New Gorkhaland body to be formed through direct election

The Centre, the West Bengal government and the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leadership have agreed to the formation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), an autonomous body, “keeping on record the demand of the GJM for a separate State of Gorkhaland.”

This is stated in the memorandum of agreement signed between the three parties on July 18 where it is acknowledged that the accord was arrived at “after several rounds of tripartite meetings at the Ministerial and at the official levels” and with the GJM agreeing to the setting up of the GTA, “while not dropping their demand for a separate State of Gorkhaland.”

The autonomous body will be formed “through direct election,” the agreement states.

While under the provisions of the Constitution “transfer of legislative powers to the new body is not possible, the power to frame rules and regulations under the State Acts, to control, regulate and administer the departments and offices and subjects transferred to the new body will be conferred upon the new body,” according to the agreement.

The GTA will comprise the sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong with extended areas of Kurseong sub-division.

“In regard to transfer of additional areas of Siliguri, Terai and Doaors to the new body a high power committee will be formed, comprising four representatives of the GJM, three of the State government, the Director of Census Operations representing the government of India and the Chairman of the Committee to be appointed by the State government,” it states.

The Committee which will be expected to give its recommendations “within a short period, preferably within six months” of its constitution will look into the “question of identification of additional areas in Silguri, Terai and Doaors that may be transferred to the new body, having regard to their compactness, contiguity, homogeneity, ground level situation and other relevant factors.”

There will be a GTA Sabha to consist of 45 elected members and five members to be nominated by the Governor. The executive body shall consist of a chief executive who will nominate 14 members out of the elected or nominated members as executive members.

“The Centre and the State will provide all possible assistance to the GTA for the overall development of the region. The Centre will provide Rs. 200 crore per annum for three years for projects to develop the socio-economic infrastructure in the GTA over and above the normal plan assistance to West Bengal.”

A total of 59 subjects have been transferred to the GTA, according to the agreement. They include agriculture, information and cultural affairs, school, college and adult education, fisheries, food and civil supplies, transport and urban development.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 11:01:11 AM |

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