Darjeeling: Closely on the heels of the formation of the Lepcha Development Council, the Tamang community of Darjeeling Hills has demanded an exclusive development council.
A team of representatives from the Tamang Youth Association (TYA), youth wing of the All India Tamang Buddhist Association (AIBTA), led by its secretary Sanjay Moktan today met NBDD minister Gautam Deb in Kalimpong and urged for the formation of a separate council for the Tamang community.
The Association had submitted a petition to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee last September with similar demands.
After meeting Deb, who was in town to hand over compensation to Saradha chit fund scam victims, Moktan told reporters, his team has requested the minister to look into the demand for an exclusive Tamang Development Board.
"He (Deb) has assured us that the government will take up the matter seriously," he said.
On the Association`s future strategy, Moktan said, "In the period between Dusshera and Diwali, a delegation will meet the Chief Minister to take the talks forward. We are planning to organise a function after Diwali and invite her, where we expect her to announce the formation of the board."
The AITBA secretary said, though the Tamang community was granted tribal status in 2002, the problems being faced by them have not been resolved.
"All-round development of the Tamang community is possible only with the formation of a development board," he claimed, while clarifying their demand is solely for the purpose of cultural and economic development of the community.
Stating that the Association is not opposed to the demand of Gorkhaland, Moktan said, "Members of our community have supported the Gorkhaland demand. Like the Lepchas, our demand is also for preservation and development of our language and culture as also to avail of our rightful facilities from the government. When Lepchas can get their rights, why can`t we?"
It may be mentioned here that AITBA had condemned Sanjay Moktan for petitioning Mamata Banerjee on a Tamang Development Board when she visited Kalimpong on September 3.
Accusing Moktan of defaming the community, the AITBA had expelled him from its primary membership.
On being asked about his demand in spite of being expelled, Moktan said the town committee of the AITBA may have cancelled his primary membership, but he continues to be a member of the Association`s central committee and claimed the demand for the board made by TYA has the support of both the community and the organisation.