Darjeeling tripartite accord signed (Lead)

July 18th, 2011 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Sukna (West Bengal), July 18 (IANS) A tripartite agreement on the Darjeeling hills was signed Monday between the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) and the West Bengal and central governments.

At the core of the pact is the formation of a new autonomous, elected Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) formed in the late 1980s.

Terming the agreement as the new beginning for Darjeeling, union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said the central government will keep a watch on the path of the GTA and offer all kinds of help to the newly-formed administrative body.

“This is a historic day. This is a day to step into the future and a new beginning for Darjeeling. We know you had faced lot of problems. This is a time to keep aside those sufferings and look into the future. You (GJM leadership) have to show that you can govern,” said Chidambaram at the signing function in Pintail village in Kurseong sub-division of Darjeeling district.

State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lauded the accord and ruled out any possibility of the division of Bengal.

“After fighting for a long time, here comes the environment of peace and harmony. We will give full cooperation to the GTA. Darjeeling is heart of the state. Darjeeling and Siliguri are like two sisters. They cannot be separated from each other,” she said.

Officers from the central and state governments and GJM general secretary Roshan Giri signed the accord.

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