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GJM delegation with Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram in New Delhi
Darjeeling: Roshan Giri on Tuesday posted pictures of Darjeeling MP S.S. Ahulwalia meeting Union tribal affairs minister along with leaders seen as backers of Bimal Gurung and claimed they had received an assurance that a report on granting of tribal status to 11 Gorkha communities would be prepared within "six weeks".
Giri's post on social media attracted sharp criticism from Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Binay Tamang, who termed them "as rejected leaders" trying to take credit just before elections.
"Gorkha Janmukti Morcha delegation led by MP Shri S.S. Ahluwalia met tribal (affairs) minister Jual Oram today, i.e. 21st August 2018 at New Delhi. Minister has asked for six week time to compile the report," Giri posted on social media.

Giri said the leaders who accompanied Ahluwalia were R.P. Waiba, Lt Col (retd) Ramesh Allay, Lopsang Lama, Rohit Thapa and Anil Lopchan.
Within hours, Tamang released a written statement. (Read here)  "The submission of a memorandum under the leadership of Darjeeling MP, S.S. Ahluwalia by rejected leaders of the hills, on the issue of granting tribal status to 11 hill community is an act of political opportunism."
Tamang, who heads the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), said the hill body had taken many steps at the highest level on the issue. "It is because of our initiative that chief minister Mamata Banerjee had written to Jual Oram last February," said Tamang.
He added that under the GTA's initiative, representatives of the 11 communities had met Oram and ministers. "After our relations improved with Sikkim chief minister, Pawan Chamling, he, too, is working relentlessly on this issue," said Tamang.
The Centre had constituted a committee to examine the demand for inclusion of the 11 groups - Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunuwar,Thami, Yakhha and Dhimal as STs - just before the Bengal polls in 2016.
Late on Tuesday evening, Giri again posted a message saying the same team had met Union home minister Rajnath Singh and sought a meeting. They claimed Singh had promised such a meeting on September 26, 2017, which had prompted Gurung to lift the 104-day statehood strike.

The Telegraph

North Bengal University
Darjeeling: North Bengal University has decided to sit for a meeting with the representatives of hill colleges to solve the issue of holding classes during the winter.
The university has introduced Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) from this year and had asked the hill colleges to hold classes even during the winters.
CBCS is a semester based system in which students have to complete six semesters during their three years in college. The first semester period starts from July till December and the second semester is held between January and February end.
Before the introduction of semester system by the NBU, hill colleges would close for winter break from mid-December to February while the annual examination would be held between April and June.

Students and also teachers want the winters vacation to remain in place given the severe winter weather. The students had also approached GTA chairperson Binay Tamang and GTA board of administration member Amar Singh Rai to intervene in this issue.
Tamang said on Tuesday that the NBU had written him expressing their desire to hold a meeting with the hill principals in his presence at Lal Khoti in Darjeeling on September 8, a request he had readily accepted.
The NBU in the letter has mentioned that varsity has to conducted examinations at the same time irrespective of the locations of colleges in hills and plains.
"The stipulation of 90 teaching days per semester have the mandate of the UGC and the undergraduate examinations are to be conducted keeping in conformity with mandatory norms of 90 days teaching," D.K. Sarkar, registrar, NBU, has written.

The Telegraph

Toto-Auto slowing down traffic in Siliguri
Siliguri: Battery-operated rickshaws, commonly known as totos, continue to run in Siliguri and even on some stretches of highways, slowing down traffic.
No less are the diesel-driven city autos, which are running along the length and breadth of Siliguri every day, gurgling out black fumes and even carrying passengers beyond the stipulated number.
"We residents are bearing the brunt of these two public transport modes. It is because of unrestricted movement of these two categories of vehicles that we have to face severe traffic congestion and the rise in air pollution. The totos run at lower speed and in most of the streets in Siliguri, particularly in rush hours, a car hardly has a space to overtake a toto. Otherwise, it has to move behind a toto at the snail's pace," said Tanmoy Goswami, an IT professional in the city.
Most of the city autos - there are around 1,200 of them in Siliguri - have grown old. "It has been found that most of these vehicles have failed in fitness and pollution tests. Yet, no initiative is taken to replace these vehicles," pointed Pradip Chakraborty, a retired government employee.

The ordeal of residents does not end here.
On Monday, auto drivers and even some owners resorted to a protest and road blockade, demanding that the totos should not be allowed to ply on key roads.
The demonstrators even demanded that the police should not take steps against them if they carry more than eight (the number stipulated by the police) passengers.
Last month, the Regional Transport Authority had announced that from August 1, totos will not be allowed to run.
This is because the RTA has taken a "sympathetic approach" at the totos, said Krishna Pal, a Trinamul leader and a member of the RTA. "Such a decision was indeed taken and we have informed the toto drivers about it. But we have taken a sympathetic approach at them as they too, have financial burdens and other issues. The decision would be enforced in a fortnight or so," said Pal.
The city auto operators, on the other hand, refuse to budge. "If the administration will not control the movement of totos here, it will be difficult for us to control out members from carrying additional passengers in autos," said Nirmal Sarkar, secretary, Siliguri City Auto Operators' Welfare Society.

The Telegraph

Nepali MA course restore cry
Darjeeling: Gorkha groups and an Assam MP have "expressed concern" over a University Grants Commission decision to discontinue a Nepali MA programme at Gauhati University in the distance learning mode.
"The Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India lists Nepali amongst the 22 recognised languages. It is widely spoken in Assam and other parts of the Northeast," Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi has said in a letter to Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar.
No university in the Northeast, expect Sikkim, offers the degree.

The Telegraph

GJM Chief Bimal Gurung
KOLKATA: A six-member delegation of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Bimal Gurung faction) led by Darjeeling's BJP MP SS Ahluwalia met Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Tuesday and sought formation of a Central Government committee to look into the Gorkhaland statehood demand.

"GJM has been an alliance partner of BJP in NDA. In its manifesto for the last two general elections of 2009 and 2014, the BJP had stated that it will 'sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long pending demand of Gorkhas and Adivasis'. We would therefore now appeal to you to take this assurance of the BJP forward through the Government by instituting an official committee to examine and appropriately consider the demand (of Gorkhaland)," read the letter by the GJM delegation to Singh.

"You are aware that you had been kind enough to issue a statement in September, 2017 assuring that talks would be held with GJM led by Bimal Gurung. Now that normalcy has been restored in Darjeeling, we are hoping that you would direct the Union Home Ministry to convene the talks at the earliest," the letter added.

In a press communique, Ahluwalia said Singh assured that a meeting will be convened soon.

The GJM delegation also met Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram and submitted a memorandum demanding that 11 Gorkha communities - Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakhha (Dewan) and Dhimal - be included in the Central Scheduled Tribes list.

Express News Service

Nepali Language recognisation day
स्थानीय रङबी ज्ञानपीठ उच्चतर माध्यमिक विधालयमा नेपाली भाषा मान्यता दिवस कार्यक्रम प्रधान अध्यापक बीके गुरुङको अध्यक्षतामा विधालयकै पेक्षा गृहमा सम्पन्न भयो | शिक्षिका दिपा मोक्तानले भाषा मान्यता सम्बन्धि एक रोचक तथ्यपूर्ण वार्ता प्रस्तुत गरिन | भाषा संग्रामी पूर्वजहरुको योगदान बारे चर्चा साथै उहाँहरु प्रति कृतज्ञता प्रकट गरियो | नवौ अनि दशौँ श्रेणीका विधार्थीहरुद्वारा कविता प्रस्तुत गरियो भने कार्यक्रममा विधार्थीहरु माझ नेपाली शब्दार्थ, नेपाली वाक पध्व्तीको अर्थ बारे अन्तरक्रियात्मक कार्यक्रम सम्पन्न गरियो अनि सही उतर दिने विधार्थीलाई पुरस्कृत पनि गरियो | शिक्षकवर्गबाट अजय स्याङबो अनि जगत राईले कविता वाचन गरे भने शिक्षक कन्चन राईले नेपाली भाषाको बिशालता बारे प्रकास पार्दै कार्यक्रमलाई सम्बोधन गरे | नेपाली भाषाको मान्यतापुर्व नेपाली भाषाको अवस्था बारे र त्यसबेला भोग्नु परेको कठिनाइ, असुविधा बारे सभाध्यक्ष बीके गुरुङले जानकारी दिएका थिए ||

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