Gorkhaland: Centre not sending strong message to GJM, says WB minister

With the GJM having called an indefinite bandh in Darjeeling demanding Gorkhaland and saying that it would only talk to the Centre, a Bengal minister slammed the union govt for not sending `a strong message` to the hill party.

Last Updated: Aug 09, 2013, 19:55 PM IST

Siliguri: With the GJM having called an indefinite bandh in Darjeeling demanding Gorkhaland and saying that it would only talk to the Centre, a West Bengal minister on Friday slammed the union government for not sending `a strong message` to the hill party.

"The Centre has a important role to play. Their ministers are meeting GJM leaders. They can do so. But we have not as yet seen a strong message from the Centre to the GJM which is using force and intimidation to enforce its indefinite bandh," North Bengal Development minister Gautam Deb said here.

He pointed out that the Centre was a signatory to the tripartite agreement leading to the formation of the new hill council, Gorkha Territorial Administration replacing the earlier Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

To a question whether the state government would hold talks with the GJM, Deb said "It take two hands to clap. There can be discussion. But for that to happen there is need to ensure a congenial atmosphere and normalcy."

Claiming that normalcy would return to Darjeeling within two or three days, he said "We are getting feedback that a large section of the people are unhappy that normal life is being disrupted indefinitely by the GJM using force."

Stating that the Calcutta High Court had given a directive to the state government to ensure normalcy in the hills and that emergency services remained undisrupted, he said "We will be taking immediate steps."

Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee told reporters in Kolkata that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also said that the state government would take steps in accordance with law to ensure normalcy in the hills.

"The Calcutta High Court has given direction that it want steps so that people do not suffer and have asked the state government to ensure that schools and colleges remain open," Mukherjee said.

The chief minister has earlier ruled out division of the state and dissolution of the GTA.

PTI