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Cops seek community participation to tackle drug menace in Darjeeling
Darjeeling: The Darjeeling Police have decided to involve the community to combat the drug menace that has been plaguing the hills since long. "Police has mainly been addressing the supply chain aspect of this problem. The demand side we have not been able to address. Interference and influence is very less on the demand side by the police. Henceforth we want to address the demand side also and we would like to involve the community for this," said Amarnath K, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling.

The Darjeeling Police has decided to constitute a community group within November 1. "The main job of the community group will be to sensitize the public and specially the parents and guardians of the affected that theirs wards should be sent to rehabilitation centers. Drug addiction has a major social stigma. People feel that their status and social standings will be affected if they come out in the open that a family member is affected. Hence they avoid rehabilitation centres. This stigma has to be done away with," added the SP.

He stated that drug addiction is more of a disease than a crime. The police will also try to shatter the myth that drug addicts do not get proper opportunity of rehabilitation and drug addicts will be arrested police hence don't want to come out in the open. The Darjeeling Police organized a meeting in Darjeeling with community representatives on Thursday to address the issue of drug addiction. "Section 64A of the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985 states that if an addict is volunteering for rehabilitation then the person will be let off without punishment," stated Amarnath.

The Darjeeling Police has started a helpline for all drug-related issues. "Anything related to drugs can be notified through the helpline 8972921001. The police will take prompt action. Anyone from the community can be associated with the police to combat the menace through the community group," stated the SP. The Narcotics Cell of the Darjeeling Police is already operational checking the supply chain. Many seizures have been made in the past months.

http://www.millenniumpost.in/kolkata/

Binoy Tamang in Assam regarding NRC issue to Gorkha people
Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binay Tamang faction) has announced help to the Gorkha families who have been left out of the NRC, to take their cases to the Foreign Tribunal or the Supreme Court. "The persons who have been left out of the NRC will get a 120 day period to plead their cases in the Foreign Tribunal or the Supreme Court. As it involves a lot of money, it will be very difficult for the economically weaker sections who have already sold off all their belongings to appear for the multiple hearings in distant places. We will provide them with all support to take their cases to the Foreign Tribunals or the Apex Court. For this we will not collect any money from Assam. We have already told them to approach our representatives within a month with proper documents so that their cases can be put up," stated GJM president Binay Tamang.

Tamang was addressing media persons in Darjeeling following a 4-day tour of Assam to study the ground reality and meet with the Gorkha families whose names have been struck off. There are more than 1 lakh Gorkhas whose names have been struck off the list. "Along with this legal aspect, we will counter this problem on an administrative and political level. On the administrative front, we will write to the Prime Minister and Union Home minister. We will also seek their appointment so that this grave issue can be discussed. We demand that the Gorkhas be enlisted in the Protected List, thereby declaring them as original inhabitants," Tamang said.

http://www.millenniumpost.in/
Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binay Tamang faction) has announced help to the Gorkha families who have been left out of the NRC, to take their cases to the Foreign Tribunal or the Supreme Court. "The persons who have been left out of the NRC will get a 120 day period to plead their cases in the Foreign Tribunal or the Supreme Court. As it involves a lot of money, it will be very difficult for the economically weaker sections who have already sold off all their belongings to appear for the multiple hearings in distant places. We will provide them with all support to take their cases to the Foreign Tribunals or the Apex Court. For this we will not collect any money from Assam. We have already told them to approach our representatives within a month with proper documents so that their cases can be put up," stated GJM president Binay Tamang.

http://www.millenniumpost.in/kolkata/gjm-will-help-gorkha-families-who-have-been-left-out-of-nrc-tamang-375016
Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binay Tamang faction) has announced help to the Gorkha families who have been left out of the NRC, to take their cases to the Foreign Tribunal or the Supreme Court. "The persons who have been left out of the NRC will get a 120 day period to plead their cases in the Foreign Tribunal or the Supreme Court. As it involves a lot of money, it will be very difficult for the economically weaker sections who have already sold off all their belongings to appear for the multiple hearings in distant places. We will provide them with all support to take their cases to the Foreign Tribunals or the Apex Court. For this we will not collect any money from Assam. We have already told them to approach our representatives within a month with proper documents so that their cases can be put up," stated GJM president Binay Tamang.

http://www.millenniumpost.in/kolkata/gjm-will-help-gorkha-families-who-have-been-left-out-of-nrc-tamang-375016

Direct Train to Sikkim in Two Years
Sikkim, the small state in the foothills of the Himalayas, is a paradise for travellers. But reaching the state is an arduous journey. The Sivok-Rangpo road remains chock-a-block most of the times, owing to heavy traffic. But wait for two years. If everything goes all right, the 44.9km Sivok-Ranngpo project will be completed by June 2021.
According to a TOI report, the route will comprise 14 tunnels, 14 major bridges and will offer an ethereal journey to travellers. 85 per cent of the total train journey will be through tunnels. While the longest of these will be 5.27 km, the shortest will be of only 538 m. The route will pass through the forest divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, and East Sikkim and also through the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary.
“The train journey from Sivok to Rangpo will be of less than two hours and will cross Riang, Teesta Bazaar and Melli stations. People can just get off the train after a comfortable journey and hire a vehicle to take them to Gangtok or some other location,” a senior official of Northeast Frontier Railway (NRF) said to TOI.

In the second phase, tracks will be laid up to Gangtok, he added. The project is being implemented by NFR and IRCON International Ltd.

The project is aimed at boosting revenue generated through tourism as the route will connect many tourist places and hill stations such as Darjeeling, Kalimpong, reports the Financial Express.

However, the project is not a new one. It was announced in 2009. Several issues, including environmental clearances and land acquisition, had hindered the project.
Local residents have protested against the project as it would lead to massive pollution. It’s apprehended that the tunnels might impact groundwater sources.
The route will also facilitate the movement of troops to Sikkim which shares its border with China.


 https://www.india.com/

Appa Nepali Movie team felicitate in Mungpoo
मङपु, राजेश थापा:  हाल बहुचर्चित अनि सिनेमा हलहरुमा धमाका मचाएको नेपाली चलचित्र आप्पाको टोलीलाई मङपुमा नागरिक सम्मान जनाइएको छ | त्रिशुले फाटक चालक कल्याण संगठन, बिचकमान, मङपु सिन्कोना विभागको आयोजनामा सम्पन्न विश्वकर्म पुजाको पुणित तिथि पारेर संगठनले चलचित्र आप्पाका टोलीलाई यो सम्मान जनाएको छ | “आप्पा” - नेपाली चलचित्र जगतकै यसवर्षको रेकर्ड तोड चलचित्र हो जो भारतीय नेपाली अथवा दार्जीलिंगबाट निर्माण गरिएको एउटा सफल चलचित्र पनि हो | आजको सम्मान कार्यक्रममा चलचित्रका नायक दयाहाङ राई बाहेक निर्देशक अनमोल गुरुङ, निर्मता रुदेन सादा लेप्चा, नायक सिद्धार्थ राज तामांग, नायिका अलोना काबो लेप्चा, कलाकार देवाशीष, कार्यकारी निर्मता माबो हाङ, गायक थुप्देन भोटिया, गायिका स्नेहश्री थापा, शब्दकार उमेश उपमा, प्रोडक्शन व्यवस्थापक पुष्कर सिंगर अनि अन्य उपस्थित रहेका थिए जसलाई आयोजक समितिले टोपी, अंगवस्त्र, फूल गुच्छा अनि स्मृति चिन्ह आदि दिएर नागरिक सम्मानले आभूषित गरे | यसै कार्यक्रम अवधि चलचित्रका गायक थुप्देन भोटिया अनि स्नेहश्री थापाले हावा सररर गीत सुनाएर सबैलाई रोमान्चित पारेका थिए भने कालेबुंगका निर्देशक अनमोल गुरुङले हाम्रो आफ्नो कथालाई हामी आफैले जति कसैले बुझ्न सक्दैन यसैले हामीले हाम्रो कथा व्यथालाई हामी आफैले उजागर गर्नपर्छ, हामीभित्रनै कला छ, कलाकार छ यसलाई सही प्लाटफर्म दिनसक्नु पर्छ भन्दै मङपुभित्रको कला र कलाकारलाई उजागर गर्न हो भने मङपुभित्रबाटै चलचित्र निर्माता जन्मन पर्छ भन्दै सबैलाई हौसला दिए | यसै कार्यक्रम अवधि विगत वर्ष भोइस अफ नेपालमा भाग लिएकी सलिना रामुदामुलाई पनि सम्मान जनाएको थियो |
बिशेष चलचित्र आप्पामा मङपुका दुई रत्नहरु शब्दकार उमेश उपमा अनि प्रोडक्शन म्यानेजर पुष्कर सिंगर पनि सम्मेलित भएको कारण आप्पाको सफलतामा सम्पूर्ण मङपुले नै गर्ववोध गरेको छ भने यता त्रिशुले चालक कल्याण संगठन सचिवले चलचित्र आप्पा हामी जस्तै चालकको जीवनमा आधारित चलचित्र रहनुको साथै मङपुकै दुई व्यक्ति पनि यसमा सामेल भएको कारण चलचित्र टोलीलाई अझ भविष्यमा सफलताको कामना गर्दै नागरिक सम्मान गर्ने यो क्षुद्र प्रयास रहेको बताएका छन् | साहित्यकार सुरेन्द्र थिङको प्रमुख आतिथ्य रहेको कार्यक्रममा सिन्कोना सहव्यवस्थापक वर्नाली विश्वास विशिष्ट अतिथिको रुपमा उपस्थित थिए भने संजीव घिसिंगको अध्यक्षता रहेको कार्यक्रमलाई पुष्कर सिंगरले संचालन गरेका थिए ||

Now Pay Rs 50 each to visit Tiger Hill
Tourists visiting Tiger Hill, Darjeeling’s famous sunrise point, for a glimpse of the Kanchenjungha have to shell out Rs 50 each.
The forest department’s decision to introduce the entry fee has drawn objections from tour operators who fear they would have to foot the expense for all those who have already booked their Puja holidays.
The travel agents are already at loggerheads with police over restrictions on the number of vehicles travelling to Tiger Hill every day.
Forest officials said they had started collecting the Rs 50 fee on September 15 since Tiger Hill falls within the Senchel Wildlife Sanctuary.

The chief wildlife warden of the state is authorised under the Wildlife (Protection) Act to charge entry fee in protected areas, the officials said.
“The initiative has been taken also to increase the revenue collection, around 40 per cent of which will be distributed among joint forest management committees that are run by people living in forest villages. The funds can be used for development activities in their areas,” said Jiju Jeaesper J., the divisional forest officer of Darjeeling. There are 31 forest villages under the division.
Travel agents, however, alleged that the decision had not been announced and they had not been consulted.
Suresh Periwal, who has been included in the “hall of fame” of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, and Samrat Sanyal, general secretary of the Himalayan Hospitality and Tourism Development Network, said the sudden imposition of the entry fee would hit travel agents hard.
“We submit quotations of the itinerary for this season in March-April. Now, we have no option but to pay from our pockets,” said Periwal, who deals largely with international tourists.
Sanyal said tourism industry stakeholders should have been consulted. “This can cause confusion among tourists. Those who have already booked their trips through travel operators might refuse to pay the additional money. This would mean that the operators would have to bear the additional financial burden for the (Puja) season,” he said.
The Darjeeling Association of Travel Agents (DATA) and the West Bengal Tourism Forum also criticised the decision.
“People are being charged to see wildlife. When there is no wildlife for tourists to view, I think the entry fee (at Tiger Hill) might amount to extortion,” said Pradip Lama, DATA general secretary.

https://www.telegraphindia.com

Tea Tracks - Vintage Train Route To Darjeeling
After the journey from the plains, it is tempt­ing to take the motorable road to Darjeel­ing, but we chose the slower narrow gauge train. The conversion from steam to diesel engine has added some speed to the heritage train but it is still a slow ride, taking about six to seven hours while a road journey takes subsequently less sans any traffic jam. But then isn’t a trip to Darjeeling, located in the northern part of West Bengal and popularly known as the Queen of Indian hill stations, about lan­guorous pleasures, basking beneath the shadow of the Himalayan snow ranges, sipping endless cups of the champagne of teas and riding the toy train?

Thus, we waited at the Siliguri Junction station for the New Jalpaiguri-Darjeeling Passenger (NJP-DJ) train to arrive. Running on a two feet (0.610 m) gauge track, the train consisted of a blue diesel engine pull­ing three coaches, and it required no stretching of the imagination to realise why it is called the ‘toy train’.
Just giving us enough time to settle down by the large carriage windows, the train was on its way. As we rolled past Sukna station, we could see tea gardens, interspersed with forests, unfurling around us. Reminding us that it is to the tea trade that the train owes its origin.
After the British managed to obtain the tiny hamlet of Darjeeling as a gift from the ruler of Sikkim (then an independent kingdom) in 1835, they appointed Archibald Campbell as the superintendent of the hill station four years later. Among the many things intro­duced by Campbell was the cultivation of tea. It is said that an indigenous variety of tea was being cultivated in Assam following its discovery around 1826. But the Chinese variant introduced by Campbell, nurtured in the loamy soil and the cool weather, soon turned out to be an absolute winner. The stringent rules regarding plucking and processing of tea laid down by him are still followed today.
Even though the Hill Cart Road was laid from Siliguri to Darjeeling and the British travelled by horseback or pony carts, it was not an easy journey. Franklin Prestage prevailed upon the govern­ment to build a railway line into the hills. Completed in phases, between 1879 and 1881, the railway itself was an engineer­ing marvel. It climbs 2,112 metres on its 88-kilometre long route between NJP and Darjeeling, through a series of loops and z-reverse, which helped overcome the steep gradient. Founded as the Darjeeling Steam Tramway Company, it was later renamed Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR).

As the train crossed Rongtong station, we realised that we had cleared the first of the several loops. The train had begun to climb uphill. The railway track runs almost parallel to the Hill Cart Road, oc­casionally entering into forested patches only to come out on the road again, sometimes even crossing right across. Sometimes, the train hugged the hill side, sometimes the lip of the slopes.
Near Tindharia, we crossed the first reverse. Here the train goes back and then again forward to go up a level along the hill side. Often, you may find a train berthed at an upper level to allow an­other train from the opposite direction to pass through.
It crosses several loops and reverses before it passes Gayabari station. A little later we cross a hill spring called Pagla Jhora (mad torrent) whose volume of water increases manifold during the monsoon, sometimes causing a landslide or partly washing away the tracks.
Kurseong onward, the tea gardens came closer. The velvety bushes covered the slopes as far as the eye could see. Dur­ing plucking season, you will find scores of women, with a basket on their backs held in place by a rope around the head, busy snapping the two leaves and buds. It is a delicate job and requires practice.
Each tea garden has its own factory where the leaves are processed by the ‘orthodox’ method to keep the flavours intact. The tea has a brownish-black, well-twisted appearance and contains a lot of ‘golden tip’. Certain morphologi­cal characteristics of the leaf are said to be responsible for the quality of the tea —tipping is one such. The ‘tip’ is derived from the hairy buds and leaves of the plant, which the Darjeeling variety is well endowed with.
From garden to the cup, it is a long process. Some of the key process involves withering, rolling, oxidation and fermen­tation, drying and finally grading. One of the key pillars of the tea trade are the tea tasters. A long-acquired expertise, it is through tea tasting that the standard of tea is determined, based on its subtle flavour, colour, astringency and other characteristics.
Several tea gardens in the area are now promoting ‘tea tourism’, which includes a tour of the garden and factory, tea tast­ing, and accommodation in their plush bungalows (some dating back to the British era).
The toy train ran through some of the most congested parts of the Hill Cart Road. Habitations and life appeared to spill on to the railway tracks. We almost looked into the living rooms of people, read labels of jars in the stores, and sali­vated at the sight of a plate of dumplings being shared by a couple in a wayside restaurant. Rounding a bend, the engine tooted furiously. Many people preferred to walk along the tracks because the road was choc-a-bloc with rushing vehicles.

After Tung station, we crossed Sonada, which in the local Lepcha language means the ‘cave of bears’. In fact, there is a story attributed to Mark Twain where he spoke about a railway manager on this route sending an urgent telegraph to his office in Calcutta saying ‘tiger eating station master on front porch, telegraph instructions’. These areas were home to many wildlife considering they were deeply forested in the 19th century.
Perched at 2,258 metres, and covered in mist almost round the year, Ghum is one of the highest railway stations in the world, and the highest in India. Here the train stops for another 10 minutes, prob­ably taking a rest after the steep climb.
In 1999, the DHR was accorded World Heritage Status by Unesco* (the tag was later extended to Nilgiri Mountain Rail­way and Kalka-Shimla Railway, and now together they have been categorised as the Mountain Railways of India).
After Ghum, the train takes the famous Batasia Loop, a double spiral—one of the many engineering marvels this line is famous for—where the train offers an al­most 360 degree view of the hills. Some­time back, the place has been beautified with a park and contains a memorial dedicated to Gurkha soldiers. From here, the train descends to Darjeeling town.

Although Darjeeling has been shorn of its colonial nostalgia, the look and feel of the pre-independence town lives on in pockets; a hotel here, a clock tower there, a legacy restaurant, a vintage photo stu­dio, or the botanical garden. While newer brands have made inroads, we were happy to note that two old restaurants, Keventers (our preferred choice for breakfast, tea and mountain views) and Glenary’s (for lunch), were holding on to their fame and position.

NOTE:  Bagdogra, the nearest airport, is about 14km away from Darjeeling. From Siliguri, Darjeeling is about 65km via Hill Cart Road and nearly 80km via National High­way 10. Stay options include: Windamere Hotel (from `13,500; windamerehotel. com), Central Heritage ( from `2,500; cen­tralhotels.in) or Mayfair Darjeeling ( from `7,500; mayfairhotels.com). Avoid a visit during the monsoon season as landslides are common. You can book the tickets for the toy train on irctc.co.in.
*Recently, the UN body has asked for a report on the state’s conservation of DHR after they found the train and the tracks suffering from insufficient maintenance.


https://www.outlookindia.com

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