Kalimpong gets new block in Pedong
Kalimpong district got a new block in Pedong on Monday on a day pending demands such as setting up School Service Commission (SSC) in the hills and extending the Darjeeling Mail’s journey to Gulma near Sukna were raised once again.
Kalimpong-II block was bifurcated into Pedong and Lava blocks. While the new Pedong block will be headquartered in Pedong, Lava block, which is what the old Kalimpong-II has been renamed as, will be headquartered at Algarah, Kalimpong-II block’s old office.
Kalimpong was upgraded to a district by the state government on February 14, 2017, but till date lacks a subdivision. With Pedong, the district will now have four blocks, Kalimpong 1, Pedong, Lava and Gorubathan.
Pedong block will cover six gram panchayats but many want the headquarters of Pedong block be in the interiors for more use to people in villages such as Kagay, Lingsey and Lingseyka.
Kalimpong district magistrate Vimala Ranganathan said Pedong was picked as block headquarters as it fulfilled certain criteria. “We will ensure all facilities will reach the doorsteps of the people,” she said.
The new block formation notification had come some months back and Pedong BDO Kaushik Chakraborty had been appointed before the Assembly elections but could not assume charge because of the model code of conduct.
People still demand at least 14 more blocks be made in the GTA area, which now has nine blocks. There was a demand to make Algarah-Pedong a separate subdivision along with Kalimpong Sadar and Gorubathan-Jaldhaka subdivision.
In Darjeeling, a demand for starting and ending Darjeeling Mail from Gulma station in Darjeeling instead of New Jalpaiguri station was raised by the National Gorkhaland Committee (NGC), an apolitical body. “In 2014-15, during a meeting at Darjeeling DM office, in the presence of the chief minister, I had asked for it and the idea was appreciated, but, there was no follow-up after that,” said Trilok Dewan, former Darjeeling MLA and NGC vice-chairman.
Dewan said that despite the train named Darjeeling Mail, the train to Calcutta, starts and ends at Jalpaiguri district.
The former legislator then took up the matter with former Darjeeling MP S.S. Ahluwalia.
“The MP was kind enough to prepare a detailed technically viable proposal after discussing the same with the concerned railway authority. The proposal was then forwarded to NEFR general manager stationed at Katihar,” said Dewan who added that the issue was also raised before Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar recently.
A teachers’ organisation from Darjeeling on Monday also wrote to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration with an appeal to set up a separate School Service Commission (SSC) for the hills and start recruiting teachers whose credentials were verified last year.
The last SSC (Hills) examination was held in 2000 and after that there is no structured system for teacher recruitment in hill schools.