Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), which came into being earlier this month, is a ‘preparation’ for a separate Gorkhaland state which would come into being soon, GTA chief Bimal Gurung has said.
“In six months (from the formation of GTA), or a year maybe. I will not let it delay further,” Mr. Gurung, also president of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, told PTI in Darjeeling in an interview.
Asked about his comment on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee categorically speaking against the creation of a separate state, he said so many states have been created since Independence. “Why should only the Gorkhas not be allowed to have their state? Nothing short of statehood is a complete solution to the problems of the Gorkhas, be it identity or development. The geopolitical situation of the region logically demands a separate state.”
Reposing faith in Ms. Banerjee, Mr. Gurung said as a chief minister she felt strongly for the hills and played an active role in making GTA come through but rued her government’s decision not to send anyone from the hills to the Rajya Sabha.
He said during the Saturday meeting with Ms. Banerjee it was resolved that a high-powered committee would submit its report on the inclusion of additional areas to GTA by early June.
GJM, he said, has given to the state government a list of 199 contiguous mouzas in the Dooars (foothills) and Terai (outer foothills) region which are dominated by Gorkhas for inclusion in the GTA, he said adding the opposition by tribals in the area was due to instigation by outside forces.
“GTA is not just for Gorkhalis. It is for everyone,” he said adding GTA had plans for the development of the Darjeeling hills and restoring its glory. Education was the top priority, while focus would also be on industry and generation of employment.
Asked the reason behind GJM general secretary Roshan Giri signing all official agreements with the state government, including the GTA, Mr. Gurung said “I will sign only on a separate Gorkhaland state agreement.”