BY AMITAVA BANERJEE
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s North Bengal visit scheduled from December 26 to December 29 has sparked off anticipation whether she would be visiting Darjeeling. Though there is no official confirmation, there are strong chances of the chief minister inaugurating the tourist spot at Lamahatta and also taking part in the ongoing Darjeeling Tea and Tourism Festival.
When contacted, district magistrate Saumitra Mohan said, “I have not received any communication from the CM’s office yet regarding her visit to the Hills.”
Sources at Writers’ Buildings said the chief minister will be leaving Kolkata on Wednesday and after attending two important functions at Pundibari in Cooch Behar and another at Nagrakata in the Jalpaiguri District, she may arrive in Darjeeling on December 27 night or 28 morning and depart for Kolkata on December 29.
Mamata during one of her earlier visits, had stopped by Lamahatta, 20km from Darjeeling town and had expressed desire to develop this picturesque hamlet into a tourist destination. Accordingly the tourist department along with the forest department had built cottages and put up tents here. A watchtower, park and a walking trail is also being developed as part of the project.
BY ASHIM SUNAM
Army’s Sushsil Ghalay has won a gold medal in the 50m Rifle Prone Competition in the men’s category in the ongoing 56th National Shooting Championship. This was his second consecutive win and overall third win in the shooting championship.
THE 32-year-old Darjeeling shooter was sure of win even before he took his first shot. This is Sushil’s third gold medal as he won the title in 2009 and 2011 as well. He won the gold medal after putting up a total (combining both the qualifier score and finals score) of 695.4 points; Rakesh Mapat finished second with 694.2 and Sanjeev Rajput finished with 692.
Unlike many professionals, Ghalay did not practice everyday, but only practiced for four days before the event. But, during practice hours, he was completely dedicated towards it. “The way I was practicing, I knew, I would win the gold medal. I knew I would even come up with good score, but my score was down here (competition) as compared to my practice scores,” he said.
After taking the top position in the qualifier rounds there was no looking back for Ghalay. He was at his impressive best in the finals. Other players in the finals came up with good rounds as well. Sanjeev Rajput scored 104.0 in the finals, but it was still not enough to defeat the defending champion, who came up with 102.4 in the finals. Throughout the finals, he was in full control of his game, which came from his experience of winning three National Championships and other competitions apart from representing India in various World Cups, winning a Bronze medal in the Commonwealth Championship in Melbourne, 2005 and a gold medal in the SAARC Championships in Pakistan too.
Many players after attaining an age of 32 might as well think of giving up the sport, which requires a lot of travelling around the country and the world as well, but Ghalay looks hungry for more titles. He, in spite of winning the National Championships thrice has set a target for himself. He said, “I want to win a hat-trick of National Championship titles. I missed the gold in the 2010 National Championships and won it in 2011 and this time (2012) as well. So, I will try to win the 2013 title and complete the hat-trick of titles.”
“We are introducing unique items to promote the festival by involving tea pluckers and showcasing the village life to highlight the tea and tourism prospects in our town,” said Jeetu Giri, the press and publicity convener of the festival organising committee.
Samir Deep Blon, chairman of the Kurseong municipality, is the president of the organising committee.
Asha Mukhia Lama, Vinod Prakash Sharma and Saran Dewan are the vice-presidents.
“It is important that the whole town should feel the festive spirit. Hence, we have decided to light up shops and establishments on Hill Cart Road,” said Giri.
“The toy train track between Kurseong station and Mahanadi will be used for joyrides for the first time in the past two-and-half years. Paragliding and rock-climbing will also be introduced,” Giri said
Siliguri, Dec. 23: A group of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha supporters led by John Barla would meet Mamata Banerjee in Jalpaiguri’s Nagrakata on Friday in an attempt to get the chief minister’s seal for an alliance in the panchayat elections.
Trinamul leaders in the Dooars, where the party lacks a widespread base, said the decision on the alliance with the JMM and Morcha, if spelt out by Mamata would largely help them in the panchayat poll campaign.
“The initial move has been made by Gautam Deb (on the alliance). What we now need is the final seal. This would help us as well as the JMM and the Morcha who will work at the grassroots for the panchayat polls,” a Trinamul leader said.
Although chief minister Mamata’s visit is planned around government work, Barla said: “The minister (Deb) has agreed to allow us time so that we can meet the chief minister and articulate our demands.”
The demands Barla spoke about were of the tea industry in Dooars. Barla and his team will present Mamata a list of 10 demands.
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, Dec. 23: Bimal Gurung has directed the Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarathi Morcha to close down the Darjeeling Government College office for an indefinite period starting tomorrow to protest the state government’s decision to transfer two teachers from the institution.
Although colleges in the hills are closed for winter vacations, the administrative wings of the institutions are open and a closure of the office would mean that the teachers who are to be transferred would not be given release orders, mandatory before joining a new college.
Sherpa Bhutia, the head of the geography department, is to be transferred to Chandernagore Government College. The other teacher, Willie Henry, who heads the zoology department, is supposed to be transferred to AB Sen College in Cooch Behar.
“We met our party president Bimal Gurung (today) and according to his directions, we are closing down Darjeeling Government College indefinitely from tomorrow,” Asok Chhetri, the vice-president of the Vidyarathi Morcha, told The Telegraph today.
Darjeeling Government College is the only government college in the hills. Under the GTA memorandum, the college is supposed to be handed over to the hill body
Gurung, the GTA chief executive, had directed GTA executive member R.P. Bhujel to send a written objection to the state higher education minister asking the government to stall the teachers’ transfers till the institution comes under the autonomous hill body.
The letter dated December 18 read: “I, as directed by Shri Bimal Gurung, Hon’ble Chief Executive, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Sabha, request you to kindly hold the transfer of these teachers till the transfer of Darjeeling Government College is completed.”
MUSIC WATCH: The Diva to perform in Darjeeling – Abhaya and the Steam Injun in the land of Steam Engines
Darjeeling: Abhaya and the Steam Injuns is set to perform in the land of Steam Engines, the Diva who has released her third album Trisoul on 21st of December 2012 will be performing at Chowrasta on 27th of December 2012 beginning 5:30 pm. There is a great deal of excitement all around. Even the Diva, Abhaya, herself has expressed her excitement at performing in Darjeeling. In her facebook page, she has written, “We are super excited to come and perform at Darjeeling Tea and Tourism festival after six years. We still remember 2006 Darj Carnival as being one of the best gigs that we ever performed. The audience in Darjeeling is world class and it is such an honor to come back home and perform again!” Indeed, the return of the Diva points to better days in Darjeeling Hills where peace and gaiety resounds once again.
Abhaya and the Steam Injun’s new album Trisoul is also receiving rave reviews. According to the band’s manager Bikesh Kayastha, “The name of the album symbolizes the exact date of the launch which is 21.12.12, i.e., 2+1=3.1+2=3.1+2=3.”
Abhaya and the Steam Injun comprises of lead singer Abhaya Subba with Rajiv Rinchen Palzar on lead guitar, Shailendra Singh on keyboard, Tsewang NT Hyolmo on bass, and Nabin T Magar on drums. The band has previously released two albums – the self-entitled debut album in 2005 and “Nayan” in 2008. The band has also toured Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia, Dubai, UK, Bhutan, and India, and is planning a US tour in the upcoming year. They are also preparing for an English album to be released from an Indian record label. The new album will be promoted by Positive Vibes, a Kathmandu-based entertainment company.
Abhaya and the Steam Injun are also offering three songs for the upcoming Nepali Film UMA directed by Tsering Rhitar. The music video for the song Siri ma Siri is said to be one of the bands best music videos.