GJM demands relief for cyclone-hit Darjeeling

June 3rd, 2009 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 3 (IANS) A seven-member team of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), which is spearheading a movement for a separate Gorkhaland, Wednesday met West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and demanded Rs.10 billion for relief and restoration work in areas of Darjeeling hills devastated by landslides triggered by Cyclone Aila.
The team of senior GJM leaders, led by party president Bimal Gurung, met Bhattacharjee at the state secretariat and also put forth their demand for holding three-tier Panchayat polls in Darjeeling hills. The meeting lasted for more than an hour.

“We demanded Rs.500,000 for the families of each of those killed in the landslide. But the government has only agreed to sanction Rs.400,000, of which Rs.200,000 would be given by the central government,” Gurung said at a press conference.

“A team from the Centre would also come to Darjeeling to monitor the post-Aila situation there. We also demand rehabilitation and relief material to be distributed by the district administration.

“The chief minister has assured us that the state government will provide all necessary help,” he said.

State chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty and home secretary Ardhendu Sen also attended the meet.

“We have not come to discuss the Gorkhaland issue this time. Now our only concern is to give relief to the cyclone victims in the hills. That discussion (for Gorkhaland) is going on in Delhi through tripartite talks,” Gurung said.

Landslides in Darjeeling May 26 left 27 people dead. Nearly 100 landslides took place in Darjeeling and its adjoining areas, affecting thousands of people living in the hilly region.

Cyclone Aila created havoc across West Bengal last month, claiming a total of 127 lives.

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