Urging the people to ensure peace in the Darjeeling hills, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday inaugurated a two-day Hill Business Meet in Darjeeling. “You give us peace [in Darjeeling], we will give you prosperity,” the Chief Minister told the gathering which comprised a number of industrialists from Kolkata. Announcing a special incentive of ₹100 crore for the development of industry in the hills, she said: “The bandh in the hills had caused a ₹300-crore loss to the tea industry and about a ₹1000-crore loss to the entire economy of the hills.” Ms. Banerjee was referring to the 104-day-shutdown from July to September 2017, when the hills were on the boil over a violent agitation for creation of a separate State of Gorkhaland. During her inaugural address, Ms Banerjee kept referring to the need for peace and stability in the hills. “Please ensure that there is no violence, some individual leader can gain out of it but not the youths of the hills,” she said. The Chief Minister said other than tourism and tea there is lot of scope for horticulture and IT and software industry.Full cooperation “Let’s first make a start. Our government is fully ready to help you. I can also assure you on behalf of the industrialists that they will give you full cooperation,” she said.The idea of business summit in the hills was mooted by Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chief Benoy Tamang. Mr. Tamang was appointed chief of GTA by Ms .Banerjee when GJM president Bimal Gurung resigned from the post.PTI adds: “Darjeeling is a part of West Bengal and will continue to remain so without being separated from it. I give more importance to Darjeeling than my own constituency and will continue to do this if I am ensured that peace would be maintained here,” Ms. Banerjee said.Apart from focusing on eco-tourism and adventure tourism, the GTA is identifying heritage sites which can be converted into effective tourism products, she said.The Chief Minister also said Kurseong will be developed as an education hub, while two IT hubs would come up in Kurseong and Mirik.
The National Commission for Women on Monday wrote to Uttar Pradesh Director-General of Police O.P. Singh seeking a ‘free, fair and speedy’ investigation into the alleged road accident involving Unnao rape survivor.“The commission is seriously concerned about the unfortunate incident. Considering the gravity of the matter, it is required to ensure absolutely free, fair and speedy investigation into the matter and take action deemed appropriate for the crime committed. The commission also demands that it be kept apprised at every stage of the investigation,” NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote in her letter.Delay in casesSenior Supreme Court lawyer and women’s rights activist Vrinda Grover says it is the delay in disposing cases that render victims extremely vulnerable.“Where a perpetrator is powerful and victim is from a vulnerable group, it is apparent that that the law is not going to take its own course and the police are not going to act in accordance with the law. So, extraordinary measures will have to be taken to ensure the girl gets justice. I have always maintained that the best form of victim protection is a speedy trial. The chargesheet in the case was filed last July, but the case has not been adjudicated yet, while the survivor’s uncle has been framed in several cases which are moving by leaps and bounds. This is a classic textbook case of what happens when a victim comes from a very vulnerable group and seeks justice.”She added that if there was any political will to ensure reversal in crimes against women and girls, that the party ruling at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh so often talks about, the accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar would have been suspended.White PaperMs. Grover says that the government must issue a White Paper providing details of what stage the case was at, why was there a delay in disposing it of, who got adjournments, what reports were sent by the court concerned to the district judge and what was the supervision being done by the High Court of such cases.According to the last NCRB report for 2016, 89.8% cases of crimes against women brought before courts remained pending.