With Class 9 students being unable to fill up their board examination forms without Internet, the Darjeeling teachers’ association on Monday met the district magistrate and sought restoration of its service, but in vain. The authorities rejected the demand saying they would make special arrangements for students to go to Siliguri to fill up their forms.The authorities have cited persisting law and order problem in the Hills, facing an indefinite shutdown seeking a separate Gorkhaland for the last 40 days. Internet services in the Darjeeling Hills had been suspended on June 18. No violenceMeanwhile, there was no report of any untoward incident from the hill town since Sunday night.GJM supporters took out rallies at the Chowkbazar area demanding Gorkhaland amidst patrolling by police and security forces. Tight vigil was in place at every entry and exit route.Except pharmacies, all other public service installations including shops, restaurants, hotels, schools and colleges have remained closed since imposition of the shutdown.With food supply severely hit due to the shutdown, GJM activists and NGOs were seen distributing food items among the people.According to officials, the State government sealed the Siliguri-based office of a Nepali language satellite television channel alleging that it was promoting unrest. The administration said the channel was promoting enmity between groups and encouraging violence and arson. The allegations were denied by the channel. “The Internet is banned for last 37 days and now this ban on the channel,” GJM supremo Bimal Gurung said.
West Bengal has incurred a loss of ₹23,811 crore in the devastations caused by cyclone Bulbul that has affected around 35 lakh people in three districts, said a report the state government submitted to the visiting central team said on Saturday. The report was handed over to the members of the central team during a meeting with state Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha at the secretariat and a separate report would be sent to the Centre. Members of the team called on the State government officials on Saturday, a day after they visited the cyclone-hit areas in North & South 24 Parganas and Purba Midnapore districts to assess the extent of damage caused by the storm.“The state has incurred a total loss of ₹23,811 crore in the three districts ravaged by cyclone Bulbul where over 35 lakhs of people have been directly affected. A total of 5,17,535 houses were damaged in the cyclone,” a senior official said, quoting from the report. Altogether 14,89,924 hectare of agricultural land have been damaged, it said adding that the power department has incurred a loss of ₹597 crore. As many as 4,35,000 tarpaulin and 6.2 lakh water pouches have been distributed by the state Public Health Engineering department, the report said.“Reports on losses incurred in North and South 24 Parganas and East Medinipur districts due to the storm and requirement in those areas were handed over to the central team. We would submit a separate report to the Centre,” the IAS officer said. The central team have made ground visits, conducted aerial surveys of the affected areas and met officials of the three affected officials.“We visited the areas affected by the cyclone to assess the extent of devastation. We have spoken to all the people concerned,” a member of the central team said.“We have taken note of what we have gathered from our meetings in these districts. We will now submit a report to the central government,” he said. The team members included joint secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs K.B. Singh, assistant director of department of expenditure under the Union finance ministry Sumit Agarwal, director of department of agriculture Narendra Kumar and deputy director of Union Power Ministry O.P. Suman. Cyclone Bulbul had made landfall late on November 9 between Sagar Islands in West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh. Altogether 14 people, including fishermen of a capsized trawler, died in the calamity. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier welcomed the visit of the team to the cyclone-hit areas. After conducting an aerial survey of the cyclone-hit areas, she had said on Wednesday that the loss incurred by the state due to the catastrophe might go up to ₹50,000 crore.
At least 44 people were killed and and 11 others injured in China today when a tour bus plunged into a Tibetan valley after a three-vehicle pile-up.”The 55-seat bus carrying 50 people fell off a 10-metre-plus-high cliff after crashing into a sports utility vehicle and a pick-up truck,” state-run Xinhua news agency reported.Another five people were in the other vehicles in the accident which happened at around 4:25 pm (0825 GMT) in Nyemo County, west of the capital Lhasa, in the Tibet Autonomous Region.The bus passengers were mainly tourists from regions including Anhui, Shanghai, Shandong and Hebei.The injured were being treated at hospitals in Lhasa and did not have life-threatening injuries, Xinhua said. An investigation into the cause of the accident is under way.Police have detained managers of the Feixiang Travel Agency and the Shengdi Vehicle Tour Company blamed for the accident.