"Allow me to usher in development"

In an oblique reference to intermittent shutdowns sponsored by political parties in support of the demand for a separate State of Gorkhaland, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday called for peace in the Darjeeling hills, and urged the people of the region not to create barriers in the development process that the government was trying to usher in.

“You have to only maintain peace and I do not want anything else. Allow me to usher in development. Do not think that there was no development in the past, so there will be none in future. I want to bring development. Do not stop me from doing that,” she said, addressing a gathering in Kurseong in the hills after participating in a meeting of Lepcha Development Council.

“I feel very sad when work is started but not completed. Do not give me pain. Give me love and see what I can do for the hills... The hills are close to my heart; do not break it,” Ms. Banerjee said during her first visit to the hills after the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) put on hold last month the agitation for the creation of Gorkhaland.

Referring to the Statehood agitation that had been taking place in the hills for over a month, after the Centre announced the creation of Telangana, she said “if people create issues every three to six months tourists feel scared and stay way from the hills”.

“I do not want anything from you. Do not give me support. But support Darjeeling, the cause of the people and development of the hills,” she told the gathering with folded hands.

Expresses gratitude

Expressing gratitude to the members of the Lepcha community, Ms. Banerjee said they had invited her to the hills in August when there was a “bandh” and everything was closed.