10 Sep 2013 08:52 pm IST

Save The Hills presenting at Disaster Risk Reduction Webinar

Kalimpong’s Save The Hills is one NGO that has worked tirelessly towards raising awareness & helping mitigate the everyday thread of landslides and natural disasters in our hills, and is one rare NGO that actually have shown tangible results of their work.

They have now been chosen to participate in a Disaster Risk Reduction Webinar organized by Interaction & FedEx, as one of the finalists for the FedEx Award for Innovations in Disaster Preparedness. They share this distinction with big names such as Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Corps, etc.

Kudos to Save The Hills, and All The Best for the Webinar.

Here is some more information about the webinar if anyone wants to attend:

Disaster Risk Reduction Webinar Series
Thursday, September 12, 2013 – 11:00am to Thursday, October 17, 2013 – 3:00pm
Event Description: Innovative Programming in Disaster Preparedness
Thursday, September 12, 11 am EDT
Register for Webinar

InterAction, in association with FedEx, invites you to join us for a series of events to raise awareness on disaster risk reduction and preparedness. Join us for our first event which will be a webinar highlighting the finalists for the FedEx Award for Innovations in Disaster Preparedness. The final winner will be announced during DRR Day on October 16 in Washington, DC.

-Comunidades Resilientes: Locally-driven Disaster Preparedness and Risk Reduction in Peru, Food for the Hungry
-Use of Mulberry Branches in Home Reconstruction, Retrofit and Repair, Habitat for Humanity
-Developing a Livestock Early Warning System (LEWS), Mercy Corps
-Save the Hills, Save the Hills
-Girls Quake Science and Safety Initiative, Teachers Without Borders
-Disaster Preparedness, Mitigation, and Recovery for Food Bank Leaders, The Global FoodBanking Network

09 Aug 2013 10:24 pm IST

BBC World Service story on 80′s violence during Gorkhaland agitation

The BBC World Service’s Claire Bowes interviews Kalimpong citizens Mrs. Sharda Mukhia & her sister regarding their family’s personal tragedy during the Gorkhaland agitation in the 80′s.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01cmrwj

Recalling the past atrocities, tragedies, and sacrifices will hopefully help frame a perspective for the current unrest in the area.

Appreciate the bravery of this family in sharing their heart wrenching story. Sadly, despite all these years justice has not been served and these ultimate sacrifices seem to all have been in vain.

03 Aug 2013 10:07 pm IST

GJM activist dies, hills paralysed by shutdown

Indo Asian News Service | IANS

Darjeeling, Aug 3 (IANS) A GJM youth activist, who had set himself on fire July 30 to press for Gorkhaland, died Saturday, even as normal life in northern West Bengal’s Darjeeling hills came to a halt on day one of the outfit’s indefinite shutdown for seeking the separate state.

In Kolkata, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said some firm steps have been initiated to control the situation in Darjeeling. But in a hardening of stand, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung ruled out any talks with the state government.

Mangal Singh Rajput, the 24-year old Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha (GJM’s youth wing) worker from Kalimpong, succumbed to his wounds at a nursing home in Siliguri Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, central and state government offices, private establishments, commercial outlets, schools and colleges remained shut while vehicles stayed off the roads in the three Darjeeling hill subdivisions – Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong – with common people largely staying indoors, officials said.

“The situation is peaceful,” said Darjeeling District Magistrate Soumitra Mohan.
Violence erupted in the hills Thursday night when alleged GJM activists set fire to a police camp at Pokhriabong in Kurseong sub-division inflicting burns on two home guards, one of whom is serious.

A forest bungalow at Takdha under Darjeeling Sadar was also burnt down, while attempts were made to torch two police vehicles.

Five people were arrested in connection with the Pokriabong incident, said Superintendent of Police Kunal Agarwal.

Five companies of Central Reserve Police FOrce (CRPF) personnel, now deployed in the three hill subdivisions, were conducting route marches and patrolling to maintain peace. Besides, three companies of the state government’s Indian Reserve Battalion and combat force are also on duty.

GJM activists took out rallies, lit torches, picketed before offices, held sit-ins and raised slogans demanding Gorkhaland. They also stopped and checked emergency vehicles.

National Highway 31A, connecting Siliguri in Darjeeling district with Gangtok – the capital town of Sikkim – was open, but very few vehicles plied, said Additional Superintendent of Police, Kalimpong, Sangmit Lepcha.

However, tea gardens and cinchona plantations remained open.

Lashing out at the chief minister, Gurung said “We have nothing to do with the state government. We won’t hold talks with them. We will only deal with the central government.
“And what is the attitude of the chief minister? Whenever she comes, she gives us pain. She says she is rough and tough. No other chief minister talks like this”.

Asked about the situation in Darjeeling, Banerjee said: “Some firm steps have already been taken.”

The hills have been on the boil after the GJM intensified their movement demanding Gorkhaland – to be carved out of parts of Darjeeling and its neighbouring Jalpaiguri district – following the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance’s endorsement of statehood to Telangana.

A GJM delegation led by its general secretary Roshan Giri is now camping in Delhi, intending to hold talks with union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and other central leaders on their demand.

Gurung has already resigned as the chief executive of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) – an autonomous and elected hill development council.

The Gorkhaland movement has left many dead over the past two decades, besides affecting the region’s economy based on tea, timber and tourism.

On July 18, 2011, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM and the state and central governments for setting up the GTA, armed with more powers than its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s.

The GJM now runs the GTA after sweeping its maiden elections in July last year.

31 Jul 2013 06:23 am IST

Self immolation attempt by GJM supporter in Kalimpong

Darjeeling bandh: GJM supporter makes immolation bid
Press Trust of India | 30-Jul-2013 15:39 PM

Kalimpong: A GJM supporter tried to immolate himself at Dambarchowk in the heart of Kalimpong town demanding a separate Gorkhaland on Tuesday on the second day of the 72-hour bandh in the Darjeeling hills by the party. Police said Mangal Singh Rajput(45), a resident of Kalimpong, poured petrol on himself and rushed to crowded Dambarchowk before setting himself on fire.

The incident took the people by surprise, who rushed to his rescue and doused the fire. Rajput was taken to a hospital, where doctors said his condition was critical as he had received 90 per cent burns. Following the immolation bid, IRB personnel were posted to control the situation.

The bandh disrupted normal life in the Darjeeling hills with all shops, markets, school, colleges, government offices, banks and post offices closed as GJM supporters gathered at Chowkbazar in Darjeeling as also in the two other hill subdivisions of Kurseong and Kalimpong. Reports said among offices closed were the district magistrate’s, Prasar Bharati and Gorkha Territorial Administration, which runs the affairs of the hills.

There was no work at the 16 tea gardens and at the cinchona factory in the hills, the reports said. GJM supporters, including GJM Nari Morcha supporters, were seen controlling the traditional entrance to Darjeeling town near the railway station.

There was no transport on the roads or on NH 31A, the lifeline of Sikkim which connects it to West Bengal. Official sources said two more platoons of security forces were en route to the hills, where seven companies of RAF, five companies of Riot Police and two companies of IRB were stationed. Among the foreign tourists trapped in the hills, one was from Siberia and another from the UK. Domestic tourists have already left the hills.

GJM chief Bimal Gurung had on Monday threatened that the three-day strike would be extended into an indefinite one to press for Gorkhaland in case statehood was conferred on Telengana. He had also announced that he would quit as GTA chief in a day or two.

25 May 2013 02:47 am IST

Great new music by Kalimpong singer

Please listen to these two amazing tracks by Kalimpongey Bipul Chettri

Wildfire

and

Asara

Bipul makes beautiful evocative music. A smooth blend of various folksy musical influences, his songs are musically sophisticated without being inaccessible. In short, sure hits.

Congrats Bipul, keep it up. We look forward to your album.

24 May 2013 11:44 pm IST

GJMM calls indefinite hills bandh from Sunday

From Darjeelingtimes.com

FRIDAY, 24 MAY 2013 21:58

Darjeeling, May 24: GJMM has already called a Bandh in Kalimpong subdivision from this evening 6 pm onwards. Moreover, in Darjeeling today GJMM has announced the Darjeeling hills ‘Bandh’ from day-after-tomorrow (Sunday), as tomorrow is Buddha Purnima , if the Police and administration failed to release their supporters and Sabhasad Chandra Kumar Yonzon, who were arrested in Gorubathan against vandalism. The house of N K Subba, TMC leader was vandalized and restricted to enter into his territory by the GJMM supporters, in this connection, Police has arrested 21 GJMM supporters and GTA Sabhasad from constituency 43, Chandra Kumar Yonzon in Gorubathan.

Self arrests have been made in Darjeeling Sadar Police station by almost all the Sabhasads, including Roshan Giri, Binay Tamang, Col. Ramesh Alley etc. at around 7 pm.

06 May 2013 08:31 pm IST

GJMM calls off Bandh

From http://www.darjeelingtimes.com/

MONDAY, 06 MAY 2013 19:25

Darjeeling, May 6: With an ultimatum ended at 6pm today, indefinite bandh called by GJMM has been suspended till further notice said Roshan Giri, at a press meet in Darjeeling today. A delegation headed by Dr. Rohit Sharma met Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata today. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed her concern over the latest incident occurred in Darjeeling, she has also assured to form an Enquiry Commission to investigate the Mirik-Saureni incident. During the meeting with GJMM delegation, Chief Minister had a Telephone conversation with GJMM chief Bimal Gurung and requested to hold back indefinite Bandh called by the GJMM. Police has already arrested 8 GNLF supporters in this connection.

In an incident of clash between GNLF and GJMM supporters, GJMM leaders and supporters were mostly injured during Lathi-charged by the police and RAF personnel in Saureni, Mirik on Sunday. In protest, GJMM immediately called indefinite bandh in Darjeeling hills and demanded immediate transfer of Mirik OC (officer in charge of Mirik police station) and also arrest of GNLF supporters who are involved in the incident. Later bandh was called back, GJMM issued a threat of indefinite bandh with an ultimatum to meet their demands by 6pm of June 6.

06 May 2013 03:46 am IST

Gorkha Janamukti Morcha calls indefinite strike in hills, defers it till Monday

From TOI

IANS | May 5, 2013, 07.41 PM IST

DARJEELING, West Bengal: The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) on Sunday called an indefinite strike in the Darjeeling Hills of northern West Bengal demanding the removal of a cop and arrest of the rival GNLF activists for “attacking” its members.

Activists from the GJM and the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) clashed on Sunday during a public rally in Mirik in the district. Police had to resort to baton-charge to control the melee. Two people have been injured in the clash.

The GJM is demanding the removal of Mirik police station incharge Sourav Sen, who allegedly led an indiscriminate baton charge on its activists, injuring several of them.

“We have informed the government, including chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the police top brass that unless Sen is suspended and the GNLF miscreants are arrested, there will be an indefinite strike in the hills,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said.

However, the GJM leadership later relaxed the strike call till Monday evening to allow the West Bengal government to act on its demands.

“We do not want to disturb the tourist season. So we have decided to defer our strike call till Monday 6pm. If by then the government does not remove Sen and arrest the GNLF goons, we will go ahead with the strike,” said the leader of GJM, which has called for intensifying its demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

“The GNLF had organised a public rally without police permission. They attacked our people who were participating in an authorised rally. Police indiscriminately baton-charged our people,” Giri said.

“A strike does affect tourism, but if our demands are not met, then we have no other way out. We have to go for strikes,” said Giri.

The dragging campaign for Gorkhaland has led to the loss of many lives over the past two decades, besides hitting the economic mainstays – tea, timber and tourism – of the northern hills of the state.

The Subash Ghising-led GNLF spearheaded the Gorkhaland agitation till a few years back, but then lost ground to the GJM, which is now the numero uno outfit in the hills.

The GJM now runs the GTA after sweeping its maiden territorial elections in July last year.

18 Apr 2013 09:17 pm IST

Doctor arrested for torturing wife

ibnlive.in.com

Apr 18,2013
Darjeeling, Apr 18 (PTI) The owner of a nursing home at Kalimpong in Darjeeling district was arrested after his wife Dr Gyalmit Lepcha accused him of torturing her mentally and physically. Dr Gyalmit Lepcha had filed a written complaint against Dr Pawan Ojha, the owner of the nursing home and a veterinarian, at the Kalimpong police station on Sunday night. Ojha was produced yesterday at the ACJM’s court at Kalimpong and taken into police remand for 14 days. The police said he would be again produced in the court on April 29. Ojha is known in town as a respectful individual while his wife too is a well-known doctor at the Kalimpong Government Hospital. When approached by the press, she refused to comment.

18 Apr 2013 09:14 pm IST

“A place that doesn’t play cricket”

First of all, I’m not sure why there would be such a surprise that Kalimpong likes soccer more than cricket.
Nonetheless, it is a fact that Kalimpong has a long proud tradition of cricket. The talent’s just not been unearthed.

So good move by UVK et al.

From: www.telegraphindia.com
By RAJEEV RAVIDAS

Kalimpong, April 17: If you thought all boys in all localities in the country played only cricket, Kalimpong would make you think twice.

It has definitely made the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) think about popularising a sport that many in the country see as a religion.

Yes, Kalimpong likes soccer more than cricket, which is why the CAB, in collaboration with the United Veterans Kalimpong, is organising an under-17 t20 cricket tournament that started today.

The venue is the Dr. Graham’s Homes school ground. Four cricket academy teams are participating in the event, of which only one ‘ Veterans Kalimpong ‘ is from the hills.

The other three are Calcutta-based Bournvita Cricket Academy, Calcutta Cricket Academy and Howrah Union Cricket Academy.

Kanchan Maity, an A-level coach assigned by the CAB to promote cricket and spot talent in the hills, said the tournament is part of an exercise to popularise cricket in the hills. “The hills are known for football, but since the time we have been here, it has been quite apparent that there is an aptitude for cricket too.”

“I was here last year and conducted a few clinics, following which I picked eight players and took them to Calcutta in winter where they played the CAB under-14 league. A few of them, particularly the little leg-spinner Avishkar Sharma, fared very well. I think he picked up eight wickets in two 45 over games,” he said. The CAB is being helped in its endeavour by the UVK, which has former local cricketers among its members.

“The CAB had told us about its plans to introduce subdivision-level tournaments throughout the state, including the hills, sometime in May last year. They provided us with cricket kits worth Rs 50,000, and sent Kanchan to conduct clinics here,” said Sandip Jain, the UVK vice-president and a former cricketer from Kalimpong.

Jain said the tournament would be held on a larger scale next year and his association would do whatever it could to complement the efforts of the CAB.
“Our kids have talent in plenty, what they lack is professional guidance. Hopefully, this initiative will mark the start of unearthing cricketing talent in the hills.” One reason for the lack of popularity of cricket in the hills could be the lack of heroes. But then no player from the hills has ever played at the domestic level, like the Ranji Trophy.

The hills have had soccer heroes though. Dinkar Chhetri, the president of United Kurseong Football Club, was himself a soccer star. Urgen Lama from Kalimpong played for the Mohammedan Sporting Club in 1982.

19 Mar 2013 07:56 pm IST

Litter piles in Kalimpong in absence of dump yard

From The Telegraph


A garbage pile near the Mela Grounds in Kalimpong on Monday. Picture by Chinlop Fudong Lepcha

Kalimpong, March 18: The Kalimpong municipality has not collected garbage in the town for over 10 days, except for Saturday, as it is yet to find a suitable site to dump the town’s waste which was earlier dropped in the Teesta.

The local people had protested and forced the closure of the old civic dump yard at Bhalukhop in June 2008 after which the municipality had been dumping waste in the Teesta near Labarbote, ignoring protests from various quarters.

Once the NHPC’s Teesta low dam project Stage III started in Rambi, over 40 days back, which is about 10km downstream from Labarbote, garbage could no longer be dumped there as the water became stagnant in the upstream area.

The civic body then started dumping garbage at a place near Rambi on NH31A.

Kalimpong generates about four tonnes of garbage every day.

Municipality chairman L.B. Parihar said the town’s garbage problem would be solved soon as the approach road to a six-acre plot at Newargaon in Lower Bhalukhop that the municipality had acquired to set up a solid waste management plant was almost ready.

Parihar claimed the waste management plant was almost ready. “The garbage problem will be solved in a week’s time,” he said.

Even though work on setting up the plant had started about three years back, not much progress has been made because of frequent landslides in the area. A portion of the main road leading to the site was washed away in a landslide in the monsoons in 2011. The road is yet to be repaired and a new road leading to the site is nearing completion.

“If in all these years, the municipal authorities have been unable to find a permanent solution to the garbage problem, I doubt they would be able to do so in a week’s time. All this is very frustrating,” said a resident, who has to breathe the stench of the mounting garbage in front of his house.

Ratan Bahadur Tamang, a vegetable vendor in Haat Bazar, said customers have stopped coming to his shop because of the increasing pile of waste in front of his shop.

“My livelihood is under threat because of the garbage which is piling up everyday,” he said.

01 Mar 2013 10:53 pm IST

Kalimpong native’s #talesontweet

Back in 2011 Kalimpong native Manoj Pandey had a brilliant idea… A twitter handle, @TalesOnTweet, that tells tales … in 140 characters.

The challenges of succinctness, and of brevity versus narratives soon found many a follower & contributor, including giants like Salman Rushdie: [She died. He followed her into the underworld. She refused to return, preferring Hades. It was a long way to go to be dumped.], and actor Kabir Bedi [On the bank of the Ganges, he'd prepared a thousand funeral pyres, not knowing the sorrow of death. Till his son died.]

TalesOnTweet now has a contract for an illustrated e-book and a paperback version. These will contain tweets hand-picked from the hundreds that have been contributed by writers around the world.

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