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Bengal home secretary talks GTA Sabha to discuss education matters

Roshan Giri, the executive sabha member in charge of education department
Darjeeling, Sept. 10: Bengal home secretary Basudeb Banerjee today held talks with the GTA Sabha to discuss matters related to education, the session coming within 10 days of the bipartite meeting between the state government and the hill body in Kalimpong.
The state’s promptness in convening today’s meeting, as a follow-up to the bipartite talks in Kalimpong on September 2, has led a section of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders to believe that the government is slowly “softening” its stand following persistent complaints by the party that the Mamata Banerjee dispensation was not co-operating with the GTA.
Roshan Giri, the executive sabha member in charge of education department, told The Telegraph from Calcutta this evening that the meeting was “satisfactory”.
“It was convened by the state home secretary and it is a follow-up to the recent bipartite talks in Kalimpong,” he added.
At the bipartite meeting, it had been agreed that the principal secretaries of different government sections would sit with officials of the GTA to discuss issues related to specific departments of the hill body.
Today’s meeting was held specifically to discuss issues related to the education department. The GTA was represented by Giri, Ram Bhujel, the executive sabha member in charge of higher education, and K.K. Lohar, executive director of education. Apart from home secretary Banerjee, school education secretary Arnab Roy and special secretary (higher education) Amit Sanyal represented the government.
“It has been agreed at the meeting that the district primary school board will be named GTA primary school board. A committee will also be formed to look into the issue of regularising voluntary, para and ad hoc teachers, apart from taking up issues related to the recognition of 18 unrecognised schools,” said Giri.
The GTA has also been granted Rs 94 lakh to repair schools, which were damaged by cyclone Aila in 2009.
“Three administrative circles (for education) will be created for the Darjeeling hills and the GTA will be allowed to nominate members to the governing body of hill colleges. The state government has also promised that it will expedite the process of bringing College Service Commission within the ambit of the GTA,” said Giri.
A section of Morcha leaders termed the government’s decision to immediately call a meeting as a follow-up to the bipartite talks “positive”.
“Even though we have some reservations about the state’s sincerity in allowing the GTA to function smoothly and without any interference, today’s meeting can be seen as a positive indication and a slight softening of stand,” said a Morcha leader.
Nobody could immediately recollect a meeting being called so fast by the government to discuss the issues taken up at bipartite meetings.
In fact, on August 26, the GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung had said the hill body had sought an action report from the government on the outcome of the five bipartite talks held till then.
Sources said the Morcha leaders had decided to adopt a two-pronged strategy to deal with the government. “If the government is willing to listen to us, we will have no hesitation in sitting for talks with them. However, if the government fails to live up to its promises, then we will take up the matter in an appropriate forum,” said a central committee member of the Morcha.

Source: The Telegraph

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