Friday, November 16, 2007

Is something is moving?

A rather diverse crowd met under the broad aegis of “savethehills” (organized by the Himalayan Farmer’s Front (HFF), Kalimpong)

The issue - landslides caused by the Sep2007 rains

The meeting began by Mr Yusuf Simick of Farmer’s Front requesting Wg Cdr Praful Rao (retd) to give a presentation on the landslide scenario.

This was done by him highlighting the fact that in Sep2007, the Chief Minister of Sikkim had spoken to the Prime Minister(Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority) about the landslide situation in Sikkim (as per the 06Nov2007 Telegraph report) whereas in the immediate vicinity ie Darjeeling district, both the State Authorities and the DGHC had taken no action whatsoever.

There followed a long discussion amongst the members on the landslide situation and how best to get the Govt / DGHC to take preventive measures at least in the critical areas since the time available was only the dry season (from Dec-May).

Some of the speakers who took part were:-

a) Mr Norden Hishey –rep HFF

b) Mr Mohan Pandey- Agronomist

c) Mr Anmol Prasad- Lawyer

d) Mr UM Pradhan- Civil Engineer

e) Mr PT Bhutia- “save NH31” committee

f) Mr OB Das- Red Cross, Kalimpong

g) Mr Yusuf Simick - rep HFF


a) “savethehills” would be a campaign by the people to draw the attention of the Govt / DGHC / Media to the destruction caused by the landslides in 2007 and the necessity of preventive rather than post disaster action ie RELIEF.

b) All action would be taken under savethehills banner which would be an apolitical people’s movement devoted (for the time being) to hasten preventive action against landslides by the concerned DGHC / Govt departments since the time available was extremely limited(5months).

c) In order to achieve the above, it was decided that a multipronged attack aimed at mobilizing the Govt / DGHC / Media and so on, was necessary.

d) Since the Chief Minister of West Bengal was visiting Darjeeling on the 23Nov2007, a point was mooted that a group of people from savethehills could meet him and present a memorandum.

e) It was decided to hold a much larger emergency meeting under savethehills banner on Sat, 17Nov2007, at Trizum Hall, Kalimpong to ratify/change the above (point ‘d’) and chart out the future course of action.


Comment by Praful Rao

I am glad to inform you that awareness about the landslide problem is growing here in Kalimpong; there are quite a few meetings where it is being discussed, the local press is covering it well and even our educational institutions are giving this topic as assignments to their students.

This is a welcome change because only an alert public can coerce an inactive government into action.

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