Showing posts with label political news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label political news. Show all posts

Dr Subramanian Swamy Calls for Formation of Gorkhaland Union Territory

10:38 AM
Dr Swamy Calls for Formation of Gorkhaland Union Territory

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subramanian Swamy has called for BJP to fulfill their promise, and to keep Gorkhaland as number one priority.

He tweeted, "Time for the BJP to start looking at our 2014-to date the party’s organisational culture. In many. States we had made promises we could not keep. Gorkhaland is top priority. Must make it a Union Territory as promised.'
Subramanian Swamy Calls for Formation of Gorkhaland Union Territory

One of the readers Vishal Singh questioned  "Sir its neccessary to make gorkhaland????" (sic)

He responded with, "We should not have promised and got elected BJP MPs from Darjeeling."

Another reader, Zaid Ahemad asked, "Sir , If BJP makes Gorkhaland then whatever it has in Bengal will vanish !" (sic)

Dr Swamy wrote, "Gorkhaland is not being given to Pakistan. It will be still part of India like Bengal."

Bhaichung might become Darjeeling District TMC president

11:11 AM
Siliguri, June 17: Mamata Banerjee is likely to announce the new president of the Darjeeling Trinamul district committee in Calcutta tomorrow and ex-footballer Bhaichung Bhutia and Pratul Chakraborty are being considered for the post, sources in the organisation said.

The chief minister, said the sources, wanted the replacement of Ranjan Sarkar, the current president of the party in Darjeeling, as Trinamul had failed in three consecutive elections in the district in one year. The defeat of Trinamul in the Siliguri municipal and mahakuma parishad polls and the Assembly elections has been attributed to factionalism in the party.

"Tomorrow, a meeting has been convened by the party at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Calcutta where leaders from different districts will be present. Our party chief Mamata Banerjee and other frontline leaders will be at the meeting. We can almost confirm that the name of the new Darjeeling district president will be announced tomorrow. The names of Bhaichung Bhutia and Pratul Chakraborty are making the rounds," a Siliguri Trinamul leader, who didn't want to be named, said over the phone from Calcutta today.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee with former Soccer star Baichung Bhutia
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee with former
 Soccer star Baichung Bhutia - file photo
Another senior leader said Bhaichung might be made the working president of Trinamul in the district. "Bhaichung has never made it to district and state committees. There is a chance that Pratul Chakraborty will be the new president, while Bhaichung will be made the working president of Darjeeling district. It can be an effective arrangement as Bhaichung can try to bring all lobbies in the party together and end factionalism, while Pratulda, who has good acceptability, can monitor from the top," said the leader.

There are also speculations that Bhaichung will be appointed as the chairman of the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority.

Bhaichung had lost to the CPM's Asok Bhattacharya in Siliguri in the Assembly polls. Chakraborty had held the post of the district president before Gautam Deb.

Following the debacle Trinamul faced in the municipal and mahakuma parishad polls last year, minister Gautam Deb was removed as the Trinamul district chief in November. He was replaced with Sarkar, who was the district Trinamul Youth president then.

But even after Sarkar, who is also a municipal councillor in Siliguri, became the president, Trinamul couldn't win any of the six Assembly seats in the district.

"Mamata is completely disappointed over the performance of district leaders who are busy fighting among themselves. It is because of infighting that Gautam Deb was not allowed to contest the Siliguri civic polls in 2015. There is no chance that Mamata or any other state leader will seek opinion from the Darjeeling district leaders before finalising the name of the district president," said a Trinamul insider.


GNLF delegation led by Mann Ghisingh to meet Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna

9:54 AM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, June 17: The GNLF today said a delegation of party leaders led by Mann Ghisingh would meet Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna on June 20 at the invitation of the chief minister.

Political observers said the meeting might be the formalisation of a political alignment that had taken on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the Assembly elections.

Harka Bahadur Chhetri's Jana Andolan Party, Trinamul and the GNLF had come together to fight the Morcha in the Assembly polls in the three hill constituencies. While Chhetri was the JAP candidate in Kalimpong, Trinamul contested from Kurseong and Darjeeling.

N.B. Chhetri, the spokesman for the GNLF, said: "We had written to the chief minister sometime back expressing our wish to meet her. We have been invited for a meeting at Nabanna on June 20. Our party president, Mann Ghisingh, will be leading a six-member delegation for the meeting which is scheduled for 4pm."
Mann Ghisingh to meet Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna
Mann Ghisingh to meet Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna
The GNLF had also backed Trinamul candidate Bhaichung Bhutia in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 general elections. Despite the support, the hill party couldn't cement its relation with Mamata Banerjee. In between the 2014 Parliament elections and the Assembly polls, GNLF leaders had met Mamata only once in Darjeeling.

"We had met the chief minister once when she was in Darjeeling (after the Lok Sabha polls) but it was more of a courtesy call. Apart from that, our party president was invited to Mamata's swearing-in recently. This time, we are hopeful of the meeting. We also believe this would be the beginning of more meetings," said Chhetri.

The GNLF delegation is looking at using the meeting to strengthen its ties with Mamata. "We have nothing in mind. There are many issues which we need to take up with the chief minister. But everything will depend on how the meeting progresses," said Chhetri, who is also a former Darjeeling MLA.

The combined efforts of the JAP, Trinamul and the GNLF and also the support of chairpersons of development boards of various hill communities did give a tough fight to  the Morcha, especially in Kalimpong. In all the three hill Assembly segments, the Morcha’s victory margin went down by nearly 50 per cent compared to the 2011 Assembly election results.

In a separate development, Darjeeling MLA Amar Singh Rai said on Friday that all three legislators of the Morcha had met Mamata in her chamber in the Assembly building and thanked her for creating Kalimpong district

Via Telegraph

Kalimpong District to be formed soon claims JAP

6:15 PM
Kalimpong  31st may 2016 After losing the assembly election in Kalimpong Jana Andolan Party JAP is trying to consolidate it support base in Kalimpong and in such an attempt they claim that the formation of the Kalimpong Distric has got green signal from the chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. JAP president  Dr Harka Bahadur Chhetri after the election met the chief minister and have had a fruitful discussion on the matter

"Though JAP lost the election, we will strive hard to fulfill Kalimpongbasi's aspirations and keep our promises of creating Kalimpong Zilla.

And we have already started the process for upgradation of Kalimpong sub-division into district JAP President Dr H.B Chhetri met WB chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee on 23rd May and had a discussion about the same for almost 45 minutes in a very cordial environment as a result, Chief Minister has already instructed her govt to expedite the process of formation of 5 new districts that includes Kalimpong as well" said Jana Andolan Party's youth leader, Pankaj Chhetri.
Kalimpong District to be formed soon claims JAP
Kalimpong District to be formed soon claims JAP
He further added "We are thankful to our president for taking this initiative....losing election didn't deter him from his goal. And I can confidently say that if ever Kalimpong district is formed, that surely will be formed soon, its all due to hard work, dedication, perseverance, and vision of our President Dr. H B Chhetri."

Sarita Rai, GJM's Kalimpong MLA candidate Surprise - Will it work?

10:07 AM
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha yesterday announced candidates’ names from the hills and the plains for the state Assembly election, and sprang a surprise by pitching a female candidate from Kalimpong constituency to take on MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri.

It was no surprise about Rohit Sharma, the incumbent legislator from Kurseong, being retained, while Darjeeling municipality chairman Amar Singh Rai, a member of the GJM’s Study Forum, was nominated from Darjeeling constituency. The surprise announcement however, was of school teacher Sarita Rai, being fielded from Kalimpong constituency. Rai is a teacher at St. George’s School, Pedong and she will be locking horns with her colleague, the president of the Jan Andolan Party. Rai (58) teaches Nepali at St. George’s, while Chhetri is a Science teacher at the school.

According to GJM sources, the party leadership was apprehensive of Chhetri’s support base in Kalimpong and wanted to field someone with a clean image. Hence they zeroed in on Rai to gain a surprise edge. Apart from being the only female candidate to be fielded, Rai was also the president of the GJM women’s wing of Kalimpong sub-division till 2013. She is not known to be outspoken or to have an aggressive stance, but the sources said Rai is well-known in
Sarita Rai GJM candidate fielded from Kalimpong constituency
Sarita Rai GJM candidate fielded from Kalimpong constituency
Kalimpong and wielded quite an influence on the various units of the GJM in the region. Her past record could be utilised for good stead by the party when it would matter most, they added.

Announcing the candidates’ names, GJM president Bimal Gurung said, “We must look beyond personal interests and strive to work for the people. We must not feel unhappy when things do not happen according to our wishes, and remain positive to make the future better.” He praised Sharma, the candidate from Kurseong, for his wholehearted support to the statehood cause.

Urging the three candidates to work for the people with sincerity and diligence, the GJM chief said, “We have given three able candidates from the hills. They are all qualified in their respective fields and we hope they get popular people support to ensure their victory.” He also asked the GTA Sabhasads, municipal councilors and the party’s frontal organisations to ensure the victory of the three candidates.

Responding to her nomination, Rai said she was taken utterly by surprise. “When I left home this morning for Darjeeling to attend this programme, not once did it occur to me that I would be nominated by the party from Kalimpong. When our party president announced my name, it took me some time to come to terms with the development,” said Rai, who was sitting in the audience section unlike the other two nominees, who were on the dais.

When asked how she planned to take on her colleague, the JAP president, in the political arena, Rai was diplomatic. “We were inspired by him both at school and in the party,” she said. “And he has left the party at a time when the hills, and Kalimpong particularly, is dealing with the issues of a separate district and community development boards. But, ‘mudda’ (political issues) and friendship are two different things and I would like to keep them that way and continue working for what my party stands for.”

Meanwhile, Gurung said the GJM has decided to field advocate Altamus Chowdhury from Islampur, Haji Nasir Ahmed Khan from Chopra and Bishal Lama from Kalchini on party tickets, and extend support to BJP candidates John Barla in Nagarkatta, Manoj Tigga in Madirahat and Lewis Kujur in Kumargram. He however, was non committal on naming candidates from Siliguri and said he would wait for the BJP to make a move first. “The BJP is yet to announce candidates from Siliguri. And we will take a decision only after the announcement,” he said.

The GJM today also made public the party’s election manifesto on expected lines: by giving top priority to the statehood demand, and promising to pursue the issues of securing ‘parcha-patta’ for tea garden workers, tribal status for hill communities, a central university, and reintroducing the three-tier panchayat system along with the social and educational development of the region.

[Via: ECOI, Pics: Biren Lama Tamang]

GJM Candidates Declared for Darjeeling and Doors for Assemble election 2016

3:04 PM
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has declared their list of candidates for Darjeeling and Dooars seats for the upcoming Bengal Assembly Election 2016 in April. Interestingly Ms. Sarita Rai is contesting from Kalimpong who will be contesting against Dr Harka Bahadur Chettri.

Here is the full list.

Darjeeling : Mr. Amar Singh Rai
Kalimpong: Ms. Sarita Rai
Kurseong: Dr Rohit Sharma
Nagarkata: Mr. John Barla
Islampur Chopra: Mr. M Altamas Choudhary
Chopra: Mr Hazi Naseer Ahmed Khan
Kalchini: Mr. Bishal Lama
Madirahat: Mr. Manoj Tigga
Kumar Gram: Mr. Lewis Kujur

GJM Candidates  for Assemble election 2016
GJM Candidates  for Assemble election 2016

Via TheDC

Political Players for Gorkhaland: Their Potentials, Problems and Prospects

9:35 AM
Writes: Animesh Rai*

Once again after the fascinating 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Darjeeling hills have started to witness intriguing contentions between the different political parties. As the state Legislative Assembly election is drawing closer new parties with new principles are emerging while the old and dominant ones are engaged in finding new affiliations to fulfill their long pending objectives. Day in day out, large number of people are seen changing their party associations. These political dynamics signify the growth of new aspirations and approaches within the regional polity. Various parties have come forward with multiple means to achieve more or less a common grounded objective of - development and statehood. Their activism and promises have indeed enthralled the entire hills with political warmth in the cold climes of winter and of course, with a hope for better spring and summers.

This write up is an attempt to highlight some of the basic approaches adopted by the four active political parties in pursuit of development and statehood demand. It also briefly touches upon their strength, shortcomings and mobilisation strategies and concisely concludes with the condition of polity at hand.
Political Players for Gorkhaland
Political Players for Gorkhaland
At present the political parties that are working vigorously for the upcoming elections are the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and Jan Andolan Party (JAP). Each political group, their perspectives, pros and cons has been dealt in an orderly manner.

The GJMM under Shri Bimal Gurung is the dominant party in the hills. It emerged in 2007 and revived the Gorkhaland movement and continues to advocate the formation of a separate state for the Indian Nepalis within the Indian Union. It has a very strong support base mostly in the tea garden belts which represents more than seventy percent of the total population of the district. In order to achieve its goal the party has been vehemently supporting the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).

Both in 2009 and 2014 the GJMM backed the BJP candidates in the Lok Sabha elections and in both the cases made them victorious with a huge margin of votes. Although the first attempt was futile as the BJP could not form the government. The second trial is expected to be fruitful with BJP in power at the centre. Quite confident with this great hope and trust, the present GJMM supremo at times roars in public meetings "The ball is in our court and it is near the goalpost…we are about to score a goal" meaning that they are very close in achieving Gorkhaland. Moreover, the benevolent words of the present Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the 2014 election campaign at Siliguri declared "The dreams of Gorkhas are my dreams" has consequently given a lot of consolation to the Gorkhas across the country for the fulfillment of their century old dream of a separate state.

The party believes that BJP is sympathetic towards the Gorkhas and has high hopes that BJP which had earlier carved out three new states during their NDA I regime will also eventually create Gorkhaland. GJMM is mobilising its support base through pad yatras, the door to door foot campaign organised in different wards of the district. They have also taken up the issues of granting Schedule Tribe status to ten hill communities and regularization of more than five thousand casual workers working under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). There are possibilities that they may enter into alliance with Congress and Communist party to fight against TMC in the forthcoming polls.

The unfortunate situation for the party is its failure to convince the BJP of West Bengal, to garner their support for the cause of Gorkhaland. The state BJP is only in favour of development and political stability in the hills but completely against the partition of Bengal for Gorkhaland. Secondly, the murder case allegation of the late Madan Tamang, the leader of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) on the main leaders of the GJMM has given them a bad name and fame. The critics point at these inhumane and barbaric character of the leaders and decline from supporting them. The murder case file has not been closed down but the investigation is still going on. Lastly, the BJP does not have a majority in the Upper House of the Parliament to pass the bill in favor of Gorkhaland. Probably the reason for GJMM to ally with Congress and Communists is to gain their support in the Upper House that is if and when the BJP introduces and passes the bill from the Lower House. Unfortunately, the issue of Gorkhaland has not even been raised by the BJP in the parliament till date.

The TMC is the dominant party in West Bengal and the head of the party, the present Chief Minister (CM) of West Bengal Shri Mamta Banerjee has gained popularity for being one of the most efficient CM in the nation. The party does not support the cause of Gorkhaland but emphasize on development and peace in the hills. In the former years TMC and GJMM shared a good relationship but it started to deteriorate on the matters relating to the transfer of various allocated departments from the state to the GTA. Infact, GTA an autonomous but an unconstitutional body was conferred to GJMM by the TMC government in the presence of the central government officials in 2012. Once their relationship degenerated TMC shifted their focus of development from economy towards ethnicity by using an alternative model, establishment of tribal development boards in the GTA arena. TMC believes that through such boards every marginal and tribal group of hills would develop on equal lines. The party seeks to mobilise supporters by forming such development boards. It is also to be noted that the present CM has visited Darjeeling district for the maximum number of time as compared to the former state CMs. She says she loves Darjeeling and her people and will soon turn it into Switzerland but she can never think about the separation of Darjeeling district from Bengal.

GJMM is the most vocal adversary of TMC. The party is disliked for segregating the sense of collective Gorkha community by dividing the group into several sub-groups, all in the name of development boards. Opponents also believe that TMC is trying to suppress the Gorkhaland movement by disintegrating the Gorkha community. The concept of development board formation is also seen as a tool of disrupting the traditional cultural homogeneity of the region.

GNLF under the late Subash Ghising came into existence in the mid 1980's and it was the first party to demand Gorkhaland in a legitimate and vocal manner by provoking Article 3A of the Indian Constitution. The party saw the plight of Indian Nepalis or Gorkhas in the Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 and demanded its abrogation. After his demise in 2015, his son Shri Mann Ghishing has been made the new party president. GNLF is empowering its support base by reviving its old demand of Sixth Schedule for Darjeeling which was slumped down after the party's failure to remain in power since 2008. This special statute of autonomy was particularly designed for the tribal areas of North East (NE) India and both the state and centre were in favour of bestowing this plan for the region. Drawing from the experience of NE states, it became evident to the leaders that most of the present day states of that region were earlier placed under Sixth Schedule before they became a state. Almost all the backward and scheduled areas of the colonial administration have been made states in the post-independent India. So far, Darjeeling is the only remaining historical backward area that has not been converted into a state. So, for GNLF the foundation stone for Gorkhaland is to bring the region under the Sixth Schedule first and concomitantly, follow the political footprints of NE states. The party had aligned with TMC in the 2014 MP elections and may club with them in this year's state elections as well.

However, the opposition groups argue that for an area to be brought under Sixth Schedule it has to have more than fifty to sixty percent of the tribal population which in case of Darjeeling district does not fulfill the required criteria. The opponents also asserts that if Sixth Schedule is granted then the region will be declared a tribal area, majority of population which comprise of non-tribal groups would be debarred from many socio-cultural, politico and economic engagements and tbenefits. It is directly seen as a device to divide the regional society.

JAP was recently formed in January 2016 by a group of erudite personals. The party is headed by Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri, the former GJMM spokesperson. He parted ways with Morcha in September 2015 when he turned down the party chief's order to resign from the post of the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA). He resigned from the party but continued to remain as an independent MLA from Kalimpong. He also shares a very close relationship with the CM. The party has well known experts drawn from the pool of academia, lawyers and activists from pressure groups. The first point in their manifesto is development of the region and an attainment of a separate statehood. Although a separate statehood is also their demand, they do not stress on using the concept - Gorkhaland. They believe that Gorkhas are not the only ones inhabiting in Darjeeling district and Dooars but the region has also been a home for many other ethnic minority tribes and communities since ages. They go for integrative approach of accommodating every group of the region. They have an impression that the direct use of pro-ethnic terms like Gorkhaland would exclude the members of other communities. Moreover, the concept Gorkha has direct connections with the small hill district in western part of Nepal and with the conquerors and founders of the kingdom of Nepal. The use of the term may provide more space for political criticism and opposition rather than favour and support when the issue is placed at the national level. Therefore, they apparently hold that using the ethnic term Gorkha at present may not be very appealing in the sight of the opponents and the government, particularly while placing the issue of a separate state which calls for ethos of greater national interest and integration. Prof. Mahendra P. Lama, the Founding Vice Chancellor of Sikkim University and currently the Chairman of JAP had earlier asserted that the name of the state can be easily amended later once the state is achieved, what is really required at the present hour is the understanding and strategy of placing the demand in the right place, right Ministry and active lobbying with the government. They call for politics of rationality over the politics of emotionalism.

JAP aspires to have a corruption free administration and believe in maintaining a healthy relationship with both the state and central governments. They prefer to put forward the issue of statehood through rational and robust discussions and deliberations. They are mobilising support with the demand for land rights in tea gardens and cinchona plantation areas along with the implementation of Minimum Wage Act and creation of Kalimpong districts and other sub-divisions in Mirik and Bijanbari. They may form an alliance with the TMC in the upcoming elections.

Since the members of the new political group do not use the term "Gorkhaland" and believes in maintaining a healthy relationship with the state government they are looked down by their rivals as brokers of the state and referred as "Mir Zafars - the traitors." These politicians are seen as opportunists and agents of West Bengal government by their opposition forces and their party is seen as a sub-TMC party. The GJMM chief has strongly claimed that this party will not last for more than a month or two. Their antagonists have also circulated posters spreading the message to be aware of the motives of the JAP leaders.

Now emphasizing on the probable alliance pattern for the upcoming elections the two hill parties GNLF and JAP have the possibilities of aligning with TMC while GJMM is seeking for collaborations with Congress and Communists. The TMC still has a strong hold in Bengal and the political observers are of the estimation that the party will stay in power in the next term as well despite the challenge posed by Congress and the Communists collectively. In the process what may possibly happen is TMC may become more powerful in the state and GJMM may lose out the support from BJP for supporting its major rivals in the state elections. The last possibility of statehood may be missed out and the dream of Gorkhaland may fade away.

Observing the goals alone, all of these parties want development and GJMM, GNLF and JAP are fighting for a separate statehood as well. In considering their strength and contributions towards the political development of the region, the GNLF started the statehood movement, GJMM revived the movement and now has an added benefit of both mass support and as an affiliate of BJP. On the other hand JAP is a new political entrant only in the terms of its recent formation but has members who are old and matured in terms of political experience with a sound wisdom on legal system and national policy making.

Lastly, reconsidering the GJMM chief's holla of sporti-fing their political success like a ball about to be striked off for scoring the final goal in the football match, many supporting spectators sees that ball is yet to be defended and dribbled properly before the final shot is made and for this skillful players are a must. The region surely has well trained and specialized players, ready to play in their respective positions in the soccer field but currently they are all busy playing for different teams. If the resources of these diverse players can be capitalized into one common team then it will positively fortify the Gorkhaland movement for all better reasons. The immediate need of the hour is forming one composite team from the region. Elections here can be seen as a major league where the victory of the team is possible solely through consensus and companionship.

The GJMM supremo has aptly said, at present the ball is in their hands, they are close to the goalpost but the goal has not been scored yet. However, with the concrete passionate team upholding the virtues of fraternity and morality, the football match would have been played in a more robust and organised way. The players would have in a very sporting spirit, fended, tackled, passed on and off and finally kicked the ball right inside the goalpost. The ever cheering supportive spectators would have rejoiced and remembered this beautiful game and its players till the very end.

*The author is a Research Scholar at Sikkim University

Via TheDC

Videos - Kalimpong part of Bhutan, a lease-hold land - Bimal Gurung

9:53 AM
Addressing GJM public meeting at the Mela Ground in Kalimpong on Gurung 28th Jan 2016 GJM chief Bimal Gurung suggested that Kalimpong could not get the status of a district till the lease was cancelled and India incorporated the area.Kalimpong is a no man's land, lease-hold land, you first show by incorporating this area inside your own Bharat ...

"Let the Central government understand this. I don't have to make the state government understand. First the central government must understand; this is a no man's land, lease-hold land, you first show by incorporating this area inside your own Bharat ...Let Bengal's Miss Mamata Banerjee not boast that this is your place. You can never lay claim to it. For this, we will talk to the Indian government, otherwise at the international level," he said.

Watch the videos

Kalimpong part of Bhutan, a lease-hold land

India should first incorporate Kalimpong into Indian territory

Kalimpong part of Bhutan, a lease-hold land - Bimal Gurung

GJM ready for alliance "Sole Aim is To Defeat Trinmool" - Bimal Gurung

10:30 AM
Bimal Gurung today said the sole aim of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the coming Assembly polls was the defeat of Trinamul and the hill party was ready to forge an alliance with the CPM or the Congress for the purpose.

Talking to journalists at Dagapur, near Siliguri, yesterday afternoon, the Morcha president said: " Trinamul ko jaise bhi ho harana hai (Trinamul has to be defeated anyhow)."

Gurung went on: "We had supported Trinamul in the 2011 Assembly polls and given a reply to the erstwhile (Left Front) government through the ballot after it had fired bullets at us. It seems the time has come again to give a befitting reply to the chief minister and Trinamul, who are indulging in the politics of division. We are in the process of devising a strategy to ensure Trinamul's defeat and will field candidates in the maximum possible Assembly seats across north Bengal. We are against the divisive politics and will soon organise a public meeting in Siliguri, in which people from different communities will participate in large numbers."
GJM ready for alliance "Sole Aim is To Defeat Trinmool" - Bimal Gurung
GJM ready for alliance "Sole Aim is To Defeat Trinmool" - Bimal Gurung
This is the second time in the past 24 hours that the Morcha chief has spoken in an aggressive manner against Trinamul. Yesterday, he had challenged Mamata to contest from any of the three Assembly seats in the hills.

Asked if the Morcha would ally with anti-Trinamul parties, Gurung did not rule out the possibility.

"There might be an alliance with the Congress or the CPM, but we will never tie up with Trinamul. The chief minister is doing politics in a dangerous manner in the hills by forming boards for different communities. She has never taken any such decision with regard to the plains where several minority communities live in. This shows she is resorting to divisive politics only in the hills. We will no longer let such politics work in the hills and will take all possible efforts to defeat her party in the Assembly elections," said the Morcha chief.

Gurung, a Morcha source said, would launch the election campaign highlighting peace and amity.

"He visited the Terai today and will tour the Dooars to kick-off our election campaign. The idea is to explain how the hills are suffering because of Trinamul's politics," the source said.

However, CPM state secretary, Surjya Kanta Mishra, however, said the Morcha would have to snap ties with the BJP to form an alliance with the Left.

Told about Gurung's comment on an anti-Trinamul alliance, Surjya Kanta Mishra said in Siliguri: "They (Morcha) will have to snap its ties with the BJP and then, it can join hands with us. We cannot induct anybody who has ties with the BJP into our fold. Like we want Trinamul to be removed from power in the state, we want the BJP to be dislodged from the Centre."

Later in the evening, Morcha sources said the Terai committee of the party had been reshuffled and Shankar Adhikary was made the new president and Babu Lama the general secretary.

Source - Telegraph‎

GNLF to intensify its agitation for Sixth Schedule

9:13 AM
The GNLF held a meeting in Darjeeling on Sunday to commemorate the signing of a memorandum of settlement by the Centre, state and former party president Subash Ghisingh on December 6, 2005, to bring the hills under the Sixth Schedule.

At the meeting, Bhanu Lama, the organising secretary of the GNLF, said the party would intensify its agitation to bring the hills under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

GNLF marks 6th Scheduled Accord Signing Day Samjhauta Divas
GNLF marks 6th Scheduled Accord Signing Day Samjhauta Divas

Harka Bahadur Chhetri to from new political party

9:08 AM
Writes Rajeev Ravidas

Kalimpong, Dec. 6: Harka Bahadur Chhetri today said he planned to float a political party, months after he left the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Chhetri, who heads the Kalimpong District Demand Committee, did not give a clear answer when asked what his prospective party's stand would be on the Gorkhaland issue.

Chhetri today said there was a need to bring about political change in the hills and the formation of a district was the first step in that direction.

"The second and third steps will follow. We are thinking about it (forming a party) in the district demand committee because we are being pressured by our friends and supporters to launch a party," he said.

Asked if the decision to form the party was more or less finalised, Chhetri said: "More finalised, not less."

He added: "There can't be politics without a political party. A party is required to provide good administration. We will discuss this among ourselves and take a decision soon. It will not take long."

Asked what the new party's stand on the demand for Gorkhaland would be, the Kalimpong MLA said: "We are at primary school. Gorkhaland is a university. We will first have to think of getting to secondary school and then on to college. Maybe, we will not be able to reach university in our generation, the next generation possibly can," he said.

Last week, officials in Nabanna, the state secretariat, had said finishing touches were being given to the Kalimpong district demand. Some sources said Mamata Banerjee wanted to back Chhetri as a local counter-point to the Bimal Gurung-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Assembly elections are barely five months away, and Chhetri's willingness to float a party now is interesting in this context too.

In the general elections in 2014, Trinamul had fielded Bhaichung Bhutia from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat. The Morcha did not support him, saying he is not a local face. But it supported the BJP's S.S. Ahluwalia, who is also not a local face but belongs to a party that had shown some willingness initially to hear out the Morcha on Gorkhaland.

Trinamul has a unit in the hills, but has no leader with a mass following. Chhetri is not a leader of the masses either, but as the MLA of Kalimpong, he enjoys the goodwill of residents in the subdivision.

The MLA said the new party would not be restricted by geography or ethnicity. "We are looking at a huge canvas. We will empower the people. We will focus on real issues concerning the people and work to provide them with basic necessities that continue to elude them," he said.

Chhetri said the land rights of tea garden and cinchona workers would be the priority of the new party.
Harka Bahadur Chhetri to from new political party
Harka Bahadur Chhetri 
"These workers have been living in the plantations for 200 years, but their condition is pitiable. It will be gross injustice not to give them land rights. I have already taken up the matter with the government," he said.

Tea garden land is leased out by the state government to companies and the lease has to be renewed every 30 years. The state is the owner of the tea gardens' land. The workers and their families who have been residing in tea plantations for generations since the 1850s do not have land rights.

The cinchona plantations are under the directorate of cinchona and medicinal plantation, which is a state undertaking. Like in tea gardens, the workers of cinchona plantations have no land rights.

Source Telegraph

GJM and Mamata govt. on collision course

11:40 AM
The warming up of ties between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and the state government, which renewed only recently, appears to be heading towards a collision course once again over the issue of construction of a school building in Darjeeling town.
Hill Students Against Demolition Order of ‪RKSP‬ School
Hill Students Against Demolition Order of ‪RKSP‬ School
A month or so ago, the district administration had issued an order and stopped construction work on a new structure to house the Ramakrishna Siksha Parishad (RKSP) School on Birch Hill Road. The reason given was that the upcoming structure was making the area vulnerable from the security point of view as the Governor’s House is located on the opposite side of the road. In protest, the Gorkha Janmukti Vidhyarthi Morcha today mobilised hundreds of students from various schools including the teaching and non-teaching faculty of RKSP School and organised a silent rally from the Railway Station to the district magistrate’s office. The central, sub-divisional and town committees of the GJM also participated in the rally to extend moral support. The students’ union submitted a memorandum to the additional district magistrate in the DM’s absence demanding construction work of the new school building be allowed to continue.

“There are several tall buildings and structures near the Writers’ Buildings in Kolkata. Why is there no security concern over there? Why is a different set of rules being followed for the hills and the plains?” wondered GJVM spokesperson Sandip Chhetri. The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has already sanctioned Rs6 crore to convert RKSP into a model school with complete modern facilities. The project started in January and the old three-storeyed structure was dismantled in March to make way for a new building. The new building (also three-storeys high) is slated to be completed by early next year. More than 1,200 students of the school are presently attending classes 2.5km away in makeshift tin and plywood shades set up in the playground of Darjeeling Government High School at Dhobi Talau, in the lower fringes of town.

“The poorest students of Darjeeling study in RKSP, and their future is in jeopardy with construction work being suspended. Further, continuous rainfall and the subsequent noise are making it difficult for the students to concentrate in their studies,” pointed out GJVM general secretary Bhaskar Rai. GJM leaders today held a meeting and formed a 16 member coordination committee comprising party leaders, the Darjeeling municipality chairman and building owners to formulate strategies to legally challenge the district administration’s order. RKSP School was founded in 1944 by Swami Prabhudananda and has classes up to the 12th standard offering courses in Arts, Science and Commerce streams. The Darjeeling superintendent of police had originally objected to the construction work of the school maintaining that the stretch from the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was a sensitive zone owing to the presence of the Governor’s House and other government buildings. The SP has also observed that several structures on the stretch were being constructed without following the prescribed building norms. ADM U.

Swaroop confirmed receiving a memorandum from the students’ union. “Construction work has been stopped because the upcoming building is very near the Governor’s House and this could pose security threats. There is no question of any kind of interference from our side. As for the memorandum, I will forward it to the higher authorities,” he said. On Monday, the school authority as well as the Darjeeling municipality attended a hearing in the sub-divisional magistrate court and where they were issued an order. The SDO’s order states that construction work of any kind in the stretch between the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan and HMI would require permission from the executive magistrate’s office after submitting relevant documents.

Source: EOI

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leadership unhappy with Mamata Banerjee

1:50 PM
Mamata moves upset Morcha

Writes Vivek Chhetri

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leadership is getting increasingly unhappy with Mamata Banerjee's style of functioning visa-a-vis the hills less than a fortnight after Bimal Gurung welcomed the chief minister in Darjeeling with a bouquet.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leadership unhappy with Mamata Banerjee
The Morcha's disillusionment with the chief minister stems from her move to launch a campus of the Presidency University in the hills and the district administration's crackdown on illegal buildings in Darjeeling.

Mamata is scheduled to visit Kurseong and Kalimpong for three days from September 16.

"On one hand, Mamata Banerjee talks about the welfare of the hill people and gives an impression that she is now close to the Morcha leadership. But on the other hand, she continues to promote sectarian politics, interfere in matters related not only to the GTA but also Darjeeling municipality. The chief minister is also using the district and police administration to promote her vested political interests," a senior Morcha leader said on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak by Bimal Gurung.

Relations between Mamata and Bimal Gurung were perceived to have improved considerably, especially after a meeting between the two leaders at Richmond Hill in Darjeeling on June 17.

The Morcha leader said whenever the chief minister visited Darjeeling, "some problem or the other is created or left behind". "During two of her visits to Darjeeling this year, she created the Sherpa board and Bhutia board, which we believe is part of an agenda to divide and rule the hill people," said the Morcha leader.

Mamata is scheduled to attend a public meeting of the Lepcha community at the Mela Grounds in Kalimpong on September 17, followed by anther meeting of the Tamang community the next day.

On September 16, Mamata is expected to inaugurate an educational hub in Kurseong, including a campus of Presidency University. The Morcha leadership is, however, is against the campus as they believe such an institution of higher education will dilute the demand for a central university.

"Apart from all this, the government is now directing the district administration to dismantle buildings in Darjeeling. A team of the building verification committee is scheduled to reach Darjeeling tomorrow. Issues related to construction vests with the civic body but the state government is also interfering in the matter," said another Morcha leader.

"Maybe the state government wants to take control of the Darjeeling municipality area by spreading terror among the residents of Darjeeling vis-à-vis the high rises," said the Morcha leader.

Morcha leaders are expected to hold a meeting with Bimal Gurung on September 9 on these issues, once he returns to Darjeeling from Digboi, Assam, where he is presently visiting.

Source Telegraph

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to field own candidates for SMP elections

"GJM, (Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) has several supporters in the Terai region who have been extending full support to the Gorkhaland movement ever since the inception of the GJM. Considering the views and aspirations of the people of the Terai region, GJM has decided to field it's own party candidates in the upcoming SMP (Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad) elections," Gurung said in a press release.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to field own candidates in SMP elections
Bimal Gurung & John Barla
"The people of the Terai region have various problems, which can be solved only in a localized manner. The decision was taken by keeping this in mind," he added. According to Gurung, it was the unity of GJMM supporters that helped Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate SS Ahluwalia (Darjeeling MP) emerge victorious in the last Lok Sabha polls. "I have full hope that this time our candidates will emerge victorious as well," Gurung said. However, he did not disclose the names of the candidates.

Another regional party, the Kamtapur Progressive Party (KPP), which has a significant support base in the Matigara, Naxalbari, Kharibari and Phansidewa blocks in the plains, has said it will soon clear the air on whether it will support the BJP in the SMP elections or go it alone.

The State Election Commission (SEC) is likely to issue a notification for the SMP elections in the first week of September. The SEC has already informed anti-Trinamul political parties in writing that the SMP elections will be held on 3 October.

"The notification will be issued just a month before the 3 October polls, if things go in the right direction," SEC commissioner SR Upadhyay had told The Statesman on 18 August.

Source - Statesman 

GRC demands clear stance on Gorkhaland from PM Narendra Modi

11:41 AM
The Gorkha Rashtriya Congress (GRC) championing the merger of  Darjeeling with Sikkim state has sought the Central government’s stand on the demand for creation of a separate Gorkha state.
Gorkha Rashtriya Congress (GRC)
Gorkha Rashtriya Congress (GRC) - File photo
The GRC has also decided to write and open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the union home ministry in a couple of days, seeking their clarification.

The outfit’s letter and demand comes in the wake of BJP’s Darjeeling MP S.S.Ahluwalia’s pro-Gorkhaland stand during the Independence Day speech in Kalimpong on August 15. He had said, “If a person from Punjab can say he is from Punjab…when Bengalis say they are from Bengal…Tamils say they are from Tamil Nadu…when will the Gorkhas say they are from Gorkhaland?  The Gorkhas are known for their honesty, responsibility and sincerity. Their dreams and struggle for a separate Gorkha state should be fulfilled”.

Today, speaking to reporters in Darjeeling, the GRC working president Asoke Lepcha said the Prime Minister and the BJP party should make their stand clear. “On August 15, the Darjeeling MP spoke for a Gorkha state and even in 2009 the BJP had included the demand in its election manifesto. The PM himself has said the dreams of the Gorkhas are his.

So it is imperative that the Modiji and the central government clarify their stand as people in the Hills are a confused lot,” he said.

The GRC working president alleged that the BJP party using the Gorkhaland demand plank had managed to win the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and 2014 but failed to deliver, even after all these years. “The political parties are playing with the Gorkhaland sentiments and using the people as vote banks. This is unfair and people have the right to know what their leaders and party they elected truly has to say about the statehood demand,” said Lepcha.

The GRC leader also cited the formation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in 1988 and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) in 2012, as examples of how the Government worked to curb the statehood demand over the years.

The GRC also criticized the GTA and the Sikkim government deciding to work together to demand tribal status to the Gorkhas of the country. “It is a conspiracy of the Sikkim government with help from the GTA, to dilute our struggle for merging Darjeeling with Sikkim. We have got positive feedbacks from the central government about the merger issue,” claimed Amar Loksom, the GRC general secretary.

The GRC has already communicated with the central government to pursue the merger of Darjeeling with Sikkim. It has reasoned that Darjeeling historically belonged to Sikkim and was never a part of Bengal, case which was highlighted by former Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu who had brought a white paper in 1986 authenticating GRC’s claim.

Source EOI

Gurung cancelled Delhi trip to attend program with Mamata Banerjee

10:50 AM
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung in a last minute decision has cancelled his Delhi trip and instead has decided to attend Tuesday’s government program (Clean and Green Darjeeling) with chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling, to keep alight the renewed bonhomie.
Bimal Gurung and Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling
 Bimal Gurung and Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling a file photo
The GJM president was supposed to leave for Varanasi today, to engage in pre-planned prayer rituals there. He was than to head to Delhi to meet central ministers and also the Prime Minister and return back to Darjeeling on August 30.

The Bengal chief minister arrived in Darjeeling today evening and will launch the pre-announced “Clean and Green Darjeeling” project at Chowrastha on Tuesday.

The clean and green Darjeeling project was originally scheduled to be launched by the CM on August 6. However, the flood situation in Bengal at that time forced Banerjee to cancel her trip to the Hills. Gurung on the other hand had left for Delhi on August 1 but had apprised the CM about his absence.

However this time, political analysts said Gurung did not want to give the impression that he was avoiding the chief minister. “If Gurung had left without meeting or attending the program it would send the wrong signal that he was purposely avoiding the Bengal CM. After much give and take, relation between the GJM and the state government is started to mend. Gurung now does not want the Banerjee to bear any kind of misunderstanding,” the analyst pointed out.

To ensure no bad-air in the event of his absence, the GJM chief during had instructed his Sabhasads and party leaders to give the CM a warm welcome during the Sahid Diwas program on July 27 when he had initially said he would not be in Darjeeling.

Most GJM leaders were either tight lipped or gave vague reasons for Gurung’s sudden turn. “It has been decided that our party president will attend the launch program of clean and green Darjeeling which is being organized jointly by the state government and the GTA. He (Gurung) will now instead head to Varanasi on August 26,” said GJM general secretary, Roshan Giri without answering if Gurung or other party leaders would sit for a separate meeting with the chief minister.

Banerjee was accorded a warm welcome by members of the All India Bhutia Association (AIBA) near the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan on her arrival. On August 26 the CM will sit for a meeting with the Tribal Advisory Council and then head back to Kolkata the next day.

Source: EOI

GNLF observed Gorkha Citizenship Day in the hills

9:38 PM
GNLF Leaders to Head to Delhi for 6th Schedule Status - IN Pradhan Back in GNLF,

After a gap of several years, former Kurseong branch president of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), IN Pradhan on Sunday addressed GNLF supporters as they marked 'citizenship day' at GDNS hall here.
GNLF observed Gorkha Citizenship Day
GNLF Leaders to Head to Delhi for 6th Schedule Status - IN Pradhan Back in GNLF
Like 2014, in 2015 too, the GNLF observed 23 August as the 'Gorkha Citizenship Day' at different places in the hills. Accordingly, a meeting was held at GDNS Hall in Kurseong, in which, the GNLF leadership spoke on 'citizenship day' and its importance for the hill communities.

Besides several leaders speaking on 'the importance of the day' through different aspects, a new development was seen in which the former GNLF heavy weight leader, IN Pradhan, was seen addressing the gathering on the present political scenario of Darjeeling hills after remaining politically inactive for several years. Pradhan said that after the issuance and publication of a gazette notification by the government on 23 August 1988, Gorkhas became complete citizens of the country.

"Before that, the Gorkha people were looked with suspicion and there was a misconception regarding the Gorkha community. Hence, if anyone is saying that the Gorkhas had obtained 'citizenship' before 1988, they are foolish or we the GNLF are foolish or the government, who had issued such a notification is foolish," he added.

Pradhan also criticized the GJMM led 2007 Gorkhaland agitation. He said that the GJMM led 2007 Gorkhaland agitation is merely a drama planned by sitting with the leadership in the plains. He said that the GJMM party is practicing their politics by pushing money, but they should understand that this won't last long.

Talking about the Sixth Schedule demand, Pradhan said that the Sixth Schedule Bill had not been cancelled in the Parliament or in its standing committee, instead, the Bill was deferred in the parliament and its standing committee had suggested making some changes.

It may be mentioned that after the advent of the GJMM party in 2007, its anti-GNLF activities had forced the GNLF leader and former DGHC councilor, IN Pradhan to resign from the party.

Later, in November 2013, he had rejoined the party and addressed a meeting, however, since then, there has been no political activities from his side.

GNLF spokesperson Daya Dewan said, "When we were termed foreigners and pushed away from different places in the north eastern states in the 1980's, our leader Subash Ghisingh had thought about doing something for the Gorkhas living in various parts of the country. Accordingly he started the Gorkhaland agitation and pressurized the union government to issue citizenship to the entire Gorkha race living in the country. Thus on 23 August 1988 the union government issued a notification to clear the misconception, stating that from the commencement of the Constitution (26.01.1950) every Gorkha who had his domicile in India shall be called a citizen of the country provided in Article 5 of the Indian Constitution."

[Via: SNS, Pic: Himalaya Darpan]

Source TheDC

GTA and Sikkim To Work Together for Gorkha Cause

7:30 PM

Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and Sikkim To Work Together for Gorkha Cause

A five member team of Gorkha Territorial Administration(GTA) led by Shri Bimal Gurung, Chief Executive, GTA called on the Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling at his official residence Mintokgang, here in the capital yesterday.

After the meeting a press conference was jointly addressed by Shri Pawan Chamling, Chief Minister of Sikkim and Shri Bimal Gurung, Chief Executive, GTA.

During the press conference Shri Pawan Chamling while welcoming Shri Bimal Gurung in the state said that the meeting between the two decided to jointly take up the issue of Tribal Status for the entire Nepali Speaking Gorkha Community of the Country.

He also stressed that the duo will also collectively work upon protecting the dignity, self respect, political right of the Nepali Speaking Gorkha Community of the country.

In this regard the Chief Minister urged the think tank and intellectuals of civil society to come forward and cooperate, coordinate and make collective efforts and join hands for the cause of the community.

He further added that Nepali Speaking Gorkha Community from all around the country will be brought together to discuss this issue in order to prepare further strategy for this cause.

On Gorkhaland issue the Chief Minister said that Tribal Status to this Community will support the cause of separate state of Gorkhaland.

The Chief Minister further stressed that the state of Sikkim will support the Gorkha Territorial Administration in its various developmental activities by providing intellectual support and provide technical inputs for Capacity Building activities.

Shri Bimal Gurung, Chief Executive, Gorkha Territorial Administration, while addressing the joint press meet stated that Tribal Status to this Community has been a long standing demand of the community.

Shri Gurung also informed that the Chief Minister of Sikkim Shri Pawan Chamling has been pursuing this issue of Tribal Status at the National Level and his vast political experience will play a major role in accomplishing this task.

Hence, my visit to Sikkim is with a motive to have a collective joint effort for the Tribal Status to this Community of the country, he added.

Further, Shri Gurung said that Gorkha Territorial Administration has a lot to learn from Sikkim and the meeting also dwelt upon various initiatives where we can take the help of Sikkim in the development activities of GTA. Special focus was also given in the Skill Development and we have requested the Chief Minister for technical inputs for which the Chief Minister of Sikkim has given a positive response, he added.

[Via:  The Voice of Sikkim]

Bimal Gurung rakes up Gorkhaland demand on 23rd Bhasa Diwas

12:30 PM
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung on Thursday said he trusted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was hopeful that the popular demand for a separate Gorkhaland state would be achieved soon under the BJP’s rule. Speaking on the occasion of the 23rd Bhasa Diwas in Darjeeling organised by the Gorkha Janmukti Yuwa Morcha (GJYM), the party’s youth front, Gurung said, “The BJP included our statehood demand in its election manifesto both in 2009 and 2014. The Prime Minister has even said that the dreams of the Gorkhas are his dreams. I am 110 per cent sure that he (Modi) will keep the promise he made prior to the 2014 Lok Sabha election.” In the same breath, Gurung also tried to clarify the hasty statement he had made saying “a separate state would be achieved by 2010 or I would kill myself”, which has become the Opposition’s ace card to throw at the GJM. “I was made to say that because of reasons that were favourable for us. In 2009, Jaswant Singh of the BJP became the Darjeeling MP and hopes were high that the saffron party would come to power in Delhi, but unfortunately this did not materialise. The BJP had also mentioned the Gorkhaland demand in the party’s election manifesto,” the GJM
 Bimal Gurung Speaking on the occasion of the 23rd Bhasa Diwas in Darjeeling organised by the Gorkha Janmukti Yuwa Morcha (GJYM)
Bimal Gurung Speaking on the occasion of the 23rd Bhasa Diwas in Darjeeling organised by he
Gorkha Janmukti Yuwa Morcha (GJYM)
Gurung asserted he has not lost hope and that a separate state would be achieved soon. “We have helped give the BJP and MP from Darjeeling once again and our demand has figured in their manifesto. We will soon celebrate the Bhasa Diwas in a Gorkhaland state,” he said. On August 20, 1992, the Nepali language was officially recognized under the 8th Schedule of the Constitution after a prolonged struggle. The GJM chief also reiterated that good relations should be maintained with the state government to usher in development of the hills. “We made a mistake by asking Bengal for a separate state as it is not capable of giving us anything. However, we need to keep developing the hills and this is why we should keep good relations with the state government,” he said. Gurung, who is the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, also had a word of advice for the youths of the hills and asked them to prepare themselves for the future. “The GTA is only a test for us to see how well we can administer our region. We have learned a lot by now and the youths must be ready now because it will not be long before we achieve our demand. Should we hire IAS and IPS officers from outside to run our state?” he said to thunderous applause from the crowd. During the course of the day, Gurung handed out Rs68 lakh as compensation to the families of the June landslide victims and an additional sum of Rs50,000 each to two students for their higher studies. After the June landslide that

claimed 34 lives in different places of the hills, the GTA had promised to provide Rs2 lakh each to the victims’ kin, an amount in addition to the compensation promised by the state and central governments.

Source EOI

Gurung Sceptic Over Transfer of Land Reform Departments to GTA

11:18 AM
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung on Wednesday asserted he would not accept the Land and Land Reforms Department if it is not fully transferred to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration by the state government. On Monday, the state government issued a government order directing the Darjeeling district magistrate to place the services of the officers and employees of the Block Land and Land Reforms Office along with the Sub-Divisional Land and Land Reforms Office within the GTA area under the jurisdiction of the hill body as soon as possible. However, the District Land and Land Reforms Office has been kept out of the purview of the GTA.
Bimal Gurung and Mamata Banerjee
Gurung Sceptic Over Transfer of Land Reform Departments to GTA
The GJM president, who is also the GTA chief executive, today expressed scepticism over the transfer saying he would first go through the details.

“I will first minutely study the government order. If we are not satisfied with the way the department is being transferred, we will write to the state government to rectify it. And if nothing happens even after that, we will not accept the transfer,” said Gurung today speaking on the sidelines of a programme to welcome TMC supporters from the Rungbull-Dhotrey constituency into his party. More than 200 TMC supporters from Dhotrey and Balasun under Kurseong sub-division joined the GJM today. The GJM wants 57 departments transferred to the GTA. The state government has complied to most but only in principle.

Important departments such as the PWD, transport, social welfare, fire services and information and cultural affairs and forest and panchayat are yet to be transferred to the GTA.

The SDL&LRO and BL&LRO have been transferred to the GTA, but the DL&LR has been left alone, which is one of the factors behind Gurung’s scepticism.

“Even though some departments have been transferred, we are still facing problems of dual jurisdiction. Under such a circumstance, we want the entire directory of the Land and Land Reforms Department to be brought under the hill body from the district magistrate’s office, as only then will it ensure the GTA’s independent functioning,” he pointed out.

During the days of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council too, some departments had been transferred, but the transfers had been for namesake as the state government had the final say in almost all of them.

This time, however, the GJM does not want a repeat of the farce.

Gurung said he would talk to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to pursue the demand for the full transfer of the entire department and also seek compensation for the victims of the recent landslides that claimed 32 lives.

Banerjee is slated to visit Darjeeling on August 24 to attend a government programme, but the GJM chief will not be meeting her.

“I will be in Sikkim on August 23 and then leave for Delhi the next day to conduct a puja. But I will take up the issue with the CM on my return,” he said.

Gurung is expected to meet Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling to seek his support for the ongoing demand for granting tribal status to 11 Gorkha communities.

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