Gorkha leaders ready to talk with West Bengal government in centre’s presence

June 19th, 2008 - 3:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Darjeeling, June 19 (IANS) The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), agitating for a separate Gorkhaland state, Thursday said it was prepared to hold talks with the West Bengal government in the presence of the centre at Delhi and not in Kolkata. “We are not prepared to go to Kolkata for the discussions. We are open to talks with the state government in Delhi, in the presence of a representative from the centre,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told IANS here.

State chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Wednesday sent a letter to GJM chief Bimal Gurung renewing his appeal for talks on the Darjeeling issue.

Giri said the GJM was yet to receive the latest missive from the chief minister.

“The Darjeeling district magistrate (Rajesh Pandey) Wednesday told me that he will be receiving the faxed letter from the chief minister and he will hand it over to us. But we have received no such letter so far,” he said.

Pandey said no such letter has landed from the state secretariat at writers building.

Meanwhile, the indefinite shutdown called by the GJM entered the fourth day Thursday, paralysing normal life in the three Darjeeling Hill subdivisions -Kalimpong, Kurseong and Darjeeling.

The rains continued in Darjeeling, though the intensity decreased. There was a marginal improvement in the electric supply, but the town experienced intermittent power cuts.

The GJM had on June 10 called the indefinite shutdown in the hills, but gave a 60-hour relaxation the next day to enable thousands of stranded tourists to reach the plains.

Later, the party again deferred the agitation by two days and the shutdown resumed at 6 p.m. Monday.

With the Gorkhaland demand triggering violence in the Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri and the Dooars in the past few days, tea and tourism - the bread and butter of the region - has been severely hit.

The GJM has been leading the movement in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling district that ensures greater autonomy to the district’s governing body Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |