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Mamata attends sixth bipartite meeting with GTA in Kalimpong,GJMM seeks free hand for GTA

Mamata attends sixth bipartite meeting with GTA in Kalimpong,GJMM seeks free hand for GTA
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s sixth bipartite meeting today with the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration did not have much of an impact as the state government had expected, but the Morcha leadership is now hopeful of running the hill administration in a better way. In the almost 90 minute meeting held at the Circuit House in Kalimpong, the two sides extensively discussed the amendments required in the rules and regulations used by the GTA and various other issues.
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri led the GTA delegation, which included sabhasads Binay Tamang, Dr. RB Bhujel and Darjeeling MLA Trilok Dewan. The state government delegation was led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, along with chief secretary Sanjay Mitra, home department secretary Basudev Banerjee, GTA principal secretary Gautam Ghosh and Darjeeling DM Punit Yadav. Although the GTA delegation did not look completely happy with the meeting’s outcome, Basudev Banerjee termed the meeting as ‘good’ overall. Chief secretary Sanjay Mitra denied any comments.
Obliging to questions from reporters, Roshan Giri informed that a number of issues were discussed during the meeting, but the GTA has requested the government to provide the action report on the issues discussed as early as possible. The key point of discussion in today’s bipartite meeting was the amendments proposed to the GTA rules and regulations. During the meeting, the GTA delegation urged the state government to make the administration’s functions more efficient and effective through required amendments.
One of the key demands included a legal amendment to allow reservation for Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe communities in all the 45 wards within the GTA’s jurisdiction. The meeting also discussed about the issue related to the immediate transfer of 34 subjects belonging to various department from the total of 59.
“The state government had issued various notifications, but many of them are objectionable. Therefore, a separate meeting with the secretaries of each department is absolutely necessary. We proposed this during the meeting today,” Giri informed. The meeting also discussed in length the development of rural areas in the hills. The GJM general secretary said the delegation demanded the block development and rural development offices to be moved under the GTA jurisdiction to spur rapid rural development. “Rural development is our core agenda as we believe development should reach to the grassroots. The chief secretary has assured of discussing the issue and getting back.
The GTA delegation also demanded the state government to provide the administration with Rs63 crore as static funds similar to the one provided to the DGHC. The chief minister has given the green signal for the same. The meeting further discussed about the formation of school and college service commission. Informing about the issue, Giri said, “The formation of a new SSC will take time as it is a lengthy process. Therefore, the chief secretary has advised us to resolve the issue by forming SSC Hill Region under the GTA for the time being. We will continue the discussion on this with the CS.”
Giri further said the issue related to the electricity and telephone bill accumulated during the last statehood agitation was also discussed. “We have demanded discount as well as a provision to let the people pay the dues in 12 instalments, which have been accepted by the government,” he added. The Meeting also discussed about the regularisation of employees who were recruited during the DGHC’s tenure. “The state government will form a committee to look into the issue,” he informed.
Giri said the delegation also has suggested a tripartite meeting, which will include the hill administration, the state and the central government. When asked about the reason for a tripartite meeting, Giri said, “There are many issues which needs approval and suggestion from the central government. Establishment of central university and NIT, three-tier panchyat elections, ST and SC related issues and tax relaxation etc are some of the issues which requires central government’s involvement.”
Despite the hype behind the bipartite meeting, it did not have much of an impact as many key issues did not reach a conclusion, while the absence of the GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung also weighed heavy.(EOIC)

IN talks, GJMM seeks free hand for GTA,Mamata to set up CMO in Darj; agrees to release frozen funds

Kalimpong, 2 September: Leaders of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) today urged the state government to not interfere in the affairs of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
In “cordial and good” talks with top state government officials at the Circuit house here, GJMM leaders Roshan Giri, Binay Tamang, Trilok Dewan and RB Bhujel urged the government officials to give them a free hand in running the GTA.
Darjeeling District Magistrate Puneet Yadav, principal secretary of the GTA Gautam Ghosh and secretaries of various departments represented the state government in the talks.
“We discussed a host of issues including the GTA Act amendment, pending dues in electricity bills, and casual workers,” GJMM general secretary Roshan Giri said after the talks.
“We don’t need state interference in the GTA work, while we told the government officials that we want implementation of decisions taken in the past bipartite talks,” he added.
According to him, the government officials gave the GJMM team “positive assurances” on all the issues.
Sources, meanwhile, said that the state government was also positive about allowing the GTA to open new or transfer some other government departments to the GTA, one of the major demands being pressed by the GJMM.
Meanwhile, chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who reached Kalimpong yesterday, separately met GJMM leaders at the Delo Tourist Lodge today.
After the meeting, Mr Giri told reporters that they requested the CM to release Rs 63 crore of the frozen DGHC funds, and that the CM agreed to the request. According to him, the CM also agreed to the construction of a medical college in Kurseong. Miss Banerjee also announced that she will set up her office in Darjeeling to improve administrative work in the Hills and to facilitate administrative work for the people of the region.
"I have decided to set up a small office in the Hills to be manned by an official from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO)," the CM said.
She said her office in Darjeeling will help in the disbursement of funds from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund to the people of the Hills. She also announced that four hydro electric projects would come up in the region. She is scheduled to attend a programme of the Lepcha community here tomorrow.(sns)

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