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TDS anxiety for tea gardens
Tea planters in Bengal have expressed concern over the sustenance of a number of gardens because of financial stress caused by low yields and high cost incurred by the Centre’s decision to impose a 2 per cent tax deductible at source on all cash drawings over Rs 1 crore.
In the budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that in a bid to encourage cashless transactions and digital payment formats, TDS would be levied on drawings above Rs 1 crore from September 1.
“This decision has left the tea industry in a soup as we have to disburse the wages of lakhs of workers and even the salaries of the staff in cash. After the demonetisation in 2016, an attempt was made to encourage cashless payments in tea gardens but even today, almost all the gardens pay in cash as proper banking infrastructure has not come up in most estates,” said Prabir Bhattacharjee, the secretary-general of the Tea Association of India (TAI).
According to him, tea planters’ associations have time and again told the Centre about their problems and sought a TDS waiver.

In north Bengal, there are around 300 tea estates spread across Darjeeling, the Terai and the Dooars, employing over three lakh workers.
“Many gardens have been bearing additional expenditure on account of the TDS since September. We are apprehensive about the sustenance of a number of gardens which are already facing financial duress,” Bhattacharjee said.
After the TDS on cash drawings was announced, representatives of the TAI had made calculations keeping in mind the current daily wage rate of Rs 176 and the salaries of staff.
“Even a conservative estimate showed that a garden that employs 1,000 workers would have to shoulder an annual additional expenditure of Rs 11 lakh on account of the TDS,” a source said.
According to the source, on paper a 2 per cent tax may not look a huge amount but for the ailing tea gardens it is resulting in an additional burden.
“Had the plan of creating proper banking infrastructure in tea gardens been implemented, we would not have demanded a waiver,” the source said.
After the demonetisation, the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, was amended and it was announced that wages would be paid through cheques or credited in the workers’ bank accounts.
This made it imperative for the employers to disburse wages digitally or through banks. A flurry of activity followed and meetings were held to facilitate the process in tea gardens. It was agreed that banks would set up infrastructure, at least ATMs and micro ATMs, in tea gardens by March 31, 2017.
“The process of establishing the required infrastructure, however, did not materialise for a number of reasons, among them connectivity and logistics. As the progress (of setting up such facilities) remained tardy, gardens had to switch back to making payments in cash,” said a tea planter based in Siliguri.
Bista-PMO meet
Darjeeling MP and BJP leader Raju Bista on Friday met Jitendra Singh, the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, and discussed “important issues” that included the rights of tea garden and cinchona workers, including minimum wages, and a “permanent political solution” on the hills.

The Telegraph

Miss Sikkim 2019 to Reetika Chettri from Namchi
Gangtok: Reetika Chettri from Namchi, South Sikkim was crowned Miss Sikkim 2019 at a grand ceremony organised by Positude in association with Sikkim Express at Manan Kendra, Gangtok on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Sumana Gurung and Bishnu Sharma were adjudged first and second runners up, respectively.

“I am equally excited to win this prestigious crown. The journey so far has been hard but it paid off well so it was worth it. I want to be a therapeutic social worker, therefore, I want to take up sociology and work. With the platform I have received as Miss Sikkim, I would like to work for the society and spread awareness,” shared Miss Sikkim Chettri while speaking with EastMojo.
She also urged the upcoming models to have faith in themselves. She further expressed her gratitude to her family, friends and supporters for being her constant support system.
Chettri also bagged two subtitles – Miss Photogenic and Miss Popular. First runner up Gurung bagged the subtitle of Miss Fashion Icon. Second runner up Sharma bagged the subtitle of Miss Spectacular Eyes.
The winners will now get to participate in the auditions of Femina Miss India and Sunsilk Mega Miss Northeast.
There were 31 aspiring models who gave good competition for the crown. The contestants were shortlisted from all the four districts. In the grand finale, there were two rounds -- swimwear and traditional -- from where 31 girls came down to top 10 and then top 5.
Twelve subtitles were also awarded during the event -- Dichen Dolma Bhutia for Miss Glowing Skin, Susang Sherpa for Miss Talented, Reetika Chettri for Miss Photogenic & Miss Popular, Manisha Chettri for Miss Beauty With a Purpose, Priyanka Sharma for Miss Congeniality, Kunga Tseten Bhutia for Miss Active, Priya Sharma for Miss Beautiful Body, Chandra Kala Dhakal for Miss Ramp Walk, Sumana Gurung for Miss Fashion Icon, Bishnu Sharma for Miss Spectacular Eyes and Sanjeeta Chhetri for Miss Vivacious.
The judges for this year’s Miss Sikkim were national and international pageant director Abhilekh Kalita, filmmaker and film director Prashant Rasaily, Mitho proprietor Kushan Zulca, Denzong Hyundai MD Karma Loday Bhutia.

Binay Tamang on indefinite hunger strike over tea bonus
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang on Sunday started his indefinite hunger strike here over hill tea workers’ bonus, declaring there would be no “further negotiations” and that the agitation would be lifted only after he receives a “written agreement” for a bonus of 20 per cent.
Tamang launched a no-holds-barred attack on the Darjeeling Tea industry management, saying the proprietors were exploiting and taking advantage of the situation.
“I had given them an ultimatum till October 4 but they choose to ignore it. There will be no further negotiations on the bonus issue now. I will lift this hunger strike only after I receive a written agreement stating that they will pay 20 per cent bonus,” said Tamang. He made it clear that the tea industry management would be “held responsible if anything happens” to his health.
Tamang started this agitation to demand bonus at the rate of 20 per cent of a worker’s annual earnings. The management has so far only offered 15.5 per cent, leading to a deadlock and resulting in the hill tea workers going without their bonus during Puja for the first time in recent memory.

The Morcha leader warned that his party would harden its stand against the management on different fronts. “These days, roads in tea gardens are constructed by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), houses and sanitation (facilities) are given by the GTA and state government. We take care of the water supply, too. The management has been mollycoddled a bit too much but things will change now,” Tamang said. Tamang’s party colleague Anit Thapa heads the GTA.
Tamang threatened to close down “resorts in tea gardens”, claiming they had been set up without proper permission from the state government and the GTA. “Tea garden workers are being made to work in these resorts for Rs 176 (daily). This will stop now.”
The Tamang faction of the Morcha said it would ensure “all fringe benefits” laid down in the plantation and industrial acts are implemented in the hill gardens.
“The management no longer distributes coal and firewood to workers. They will have to distribute from January 2020. We will ensure that all fringe benefits are given to the workers. The management has stopped reimbursing medical expenses of workers. They will have to start doing so from today according to the prevalent rules,” Tamang said.
Tamang also alleged that the tea management had created “fake buyers” outside India and threatened to “expose” them.
Morcha supporters brought out a rally from Ghoom with Tamang joining from Dali, around 4km from the town. Later, Tamang sat on the hunger strike at Darjeeling Motor Stand. The Darjeeling Tea industry had not officially reacted to Tamang’s statement till the filing of this report.

All India Buddhist Forum 150 Memorandum to Chief Minister
अल इण्डिया बुद्धिष्ट फोरम महासचिव आकाश लामाको नेतृत्वमा अध्यक्ष जम्बु लामा, उपाध्यक्ष आनन्द तमु गुरुङ, एसएम घिसिंग, कोषाध्यक्ष लाक्पा छिरिङ गोले, प्रचार प्रसार सचिव सुरेन पाख्रीनको एक टोलीले कलकत्ता स्थित मुख्य राज्य सचिवालय नवन्नमा पुगी विगत दिनमा विभिन्न बौद्ध संघ – संगठन, गुम्बा आदिले सामुहिक रुपमा मुख्यमन्त्रीलाई गरेको सामुहिक मांग अनुरुप राज्य अल्पसंख्यक आयोगमा नर्थ बेंगालबाट दुई जना प्रतिनिधि सदस्यहरु मनोनित गरिनपर्ने लिखित सामुहिक मेमोरेन्डम जसमा अखिल भारतीय तामांग बौद्ध संघ, शेर्पा बौद्ध संघ, नेवार बुद्धिष्ट संगठन, गुरुङ तमु बौद्ध संगठन, लेप्चा बुद्धिष्ट एसोसिएशन, अभाम बौद्ध म्हानिपा संघ, बरुवा बुद्धिष्ट संगठन, भुटिया टिबेटेन बौद्ध संगठन साथै पहाड तराई डुवर्सका विभिन्न बौद्ध गुम्बाहरु, लामा संघ लगाएर जम्मा १५० मेमोरेन्डमको फाइल मुख्यमन्त्रीलाई सुम्पियो | यस बाहेक जसरी मुस्लिम धर्म गुरु इमामहरुले प्रति महिना प्राप्त गर्ने सरकारी आर्थिक अनुदान सरह प्रत्येक बौद्ध गुम्बाका प्रमुख लामाहरुले पनि उक्त सहुलियत पाउन पर्ने लिखित मागलाई राज्य अल्पसंख्यक सचिवालय नवान्नले स्वीकार गरेको जनाइएको छ | यसको निम्ति महासचिवले सहयोग र सहभागिता दिने सम्पूर्ण बौद्ध संघ, संस्था, एसोसिएशन, लामा संघ आदिलाई धन्यबाद प्रकट गर्दै यसको श्रेय सम्पूर्णलाई जाने बताए | यसै बौद्ध एकताको आवाज मुख्यमन्त्रीले सुन्ने विश्वास व्यक्त गर्दै सबैलाई यसको निम्ति पुन: कृतज्ञता प्रकट गरेको जानकारी प्रचार प्रसार सचिव सुरेन पाख्रीनले एक विज्ञप्ति मार्फत जनाएको छ || 

Jamara sowed at Dashain Ghar in Gorkha
GORKHA: In the first day of Bada Dashain festival, seeds for growing Jamara (barley shoots) have been sowed at the Dashain Ghar in the Gorakhkali temple of Gorkha to mark Ghatasthapana.
The ritual has been carried out at the auspicious hour of 10:35 am on Sunday morning, said the main priest Lila Bahadur Bohara.
On this day, Nepali people worship Diyo (an oil-fed lamp), Kalas (auspicious jar) and lord Ganesh in accordance with Vedic rituals. They also sow maize and barley seeds for germination of the auspicious Jamara (barley shoots).
Likewise, the process of germination of barley shoots has also been carried out at the Manakamana temple in Gorkha.

Sikkim Himalayan FC wins Gorkha Brothers Assam by 2 goals
दीर्घ दिनदेखि सबैले प्रतिक्षा साँचेको मङपु गोल्ड कप आजदेखि शुरु भयो | मङपुको युथ क्लबको कुशल आयोजनामा विगत केही वर्षहरुदेखि सम्पन्न हुँदै आइरहेको यस टुर्नामेन्टको उद्घाटनी कार्यक्रम भूतपूर्व शिक्षक केबी गिरीको सभापतित्व, शिक्षक घनश्याम राईको प्रमुख आतिथ्य अनि विशिष्ट अतिथि मनला अथेन्पा, सभापति सिक्किम फूटबल एसोसिएशनको उपस्थितिमा सम्पन्न भयो | सन्त जोसेप स्कूलका ब्याण्ड प्रदर्शनीपछि शुरु भएको आजको पहिलो म्याच सिक्किम हिमालयन फुटबल क्लबको घमासान भिडन्त गोर्खा ब्रदर्श असमसित भयो | मौसमको कारण खेल मैदानको अवस्था केही सोचनीय भएपनि खेलाडीवर्गले आफ्नो उत्कृष्ट प्रदर्शनी देखाउन चुकेनन् | फलत: पूर्वार्धको खेलमा दुवै दलमाझ बराबरीको टक्कर बनेपछि गोल छिराउन सकेन | उतरार्धको खेलमा सिक्किम हिमालयन एफसीका जर्सी नम्बर २२ जाजाले ४७ मिनटमा गोर्खा ब्रदर्शको गोल पोस्टमा एक गोल दागेपछि खेल रोचक बनेर गयो | दुवै दलको कडा चुनौती बिच पुन: सिक्किम हिमालयन एफसीकै जर्सी नम्बर ७ मेसौकेले ५८ मिनटमा अर्को गोल छिराउन सक्षम बनेपछि गोर्खा ब्रदर्श असमले हार स्विकार्नु परेको थियो | खेल अवधि सिक्किम हिमालयन एफसीका खेलाडी जाजाले रेड कार्डको सामना गर्नु परेको थियो भने यसै टीमका अर्का खेलाडी मेसौकेलाई म्यान अफ द म्याच चयन गरियो | आजको म्याचलाई चार जना महिला निर्णायकले संचालन गरेका थिए जसमा मुख्य निर्णायक रेश्मा छेत्री (राष्ट्रीय), सहयोगीहरु प्रेसिला तामांग(एसएफए), सुष्मिता राई(एसएफए) अनि चौथो अधिकारी सेनहाङमा सुब्बा(एसएफए) रहेकी थिइन् | आजदेखि शुरु भएको मङपु गोल्ड कपको ३० सितम्बर अर्थात भोलिको म्याच अविरल वर्षाले खेल मैदान सोचनीय बनाएको कारण आगमी १ अक्टोबरको दिन दार्जीलिंग हिमालयन एफसी बनाम शेयर एफसी कालेबुङ माझ सम्पन्न हुनेछ ||

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