Hope Bengal will not be divided: Tribal group

July 24th, 2011 - 1:00 am ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, July 23 (IANS) The Adivasi Vikash Parishad (AVP), which opposed the signing of the Darjeeling tripartite agreement, Saturday expressed hope that the proposed Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) will not have any areas from Terai and Dooars under its jurisdiction.

“We are happy. The chief minister has assured us of development of the area…This is democracy. If somebody wants area from here and there, he or she will not get it. There is parliament and assembly in this country,” said AVP president Biswa Tirkey after a meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

A tripartite agreement on the trouble-torn Darjeeling hills in northern West Bengal was signed July 18 between the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) and the state and central governments, triggering euphoria in the hills, but protests and a shutdown in the plains.

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

An expert committee has been set up for the purpose of the survey of the Gorkha-dominated parts of Siliguri, Terai (plains of Darjeeling) and Dooars (foothills of the eastern Himalyas) to examine if areas from these places can be brought under the GTA. The committee is expected to give its report in six months.

When asked whether they were afraid of the expert committee giving away land from the Terai and Dooars to the GTA, Tirkey said: “We were not aware of the features of the agreement. But now we are clear. We are not afraid of anything now.”

“We have discussed the matter fully with the chief minister. We are living in the Terai and Dooars area for past 200 years. Our forefathers were living in that place. It is not so easy. We will place our versions before the expert committee,” he said.

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