Prez assent to GTA Bill within some days: Mamata



Darjeeling: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday said that presidential assent to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Bill in Darjeeling hills was expected to be signed within a few days.

"The Bill is expected to receive presidential assent within a few days," she said at a meeting here with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha President Bimal Gurung and other leaders.

She said that during her recent visit to Delhi she took up the issue of the tripartite agreement with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Banerjee said that she told him that the state government had done whatever was necessary and urged him to ensure the agreement was implemented at an early date as there has already been a month's delay.

"GTA will be a reality. What I have promised, I will keep. Once the Bill gets presidential assent there will be election to GTA," she said.

"The Centre, state government and the GTA will work together to ensure development in the Darjeeling hills, neglected in the past 34 years of Left Front rule."

She claimed that there was heartburn in the CPI-M as peace had returned to the hills after a long time. "If there is peace in the hills, there will be peace in the plains also.

"I am asking them not to stoke fire. Do not try to create a division between people living in the hills and the plains." She alleged that the CPI(M) had not only not done anything for the state, but for Darjeeling as well.

"I have come to Darjeeling six times in nine months. I will come again. Darjeeling is not only our dream, but also of the world."

The state government planned to turn Darjeeling and the adjoining Dooars and Terai into Switzerland, she said, adding that Rs 100 crore had been sanctioned for north Bengal tourism development.

GJM had given an ultimatum to the Centre saying it would revive its statehood agitation if the GTA Bill was not signed by March 27.

"We will burn copies of the tripartite agreement between the GJM, state government and the Centre if the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is no implemented by March 27," Harka Bhadur Chetri, a leader of the hill-based party, told reporters here.

PTI