A very shocking incident came to light recently with multiple employees of eKart (Delivery wing of Flipkart) in Mirik, Darjeeling finding that unbeknownst to them, huge amount of loans had been taken out in their name. What’s astounding is that they became victims of data leak, identity theft and fraud, not by any fraudulent “phone-scam” or “Nigerian Prince” type scam. The data, it turns out was used by their employer eKart to take out loan without informing the victims. We are fearful that what happened in Mirik is just the tip of the iceberg, and there is every possibility that the company’s extent of financial misappropriation, if it can be called that, or straight out financial fraud, may in fact be far wider. Involvement of App-based loan companies KarmaLife and InnoFin in this whole murky business exposes the dirty underbelly of FinTech start-ups, that may be duping thousands of victims, without their knowledge even.
The report takes note that “the tea garden workers in Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars do not have land or ‘Parja-Patta’ (land rights) on their ancestral tea growing lands. To dwell on their ancestral homes, they must send at least one family members to work for the tea company. On failure to send a family member for work, they lose their rights to live on their ancestral lands. Since the land rights are vested with tea company, there have been instances when the aged workers having no children were denied the right to even repair their houses on their ancestral lands.”
We, the CONCERNED YOUTH OF HILLS, would like to draw your attention towards one of the well known yet least cared issues of the hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong (GTA region) : the problem plaguing the education system in the hills.
One of our readers has written the following to highlight how J.C.B led politics could lead to environmental catastrophe and how the silence of the government/authorities in this whole sordid saga is alarming
It was just another March morning. My eyes were half awake and my fingers were already scrolling the phone screen shuffling between the headlines and news articles corresponding to my conventional practice of starting a day. Just then, I happened to come across a picture of a bhangera – sparrow. The moment hit me hard somewhere and took me for a long travel down my memory lane.
Mirik Lake also known as the Sumendu Lake is probably the first such artificial lake in the entire Hills. Made to attract tourism, which it has been able to do, the lake has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in this region. Many people here in the hamlet are dependent on tourism, as Mirik neither has fertile soil for agriculture nor there being many other means of employment.
Back in 2017, when the agitation of Gorkhaland was going strong. People were killed, jailed, the internet was banned but the hope then was strong. At least for me- I had an entrance exam at Shillong. A good escape from the reality of being inept to the land, which I loved the most.
People around the world create fences, walls, and boundaries, not so long ago in our villages of Darjeeling and Kalimpong we did it too, although naturally!
Much has been said and written about the so-called ‘Permanent Political Solution’ from many quarters. There are online discussions, zoom meetings, and political rallies galore, on ‘Permanent Political Solution’ (PPS). Some seem to believe it will be the panacea to all the issues confronting our region and people, while others believe it will be just another ‘Hawa-Mithai’.
I came to Darjeeling for my college 10 years back and one of my dear friends who was staying in Darjeeling for many years gives me a tip on the first day that was “you cannot predict and trust the weather in Darjeeling it is unpredictable ” anytime it can be rainy, sunny, cold, windy and so on”. It was very hard for me to understand until I went to Lebong to watch the Gold cup match on a very sunny day and ended up seeing fog most of the time, and the players and football only occasionally.