Mamata Banerjee rules out division of Bengal

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee ruled out division of the state while announcing a flurry of development projects for Darjeeling hills.

Last Updated: Oct 11, 2011, 18:37 PM IST

Darjeeling: West Bengal Chief Minister
Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday ruled out division of the state while
announcing a flurry of development projects for Darjeeling
hills.

"As long as I live, I will help Darjeeling and the
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) but I will not
allow Darjeeling to separate from West Bengal," the chief
minister said inaugurating a tourism festival at the Mall
here.

"Darjeeling`s economy is greatly dependent on tourism and
a master plan for tourism development is under preparation
which will come off shortly," she said flanked by top Gorkha
Janmukti Morcha leaders, including its president Bimal Gurung.

Pointing out that the Centre gave a special grant to
North-Eastern states, she said Darjeeling should also be
considered for such a facility.

Pointing out that she had visited the hills thrice in the
last four months, the last being for signing of the tripartite
agreement for the GTA, Banerjee said the Centre, her
government and GJM would work together for the development of
Darjeeling hills.

Referring to the GTA agreement signed in July paving the
way for formation of a regional autonomous administrative
authority for Darjeeling with more financial and executive
powers, she said "GTA is designed for peace and development in
the hills."

She accused the previous Left Front government of
ignoring the development of the hills in the last 30 years.

Referring to the recent earthquake that caused severe
damage to roads and buildings in Darjeeling hills, the chief
minister said she had written to the Centre for assistance of
Rs 495 crore as disaster management fund to cope with the
situation.

"I will write for an additional Rs 500 crore," Banerjee
said.

PTI