Pintail (WB): A historic tripartite
agreement ending two decades of uncertainty in the hills was
signed on Monday for a new council in Darjeeling with more powers
even as both West Bengal government and the Centre ruled out
any division of the state but GJM struck a discordant note.
The agreement for the new body, Gorkhaland Territorial
Administration, was signed in the presence of Union Home
Minister P Chidambaram, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung here, about 8 km
from Siliguri, as a 48-hour bandh was observed in the
adjoining Terai and Dooars in the plains against the signing.
The agreement was signed by West Bengal Home Secretary
G D Gautama, Union Home Ministry Joint Secretary K K Pathak
and GJM general secretary Roshan Giri here.
A note of discord was struck by GJM president just
after the signing ceremony saying, "Gorkhaland is our birth
right. We will not budge one step from this demand. There is a
difference between the signing of the tripartite agreement and
He told reporters, "In the coming days we will
formulate our strategy on Gorkhaland. But, we are happy with
the signing of the tripartite agreement."
His wife, Asha, chief of Gorkha Mahila Morcha, said
before the signing that she was happy at the inclusion of the
word `Gorkhaland` in the GTA agreement, but the ultimate aim
was to achieve a Gorkhaland state.
"The tripartite agreement for formation of the
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is just a small step and
the ultimate aim is a separate state of Gorkhaland."
However, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who kept her
pledge to resolve the Darjeeling hill crisis within three
months of coming to power, said there was no question of
bifurcating West Bengal.
Assuring that a complete economic package would be
given to GTA, she said that the agreement sought to confer to
the maximum possible autonomy within constitutional framework
and within central and state acts.
Describing the occasion as historic, Chidambaram said
the Centre and the state government would fully back the GTA,
which replaced the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in