The West Bengal government will work with the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) once it is set up, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in Kalimpong on Friday, after meeting Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president, Bimal Gurung, who could head the new autonomous body.
GJM is all set to take control of GTA, with 28 of its candidates, including Mr. Gurung, being elected unopposed in the July 29 elections. The body is to have 45 elected members.
“The State government is always with them [the GJM]. The Trinamool Congress will also extend support to them,” Ms. Banerjee said, adding that the discussions with Mr. Gurung had been very good.
She expressed satisfaction that things seemed to be on course as far as setting up of GTA was concerned. “Everything is proceeding according to the schedule. The situation is good and hence we are very happy.”
“What stood between us so far was sorted out today. As for the odd outstanding issues, we can always raise them with her, as she [Ms. Banerjee] is our mother,” Mr. Gurung said.
Ms. Banerjee said that after GJM takes control of GTA, development work in the region would begin. “I think they (the GJM) can do a better service to the Darjeeling hills.”
“We want Darjeeling to be very peaceful and very good, and we want it to become the number one destination in the international tourist map,” she added.
Asked by journalists what the priorities of development are, after GTA is formed, the Chief Minister said: “They [GJM] will prepare a plan of action. They want schools, college universities, and tourism, and surely we will give our assistance.”
GTA would be provided funds worth Rs. 200 crore, after being constituted as per the GTA agreement, Ms. Banerjee pointed out, adding that she has been urging the Centre to include Darjeeling district in the list of undeveloped districts.
Keywords: Gorkhaland Territorial Administration