GTA with 10-12 days Mamata assures GJM

The GTA Bill was passed in the West Bengal Assembly on September two last year.

Kalimpong: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday assured the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha that the process for implementing the Gorkhaland Territorial
Administration, the new hill council in Darjeeling, would be completed within 10 to 12 days.

"The chief minister has assured us that the process for implementing the GTA will be completed within ten to 12 days," GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told reporters here after a meeting with the chief minister.

Banerjee had taken up the GTA issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on February 22 in New Delhi as she had promised the GJM, which had threatened to burn copies of the
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Bill if it did not receive presidential assent by March 27.

Earlier on February 11, the chief minister on a visit
to Darjeeling had blamed the Centre for the delay in
implementation of the GTA and said that New Delhi had sought
certain clarifications which had also been sent.

On February 28 a GJM delegation led by its President
Bimal Gurung had met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in
Delhi and had given him an ultimatum.

Chidambaram had told the GJM that the formalities for
the bill were in process.

The GTA Bill was passed in the West Bengal Assembly on
September two last year.

The tripartite agreement was signed on July 18 last
year in the presence of Chidambaram, Banerjee and Gurung at
Pintail village, about 8 km from Siliguri.

Banerjee also announced Rs two lakh for the family
members of the three killed in police firing at Siphu on
February 8 last year, the GJM general secretary said.

The chief minister said that she would take up the
issue of electricity bills not paid by hill residents between
August 2007 and August 2011 when the GJM agitation was in full
swing, with the power minister.

A committee headed by the Home secretary would be formed to look into the cases against GJM workers and supporters was another assurance given by the chief minister.

Banerjee also assured the GJM about recruitment of unemployed youths in the hills in the police.

On the GJM`s demand for doubling of rations in the
hills, the chief minister said that she would discuss it with
the food minister.

Giri also said that the chief minister had promised to
set up a horticulture centre at Kalimpong and an orchid centre
at Mirik.

The demand of the GJM for a university in the hills
would also be looked into. The district magistrate was also
asked to look for suitable land for setting up an engineering
college, he said.


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