Rattled by Airport, school building collapses

VOL 9 No 207 RNI No: SIKENG/2006/18384
Rattled by Airport, school
building collapses
HM Correspondent/HS
Pakyong, Apr 9: There
seems to be no end to damages and danger posed by
the under construction
Greenfield Airport at Pakyong, East Sikkim. Mired in
controversies, the project
touted of being one of the
projects in the state has once
again terrified residents. Puspanjali School, which had
been rendered rickety, collapsed here Wednesday
night. The scariest part of the
incident is that the school
still functions in temporary
classes near the main building during the day. Had the
incident taken place during
the day, it would have been
catastrophic. There were no
reports of any injuries or casualties in the incident, but a
Bolero vehicle parked in the
4-storied building came amid
the debris.
Established in 1998, the
private institution is located
right below the 80.38 meter
tall reinforcement wall, making it one of the most vulner-
able buildings in the area with
huge cracks on the walls and
foundation pillar. The school
had been vacated a year
ago, while regular classes
were being held at other buildings around the school premises. Following the incident Wednesday night, regular classes at the school
were suspended Thursday
and will continue to remain
closed for a week until the
debris are cleared and made
safe. Notably, a new building of the school is coming
up in Namchebong area of
Ex-servicemen observe
Black Day, Asha thunders
Pakyong and may take another year or two before the
school can be shifted to the
new facility.
School teacher Deepak
Dahal informed that the main
reason behind the closure of
the school is because the
students will have to pass
through the old building to
reach the temporary classes
and the debris needs to be
cleared, while he also reasoned parents’ apprehensions against sending their
wards to school in such a situation.
Kurseong, Apr 9: “Even if I
have 100 babies I will not give
them to the Indian Government (Army) unless and until Gorkhaland is achieved.
The Gorkhas have sacrificed
themselves for the Country
and we do not even a state
of our own to live in,” thundered Aasha Gurung, the
president of the women’s
wing of the Gorkha Janmukti
Morcha (GJM) on Thursday.
The statement comes in
the wake of the April 9, 2008
lathicharge on ex-serviceman
near Darjeeling while rallying
for Gorkhaland and Gurung
was on Thursday addressing the ex-servicemen pro-
gramme here today. The Indian Gorkha Ex-Servicemen
observed April 9 today as a
black day hitting the streets
from Kurseong tourist lodge
to the Gorkha community
hall at park location. Ex-servicemen from nooks and corners of the hills participated
in the rally that was also attended by the Gorkha Janmukti Muslim Minority Morcha as well.
“The Gorkhas, Jats and
Sikhs are the only community in India who are considered brave soldiers in the Indian Army. If is unfortunate
that the Gorkhas are not given justice by the Indian government. We are only demanding a state within the
framework of the Indian
Constitution,” said Asha
Gurung, who is also the better half of Bimal Gurung the
GJM president.
Col. Ramesh Allay, the
chief of ex-servicemen association however said April 9
is being observed as black
day since years. “We have
already submitted memorandums to the central government demanding justice on
the incident but unfortunately no actions have been taken,” he said. “However, the
ex-servicemen are still committed for creation of
Gorkhaland no matter the
government treat our men
like they did on April 9, 2008,”
he added.
HM Correspondent
khs the Management has assured to pay Rs. 1 Crore 50
lakhs by April 30. The remaining amount will be disbursed
by September,” said Suraj
Subba, General Secretary,
Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union (DTDPLU,) affiliated to the Gorkha
Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
The workers under the
banner of DTDPLU had
threatened to go on a fast
onto to death stir if the talks
held today failed to address
their issue. Workers of the
Dhotreh, Kalej Valley and Peshok Tea Estate in the Darjeeling Hills under the Alchemist Group has been on an
agitation path demanding im-
Gangtok,Apr 9: Sikkim Governor Shriniwas Patil attended 64th Plenary Session of
the North Eastern Council
that began at New Delhi on
Thursday. The two-day plenary session of the council
is chaired Union DoNER
minister and Chairperson
NEC Dr. Jitendra Prasad. The
inaugural session today was
attended by Kiren Rijiju,
MoS Home Affairs, Governors and Chief Ministers of
eight North Eastern states.
Patil will deliver his address
in the session on the issues
concerning Sikkim on Friday.
Elaborating on some of
the innovative initiatives taken during the last few
months, Dr. Jitendra Singh
referred to a unique practice
of holding the Ministry of
DoNER’s camp office by rotation in each of the eight
North-eastern States starting
from February this year
which has been designated
as “DoNER at Doorstep”
Discussions were held on
the various developmental
Siliguri, Apr 9: Two time
councilor and one of the candidates in the SMC polls slated for April 25 for ward 10
Kamal Agarwal who represents the CPIM had a narrow escape this morning after an assailant attacked his
office and the people inside
there with a sword.
The incident occurred
around 11:30 am when one
Arjun Das, who claims to be
working for political parties
for money, walked with a
sword in Agarwal’s office
asking for the later. Agarwal
is also a tax practitioner. The
people present at the office
immediately sensed trouble
and informed the attacker
that he would be informed of
Agarwal when he comes
back. The attacker probably
did not know Agarwal by
However, despite informing Arjun of Agarwal’s absence he started attacking
randomly and in the recce
Dinesh Das, a client of Agarwal while resisting the attack
suffered injuries on his left
arm. Agarwal’s wife Manju
was also present in the office. The police who were informed immediately rushed
to the spot and arrested Arjun.
Arjun is known to be a
resident of Uday Shankar
Colony in ward number 10.
“I work for various political
parties in lieu of money,” he
told journalist refraining to
name the political outfits.
The CPIM in particular
has come down heavily on
the incident. “The culprit has
acknowledged working for
various political parties. The
incident must be probed seriously and find out which
are parties that uses him.
This must be a conspiracy to
baffle the opposition candidates and supporters,” said
Asok Bhattacharya, the Darjeeling District Left Front
convenor and former municipal affairs minister. The par-
ty later hit the streets in protest against the incident.
Agarwal in the meantime
was clueless of the man attacking him. “The assailant
resided in ward 10 till 2014
but he now lives somewhere
else,” said Agarwal. Police
while interrogation found a
copy of a missing diary of the
lost of his voter identity card
from Arjun’s possession.
The BJP and the Congress has condemned the
incident further demanding
security for the opposition
Dedicated, direct budget
to GPUs for rural
schemes: Union Minister
mediate payment of arrears
including wage arrears, provident fund, gratuity, medical
bills and other fringe benefits.
The arrears stand at around
Rs. 4.5 Crores.
Earlier two rounds of talks
between the Management
and the union in presence of
the Assistant Labour Commissioner, Darjeeling had
failed to come to a conclusion
forcing the workers to start a
relay hunger strike from April
6. Regarding the wage arrears
as per the Darjeeling tea industry agreement the first installment has already been
disbursed. The remaining two
installments will be disbursed
in June and October.
Proposed bridge over Ganga to boost
development in NE states
Siliguri, Apr 9: Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari's
announcement of allocating
Rs 25,000 crore for the construction of a 2.5 km long
bridge over the River Ganga
between Sahibganj and Nanihari (Katihar-Siliguri),
Bhagalpur, is expected to help
integrate the northeastern
states with the rest of the
country, thereby boosting
the development of the region.
The northeastern states
which include Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram, Me-
ghalaya and Nagaland are
said to be the country's most
neglected region. Experts say
that isolation and years of
neglect by the Indian government have fueled occasional
tribal unrest and insurgency
in the region, thus hampering
the overall growth of the NE
states. Most of the states in
the in the region are underdeveloped. A number of state
capitals don't have an airport
and there is also dearth of railway connectivity in the region, even after over six decades of Independence from
Sikkim Go
ends 64th NEC Plenar
Govvernor att
Plenaryy Session
HM Report
HM Correspondent
Tea impasse solved, workers
call off relay hunger strike
Darjeeling, Apr 9: Positive
talks between the management and the Assistant Labour Commissioner, Darjeeling on Thursday finally broke
the impasse between the tea
garden workers owned by
Alchemist Group and the
Management while the relay
hunger strike called on since
April 6 by the workers also
coming to an end.
“Out of the Rs. 4.5 Crore
dues, the non provident
fund, gratuity dues amounts
to Rs. 2 Crore 29 lakhs. This
includes medical arrears, ration and other fringe benefits.
Out of the Rs. 2 Crore 29 la-
HM Correspondent
Meanwhile, the AAI authorities overseeing the construction work of the airport
were unavailable for comments as many of them have
left station due to the ongoing strike called by the affected house owners. Many
house owners in the area affected by the construction
have been protesting against
the delay in payment of the
compensation amounts. The
AAI has only paid around
20% of the compensation to
the residents whose buildings have been damaged by
the construction, while few
of them have not even received a penny.
The construction works
has been on a standstill
since early this year, while
the deadline for the completion has already been postponed from March 2015 to
March 2016. The main
cause of the damages to the
houses near the airport premises is due to massive
pressure the structure is
creating on the landscape.
The lands around the airport have started to become
unstable, making it sink and
causing the buildings to develop cracks and collapse.
Puspanjali School building
adds to one of the many
other buildings which have
collapsed since the start of
the construction of airport
in October 2009.
CPIM candidate attacked,
finger on parties
activities taken up in the
North Eastern region by the
different Ministries and Gov-
ernment organisations including several key ministries.
On Wednesday, Patil
called on Nitin Gadkari,
Union Minister for Road
Transport and Highways.
During his meeting, Governor raised the issue of road
connectivity in Sikkim and
sought special attention of
Central Government for the
up gradation and extension
of road network to facilitate
and fast track the growth and
development of the State.
the British. According to the
experts, tea, plywood and
crude oil are abundant in the
NE states. The region produces two-thirds of the country's
tea but not a small portion of
the profits from these three
sectors have been properly reinvested for the development
of the isolated region. So the
states lack industrial growth,
thus fueling unemployment
and unrest.
As BJP leaders claim, the
present central government is
concerned about the development of the region and
hence it has increased the
funding for the development
of the seven sister states by
29.43 per cent in the recently
declared annual budget.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey
from Godda Lok Sabha constituency of Jharkhand who
has raised the issue at Parliament on several occasions
said, “The bridge will help
northeastern states overcome
the prevailing isolation from
the rest of the country, which
is one of the major hindrances for its development. The
bridge will also bring the
country closer to southeast
Asian countries" Godda MP
Nishikant Dubey (BJP) said.
HM Report
Gangtok, Apr 9: The
centre has allocated a
dedicated budget of
Rs.158 crore to transfer
fund directly to the Gram
Panchayat units to
avoid delay in the
implementation of rural
schemes, Union
Minister of State for
Panchayati Raj Nihal
Chand Meghwal informed
Thursday. The minister
after inaugurating a new
Gram Vikash Kendra,
Nandok, East Sikkim said
the dedicated budge will
be directly transferred to
the Gram Panchayat level
for execution of schemes.
This he said would
ensure that repeated
proposals would not
have to be sent to the
Ministry requesting for
The union minister
also commended Sikkim
for its unique development model and made
particular mention of the
rural infrastructure
created by the State
Government to facilitate
smooth execution of
public work. Meghwal
said that Sikkim is the
only state with a
successful two-tier
Panchayati Raj setup.
He further stated that
the robust infrastructure
created by the Government of Sikkim for
implementation of Rural
development programmes will add to the
development of the
The Minister
recorded his appreciation for the RMDD
department for its high
percentage of success in
the implementation of
Pradhan Mantri Jan
Dhan Yojana and
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
In his concluding note,
the Minister assured full
support to the State in
its efforts towards rural
State Rural Development and Panchayati Raj
minister S.B.Subedi
highlighted the achievements of the state in
rural development and
Panchayati Raj and
thanked the minister for
his maiden visit.
The delegation also
visited Nandok Gram
Vikash Kendra and
inspected broom
plantation scheme and
CC Footpath under
MGNREGA, Rural Water
Supply Scheme, ongoing
construction of REDRH
house, and inaugurated
one house under
CMRHM and handed
over the keys of the
house to the beneficiary.