Kolkata: The West Bengal government has
broadly agreed on the Centre`s draft proposal to set up an
interim council in Darjeeling, replacing the Darjeeling Gorkha
Hill Council which runs the administration in the hills, Home
Secretary Samar Ghosh said today.
With the Centre keen on the interim arrangement in
Darjeeling, the state government has held talks with political
parties other than the GJM to elicit their views in the run up
to the next round of tripartite talks on August 17. The Centre
has so far been speaking only to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha
Ghosh said the political parties were told to submit
their views in writing before August 6, which would be
communicated to the Centre by August 9.
Setting up an interim council required legislation,
which needed time and a session in the House. It could even be
done through ordinance to save time, he said.
The non-GJM parties in the hills have opposed an
interim arrangement and demanded restoration of law and order
and the democratic process first.
The GJM, which has been spearheading a movement in the
Darjeeling hills for a separate state of Gorkhaland, has now
settled for an interim council which should also have under
its jurisdiction the Siliguri and Dooars and the Terai in the
plains in neighbouring Jalpaiguri district.
The DGHC at present only administers the three hill
subdivisions of Darjeeling district -- Darjeeling, Kurseong
and Kalimpong -- and not Siliguri subdivision in the plains.
"The area is not a major issue for the government,"