Kolkata: Attacking the GJM for "stalling the development process" in the northern West Bengal hills by renewing its demand for a separate state, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday announced she would visit Darjeeling in the first week of September.
Breaking an eight-day silence on the hills where normal life has been paralysed following a spate of shutdowns and other movements launched by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) which leads the newly-formed Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (GJAC), Banerjee termed the unrest as "unfortunate" and accused the agitationists of resorting to "political gimmickry".
"I respect all my Darjeeling brothers and sisters. I am proud of them. But it is very unfortunate that instead of developmental works, that political party has resorted to agitational programme stalling the development process," Banerjee said in a post on her Facebook page.
Iterating that her government was committed to delivering services to the people of the hills, she asked: "Then why these agitational programmes every six months? Why this `political pollution`? As a result of it, development is suffering, people are suffering, Darjeeling is suffering."
Banerjee said politics should facilitate development, not impede it.
"The ongoing political gimmickry is harming everybody. Some of the damage may be irreversible. Students may lose a year. NREGA (Natioanal Rural Employment Gaurantee Act scheme) funds may lapse. Tea exports from the Hill may fall and be possibly replaced by tea from other countries. Who is to be blamed?"
The chief minister pointed out that she has visited Darjeeling over 20 times to usher in growth and prosperity for the people.
"I will be visiting Darjeeling again during the first week of September. The Lepcha brothers and sisters have invited me to attend a programme.
" We want to see all-round development in all spheres like education, health, employment, industries in Darjeeling. We want to see Darjeeling as a peaceful haven so that its future is settled forever," she added.