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GTA Sabha gets option to ask issue at bipartite meeting

CM Mamata Banerjee distributes No Refusal Meter Taxi permits
Kalimpong, Sept. 1: The state government has given the GTA Sabha the option of raising any issue at tomorrow’s bipartite meeting, besides the 10 points of discussion already decided for bipartite talks.

Sources in the GTA said home secretary Basudeb Banerjee had communicated to the hill body on August 27 about the 10 points to be discussed.

These are proposals for amendment to the GTA Act 2011, issues related to transfer of departments and rules of business, issues related to staff matters (hill compensatory allowance, position of ad-hoc/contractual/casual employees), fund position (unspent balance and one-time non-plan grant), incentives/subsidies and waiver of taxes for private investment, central university/national institute of technology, tribal status to Gorkhas, reintroduction of three-tier panchayat system, dues to WBSEDCL and BSNL and withdrawal of cases.

The August 27 letter also said that apart from the agendas fixed by the state government, other matters may also be raised at the bipartite meeting to be held here tomorrow.

Sources in the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha said the party wanted at least 29 amendments to the GTA. Even though details of all the amendments are not known, the party wants the Act to be tweaked to introduce a 100-point roster system in the GTA and reserve seats for SC and ST communities in the autonomous body.

However, the state and the GTA are unlikely to reach a consensus at the bipartite meeting on matters such as the establishment of a central university and NIT, tribal status for Gorkhas and reintroduction of three-tier panchayat system. “Decisions on these issues can be taken only at a tripartite meeting of the state and central governments and the GTA. These issues are related to the Centre,” said an administrative official.

However, a concrete decision is expected to be taken on the transfer of departments.

Roshan Giri, an executive member of the GTA, said: “We would not want to disclose the issues we will raise (at the meeting tomorrow). But we have quite a few issues to discuss, apart from the 10 agendas.” However, sources said the issues that were out of the purview of the 10 agendas laid down by the state, but were likely to be taken up tomorrow were the formation of a sub-ordinate selection committee, review of powers of the district magistrate in running hill municipalities and transfer of schools such as Victoria Boys and Dow Hill, which are state institutions, to the GTA.

The meeting will be held in the Kalimpong Circuit House at 2pm and will be presided over by chief secretary Sanjay Mitra. Sources said the Morcha delegation would meet chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Deolo near here at 1pm tomorrow.

Gurung-Jaitley meet

GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung met Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi on Monday. “We apprised him of the recruitment of GTA youth into police, army and para-military forces and establishment of a Sainik School in the GTA area,” said Gurung.
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  Heads to Kalimpong for bipartite meeting with GTA

 
 
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today arrived in Siliguri for her official visit to the Darjeeling hills. Before climbing uphill, the chief minister attended a function at Circus Maidan in Sevoke Road where she inaugurated 11 new projects and also laid the foundation stone for seven more projects.
The 11 new projects included the inaugurations by remote of the renovated Dinabandhu Auditorium, branch office of the pension directorate at Uttarkanya, Annexure Building of Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy Government College, 50 new bus services, CT Scan service at the Siliguri district hospital, fair price medicine shop at Malbazar and Naxalbari, Chat Puja and Gita Devi Ghats in the SMC area, repairing work of three road stretches and a park for senior citizens, three warehouse with capacity of 2,066 metric tonnes each and Himalay Kanya Abasan project Phase-III.
Banerjee laid the foundation stone for seven projects, including the construction of the Jaigaon Market Complex, beautification of Rajbari Dighi in Jalpaiguri, water supply projects for Naya Syili and Hila tea gardens and Lankapara GP Boys’ & Girls’ hostels at Itahar and Raigunj in North Dinajpur District. She also distributed 1,000 permits for the No Refusal Meter taxi and announced 400 more will be handed out soon. The chief minister directed the district magistrate to oversee the issues related to releasing permits for metered taxis and urged those interested to contact the DM’s office.
NBDD minister Gautam Deb, MPs Dasharath Tirkey and Vijay Chandra Burman, Siliguri MLA  Rudranath Bhattachrya and Jalpaiguri Municipality chairman Mohan Bose among others were present in the meeting.
Once the event concluded, Banerjee headed for Kalimpong and reached the hill town around 7:30pm. She will put up for the night at the Delo guest house and participated in a host of programmes in the next two days. The chief minister is scheduled to attend a bipartite meeting with the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration on Tuesday. Sources said the GTA delegation will be led by GJM general secretary Roshan Giri as GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung is in Delhi and has already declined to attend the meeting. The chief minister will be accompanied by chief secretary Sanjay Mitra and other senior government officials.
She will also meet a delegation of the Tamang Youth Association, while on Wednesday Banerjee will attend the third foundation day ceremony of the Mayalyang Lepcha Development Board at Dr. Graham’s Homes.
Elaborate preparations have been made by the hill TMC and the sub-divisional administration for the chief minister’s visit. Security has been beefed up across Kalimpong, with additional forces of the state police, IRB and CRPF deployed across town. TMC supporters have decked up the town with party flags and banners in almost every corner to welcome their leader.
Mamata has been visiting North Bengal frequently since the formation of the TMC government. The current visit is taking place just after a month and half since her last tour of the region. “Past chief ministers used to visit North Bengal only when elections were near, but I come here almost every month due to my love for the people of North Bengal,” said Banerjee while addressing a sizeable gathering at Circus Maidan.
Even so, political analysts have a different opinion regarding her visits to North Bengal and say the frequency is to pay more attention to the region after the TMC’s setback in the Lok Sabha election as well as the souring of ties with the GJM.(EOIC)
     

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