Can sacrifice our lives, but won’t part with Darjeeling: Mamata Roundup)October 12th, 2011 - 12:12 am ICT by IANS
Darjeeling, Oct 11 (IANS) Asserting that the West Bengal government will not give in to the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday announced wide-ranging sops and promised all help to a proposed autonomous hill development body. But “we will not leave Darjeeling”, she affirmed.
In a bid to fulfil her pre-assembly poll promise of turning Darjeeling in northern West Bengal into a “Switzerland”, Banerjee announced that a master plan for tourism development was under way, and once completed and implemented, most of the issues of unemployment in the hills would be solved.
“We will help you with each and everything. We will help you with all our hearts. You people are our brothers and sisters. We are ready to sacrifice our lives for your development, but we are not ready to leave Darjeeling,” said Banerjee at a government function with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders on the dais.
The GJM has, over the past three and a half years, spearheaded the movement for a separate Gorkhaland to be carved out of some northern parts of the state, including the Darjeeling hills.
On July 18, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM and the state and central governments. At the core of the agreement is the formation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
The GTA is armed with more powers as compared to its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) formed in the late 1980s.
“For the sake of development and peace of the hills, for bettering the lot of the youths of the hills, we have done the GTA agreement. The work has already started for GTA. After that, there elections will take place for the formation of the GTA. For the election of GTA, the work for delimitation has also started,” said Banerjee.
Expressing concerns over condition of quake-stricken Darjeeling, Banerjee said she will request the central government for an additional Rs.500 crore grant.
“Darjeeling has been worse affected than even Sikkim. In addition to the Rs.500 crore relief already requisitioned under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), I will make a further request for Rs.500 crore,” said Banerjee.
Banerjee’s comments came a day after a GJM delegation gave her a memorandum asking for a Rs.1,000 crore central grant for restoration work and resettlement of the quake affected.
Banerjee, now on a two-day visit to Darjeeling, said the northeast and north Bengal should be treated similarly as both the areas have the same topography and geography.
She also announced that a Lepcha development council will be constituted, with its office to be set up in Darjeeling.
In a bid to woo the people on her third visit to north Bengal after taking over the reins of the state May 20, Banerjee announced various developmental projects, which would help to improve the social and economic conditions of the hills.
“Darjeeling will be Switzerland and everybody’s dreamland. The master plan for tourism development is under way, and once completed and implemented, the region will turn into a Switzerland,” she said to tumultuous applause.
Banerjee announced the “Destination Darjeeling” project under which the infrastructure of the Darjeeling district would be upgraded.
“From installing street lamps and signages across the roads, to sanitary development and garbage disposal, all will be done to make the city better. Eco-tourism policy for Darjeeling is ready. The funds have been sanctioned.”
Banerjee unveiled six railway projects, which include a modern printing press and basic training centre at the neighbouring hill town Kurseong, a filter manufacturing plant and a multi-functional complex building at Siliguri in the plains.
An international research centre named after Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and a Nepali academy after poet Bhanubhakta will also come up at Kalimpong’s Mongpu.
Banerjee kept on interacting with the crowd switching between Bengali, Hindi and at times in English, after starting her speech in Nepali.
She urged the people of the hills to walk along with those from the plains for development. “I am not here for politics but for development. If we work together, we will surely be successful…hum honge kamyab…we shall overcome.”
The youth of the region were promised police jobs, “like the people in Junglemahal (Maoist-affected forested areas in western part of the state)”.
- 'Will do everything for Darjeeling, no separate Darjeeling' - Oct 11, 2011
- GTA members sworn in; Shinde, Mamata assure support - Aug 04, 2012
- Telangana, Darjeeling should be viewed differently: GJM - Oct 11, 2011
- Darjeeling pact signed amid euphoria and protests (Roundup) - Jul 18, 2011
- Ahead of meet with GJM, Mamata rejects Bengal's division (Lead) - Feb 11, 2012
- Mamata withdraws Trinamool candidates from GTA polls - Jul 21, 2012
- Mamata blames centre for delay on Gorkha autonomy (Lead) - Feb 11, 2012
- GJM to take part in GTA polls, Mamata happy (Lead) - Jul 01, 2012
- Decision on territorial polls Saturday, says GJM - Jun 28, 2012
- Mamata blames centre for delay on Gorkha autonomy - Feb 11, 2012
- Mamata rejects tribal outfit's autonomy demand - Oct 13, 2011
- GJM wins absolute majority in GTA polls - Jul 13, 2012
- Gorkha group to meet Mamata for honouring accord - Feb 10, 2012
- Gorkhaland team meets Bengal governor - Aug 22, 2012
- Mamata gets rousing welcome in Darjeeling Hills - Oct 10, 2011
Tags: assembly poll, brothers and sisters, central government, central governments, chief minister, dais, darjeeling hills, delimitation, development and peace, government function, mamata banerjee, oct 11, predecessor, rs 500, sops, state chief, territorial administration, tourism development, tripartite agreement, west bengal government