Mamata blames centre for delay on Gorkha autonomy
Siliguri: With the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) threatening to revive its movement for a separate state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday chose to blame the central government for the delay in implementing the tripartite autonomy agreement.
"We know they are discontented over the delay in implementation of the GTA (Gorkha Territorial Administration) treaty. I am also not happy over this unnecessary delay. The central government is doing the delay," Banerjee said while addressing the media after a meeting with the GJM leadership.
"We have already sent the answers to the clarifications the centre had asked for. But I don`t know why there is so much delay," she added.
Banerjee mentioned that she had sought an appointment with the prime minister on any of the dates between Feb 22-24 regarding early implementation of the proposed GTA and other issues.
"I will visit Darjeeling Feb 28," she said.
Banerjee also indicated that the CPI-M was trying to create problems in the hills by instigating the separatist groups to raise new demands every other day.
"Some political parties are trying to create disturbance by raising new demands each and every day. But I want to say that they won`t be successful in their intention. The GTA treaty will be implemented word by word."
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said after meeting the chief minister: "We are satisfied after the meeting. But as our president has already said, the deadline for the implementation of the GTA agreement by March 27 still stands."
Earlier, GJM president Bimal Gurung had set a Mar 27 deadline for the GTA`s formation and had warned that if that was not done, the agreement papers would be burnt at a meeting in Sukna, about 20 km from Siliguri in Darjeeling district.
The GJM leadership expressed its satisfaction after the meeting but insisted that the March 27 deadline stands.
"She has told us that she will do everything regarding the implementation of the treaty as early as possible," GJM leader Roshan Giri said.
The GTA accord is a tripartite agreement signed on July 18 last year between the GJM and the state and central governments for setting up a new autonomous, elected GTA. It was to be a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).
In accordance with the agreement, an expert committee was set up to conduct a survey of the Gorkha-dominated parts of Siliguri, Terai (plains of Darjeeling) and Dooars (foothills of the eastern Himalyas) to see if some territory from these areas could be brought under the proposed GTA.
The committee, headed by Justice (retd) Shyamal Sen, was expected to give its report late by last month, after it was given an extension of six months.
Later on, at a function of the railways, Banerjee said the problems regarding the implementation of the GTA would be solved soon.
"During my visit to Darjeeling on Feb 28, the problems regarding the GTA will be solved," she said.
The GJM central committee has expressed anguish over the developments. GJM general secretary Roshan Giri met Governor M.K. Narayanan Tuesday and requested him to ensure that the GTA was formed soon.
Meanwhile, five anti-GJM parties in the hills - the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League, the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists, the Gorkha National Liberation Front (C.K. Pradhan), the Gorkhaland Rashtriya Nirman Morcha and the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisang -- have formed a Gorkhaland Task Force.
The elders of these parties have accused the GJM of betraying the cause of Gorkhaland and getting obsessed with the GTA.
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