Give solution for Darjeeling development, Mamata urges hill parties

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.  

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged political parties in Darjeeling hills to come up with a plan for a “permanent solution” to the issues faced by the region. The Trinamool Congress chief emphasised that the creation of a separate State would not bring development, making a reference to Uttarakhand that is grappling with natural disasters. While chairing an administrative meeting in the hills, she told representatives of political parties to chalk out a plan to develop Darjeeling and the region as part of West Bengal.

Since the 1980s, politics in the Darjeeling hills has been centred around the demand of creation of the separate state of Gorkhaland. In the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections, despite registering an emphatic win across the State, the Trinamool Congress could not win a majority of seats in north Bengal, including in Darjeeling district.

In an indirect attack on the BJP, Ms. Banerjee said “Before every election, some political party comes and promises separate State for Darjeeling. In reality, they want to create division among the people of the region.” She said every ten years, a new movement for a separate State came up and destroyed all the possibilities for the Darjeeling hills. The Chief Minister also announced allocation of ₹43 crore to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).

Elections to GTA

During the meeting that lasted over an hour, the Chief Minister also assured the representatives of political parties that elections to the GTA would be held after the voter list was updated. The GTA was created as a result of a tripartite agreement between the Union government, the State government and the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) in 2011.

Elections to the GTA have been pending for the past four years. At the meeting, some participants, including the MLA of Kalimpong, raised the issue that lack of public representatives was hampering development work in the hills.

Ms. Banerjee also chided her own party MP from the hills, Shanta Chettri, who had made remarks against another hill leader Anit Thapa who had recently launched his own party. “ We will not fight with any other political party in the hills,” Ms. Banerjee said.

The Chief Minister is on a four-day visit to north Bengal, her first after resuming office for the third time in May 2021. She is likely to leave for Goa on October 28.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 8:44:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/give-solution-for-darjeeling-development-mamata-urges-hill-parties/article37182118.ece

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