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।

Racism in the time of Corona!

2:40 PM
Racism in the time of Corona!
Nothing can be an excuse to be Racist!

As the pandemic of Corona virus is spreading throughout the world, it is not only spreading fear but also bringing forth the worst face of Racism across the world. The Asian communities residing in Europe and US are facing constant hostility and racial abuses on account of spread of Corona. So is the case with India. As reported in some social media and published in the Indian Express yesterday, some female students from Darjeeling and Sikkim were racially abused and discriminated in many parts of Kolkata. A person racially abused some students calling them ‘Corona’. Even when confronted for his racist remarks, the person seems out rightly unapologetic about his wrong doing. A student shared his experience saying that people refused to sit near him, even when the public transportation was crowded. Since the news about spread of Corona from China to rest of the world, people with Mongoloid features (from North East states, Darjeeling, Ladakh etc) have been target of racial abuse in many parts of country. Though people with Mongoloid features in India face racism in everyday lives and is not a new thing for us but to face such discrimination and abuses at a time of major health crisis is truly disgusting and deplorable. We express our unconditional solidarity with the aggrieved students and vehemently condemn this racist act in strongest possible words. We demand immediate strong legal action against such racists under appropriate provisions of IPC. The larger society should also deeply introspect on their discriminatory, irrational and inhuman practice of Racism.

An Appeal to the Govt. and People of Darjeeling, Dooars and Terai to take measures against spreading of Corona virus

Darjeeling, Dooars and Terai region is situated in a very vulnerable zone, as we share borders with countries like Nepal & Bhutan and with other Indian states. The neighbouring state Sikkim and country Nepal has already started taking strict preventive measures. The closing of schools/colleges/universities are a welcome move but the administration needs to take further concrete precautionary steps in our region. We cannot afford to remain complacent. The government should introduce screening test (thermal fever testing) in Bagdogra Airport and at other entry points into our region. We also appeal to the people to voluntarily postpone/delay all social gatherings (marriage, community meetings etc), religious, political, cultural or festival gatherings, and sports events for coming 30 days. Even the arrival of domestic tourists should be stopped for at least 30 days in our region. In larger public interest, even malls and cinema halls should be closed for next 30 days. Even countries which have good government health facilities like Italy are facing difficulties in controlling the spread of the corona virus, so prevention of spreading of the virus is the best strategy to fight against it. We would like to appeal to the public not to believe in any unsubstantiated rumours, fake news circulated in social media and unscientific claims (like alcohol consumption, ayurvedic medicine or consumption of Cow Urine /cow dung curing Corona) regarding this disease. Measures like regularly cleaning hands with soap, using hand sanitizer, avoiding crowed places, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth, should be followed. Let us all follow WHO guidelines (, coordinate and cooperate with government health officials and follow their directions in case of any further development. Right now we should not Panic but we should definitely be extra careful and take all precautionary measures!

At this difficult time, let us unite and collectively fight against both Corona and Racism!

Gorkha Students, JNU                                 

Manila Pradhan wins the title MTV Supermodel of The Year

10:00 AM
Gorkhas daughter Manila Pradhan wins the title MTV Supermodel of The Year.
Supermodel of the Year has found its winner in the gorgeous Manila Pradhan in a dazzling finale. Hailing from Sikkim, Manila took the pageant home defeating Drisha More andPriya Singh in the fight to finish on Sunday (March 15). The show that premiered on 22nd December, was panelled by Malaika Arora, Milind Soman, Masaba Gupta and Supermodel Ujjwala Raut along with Anusha Dandekar leading the way as a host. Manila was pitted against Drisha More and Priya Singh.

Gorkhas daughter Manila Pradhan wins the title MTV Supermodel of The Year.

Gorkhas daughter Manila Pradhan wins the title MTV Supermodel of The Year

On winning the show Manila said, “It’s not less than a dream come true for me. One of the strongest things that I learned and would like to take away with me from this journey is to be yourself. That is your ultimate power that nobody can have. All the judges on the show and the mentors were great. But I really have a special intangible connection and a soft corner for Malaika maam and Ujjwala maam. No matter how much they shouted at me but in the end, it was for my betterment and personal growth.”

Amidst a series of daunting challenges and a bootcamp, Manila’s journey to finale wasn’t an easy one. Manila emerged victorious with a big margin in the finale photoshoot challenge that needed her to pose with the esteemed panelists.

With the judges decked up in their best attires coupled with Raja Kumari’s electrifying performance, Supermodel Of The Year culminated into a fascinating finale leaving behind a lot of learning for the contestants.

Commenting on the finale, Malaika Arora said, “What a tremendous journey this show has been. Supermodel of the Year wasn’t just about style and beauty, it was also about shedding off inhibitions and be absolutely confident in your own self. While we have one winner today, the show has given a platform to 10 gorgeous women who are sure to rule the ramp in future. Manila has been a revelation for us. Despite a tough start, she always took feedback in her stride and the results have shown. I wish her all the best for a stupendous future and hope that the learnings from the show guide her in the journey ahead.”

Via Times of India

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."

Raju Bista reminds Narendra Modi of Permanent Political Solution and other issue of the region

7:31 PM

Darjeeling MP Raju Bista today met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss various issues concerning Darjeeling, Terai, and Dooars.
Raju Bista reminds Narendra Modi of Permanent Political Solution and other issue of the region

Here is the full press release from the Office of MP:

Today, I met Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji to discuss various issues concerning Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars. I thanked him for his continued guidance and unflinching support he has extended to me over the years.

I informed him about the immense love and trust people of our region, and North Bengal have towards his leadership, and told him how the people of Darjeeling LS Constituency had elected a BJP Member of Parliament for the 3rd consecutive time. I told him about how people in Bengal need BJP to get rid of TMC and their oppressive regime in the 2021 elections.

Among other things, we discussed my learnings and observations about the region and the challenges I have faced as the Member of Parliament representing one of the most prestigious seats in Eastern India.

I informed Modi ji about the sensitive Chicken Neck region and the significance of Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars from our national security perspective. I also informed him about the discrimination people here have had to face over the decades, and the absolute lack of development in the region. I apprised him about the potential of our region to become one of the most peaceful and prosperous in the nation.

In order to ensure long term peace and ushering in prosperity in the region, I have requested his intervention with regards to arriving at Permanent Political Solution as committed to in our 2019 Sankalp Patra. I also reminded him about the pending ST issue of 11 left-out Gorkha tribes and requested him to help expedite the process.

Given that majority of our people are dependent on Tea and Cinchona plantations for their livelihood, I appraised him about the rapidly declining tea industry and the need to rejuvenate the entire industry. I also requested him to ensure the protection of forest dwellers, and the culture, traditions, lifestyle, and language of indigenous communities from our region.

I informed Modi ji how Siliguri acts as a gateway to North East India and South East Asia and drew his attention to the immense potential of Siliguri to emerge as the hub of international trade, tourism and commerce. I informed Modi ji how decades of neglect have left the districts of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Chopra and rest of North Bengal deprived of basic infrastructure and amenities; and requested for his help to transform our region.

Modi ji acknowledged the importance of peace prevailing in the Chicken Neck region and told me that the Government is equally concerned about resolving the issues of the region. On his advice, I will be taking up these issues with Hon’ble Home Minister Amit Shah ji soon.
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