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Bimal Gurung team meets Kiren Rijiju over Manipur, NCR Gorkha community security concern

Bimal Gurung team meets Kiren Rijiju over Manipur, NCR Gorkha community security concern
In order to strongly counter racial discrimination of the Gorkha community living in various parts of the country, a five-member delegation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration on Wednesday met Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju and apprised him of the concerns of the Gorkha community of Manipur. The delegation comprised GTA chief executive and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung, Roshan Giri, Binay Tamang, PT Ola and Bikram Rai. They underscored the plight of the Gorkhas living in Manipur in light of the recently passed Protection of Manipur People’s Bill, 2015. Maintaining that the bill has become a contentious issue for the Gorkhas living in that state, Gurung said the imposition of an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to restrict outsiders in Manipur would label the sizeable number of Gorkhas living in that state since ages as ‘outsiders’ or ‘foreigners’. He urged the minister to get the cut-off year policy in the new Bill rectified, pointing out that if all Indian citizens who settled in Manipur before 1951 were to be tagged as ‘Manipuri people’, the move would be too arbitrary and could lead to the labelling of some sections of the state’s population as ‘outsiders’, which should not be the case. “The current imbroglio surrounding the ILP issue in Manipur has once again made the Gorkhas of that state vulnerable to racial discrimination, with various groups calling for ethnic communities to leave the state, after labelling them as outsiders,” said Gurung. “The cut-off year policy should not be implemented under any circumstances as it would only serve to ignite insecurity among the Gorkhas residing in Manipur before and after the so-called cut-off year of 1951, prompting some members of the indigenous population to create mayhem.”  In response, Rijiju assured the GTA delegation of ensuring safety to the Gorkhas and other minority groups living in Manipur. He said, “The relationship between ethnic communities and the natives has always been a little sensitive in Manipur. Hence, all measures will be adopted to make sure the interests of the Gorkhas and other minority groups are not affected.” According to GTA sources, the delegation has invited the minister to Darjeeling in October, while Bimal Gurung and other GJM leaders will visit Dibrugarh in Assam on September 5 to attend a programme organised by the All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union. Commenting on the demands being made by the Gorkha Youth and Students’ Association of India, the GTA chief said the demonstrations will continue until the government relents. GYASA members on Tuesday met with the delegation members and apprised them of the concerns of Gorkha students residing in Delhi and other parts of the country. Raising the concerns arising out of the Inner Line Permit in Manipur, GYASA members urged Gurung to take up the matter with the Centre. The GTA cheif informed that an Emergency Helpline number and a Legal Counselling Office have been set up at the Gorkha Welfare Centre in New Delhi, the helpline number being 011 – 26104971. (EOIC)

NHPC agree to pay one-time compensation to Teesta quarry workers before Durga puja

NHPC Teesta Low Dam P -III
A much-awaited breakthrough was arrived at when the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) agreed to compensate workers of the nine quarries affected by the commissioned Teesta Low Dam projects in Kalimpong sub-division. Quarry workers from 29th Mile (Balwa Khani), Geil Khola, Tin Bola, Ravi Jhora, Teesta Bridge and Teesta Bazar staged demonstrations outside the Darjeeling district magistrate’s office even as hill Trinamool Congress leaders held a meeting with the additional district magistrate and NHPC officials to arrive at a conclusion. Residents living in the vicinity of the Teesta have depended on the quarries for their livelihood since the 1980s. But since the past four years, the dams built by the NHPC- Stage IV at Kalijhora and Stage III in Rambhi have covered the riverbeds, robbing the locals of their only source of income. The demand of the more-than 500 workers united under the aegis of the TMC-affiliated Koiry Mazdoor Sangathan is that they be either absorbed in the NHPC or be compensated through a one-time settlement basis. NHPC officials ruled out the demand for job but have decided to pay the quarry workers an interim compensation in the form of wages for the time being, while the one-time settlement will be paid before Durga puja. Additional district magistrate U. Swaroop said the NHPC has agreed to compensate the quarry workers instead of absorbing them into various unskilled jobs. “The NHPC officials clearly pointed out only skilled workers could be absorbed and, in any case, it would not be possible to provide jobs to so many people. However, it has been decided that the quarry workers would be paid a one-time settlement compensation that will be worked out by higher authorities of the NHPC before the Pujas,” the ADM said. KMS general secretary Sanjog Gupta expressed satisfaction with the NHPC’s decision to compensate the workers. “The quarries, which are the primary source of income for the people of the area, have remained closed for nearly four years. It was getting really difficult for the workers to sustain their families. However, now with the NHPC agreeing to compensate them, things will be easier for the workers and their families,” he said. Hill TMC spokesperson Binny Sharma said, “The NHPC dams robbed the income source of 513 workers. We are happy that the NHPC has agreed to our demand for a one-time settlement to these jobless people. The interim compensation will be handed out in the form of wages as per existing government norms, and the amount will be fixed within the next 10 days while distribution will take place before the Pujas,” he said. Fifty-year-old Ram Bahadur Chhetri, who has been working in the Teesta bridge quarry for over 15 years, said it was getting difficult for him to travel 15 km downstream everyday to reach another quarry and that the compensation had come as a great relief. “It was really getting hard on my physical and mental state because of the daily commute to another faraway quarry without satisfactory returns. Now that the NHPC has decided to compensate us, the money will go a long way in sustaining my family of four. I only hope the compensation is substantial,” he said. NHPC officials refused to comment, saying “we are not entitled to say anything to the press”, while higher authorities of the company could not be reached. (EOIC)

Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad polls on 3 oct announced by Election Commission

Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad polls on 3 oct announced by Election Commission
The West Bengal State Election Commission today issued the notification that the three-tier polls of the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad would be held on October 3.
"The notification was issued today, along with other details like the dates for submission of nominations, scrutiny and withdrawal," Sushanta Ranjan Upadhyay, the state election commissioner, told The Telegraph over the phone from Calcutta today. (See chart)
The SMP area is spread across four blocks in the Siliguri subdivision - Matigara, Naxalbari, Kharibari and Phansidewa.
When the SMP polls were held last in June 2009, the Congress and Trinamul had contested as allies.
Most of the seats were won by the Left and the Congress, and Trinamul was in the third position.
After Trinamul came to power in the state in 2011 and severed ties with the Congress the following year, the situation changed. Many elected representatives of the Congress and the Left joined Trinamul, which grabbed the SMP from the CPM. Trinamul snatched all the four panchayat samitis and most of the 22 panchayats.
After delimitation in 2014, the number of seats has gone up. "In 2009, there were 329 seats in 22 panchayats. This time, elections would be held in 462 seats. The number of panchayats, however, is the same. In the four panchayat samitis, there were 64 seats in 2009, which has increased to 66. Also, in the SMP, elections will be held in nine seats, instead of seven," an administrative official said.
Darjeeling district Left Front convenor Jibesh Sarkar said they had finalised the candidates for the polls. "We are waiting for our allies like CPIML (Liberation) and the SUCI to choose their candidates. We will publish the list soon," he said.
Sarkar said the Left would announce the name of the prospective sabhadhipati of the SMP, only if Trinamul made such a move.
Trinamul minister Gautam Deb said the party had completed the selection of candidates and all would file nominations by September 8. "Trinamul is much ahead of other political parties in the SMP area. We are confident of securing most of the seats," he said.
Darjeeling district Congress president Sankar Malakar said once the elections were over, everyone would realise that the party was "one of the principal forces in the rural areas of Siliguri".
Biswapriya Roy Choudhury, the state general secretary of the BJP, on the other hand, claimed that his party would win maximum number seats.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

दातडुप्लालेयु सिन्कोना जोनको निर्देशकसित बैठक

Darjeeling terai dooars plantation labour union cinchona zone
दार्जीलिंग तराई डुवर्स प्लान्टेशन लेबर युनियन सिन्कोना जोनले सिन्कोना बगान अनि बगान मजदुरवर्गको विविध समस्याहरुलाई लिएर सिन्कोना एव अन्य औषधीय पौधाहरुको निर्देशक डा० सामुयल राईसित एक बैठक बसेको छ | संधै नै मजदुरवर्गको हित र अधिकारमा आवाज उठाउने दातडुप्लालेयुले यहाँको सिन्कोना निर्देशालयमा बसेको उक्त बैठकमा बगानमा मजदुरबर्गको बदली काम बन्द हुने सरकारी सुचनाको विषयमा साथै  नियुक्ति एवम पदोन्नती सम्बन्धि यहाँको प्रशासनले के कस्तो कदम चाल्दैछ र कहिलेदेखि चालु गरिन्छ जस्ता महत विषयहरुमा पनि छलफल गरेका थिए जसको निम्ति आउँदो २१ सेप्टेम्बरको दिन फेरि बैठक बस्ने जानकारी छ | यसको साथै युनियनले मजदुरवर्गको बढ पैसा आउँदो दशैंमा दिन पर्ने साथै शीतकालीन भत्ता ( विन्टर एलाउन्स ) पनि बढाएर २५,०० रुपियाँ गरिदिनु पर्ने मागहरु निर्देशक समक्ष राखेका छन् |  यसरी नै बगान मजदुर तथा श्रमिकहरुको दीर्घ दिनदेखि चलिरहेको आफ्नो जमीनको मालिकना हक अथवा पर्जा पट्टाको माग माथि पनि दबाउ दिंदै निर्देशकले चाडै नै सिन्कोनाबासीलाई यो अधिकार दिलाइदिनुपर्छ भनी माग गरेका छन् भने बर्तमान बजार भाउ एवम महंगाईलाई ध्यानमा राख्दै २००९ मा निश्चित गरिएको मजदुरवर्गको बेसिक पेलाई पनि नाविनिकरण गर्दै बढोत्तरी गरिनु पर्ने मागहरु पनि युनियनले उठान गरेका थिए | दार्जीलिंग तराई डुवर्स प्लान्टेशन लेबर युनियन सिन्कोना जोन मूल सचिव गगन राई अनि किशन बुडाथोकी आदिको टोलीले गोर्खाल्याण्ड क्षेत्रीय प्रशासन अन्तर्गत पर्ने हाम्रो घर योजनाका घरहरु पनि सिन्कोनाबासीलाई उपलब्ध गराइनु पर्छ भनी माग गर्नुको साथै अहिले सम्म रिक्त पदमा रहेको विभागीय अधिकारी ( डीओ) अनि हर्टिकल्चर ओभरशेयर (एचओ) को नियुक्ति पनि झट्टै गरिनुपर्छ भनी माग गरेका छन् जसको निम्ति आउँदो दिनमा सीपीएससित बैठक बस्ने जानकारी युनियन टोलीले गराएका छन् |  

Gopal Yonjan's musical works archiving in Cornell University Library in US

Gopal Yonjan
Here's high quality news for Nepali music lovers and others alike. Cornell University Library in the US is archiving music maestro Gopal Yonjan's musical works. To be housed in its Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in the Carl A Kroch Library, the archive will include audio and video recordings, digital files, notebooks, instruments, photographs and other publications documenting the late Yonjan's life and work.

According to Renchin Yonjon, the maestro's wife, Cornell University Library will care for the archive in such a manner that will provide for its permanent physical preservation and make it readily available for research.

"Besides being preserved in their original form, Yonjan's works will be translated into English, along with musical notations. Cornell University will further share these materials for scholarly and educational use free of charge. It is estimated that it will take 18 months to two years for the archive to be complete and ready for audiences world-wide," Yonjan said from Kathmandu, Nepal, where she is based now.

According to her, she has gifted all relevant materials to the university that is an American private Ivy League and federal landgrant research university in Ithaca, New York.

"The intellectual property right will remain with the creator and/or nominated legal heir or organization," she said.

The development coincides with the72nd birth anniversary of Yonjan.

"This is the first time that a Nepali artist's musical works are being documented in totality by any International Institution. It is a matter of great pride not only for Gopal Yonjan but also for all Nepalis as a whole," she added.

Yonjan, one of the most prominent Nepali music composers, directors, lyricists, singers and arrangers in the history of Nepali music, was born in Okaytee Tea Estate in Mirik in Darjeeling on August 26, 1943, while he passed away in Kathmandu in May 20, 1997.

Yonjan composed songs in 16 different categories ranging from philosophical, spiritual, nationalistic, romantic, dancing melodies, folk, songs for women and children, while he lent music to 13 films; four dramas and two ballads.

In Darjeeling, another music legend and Yonjan's brother, Karma Yonjan, said the archival in the American university of a man who began his music career in Darjeeling and who has contributed a lot to the growth of Arts in the Hills is a moment of pride for all Hill people.

"This is a historic moment for music in Darjeeling and for the entire region," he said.

"Whatever Gopal did, he took Darjeeling's name to greater heights," said Yonjan, who began his musical career together with Gopal Yonjan in the hills of Darjeeling, and under the able guidance of another music great, Amber Gurung. "The music Gopal made was of very high quality, while he was able to attain greater heights after he moved to Kathmandu," Yonjan added.(sns)

GTA rejects Union government proposal to set up Sikkim university campus in Darjeeling

temporary office of the Sikkim University in Gangtok
The Union government had proposed to set up a campus of Sikkim University in Darjeeling, much to the annoyance of the GTA which has been lobbying New Delhi to establish a central university in the hills.

The proposal was rejected outright by the GTA.

The Union human resource development department had sent a letter to the GTA as well as the Sikkim University in March, asking them to consider the setting up of a campus of the varsity in Darjeeling. The Sikkim University is a central university established in 2007 through an Act passed by Parliament.

Roshan Giri, GTA executive Sabha member in charge of education, said the hill body had rejected the centre's suggestion. "Since our demand is for a central university, we immediately opposed the proposal," he said.

Sources said the Sikkim government, too, had objected to the proposal. The Sikkim University forwarded the opinions of its faculty members, who had either supported or opposed the idea. #Mamata Banerjee had recently announced a campus of Presidency University at Dow Hill in Kurseong and the foundation stone is likely to be laid on September 16.

The GTA believes any move to launch the campuses of other universities in the hills will scuttle the autonomous body's efforts to get a central varsity established in the region. Establishment of a central university is among a set of project proposals for the hill body in annexure 'B2' of the GTA memorandum of agreement signed by the Centre, state government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Trilok Kumar Dewan, Darjeeling MLA, said: "A campus cannot substitute for a central university. First, we have to get through the central university demand. If there are a number of campuses for higher education in the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, the demand for establishing a central university will definitely lose steam."

The GTA chief executive, Bimal Gurung, had last week requested the chief minister to reconsider the decision to set up the campus of the Presidency University, as "it may have an adverse impact and the Centre may back out on the decision on the establishment of the Central University".

Giri also said today that opposition to the campus of the Presidency University was not driven by any other reason than the fear that it would dilute the demand for the central university in the hills. "That is why we had opposed the proposal for a Sikkim University campus earlier," said Giri.

P.D. Rai, Sikkim MP, said: "I don't know whether Sikkim government has received such a proposal. However, my first comment would be, why should the GTA be happy with a campus when they are demanding a central university?"

In July, the GTA submitted a detailed project report for a central university to the Union HRD ministry. The report was prepared by Noida-based EdCIL (India) Limited, a government of India enterprise. The faculty members of the Sikkim University also helped in preparing the report.

An academician in the hills said the Centre's proposal had both positive and negative messages. "The fact that the Centre sent a proposal to start a campus of Sikkim University in Darjeeling indicates that the Centre believes that the demand for the central varsity needs to be addressed. However, the flip side of the proposal is that a campus cannot fully address the demand for a separate university."#(TT)

District administration issues notice to high-rise illegal building owners

under-construction building on Nehru Road  Darjeeling
The Darjeeling municipality is finding itself squashed between the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and the state government over the issue of implementing building rules as per the Bengal Municipality Act. The district administration has issued a conditional order to six owners found flouting building norms and sought explanations. Darjeeling DM Anurag Srivastav said the notice was issued following complaints reported by the police. “Under section 133 of the CrPc, magistrates have the power to issue orders if they feel human lives are in danger. In this case, the huge structures in town are the cause of the danger. We have issued a conditional order to owners of six buildings on the basis of complaints filed by the police,” he said.
The DM, however, said the conditional order implies the owners will need to submit building permission papers even as the stay is in place. “We will first see if the building plans and the required permission from the municipality are proper. We will take action, including demolition of the structures only if they are found to be violating the set norms,” Srivastav said. According to the police complaint, two under-construction buildings, one at Nehru Road leading to Chowrastha and the other on Gandhi Road, and another three under-construction buildings on Hooker Road, Mall Road and close to the Governor’s House, the latter being a school, and another at the Lal Dhiki in the market area, were found to be flouting the rules. The district administration has also sought the municipality’s reports and they will have to be placed before the SDO on September 10. Meantime, the Darjeeling municipality today said different cases have been mentioned in the police report.  “The district administration has filed cases ranging from security concerns to the Governor’s House to encroachment (Lal Dhiki) to illegal heights. At this point of time, we are sandwiched between the state government and the GTA and are at a loss as to what is to be done,” bemoaned Darjeeling municipality chairman Amar Singh Rai. The civic body’s predicament comes in the wake of a directive by the GTA allowing construction of buildings up to a maximum height of 14.5 metres as compared to the set norm of 11.5 metres set by the Bengal Municipality Act. During a meeting with the chairmen of the four municipalities of the hills on August 16, GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung had said structures crossing the 11.5m mark would not be demolished and would be allowed up to 14.5m instead. This was after the Darjeeling municipality started a survey to identify illegal high-rises for dismantling. In fact, the municipality had already started demolishing two buildings in the town area last month. Following a survey, the civic body has found more than 300 structures in town violating the building norms. “We will place the resolution taken on August 16 before the GTA and the state government and wait for further directions from both sides,” said Rai. It is learnt that GTA officials met the state chief secretary last week in Kolkata and requested him to direct the Darjeeling DM and the SP to consult the municipality before taking any further action on the matter. (EOIC)

मङपुमा क्लीन दार्जीलिङ ग्रीन दार्जीलिङ विषयमा कार्यक्रम

Clean Darjeeling Green Darjeeling
सोमबारको दिन यहाको सन्त मंगल एकाडमीको प्रागणमा स्वच्छ दार्जीलिङ अनि हरित दार्जीलिङ बिषयमा जनचेतनामुलक कार्यक्रम सम्पन्न भयो | जिल्ला सूचना एवं साँस्कृतिक विभाग दार्जीलिङद्वरा  आयोजित उक्त कार्यक्रममा लोक प्रसार प्रकल्पका कलाकारहरुले उक्त विषयमाथि गीत  एवं नाटक प्रस्तुत गरे | कार्यक्रम संचालक  पदम बाराईलीले सर्वप्रथम सबै सबैलाई स्वागत जनाउदै कार्यक्रमको औचित्य बारे प्रकाश पारे | त्यसपछि क्रमैले कलाकार बिकाश राई,गीता राई,एवं डी.के बिश्वद्वरा जनचेतनामुलक गीत प्रस्तुत गरियो भने स्वच्छ दार्जीलिङ अनि हरियो दार्जीलिङ माथि लघु नाटक प्रस्तुत गरियो | सन्तबहादुर राईद्वरा लिखित उक्त नाटकमा पवन गुरुङ,कर्मसिह गुरुङ उमेश गुरुङ,पवन शर्मा उपासना गुरुङ,र उमा गुरुङले भाग लिएका थिए | अन्तमा कार्यक्रम सम्बन्धमा बिधालयका प्राचार्य मन्जित थापाले दुई शब्द राखे पछि पदमबराईलीले सकुलका शिक्षक शिक्षिकागण एवं छात्र छात्रावर्गलाई आभार व्यक्त गर्दे कार्यक्रमको अन्त गरियो |