Harka Bahadur Chhetri has decided to raise the issue of granting land
rights to tea garden and cinchona plantation workers in the hills, a
move which is likely to increase his sphere of his influence beyond
Chhetri, who didn't obey Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal
Gurung's directive to resign as the Kalimpong MLA and instead quit the
party, has till date found support largely in the Kalimpong subdivision
with his demand for upgrading the subdivision into a district.
Chhetri's decision to raise the land right demand has the potential
to challenge the Morcha even in Kurseong and Darjeeling subdivisions
where 80 of the 87 tea gardens in the hills are located.
The Kalimpong legislator told The Telegraph over the phone today: "We have decided to form a parja patta
(land right) committee and by December-end, we will organise meetings
in Darjeeling and Kurseong. The dates have not been finalised. We want
land rights for workers and their families in tea gardens and cinchona
Chhetri said he had already spoken to top state government officials
on the demand informally and the response had been positive. "The
Gorkhaland slogan is a grand one and it has swept away all other basic
issues since the mid-80s," said the MLA.
The Morcha's major support base lies in the tea gardens and the
cinchona plantations where more than 70 percent of the hill population
Tea gardens' land is leased out by the state government to
individuals or companies and the lease has to be renewed every 30 years.
The state is the owner of the tea gardens' land. However, the workers
and their families who have been residing in tea plantations for
generations since the 1850s do not have land rights.
In the past, the Morcha and the Communist Party of Revolutionary
Marxists (CPRM) have raised the land right demand but it has never been
turned into a major movement in the hills.
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.
Chhetri who is known to be close to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, hasn't taken up the land right issue with her.
Told about Chhetri's land right demand, Roshan Giri, the general
secretary of the Morcha, said: "It has always been our cause and he is
only trying to hijack it. Our trade union is consistently raising the
land right issue. (TT)
गोर्खाल्याण्ड क्षेत्रीय प्रशासनको सुचना एवम सांस्कृतिक विभागको कोष अन्तर्गत खर्सांग इन्जिनियरिंग डिपार्टमेन्ट द्वारा निर्मित मङपू चौरस्ता नजिक सार्वजनिक भवनको आज विधिवत उद्घाटन गरिएको छ | ४७ लाख रुपियाँ लागतमा निर्मित यस सार्वजनिक भवन उद्घाटन कार्यक्रममा जीटीए सुचना एवम सांस्कृतिक विभाग सभासद बिनय तामांगको प्रमुख अतिथ्य रहेको थियो भने उनैको उपस्थितिमा लाब्दा मङपू समष्टि सभासद रतन थापाको बाहुलीबाट उक्त नव निर्मित भवनको उद्घाटन भएको छ | आज उद्घाटन गरिएको सार्वजनिक भवन संचालनको निम्ति एउटा कमिटी गठन गर्दै एउटा केयर टेकर पनि नियुक्त गरिने भएको छ | आफ्नो सम्भाषणको क्रममा सभासद बिनय तामांगले नव निर्मित भवनको निम्ति केयर टेकर, बिधुतिकरण, टोइलेट, टेबल - चौकी आदिको लिस्ट बनाएर बिभाग समक्ष चाडै बुझाउने सुझाउ दिंदै यसै मुताबिक बिस्तारै काम हुने बताएका छन् |
सार्वजनिक भवन उद्घाटन समितिले भवनको उद्घाटन संगसंगै गाउँक अर्थात मंग्पू विभागकै छोरा डा० ज्ञानचन्द्र गुरुङ जो केही बर्ष अघि मात्र विद्यावारिधि (डक्टरेट) को उपाधि ग्रहण गरेका थिए साथै उनले आफ्नो शैक्षिक यात्रामा प्राप्त गरेका अवर्णनीय उपलब्धिहरुको कदर गर्दै उनलाई संवर्धना जनाएका छन् | यसै विषयमा सभासद बिनय तामांगले पनि उनलाई शैक्षिक क्षेत्रको निम्ति जीटीएले सकेसम्म सहयोग गर्दै उनको निम्ति केन्द्र सरकार समक्ष पनि सिफारिस गरिदिने बचन दिएका छन् |
उद्घाटन कार्यक्रममा मुख्य रुपले सभासद द्वय रतन थापा, बिनय तामांग, खर्सांग इन्जिनियरिंग डिपार्टमेन्ट एक्जुकेटिव इन्जिनियर कुमुद रंजन गिरी, जुनियर इन्जिनियर पाल्सांग रुम्बा, ठेकेदार कमल पाण्डे लगायत मोर्चा मंग्पू जोनका पदाधिकारी क्रमैले प्रदीप छेत्री, रतन लामा, गगन राई, बिकास गुरुङ आदि उपस्थित रहेका थिए |
मङपू विभागीय ग्यांगमेन हरिप्रसाद राईको अध्यक्षतामा सम्पन्न आजको उद्घाटन कार्यक्रम संचालन अशित थापाले गरेका थिए भने स्वागत भाषण बुद्ध कुमार थापाले राखेका थिए |
शनिबारको दिन अप्पर लाब्दा
जुनियर उच्च पाठशालाको प्रागनमा
सहायता मिनिष्ट्री मङपुको
आयोजनमा निशुल्क स्वास्थ्य
जाच शिबिर सम्पन्न गरियो | यस
शिबिरमा १९६ जना रोगीहरुले
आ आफ्नो स्वास्थ्य जाच गराए
भने ती रोगीहरुको ब्लड प्रेसर
अनि ब्लड सुगरको पनि जाच गरियो | यस
शिविरमा जाच गर्न आएका रोगीहरुलाई
निशुल्क रुपमा औषधी पनि बित्वरण
गरियो | यस स्वास्थ्य जाच शिबिर
आएका स्वास्थ्य टोलीमा डा.डब्लु
लामा,डा.एस रोगोङग लगायत सिस्टरहरु सृजना प्रधान सरिता
खालिंङ अनि टेक्ननिशियन अभिनाष
सेवा उपस्थित थिए | ती स्वास्थ्य
टोली अनि स्थानीय पाठशालाका
शिक्षकवर्ग एव स्थानीय बासिन्दाको
सहभागितामा सम्पूर्ण कार्यक्रम
सफलतापुर्बक साथ सम्पन्न भयो
भन्ने जानकारी सहायता मिनिस्ट्रीका
सयोजक एसके खालिंङ एक बिज्ञप्तीमार्फत
जानकरी दिएका छन |
बिगत बर्ष झैँ यस बर्ष पनि
लाटपन्चर खेलकुद संघको तत्वधानमा
स्थानीय जनमैदानमा आगमी १९ अनि
२० दिसम्बरको दिन दुई दिने
बार्षिक खेलकुद सम्पन्न हुने
भएको छ | उक्त बार्षिक खेलकुद
समितिको एक सभा शुक्रबार लाटपन्चर सिन्कोना बगान बिश्राम
गृहमा बगान ब्यवास्थापक टी.बी
बराईलीको अध्यक्षतामा सम्पन्न
भयो | सभामा लाटपन्चर खेलकुद
संघ गठन गरियो जसको सभापति
टी.बी बराईली, उपसभापति आई.बी.सुब्बा
मूल सचिव अनुराग राई, सहसचिव
सुदर्शन राई, कोषाध्यक्ष पूर्ण
फिलिप खवास अनि सयुक्त कोषाध्यक्ष
सफलचन्द्र खवासलाई चयन गरियो | उक्त
दुई दिने बार्षिक खेलकुदको
प्रथम दिन अन्तर विधालय माझ
खेलकुद प्रतियोगिता हुनेछ
भने दोश्रो दिन सिन्कोना
विभागीय माझ खेलकुद सम्पन्न
हुनेछ | दोस्रो दिनको खेलमा केटाहरु
अनि केटीहरु माझ खुल्ला म्याराथन
दौड़ राखिएको छ | उक्त दुई दिवशीय
खेलकुद प्रतियोगितामा लाटपन्चर
खेलकुद संघका सदश्य नविन चमिलिंङले
सबैलाई हार्दिक स्वागत जनाएको
The GTA Sabha today decided to hold four sessions similar to those in
Assemblies and the Parliament from next year and invite the governor
and the chief minister to address any of the meetings.
Bhupendra Pradhan, the chairman of the GTA Sabha, said the decision
had been taken at a meeting of the Sabha held at the Gorkha Rangamanch
"During the meeting today it was decided that the GTA Sabha, too,
would have sessions as the Assembly and the Parliament. The first of the
annual four sessions will start from the first week of February and it
will be called the winter session. The last meeting will be called
budget session which will be held in November."
The second session, to be held from the first week of May, will be
called the monsoon session. "The third session will be called the autumn
session and it will commence from the first week of August," Pradhan
Explaining the rationale for holding the budget session in November
and not in February or March as is the practice in the Assembly and
Parliament, Pradhan said: "We need our budget to be passed by the
Assembly. If we conduct the budget session in November, our budget can
be sent to the state and it can be incorporated in their budget."
As of now, the GTA Sabha which came into being in 2012, doesn't hold
sessions regularly and the meetings are generally for a day.
"We used to convene the Sabha meetings as and when they were needed,
sometimes once in three months and sometimes in five months. But we
realised that the Sabha is the only forum where all the members can air
their views and there should be a fixed session," said Lopshang Yolmo,
the deputy chairman of the GTA Sabha.
Pradhan said the governor or the chief minister "might not address
the first session as we need to get a hang of organising the Sabha. The
governor and the chief minister would be invited to address subsequent
The duration of each session has not been fixed. "It will probably
depend on the issues that need to be discussed during a particular
session," Yolmo said.
During today's meeting, it was also decided that the GTA would
provide a one-time remuneration to voluntary teachers of 16 junior high
schools. As of now, the teachers are not getting any pay. The
remuneration amount is yet to be fixed.
Regarding another demand by a separate set of voluntary teachers, "a
resolution was also passed to seek their regularisation of jobs. The
teachers are currently agitating. The meeting requested the state
government to withdraw its appeal in the high court so that the process
to regularise the jobs of casual workers of the GTA can begin. The Sabha
asked the state government to allow the GTA to appoint teachers in
various schools to teach the Lepcha language as education is a
transferred subject," said Pradhan.(TT)
The state government has decided to investigate the recent spate of
fungal infection and pest attacks on Darjeeling oranges that dropped the
yield of the fruit by more than 50 per cent compared to last year.
State agricultural minister Purnendu Bose who is currently in
Darjeeling said: "This is my first official visit to the hills after
becoming minister. A team of scientists from Uttar Banga Krishi
Visvavidyalaya will probe into the matter (the infection and pest
attacks) and based on the report, we will take appropriate steps."
While 2.5 lakh quintals of oranges were produced in the hills last
year, this time the yield is expected to be around 90,000 quintals.
Sources said 50 to 60 per cent of oranges in the hills were destroyed after a fungal infection and pest attacks.
The harvest season starts from November end and goes on till mid-January.
M.W. Moktan, a senior scientist and the in-charge of Darjeeling
Krishi Vigyan Kendra, a unit of Uttar Banga Krishi Visvavidyalaya, Cooch
Behar, spoke about three reasons for the spread of infection and pest
attacks in the hill orchards.
"The main reason is that the farmers still practise the traditional
method of farming and they are reluctant to adopt new technology. The
other reason is that they do not follow proper nutritional management
system, which is critical for the health of plants. Climate change, too,
has affected the crops," he said.
Moktan, however, said that all was not lost and oranges could be
saved if farmers took up modern methods. "Few farmers who have
incorporated modern farming methods have not been affected. Disease and
pest management must be done properly," he said.
Ram Prasad Sanyal, the assistant director of agriculture department,
GTA, had earlier said that a spell of dry weather during the flowering
season around March and April was one of the reasons for the drop in
Today, Bose said: "The agriculture department is acting as a nodal
agency in bringing together departments like horticulture and fisheries.
In the hills, there are seven seed farms but most are defunct. We plan
to revive them. There was an agriculture fair in Kalimpong yesterday and
I visited the stalls. While some farmers are trained, many are not. A
building of the agriculture department in Kalimpong is lying without
use. We will renovate it and start an agricultural training centre
A GTA event to posthumously honour Ari Bahadur Gurung, who had represented the Gorkhas in the Constituent Assembly, turned out to be a damp squib today with many members of the GTA Sabha and officials of the hill body keeping away.
A GTA Sabha member who didn't want to be named suggested that the low turnout was on account of GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung's absence. "When Gurung is there, everyone wants to show their face but when he is not around, not many are bothered about any event irrespective of its importance. This has become a trend," he said.
Gurung is presently in New Delhi to meet the Union home minister.
Ari Bahadur, a signatory to the Constitution, is referred to by the Indian Gorkhas to rebut the allegations that they are foreigners. Udai Gurung, son of Ari, was felicitated at the event held to celebrate the Constitution Day.
By the time the celebration at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan ended around 2pm, the hall was almost empty. Less than half of the auditorium with a seating capacity of 864 was filled when the celebration began around 11.30am.
"We had sent invitation to all GTA Sabha members, GTA executive directors and other officials and also to representatives of different communities. Invitation had also been sent to all councillors of Darjeeling municipality. In total, we had sent about 350 invitation letters," said an official of the GTA's information and cultural affairs department which conducted the programme.
Binay Tamang, the executive GTA Sabha member in charge of information and cultural affairs department, touched upon the low turnout in his speech. "Despite an official announcement by the GTA and invitation being sent to all, the hall, which should actually be overflowing, is not even full. It is a very sad day. We talk about our constitutional rights but we also need to honour everything related to the Constitution."
He also announced that a statue of Ari Bahadur would be installed at Lal Kothi.
Asked about his absence, GTA Sabha chairman Bhupendra Pradhan said: "Oh, really. Tomorrow I will be coming as a meeting of the GTA Sabha has been scheduled."
Roshan Giri, executive GTA Sabha member, was absent as he had to go to Siliguri as his father took ill. Jyoti Kumar Rai, a GTA executive sabha member, too, was away in Siliguri for an eye check-up.
Ari Bahadur, a lawyer, breathed his last on July 4, 1980. Bimal Gurung had visited Bahadur's home in Kalimpong during his ongoing padayatra.(TT)
INTTUC leader and Hill Trinamul Congress
president Rajen Mukhia on Wednesday claimed that the five tea garden
workers who died at the Panighatta tea estate in the last week, did not
die of hunger, but after suffering from health issues.
"Although the condition of tea workers here is not very good, no one
died of hunger as is being alleged by a section of GJMM leaders, but
instead after suffering from diseases," Mukhia said, adding, "The
government is taking several steps to ensure that the workers do not
have to die of starvation. There are diseases in the tea gardens, for
which some workers died. We are trying to request the government to
provide medical facilities, and arrange for treatment of the ailing
According to Mukhia, if the management does not reopen the tea garden
on 28 November, after a meeting called by the Joint Labour Commission
(JLC), their party will launch a fast unto death stir.
"We will request the management to consider the plight of the
workers, and reopen the garden. The state government is trying to
provide for the workers through various schemes till a concrete solution
is drawn. If the garden is not reopened, we will start bigger movements
and if needed will sit on a 'fast unto death' strike," the Hill TMC
Meanwhile, sources from the tea garden management said they are
willing to utilise the tea garden to its utmost potential, for the
benefit of their employees, but are however, facing varied resistance
and obstructions in doing the same. The meeting between the JLC, the
management and workers is scheduled to be held on 27 November.(sns)