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Cash crisis in north Bengal to make wage payments for tea industry

No wage payment for tea workers
The tea industry in north Bengal is still reeling under the demonetisation-induced cash crisis and a number of tea estates are yet to make wage payments as their banks are yet to get approvals from higher levels within their set-up.
In some other cases, there is a cash crunch in the banks, which is delaying wage payment.
"Almost all the self-help groups of small tea growers in north Bengal and also a section of growers, who have plantations of around 50 acres or more, are yet to get cash to pay their workers. Even today, we had been to banks and spoken to the officials on why there is a delay in payments. The banks have told us that they are yet to get clearances from their higher authorities to release money beyond the ceiling stipulated by the Centre," Bijoygopal Chakraborty, the president of Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers' Associations (Cista), said.
"At least a fortnight's wage has been disbursed in most of the tea estates. On the other hand, workers in small plantations and also in bought-leaf factories (BLFs) have not received a penny so far. Also, small growers who supply directly to BLFs and do not have bank accounts are yet to get their sales proceeds. We can perceive simmering discontent among these people and at any point of time, there can be an outburst," the Cista president said.
In tea estates, where wages are yet to be paid, the situation is similar. "In the Terai, all those tea estates which are our members have paid a fortnight's wage, except one garden. The management of Girish Chandra Tea Estate (located in Phansidewa block of Darjeeling district), is yet to get cash from the bank. The bank authorities have said that they do not have necessary clearance," Sumit Ghosh, the secretary of the Terai branch of Indian Tea Association, said.
Since November 9, the Centre has stipulated the withdrawal limits to Rs 24,000 for saving accounts and Rs 50,000 for current accounts per week. Last week, the RBI has come with another directive - anybody can withdraw above these ceilings, provided he has deposited similar amount in the bank in current denominations.
Jimut Barua, a representative of the company owning the tea estate, said there are around 250-odd workers. "We need around Rs 3 lakh in cash to pay them.... Even today I was told that necessary clearance has not reached the branch from higher levels," Barua said. "Wages have been disbursed in all other neighbouring tea estates. It is obvious that workers and their families at their garden are upset."
Two new problems have cropped up, sources said. First, given the state of progress in opening bank accounts for tea workers, planters need permission to make payments of at least another fortnight's wages in cash.
Second, a number of banks have made it clear that they cannot pay all the workers in one time. "The bank officials have made it clear... they will not be in a position to pay the entire wages to all the workers at one go," the representative said, because of the cash crunch in several bank branches.(TT)

Morcha JAP seek areas for kalimpong district

Kalimpong District map
The Jana Andolan Party and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today wanted areas contiguous to Kalimpong subdivision, even outside Darjeeling district, in the proposed new district that will also be called Kalimpong.
The two parties placed the demand before Bengal chief secretary Basudeb Banerjee at a meeting held in Deolo here this afternoon.
"All land north of NH31C, leading from Coronation Bridge towards Assam be delimited to Kalimpong district. The NH10 from Sevoke to Rangpo, leading to Gangtok be delimited to Kalimpong district along with all highway settlements and villages, including Rambi and Kalijhora," the Jana Andolan representation to the chief secretary mentioned.
Kalimpong Morcha MLA Sarita Rai said there were a number of villages along the highway that were far from the district headquarters of Darjeeling. "Adding them to Kalimpong district would be of convenience to the people who have to travel long distances to the district headquarters. There are villages in adjoining Jalpaiguri district that would also be benefited if included in the new district. We have given our suggestions to the chief secretary and he has assured of considering them," she said.
The Jana Andolan and the Morcha delegations also mentioned villages in Jalpaiguri district such as Bagracote that should be included in Kalimpong.
While the Jana Andolan has been pressing for additional area for the proposed district since Harka Bahadur Chhetri began his campaign in September last year after resigning from the Morcha, Bimal Gurung's party is raising the issue for the first time. Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastava said the new district would confine itself to the present geographical area of Kalimpong subdivision even though there are legitimate demands for including and excluding areas contiguous to the subdivision.(TT)

Sikkim Tourist vehicle operators threat to Bengal vehicle

Rangpo in East Sikkim
Tourist vehicle operators across Sikkim have threatened they would not allow any taxis bearing Bengal registration numbers to enter the hill state unless the permit issue is resolved within a few days even as the government in Bengal is trying to seal a reciprocal transport agreement.
Bengal and Sikkim had struck a reciprocal transport agreement on April 9, 2007, wherein vehicles from Bengal could enter only three Sikkim towns - Gangtok in East, Pelling in West and Namchi in the South. Vehicles from Sikkim though could move all over Bengal.
According to the agreement, sources in the Bengal's transport department said, all vehicles that have been included in the agreement could enter Bengal with a permit issued to them.
After entering Bengal, these permits had to be countersigned at different entry points. The vehicles included under the agreement are buses, goods vehicles as well as contract carriages.
This agreement was cancelled on August 30 as tourist vehicle operators in Bengal have been long complaining to chief minister Mamata Banerjee about how several thousands of operators were taking a beating because of the truncated movement of vehicles to Sikkim.
"We had repeatedly drawn the attention of the chief minister about how tourists planning to visit Sikkim from New Jalpaiguri were facing problems. If someone had to reach Gangtok, he would have to get off a vehicle bearing Bengal's registration number, hire a vehicle of Sikkim and then reach the hotel," said Samrat Sanyal of the Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators' Association.
"It's time that both the states agreed to sea-mless connectivity."
In September 2015, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had written to her counterpart in Sikkim, Pawan Chamling, requesting that all tourist vehicles entering the Himalayan state be given access to all points in the hill state. Over the next few months with no response reaching Nabanna, Bengal decided to terminate the agreement in August after nearly a decade.
"Since then we have sent several letters asking for a mutual agreement. But there was no response," a transport department official in Bengal said.
In October, the department sent a senior officer to Siliguri and Sikkim for a thorough understanding of the situation. A report to the government submitted later that month identified key problems, including how jeeps, taxis and other vehicles were entering Bengal without bothering for any counter-signature of the permits.
Sikkim was running few buses and more small vehicles, including jeeps and taxis, resulting in congestion on its hilly roads. Most of these vehicles belonged to the category, which were not included in the mutual agreement.
Operators in Sikkim today rose in protest after the regional transport authorities started slapping fines on each vehicle that didn't have its permit countersigned.
"They are imposing on us a fine of Rs 4,000 for one vehicle for not having a countersigned permit. This is too much. The passengers are getting harassed and those vehicles that don't have permits are being asked to return," said Dawa Tamang, a driver in Gantok.
Around 3,000 taxis including trucks from Sikkim enter Bengal everyday. In contrast, only 1,500 tourist vehicles reach Sikkim everyday.
The members of different driver and vehicle associations also highlighted how vehicles of Sikkim have to get two different permits for Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts. On the contrary, vehicles from Bengal plying to Sikkim need to have only one permit for travel.
Operators today met transport secretary SBS Bhaduria to voice their grievances.
A meeting has been scheduled on December 7 between the transport secretaries of the two states to address the issue. "Hopefully we will arrive at a solution," said a transport official in Calcutta.(TT)

Bimal limits agitation to Delhi after tribal committee visit to Darjeeling

Bimal Gurung at the rally in Darjeeling
Bimal Gurung today announced there would be no agitation in the Darjeeling hills in a turnaround two months after he told schools in the region to hold exams earlier than scheduled.
At the Darjeeling Motor Stand meeting, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief said: "I had thought of holding some component of the agitation in the hills, but looking at children preparing for examinations like ICSE, ISC and Madhyamik, I have decided to cancel the agitation in the Darjeeling hills."
School exams are generally held in mid-November and many schools have completed their annual exams. But Gurung's categorical announcement and his silence on making good his threat to quit as the head of the GTA could bring relief in the hills for now.
The Morcha, while not specifically announcing an agitation plan in the hills, had said an indefinite hunger strike might take place if the Union home ministry does not hold a meeting to look into the demand of forming a committee to examine the demand of Gorkhaland by December 5.
Gurung's statement today gave an indication that the Morcha did not want to antagonise the Centre just after it had shown some movement regarding the grant of ST status to 11 communities.
Gurung today said he was hopeful of a Union home ministry meeting soon. "The Union home minister, Rajnath Singh, had gone to Cuba for the funeral (of Fidel Castro). He returned only yesterday and we are confident that the meeting will be held soon," he said.
The Morcha chief seemed to be banking on the formation of a committee to examine the demand of statehood and also for a favourable report on the demand of granting the Scheduled Tribe status.
"We are expecting the committee (headed by Vishu Maini, deputy director in the ministry of tribal affairs) to submit its report in the next 15-20 days. We are confident the bill will be placed in Parliament during the monsoon session," Gurung said.
Even though Gurung was optimistic on both the tribal and statehood committees, he was a bit cautious in his proclamation.
"As announced earlier, the agitation in Delhi will take place from December 12 to 16. If there are no positive outcome by then, we will not hesitate to announce an agitation in Delhi from December 17," he said.
Sources in the Morcha said the party is planning a two-day dharna at Jantar Mantar on December 12 and 13, followed by two days of relay hunger strike and a rally on December 16.
Impressed by a good turnout at the Darjeeling meeting today, Gurung attacked Mamata Banerjee and the Jana Andolan Party president Harka Bahadur Chhetri.
"The impressive turnout today is a reply to Mamata Banerjee's oppressive and divisive politics. She has been creating divisions, not just in the hill communities, but now even among the minorities such as Muslims and Christians. People, however, understand everything these days," Gurung said.
He accused Mamata of coming to power in 2011 with "the chit fund money of Saradha" and also protested her allegation against the army. "Her statement against the army is uncalled for. The Centre must speak on this."
"She is probably worried now that the chit fund money will be exposed," Gurung said in reference to Mamata's protest against demonetisation. The Morcha has held rallies in the hills welcoming the demonetisation move.(TT)

जनवरीमा चारदिने तामांग अधिवेशन मङपुमा हुने

Tamang adhiveshan meeting
सन १९९८ सालमा मङपुमा  अखिल भारतीय तामाङ बौद्ध संघको १३वा बार्षिक अधिवेशन मङपुमा सम्पन्न भएको थियो भने फेरि दोस्रो पल्ट ३२औ अधिवेसन आगमी बर्ष २१ देखि २४ जनवरी २०१७ सम्म मङपु जनमैदान सम्पन्न हुने भएको छ | ३२औ अधिवेसनलाई लिएर आज स्थानीय डीन्छेन सेरप छोयलिंङ बौद्ध गुम्बामा समितिकै सभापति केएस तितुङको अध्यक्षतामा अखिल भारतीय तामाङ बौद्ध संघको सभा सम्पन्न भयो | सभामा दार्जीलिङ,कालेबुङ,खर्साङ, सिलगडी,डुवर्स, तक्दा अनि सिक्किमबाट केन्द्रिय समितिका प्रतिनिधिहरु उपस्थिति रहेका थिए | यस पल्टको अधिवेशनलाई सफलीभूत पार्न र गरिमामय बनाउन नै आजको सभा डाकिएको कुरा अभाताबौद्द संघका मङपु अंचलका सचिव जोनी तामाङले जनाए | सभामा संगठानिक सचिव चन्द्र लामा,कालेबुङ महकुमा समितिबाट लोपसाङ लामा,पछिम डुवर्सबाट गोपाल लामा खर्संङ  महकुमाबाट युएस लामा तक्दाह खण्डबाट सरोज गोले मिरिकबाट केशाङ लामा,साथै अअन्यले अधिवेसनलाई सफलीभुत पार्ने बिषयमा मन्तब्य राखे | संघका अध्यक्ष केएम तितुङले अभाताबौद्द संघ सिक्किमबाट प्रत्येक बर्ष १० हजार रुपिया केन्द्रिय समितिलाई दिईरहेको जानकारी गराउदै यसपल्टको अधिवेसन मङपुमा बृहत रुपमा गरिने जनाए साथै कार्यक्रमको निम्ति स्वागत फ्लेक्स साथै पोस्टरहरुमा नेपाली भाषा संगै तामाङको ताम्रा लिपिमा पनि  प्रयोग हुनु पर्ने कुरा माथि सबैले सहमति जनाए | यसरी मङपुमा २१ जनवरी देखि २४ जनवरी २०१७ सम्म चार दिने अधिवेसनको प्रारम्भमा दिन्छेन सेरप छोयलिंङ गुम्बा नालीडाड़ा पुजा अर्चना पछि जातीय एवं धार्मिक साजबाजको साथ शोभायात्रा समारोह स्थान तर्फ प्रस्थान हुने अनि उक्त चार दिने अधिवेसनमा शाखाको बार्षिक प्रतिवेदन,धर्मगुरुबाट धार्मिक प्रवचन साथै सांस्कृतिक कार्यक्रमहरु सम्पन्न हुनेछ | प्रत्येक शाखाले आगमी २० डिसेम्बर भित्रमा अभाताबौद्द संघका बार्षिक शुल्क केन्द्रीय समिति मार्फत मङपू आयोजक समितिलाई  बुजाई दिने आजको सभामा पारित गरियो भने अखिल भारतीय तामाङ बौद्ध संघ मङपु उक्त चार दिने अधिवेसन सम्पूर्ण तामाङ सन्तानलाई हार्दिक  स्वागत गर्दछ |

157 ASI, Head Constable Recruitment in Border Security Force (BSF)

157 ASI, Head Constable Recruitment in Border Security Force (BSF)
Government of India, Ministry Of Home Affairs, Directorate General Border Security Force (BSF) invites application for the recruitment posts of 157 Assistant Sub Inspector(Stenographer), Head Constable(Ministerial)

Total  Posts: 157 posts

1. Assistant Sub Inspector (Stenographer) – 36
2. Head Constable (Ministerial) – 121
Pay Scale: Rs.5200/- -Rs.20200/- + GP

Age Limit: Applicants should have minimum of 18 years and maximum of 25 years as on 01-01-2017. There is age relaxation for reserved categories persons as per the govt rules.

Qualification: 10+2 Examination from Recognized Board or University or equivalent.
Last Date for Receiving Application Form: on or before 01-01-2017.

Find official advertisement here at http://www.davp.nic.in/WriteReadData/ADS/eng_19110_679_1617b.pdf

UPSC 13 Managers section officers posts Recruitment

UPSC 13 Managers section officers posts Recruitment
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) invites applications for the recruitment posts of 13 Managers Grade-I/ Section Officers vacancies. Intersted an eligible candidate may follow the instruction given below.

Total No of Posts: 13
Name of the Post: Managers Grade-I/ Section Officers
1. SC: 01 Post
2. ST: 01 Post
3. UR: 11 Posts
Pay Scale : Rs. 15600- 39100/-, Grade Pay : Rs. 5400/-
Age Limit:  35 years. The relaxation in age is applicable up to 5 years for SC/ ST and up to 3 years for OBC candidates

Qualification: Degree, Diploma/ Degree in Business Management/ Material Management from recognized University or equivalent with relevant experiences.

 Last Date for Submission of Online Application : 15.12.2016
 Last Date for Completely Submission of Online Application : 16.12.2016

View official advertisement details at http://www.upsc.gov.in/sites/default/files/Spl_Advt_55_16_Short_ORA_Engl.pdf

Apply online at https://upsconline.nic.in/ora/VacancyNoticePub.php


State Govt to regularize 390 voluntary teachers in Darjeeling hills

Protest Demonstration by voluntary teachers in Darjeeling hills
Bringing relief to the voluntary teachers in the hills amid the upheaval brought about by the Centre's demonitisation decision, the state government has finally decided to absorb 390 of them in the first phase after conducting special interviews, to be conducted by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
Speaking to reporters today in Darjeeling, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha general secretary and GTA education department in-charge Roshan Giri said he was informed about the decision by state education minister Partha Chatterjee over the phone from Kolkata. Rohit Sharma, the MLA from Kurseong, on Wednesday reportedly met Chatterjee at the legislative assembly and discussed the issue of regularising the 515 voluntary teachers of the hills. “Our MLA met Chatterjee in Kolkata to discuss the regularisation issue, and the minister asked him to submit the list of vacant posts and voluntary teachers in the high and higher secondary schools of the hills. Chatterjee told Sharma to update me about the discussion between the two of them,” Giri said.
The GTA sabhasad said he called up the education minister this morning and was told that out of the 515 voluntary teachers presently working, 390 would be regularised in the first phase. “The minister said the list of vacant posts are to be submitted to the DI of schools of the hills, and this has already been done by the schools. Chatterjee also told me that interviews to absorb these teachers would be conducted by the GTA in January 2017,” said Giri.
The 515 voluntary teachers have been serving in 129 junior, high and higher secondary schools since the past 10-15 years. They were compelled to agitate earlier this year to get the required attention from the state government and the GTA to their demand for regularisation. After several rounds of meetings, the state education minister assured to absorb the voluntary teachers by exempting them from the School Service Commission system. But their joy was shortlived as the joint secretary of the state school education department issued a letter in May asserting that regularisation, absorption and appointment of voluntary teachers in the GTA could not be entertained until they secured their candidature through the WBSSC.
“Due to the absence of the SSC in the hills since 2003, it is difficult to appoint teachers. In fact, the managing committees of the schools engaged these teachers on voluntary basis. But now their numbers have swelled to nearly 600. It must also be remembered that the schools have been upgraded and new subjects introduced over the years, which compelled the schools to seek the services of the voluntary teacher," said Giri.
On the recruitment process, he said it would have to be done by the GTA as education is a transferred subject. “Since education is a transferred subject, the GTA will conduct the interviews in the hills. We will start the process in January after we receive the guidelines from the state school education department,” said Giri.
Presently, there are about 774 primary schools, 54 high schools and 60 higher secondary schools under the jurisdiction of the GTA. (EOIC)

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