Centre to work for Gorkhaland Hill Council: PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said the Centre will work with constructive spirit to find a viable solution to outstanding issues related to the Gorkhaland Darjeeling Hill Council.

"Whatever issues are outstanding, the House has my assurance, we will work with the same constructive spirit to find a pragmatic, practical and viable solution," he said in the Lok Sabha.

Speaking on the motion of thanks to the President's address to Parliament, Singh noted that the Centre had worked with sincerity to find an amicable solution to the "difficult problem" of Gorkhaland.

The matter was raised during the debate by Darjeeling MP and BJP leader Jaswant Singh.

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Act to set up the GTA for the Darjeeling Hills takes effect on March 14, 2012.

The GTA Bill got Presidential assent on March 7, paving the way for setting up of the GTA and holding of elections in the Hills.

It was passed in West Bengal Assembly in September last year, accommodating most changes sought by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha.

Through 54 amendments, the GTA Bill had tried to ensure that the legislation was in accordance with the tripartite agreement and the Hills body got more autonomy than the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), which it will eventually replace.

The preamble to the Bill says it will provide for establishment of a Gorkhaland Territorial Administration for the region comprising the three sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and some areas of Siliguri sub-division in Darjeeling district. The objective was to establish an autonomous self-governing body to administer the region.