GJM to take part in GTA polls

June 30th, 2012 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Darjeeling, June 30 (IANS) The Gorkha Janmuktui Morcha will take part in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) polls to be held July 29, a party leader said Saturday.

The decision was taken at the party’s core committee meeting here in this northern Bengal hill resort.

“We will contest in all the 45 seats of the GTA. Our president Bimal Gurung will finalise the candidates,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told reporters.

Gurung has also been requested to be a candidate in the polls, but he has sought time to decide.

North Bengal Affairs Minister Gautam Deb welcomed the GJM’s decision.

Nominations for the polls to the GTA - the proposed new development agency in the northern hills of West Bengal - can be filed till July 9, according to a state government notification.

The three picturesque Darjeeling hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseyong and Kalimpong have been on the boil for nearly three decades due to anti-government protests over the Gorkhaland demand. The hills had witnessed killings, police crackdowns and long shutdowns which severely impacted the hills’ economic mainstays - tea, timber and tourism.

On July 18 last year, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM, and the state and central governments for setting up a new autonomous, elected GTA, a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor - the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) formed in the late 1980s.

The state government has decided to form a three-member fact verification panel to look into the recommendations of a high-powered committee on the issue of area demarcation in the proposed GTA.

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