Darjeeling: Railway Minister Mamata
Banerjee today said she will request Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh to visit Darjeeling and submit a report to him seeking a
special package for the hills but virtually rejected the
Gorkhaland demand by GJM.
"I understand you have suffered a lot and have been
neglected over the years for lack of development. What you
require is a special package which I would like to request the
prime minister to announce for you," Banerjee said addressing
people at the Darjeeling railway station.
"On my return to Delhi, I will submit a report to the
prime minister urging for a special package for the hill
people here which you need most. After the Commonwealth
Games, I will talk to him about you," she said.
Starting her speech in Nepali to wide applause, she
said such special packages were also needed for the people of
Telengana, Bundelkhand and `junglemahal` to dispel poverty and
She said she had held talks with Gorkha Janmukti
Morcha, but the Gorkhaland demand was not discussed.
"Darjeeling is part and parcel of our country and it is duty
of all of us to ensure its development."
In an apparent rejection of the Gorkhaland demand by
GJM, Banerjee said, "You are asking something. May be I have a
difference of opinion, which I do not agree to. I have
limitations. I know what I can do."
She, however, said if the Gorkhas were dubbed
foreigners, she did not agree.
"You are very much part and parcel of our motherland.
Love your mother. Have faith on me and come to us and allow us
to come to you. There is no barrier between the plains and the
hills and it is time that all of us should dedicate ourselves
for the betterment of the people of Darjeeling," she said.
"What you are agitating I think is for employment,
education, health and for peace and democratic rights."
Paying respect to the Gorkhas who laid down their
lives in wars with China or Pakistan, she said the Railways
would offer employment to one family member of the eight
ex-servicemen from Darjeeling who sacrificed their lives in
the Kargil war.
Condemning the brutal murder of AIGL leader Madan
Tamang, Banerjee said that it was shocking that the prime
accused Nikol Tamang was still untraced after his escape from
"It is amazing that the man has not yet been found,"
she said, adding a RPF camp might be considered for