वास्तवमा कुरा बुझ्नु हो भने यी प्रश्नहरुको उत्तर दिने दायित्व सरकारको हो। उपचार गर्ने डाक्टर अनि चिकित्सा कर्मचारीहरुले पनि सरकारद्वारा पाउनु पर्ने आवश्यक 'Personal Protective Equipments (PPE)' पाएका छैनन्। उनीहरु त आफ्नो दायित्वलाई पुरा गर्न ज्यानलाई जोखिममा हाल्दै भए पनि सक्रियतापुर्वक अघि बढिरहेका छन्।
Darjeeling Tea Workers
Darjeeling Tea Workers

अर्को आश्चर्यजनक कुरो के छ भने, यस्तो महामारीको समयमा पनि दार्जीलिंग टी एसोशियेसन (DTA) अनि कन्सल्टेटिव कमिटि अफ प्लानटेसन एसोशियेसन (CCPA) ले चिया बगानहरुलाई पुर्ण रुपमा संचालन गर्ने मांग बंगाल सरकार सामु राखेको छ। विश्वभरिनै लॉकडाउनलाई गम्भिरतापूर्वक पालन गरिरहेको बेला हाम्रो चिया बगान कर्मचारीहरु भने आज पनि बाध्य भएर बगान धाइरहेका छन्। बंगाल सरकारले पनि यस मांग माथि विचार गर्ने कुरा स्टेट्सम्यान खबरकागजबाट बुझ्नमा आईदैछ। चिया बगान कर्मचारीहरुको हीत अनि सुरक्षा को जिम्मा DTA अनि CCPA जस्तो संस्थाहरुले लिनु पर्ने बेलामा, अझ कर्मचारीहरुलाई खाड़लमा हाल्ने मेलो गरिदैछ। DTA अनि CCPA का सदस्यहरु लगायत चिया बगानका मालिकहरुले दर्शाएको यस्तो असंवेदनशील निर्णयलाई हामी घोर भर्त्सना गर्छौ। के उनीहरु साँचै कोरोना भाइरसको प्रभावबारे अज्ञात छन्? या उनीहरुलाई लाग्छ, पुस्ता पुस्ता देखि घाउ, चोट अनि दु:ख खप्नु सक्ने कर्मचारीहरुले यो कोरोना भाइरसलाई पनि आरामले पचाईदिने छ। के चिया बगान कम्पनीले उगाउने भव्य नाफाको सामु चिया बगान कर्मचारीहरुको जीवनको मूल्य यति तुच्छ छ ?

पुरा पश्चिम बंगालमा लॉकडाउनको आदेश दिने सरकारले, कसरी चिया बगानका कर्मचारीहरुसंग पक्षपात गर्न सक्छ? चिया बगान र कारखानासंग जुडिएको प्रत्येक काम नै संगठित ढंगमा गर्नु पर्ने हुन्छ, यसैले 'शारीरिक दूरी' पालन गर्न असम्भव छ। चिया बगान खोलिनु नै यहाँ काम गर्ने कर्मचारीहरुको ज्यानलाई खतरामा पार्नु हो अनि उनीहरुको वर्तमान अनि भविष्यलाई जोखिममा हाल्नु हो। कथांकल दुर्भाग्यवस भोलीको दिनमा केहि क्षति पुग्न गए, के बंगाल सरकार, DTA अनि CCPA ले सम्पूर्ण चिया बगान कर्मचारीहरुको अनि उनीहरुको भावी पिडाको जिम्मेवारी लिने छन् त? त्यस बखत शायदै DTA अनि CCPA ले निर्धारित गरेको चिया बगान केन्द्रित 'Strict Safety and hygiene guidelines' प्रभावशालि हुने छन्।

विशेषगरि, DTA अनि CCPA को मांगबारे स्थानीय प्रसाशन (GTA) अनि अरु राजनैतिक दलहरुको परिप्रेक्ष्य बारे केहि प्रश्न गर्न चाहन्छौ। प्रथम, DTA र CCPA ले गरेको मांग अनि कर्मचारीहरुको सुरक्षाबारे विवाद हुँदा, GTA का प्रतिनिधि, दार्जीलिंग जिल्लाको MP अनि MLA हरुको के-कस्ता प्रतिक्रियाहरू आएका छन् ? दोश्रो, यस्तो विवाधित क्षणमा पहाड़को स्थानीय राजनैतिक दलहरु साँचै नै श्रमिकवर्गको जीवन र सुरक्षाको अधिकारको पक्षमा छ भने, किन DTA र CCPA को निर्णयको विरुद्ध किन निमुखा दर्शक बनिरहेको छन् त ? यदि आफ्नो राजनैतिक सहायकहरुलाई खुशी पार्न मात्रै राजनीति गर्न हो भने, आफ्नो कुम्लो कटेरो बाँधे हुन्छ। तेश्रो, एकातिर हाम्रो राजनैतिक प्रतिनिधिहरु मुख्यत: सांसद क्षेत्रको भावी योजनाहरूबारे ट्वीट गर्नमै व्यस्त देखिन्छ भने अर्कोतिर DTA र CCPA को हालैको निर्णयलाई लिएर आफ्नो मन्तव्य राख्नबाट टाढ़िएको सर्वविदित नै छ। उता पहाड़का तिन विधायकहरुले पनि DTA र CCPA को अमानविय निर्णय, जसले हजारौ श्रमिकहरुको ज्यानलाई जोखिममा पारेको छ, त्यस विरुद्ध चुँ सम्म पनि गरेका छैनन्। राज्य सरकार, विधायकहरु र सांसद, मालिक पक्षले खुल्लम-खुल्ला श्रमिक बर्गको जीवन र सुरक्षाको अधिकारको हनन् गरेको देख्दा देख्दै पनि सबै किन‌ मौन छन् ? उनीहरुको मौनताले हामीलाई यो प्रश्न तेर्साउनुमा मजबूर गर्छ कि, के सरकार, विधायकहरु र सांसद, उही मुट्ठीभर मालिक पक्षले मात्र बनाएको हो ? हाम्रो प्रतिनिधिहरु यस्ता विपतको क्षणमा पनि DTA र CCPA को कमानलाई संचालित राख्ने अमानवीय र निन्दनीय कोशिशको विरुद्धमा एक शब्द पनि किन बोल्नु सकिरहेको छैन त ?

यसै संदर्भमा हाम्रो छिमेकी राज्य आसम सरकारले २१ मार्च २०२० को दिन नोटिफिकेसन नो: L.E.16/2018/4035-98 मार्फत चिया बगानहरुलाई पूर्णरुपमा लॉकडाउन गर्ने आदेश दिएका थिए। यस नोटिफिकेसन अनुसार चिया बगानको लॉकडाउन साथसाथै कर्मचारीहरुले पाउने हाजिरा, उनीहरुको रोजगार अनि अधिकारहरु माथि ठप्प नलागिने निर्णय लिएका थिए। तर हालैमा चिया कमानको मालिक वर्गहरुको प्रेसरमा आएर आसम सरकारले आफ्नै निर्णय फिर्ता लिने भएका छन। र यस्तो स्थितिमा हाम्रो पनि क्षेत्रको जन प्रतिनिधिहरुको साथै राजनैतिक दलहरुको मौनता, DTA र CCPA को निवेदन, बंगाल सरकारको मनोवृत्ति हेर्दा मालिकवर्ग संग केन्द्र र राज्य सरकार दुवै मिलेर मजदुरहरुको जीवन संग खेलवाड गर्दैछन् भन्ने कुरा बोध हुन्छ। के चिया बगानहरु पृथ्वीमा नभएर अर्कै ग्रहमा छन् जहाँ कोरोनाको खतरा छैन ? के चिया बगानको मजदुरहरु 'Right to life and safety' देखि वञ्चित छन्? बंगाल सरकारले DTA अनि CCPA को मांगलाई स्वीकार गर्नु नै मजदुरहरुको विरुद्ध उभिनु हो। यस्तो अमानवीय सोंचको हामी कडा शब्दमा खण्डन गर्छौ।
जब सम्पूर्ण विश्वनै एकबद्ध भइ यो महामारीको विरुद्ध संघर्ष गर्न कम्मर कसी रहेको छ भने यहाँ दार्जीलिंगमा चाहिं केहि तुच्छ विचार भएका चिया कमानका मालिकहरु र उनीहरुका चम्चाहरुले DTA र CCPA को संकीर्ण स्वार्थ पूर्ति हेतु कमानको काम बन्द हुन नदिने निर्णय लिएको छ। विधित नै छ कि चिया कमानमा काम गर्ने मजदूरहरु अधिकांश नै गोर्खा अनि आदिवासी समुदायकाहरु छन्। त्यसैले मालिक पक्षको कमानलाई सुचारु राख्ने निवेदनले उनीहरुको क्रुर परजीवी मानसिकतालाई अभिव्यक्त गर्दछ। DTA अनि CCPA ले मजदूरहरुलाई कामबाट केहि दिन विश्राम, राशन पानी, अग्रिम बेतन आदि सुविधाहरु प्रदान गर्नको सट्टा कमानको काम चालु राख्ने निवेदन टक्राई आफ्नो शोषक परजीवी प्रवृतिको झलक स्पष्ट देखाएको छ। हामी मालिक पक्षको यो अमानवीय निर्णयको कडा शब्दमा भत्सर्ना गर्दछौ अनि यो संकटको समयमा मजदुरवर्ग संग काँधमा काँध मिलाई उनीहरुको अधिकारको निम्ति आवाज उठाउन कटिबद्ध छौ।

यसर्थ सरकार समक्ष हामी यो मांग राख्दछौ कि भारत लॉकडाउनको अवधि चियाकमानहरु सम्पूर्ण रुपमा बन्द राखियोस अनि चिया श्रमिकहरुलाई अग्रिम वेतन, राशन पानी, स्वास्थ्य सेवा र अन्य सहुलियतहरु समयमा प्रदान गरियोस्!

सरकारी स्वास्थ्य व्यवस्थाको हालत बुझी सकेको छौं, हामी आफै सचेत र सावधान भएर घर भित्र नै बसौं, शारीरिक दुरी पालन गरेर कोरोनाको प्रकोपबाट बाचौं र अरुलाई पनि बचाउँ!   
गोर्खा स्टूडेंट्स, जे.ऐन.यू               ०२.०४.२०२०

COVID-19 infected Kalimpong woman passed away

West Bengal recorded its second death due to COVID-19 on Monday, when a 44-year-old woman passed away at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital.
COVID-19 infected Kalimpong woman passed away

“She passed away early in the morning. We are trying to isolate the doctors and medical staff who treated her. Attempts are also being made to isolate the patient’s relative who seem to spread across north Bengal,” P.K. Deb, principal of the medical college and hospital told The Hindu.

The lady hailed from Kalimpong town in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district and was admitted to hospital almost a week ago. On Saturday, test reports confirmed that she was positive. According to reports, she had travelled to Chennai on March 7 and returned to Darjeeling on March 19.
Earlier on March 23, a 57-year-old man died because of COVID-19 at a private health facility in Kolkata. West Bengal has recorded 20 cases of the virus infection, including people with travel history abroad and also others who came in direct contact with patients.

About 457 people have been tested for the contagious viral infection and 611 are under hospital isolation. The state has created a separate fund of ₹200 crore to combat the situation and is also seeking donations from corporates and individuals through the West Bengal State Emergency Relief Fund.

Via The Hindu

Condemn the attempt by D.T.A & C.C.P.A to operate the Tea plantations in Darjeeling

6:00 PM
Shut Down Plantations and Pay Wages to the Workers.

Darjeeling Tea Association and Consultative Committee of Plantation Association has turned deplorable and inhuman by shamelessly requesting the West Bengal State Government to allow the complete operation of Tea Plantations in Darjeeling as reported in the Statesman on 27th March 2020.

How indifferent, insensitive and self- centered can the Plantation Owners/ Company Heads get under this dire threat to the entire human species? Are the members of the D.T.A. and the C.C.P.A – “uneducated”, “illiterate” and so “ignoble” (often phrased as reasons for avoiding quarantines) that they do not understand the seriousness of the pandemic at hand? Then how’s it possible they have a stomach to appeal in such a mean spirited and draconian move to make tea labourers work under present circumstances. Is the common consensus within the D.T.A. and C.C.P.A an absolutely unscientific and superstitious hope and belief that tea workers of Darjeeling would exclusively remain immune to the novel Coronavirus? Or are they of the opinion that the life of our fellow brothers and sisters is so cheap that they can be readily disposed for the sake of a few crores petty profit? Isn’t this move of the D.T.A. and C.C.P.A consolidating the belief that tea plantation workers are merely slaves?

Therefore, in complete solidarity with the workers and their vulnerabilities during this time, we condemn this inhuman, insensitive and draconian move by the D.T.A & C.C.P.A for appealing the State Government to operate the plantations in Darjeeling.
We are confounded to observe that the State Government actually appears willing to deliberate on this request and may even consider it. In a situation where this very government has ordered a complete lockdown throughout the state, how can it even think of taking a contradictory position on the fate of thousands of workers and their dependent families? Especially, when working in the fields and factories entails gathering and socialising in a way that cannot be substantially avoided (which the workers are very much aware of) regardless of the D.T.A & C.C.P.A proposed precautionary measures such as “strict safety and hygiene guidelines”. However, under the same circumstances, in the neighbouring state of Assam, their state government has ordered a complete lockdown of the tea industry vide notification no. L.E. 16/ 2018/ 4035-98 dated Guwahati, 21st March 2020. The plantation owners there have complied to not only shut down the industry but also to cooperate with the government order that states categorically- “not to terminate employment or reduce wages” of any worker whether permanent or contractual and to consider them to be on paid leave. When such a socially relevant decision can be taken by Assam what bothers and stops the West Bengal Government to toe a similar line? What’s so special about Darjeeling that its workers don’t deserve a right to life and safety? It would be utterly draconian if the state government grants the requests of the D.T.A. & C.C.P.A. and we stand firmly against any such move by the government to endanger the workers’ lives.

Moreover, it is imperative now to ask few extremely crucial questions to all administrative and political bodies immediately concerned with the region regarding their positions on the latest move by the D.T.A& C.C.P.A. First, what is the local administration i.e. the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration(G.T.A.) and political representatives like the M.P & M.L.A(s)of Darjeeling going to do to reconcile this division of interests between the Plantation Owners (DTA & CCPA) and that of the workers? Second, what are the positions being opted, perhaps now, if they are truly concerned, by all the local parties proliferating on the soil of the hills? If they cannot be nonchalant to this move by the D.T.A& C.C.P.A to bereave workers from their right to life and security, our best suggestion to all parties is to shut down their clientele based politics and disband their organisations.

Third, our political representatives, especially the M.P. has so far been busy tweeting future plans for the region while the present move by the D.T.A & C.C.P.A is left conspicuously unaddressed by him. Then, what is RajuBista (M.P. Darjeeling) doing at the moment to tackle this new found situation? Whereas, the three MLA’s from Darjeeling hills, who are nowhere to be heard right now, what are they doing about D.T.A & C.C.P.A’s inhuman move to push the workers to risk and endangerment? Shall the State Government, the M.L.As, the M.Pas well as the G.T.A remain a mere onlooker without a voice during such an attack by the plantation owners on the right to life and security of the workers?All of their silences would make any one ask whether the Government, the MLA(s) and the M.P of the region were rather elected by a minority i.e. the handful of lobbying planters. It raises doubt as to who these political representatives from the region are really accountable to? Why haven’t they been able to utter a single word against such an inhuman and deplorable attempt by the D.T.A& C.C.P.A to open and operate tea plantations?

While the whole world is gearing towards international solidarity to fight a global pandemic as it has become impossible for any country to fight it alone. Darjeeling’s manypetty minded planters/ owners are lobbying through D.T.A & C.C.P.A for their parochial interests. To the extent of risking a major section of the Gorkha- Adivasi population who are prominently tea plantation labourers. Their deplorable and inhuman appeal is nothing else but the manifestation of their crude and cruel vision to exploit the workers. Instead of the relieving the labourers fromwork, so they too may stay in house quarantines, by providing them wages in advance, ration and other basic amenities to protect themselves, the D.T.A& C.C.P.A has shown their true oppressive and exploitative character. We thoroughly condemn every word and intention of their attempt to operate Tea Plantations in Darjeeling and stand in complete solidarity with the Workers in such trying times. Hence we demand the State Government to rather ensure that the tea plantation owners' must pay the workers their full wages in advance during the entire lockdown period.

Only way to fight corona in Darjeeling- Shut down the Tea Plantations!

Gorkha Students, JNU                     
Date: 28/03/2020

GTA imposes Ban on New tourists coming to GTA Region

6:21 PM
In a meeting held with GTA representatives and all stakeholders of tourism the following issue was resolved.

Tourists  will not be allowed to enter Darjeeling and Kalimpong Hills from 19th March.

The ban will extend till 15th April.

GTA appeals to all taxi drivers and travel associations not to bring in tourists.

In order to control the rapid spread of COVID-19, the Chairman and authorities of GTA have requested the following:

We appeal to our tourism sector stakeholders in the face of COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Stop taking the bookings for hotels and homestay starting immediately. There should be a ban on new tourists coming to GTA region.
2. Avoid charging any Cancellation fees from the tourists.
3. An appeal is being made to all taxi owners and syndicates not to ferry any tourists to GTA region.
4. Kindly suggest and allow the tourists to reschedule their travel plans if required
5. People must avoid travelling outside GTA region, unless it is urgent and critical
6. Please avoid gathering of more than 10 people and maintain a safe distance
7. For Restaurants, please maintain the hygiene and sanitize the place, if necessary
8. We instruct all the Parent to utilize this time to engage children in extracurricular activities, online educations, new hobbies, etc. Times like these we need your support and understanding to educate your child on the hygiene and cleanliness.
9. The Engineering department is working on spreading awareness among people in their designated regions
10. GTA is going to release a special awareness program for the people residing in tea gardens and cinchona plantation.
11. Traders outside GTA region will be banned to put up temporary shops in haat bazar and in the hawkers market.
12. An appeal is made to all political parties and social organisations not to have political programs with mass gathering.
13.  Community halls and other halls owned by private clubs and organisation should restrict for giving their halls for lease for social program and social gatherings.
GTA imposes Ban on New tourists coming to GTA Region

Additional points:
• There are only two testing centres in West Bengal: NICED and SSKM in Kolkata. But we have sample collection centre at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH).
• An Isolation ward is currently located in Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik.
Please follow the steps below to keep a check on the spread of COVID-19 dedicatedly:
• Please wear a mask covering your mouth and nose properly.
• Wash your hands properly and thoroughly before and after eating your food or touching your face, eyes, any open wounds, etc.
• Avoid handshakes with people
• Keep at least 3 feet distance from all the individuals
• Use tissue papers to cover your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing
• Unless necessary, stay inside and avoid going out in public
• If you suspect you might have a mild fever, headache, throat irritation, body aches and possibly loose motions, please isolate yourself from the people around you and observe yourself
• In 85% cases, people’s immune systems fight back and the person starts getting better from the 8th day
• But if your fever, coughing, body ache and loose motion doesn’t subside even after 7th Day, contact your doctor and get yourself tested
• Please DON’T panic and DON’T spread rumours and disease.

जिटिएले लगायो  जिटिए छेत्रमा पर्यटकहरुको आगमनमा रोक!

जिटिएले भोलि 19 मार्चदेखि 15 अप्रेलसम्म दार्जिलिङ अनि कालेबुङमा पर्यटकहरुको आगमनमा रोक लगाएको छ।
आज GTA सचिवालयमा टुरिजम, चालक संघ, होटल, होमस्टे, ट्राभल, एनजीओ का प्रतिनिधि हरु सँग सभा भयो। हामीले प्रतिनिधिका समस्या सुन्यौ, विवेचना गर्यौ। आजको सभामा सामूहिक रूपमा पारित गरिएको निर्णयहरु निम्न छन्:

कोभिद १९ को संक्रमण रोक्न जि टी ए का अध्यक्ष अनि प्रशासन को पर्यटन क्षेत्र, अभिभावक, साधारण जनतालाई  अपील :

१. होटल अनि होमस्टे को बुकिङ तुरन्तै बन्द गरिदिनोस्। कुनै पनि नयाँ पर्यटकलाई  GTA क्षेत्र मा प्रवेश निषेध गरिएको छ।
२. बुकिङ रद्द गरेको खण्डमा रद्द गरिने फीस नलिनु होस्।
३. पर्यटकहरूलाई आफ्नो प्लान परिवर्तन गर्न प्रो्साहन गर्नु होस।
४. स्थानीय बासिन्दालाई केवल इमरजेन्सी छ भने मात्र GTA क्षेत्र देखि बाहिर जानु होला।
५. १० जना भन्दा बढीको झुण्डमा नबस्नु हवस्। एक आपसमा दूरी राख्नु होस्।
६.  रेसटुरेन्टहरु सफा राख्नुहोस्।
७.  अभिभावकलाई निवेदन गर्दछौं कि आफ्नो नानीहरूलाई व्यस्त राख्नु अनलाइन शिक्षा, नयाँ हबी राख्न प्रोत्साहन गर्नुहोस्। वरी परी सरसफाइ, शारीरिक सफाई राख्नु सिकाउनु होस्।
८. Engineering department ले प्रत्येक क्षेत्र मा कोरोना विषय  जागरुक अभियान चलाउने छन्।
 ९. GTA द्वारा चिया बगान अनि सिनकोना बगानमा जागरूकता अभियान चलाउँदै छन।
१०. बाहिरबाट आएर हाट अनि बाटो घाटोमा पसल राख्नेहरुलाई तुरन्तै देखि पसल राख्न दिईने छैन।
११.  सम्पूर्ण राजनैतिक पार्टी अनि अन्य संस्थाहरुलाई अपील गर्दछौ की कुनै पनि भीड हुने कार्यक्रमहरु बन्द गरिदिनोस्।
१२. समाज भवन अनि अन्य कुनै भवनलाई कुनै पनि सामाजिक कार्यको निम्ति प्रयोग गर्नु बन्द गर्नुहोस्।

अन्य सान्दर्भिक कुराहरू
पक्षिम बंगालमा कोरोनाको जाँच गर्न दुई वटा केन्द्र हरू छन। NICED and SSKM। हाम्रो पहाडको निम्ति North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) मा sample जमा गर्ने व्यवस्था गरिएको छ।
खरसाङ, कालिम्पोङ, मिरिक अनि दार्जीलिङमा Isolation वार्ड सञ्चालन गरिएको छ।

निम्न कुराहरूलाई आफ्नो दैनिक व्यवहारमा ल्याउनु होस्

#आफ्नो नाक अनि मुखलाई मास्कले सधैं छोपेर राख्नु होस
# साबुनले हात राम्ररी अनि घरी घरी धुनुहोस्। हातले अनुहार नछुनु होस्। सफा हातले मात्र अनुहार छुनु होस
# कसै संग हात नमिलाउनु होस्
# कसै संग बात मार्दा कम्तीमा पनि ३ फीट को दुरी राख्नु होस
# खोक्दा अनि हाच्छिउँ गर्दा सक्दो tissue paper को प्रयोग गर्नु होस
# जतिसक्दो घरमा नै बस्नु हुन्छ। एकदमै काम पर्दा मात्र घर देखि निस्किनु होस्
#  यदि तपाईं लाई ज्वरो छ, टाउको दुख्छ, घाँटी खस्कसाउँदै छ, शरीर दुख्दैछ, पातलो पाइखाना हुँदैछ भने  तुरन्तै आफूलाई परिवार देखि अलग राख्नुहोस्। डाक्टर को सल्लाह लिनुहोस्।
# ८५% यस्तो केस मा हाम्रो इम्युनसिस्टम ले भाइरस सँग लडेर नै भाइरसलाई मार्छ। ८औ दिन देखि रोगी निको भएको पाइएको छ।
# यदि ७ दिन सम्म पनि ज्वरो, घाँटी दुख्नु, पातलो पाइखाना रोकिएन भने तुरन्तै डाक्टर को सल्लाह लिनुहोस् अनि कोरोना को जाँच गराउनु होस्।
# नआत्तिनु होस्।  अफवाह नफैलाउनु होस्।
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