We don't support separatists, says Mamata

Siliguri: Ahead of her meeting with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) top leaders tomorrow on the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said she did not support separatists.

"We do not want any division (between the hills and the plains). But we want unity among the hills and the plains. I do not support separatists," Banerjee said while inaugurating the week-long North Bengal Utsav here.

GJM has threatened to revive the agitation for Gorkhaland state if GTA was not set up by March 27.

Banerjee, accompanied by 12 ministers, held a review meeting with senior officials during the day to take stock of development work in north Bengal.

While inaugurating the festival, she unveiled 'Banga-Samman' award and announced a slew of projects for development of north Bengal districts.

Footballer Baichung Bhutia, poet Joy Goswami, thespian Bibhas Chakraborty, and a few others were the first recipients of 'Banga-Samman' award instituted by the state government.

In July last year, soon after coming to power in May, the government had instituted another award 'Banga Bibhushan' and nine eminent persons were the first recipients.

"We are preparing a master plan for development of tea, tourism and cottage industry for the development of North Bengal," Banerjee said.

She said she had recommended to the Centre to identify Darjeeling and Coochbehar as backward districts in the state.

Banerjee inaugurated nine projects for the region.