GTA will not be dissolved, says Mamata

Mamata Banerjee ruled out the dissolution of GTA as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) called an indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling hills.

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday ruled out the dissolution of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) called an indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling hills to press for its demand for a separate state.

The state government also accepted the resignation of GJM chief Bimal Gurung from the post of chief executive of GTA - an autonomous and elected hill development council created in 2011 through a agreement between the GJM and the state and central governments.

"There is no question of dissolving GTA. It was formed through a tripartite agreement. Moreover, the GJM had agreed to it. The elections to the GTA were duly held and its representatives elected and the hill council had started functioning," said Banerjee here.

Spurred by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance`s decision Tuesday to endorse statehood for Telangana, the GJM announced it would intensify the movement for the creation of Gorkhaland - a separate state carved out of parts of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts of northern West Bengal.

The GJM has called an indefinite shutdown in the Darjeeling hills from Saturday.

Banerjee accused the Congress and a few of its leaders of disturbing the peace in Darjeeling hills.

"The Congress and the centre have behaved in a partisan manner by calling three-four people of GTA to Delhi when they were to decide about Telangana."

"It is most unfortunate when people who have the responsibility behave in the most irresponsible way. They don`t have the right to disturb the peace which is prevailing here," Banerjee said.

Without naming the GJM, she also warned it against indulging in politics at the cost of the hills` economy.

"It is highly unacceptable for us that people think they can politicise Darjeeling at the cost of its economy. It is unacceptable that at any point of time they will ask tourists or students to leave the hills. I am warning those who intend to disturb the peace in Darjeeling," she said.

The GJM has issued a diktat to the tourists and students to leave the hills before Saturday when the indefinite shutdown is to begin.

She said her government has accepted Gurung`s resignation from the post of GTA chief.

"The governor had forwarded Gurung`s resignation to us and we have accepted it," said the chief minister.

Banerjee also said that she has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding to know the justification for the decision to grant statehood to Telangana.