Kolkata: The West Bengal assembly Friday
passed a bill, paving way for the formation of a new autonomous hill council in Darjeeling after several amendments were brought by the state government while accepting objections raised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
A total of 54 amendments to the Gorkhaland Territorial
Administration Bill moved by Chief Whip of the Trinamool
Congress Sobhandeb Chattopadhay was passed by the House by
voice vote accepting key objections of GJM including to
incorporate financial and administrative powers in addition to
executive powers as mentioned in the GTA agreement.
The government, however, rejected most of the amendments
moved by CPI-M members Surya Kanta Mishra, who is the Leader
of the Opposition, and Anisur Rahman.
An amendment providing for reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward classes in the GTA moved by Mishra was accepted, on the other hand.
The CPI-M asked the government to refer the bill to a
select committee for further scrutiny, but it was rejected by
the House by voice vote.
Terming the GTA agreement and the Bill as a new beginning for Darjeeling, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
said there was no point creating confrontation among the
people in the hills and the adivasis in the plains.
"This is a historic day. This is a day to step into the
future and a new beginning for Darjeeling. We will give full
cooperation to the GTA. Darjeeling is the heart of the state.
Darjeeling and Dooars and Terai are like brothers and sisters.
They cannot be separated from each other," she said.