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Mayel-Lyang Lepcha Development Board 3rd foundation day Kalimpong, call Mamata ‘goddess of good fortune

Mamata attends Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board 3rd foundation Kalimpong
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today attended the 3rd Foundation Day ceremony of the Mayel-Lyang Lepcha Development Board at Dr. Graham’s Homes Ground in Kalimpong. The chief minister announced a slew of new projects as well as additional funds for projects announced earlier. Appreciating the work done by the MLDB, she presented the board president, Lyangsong Tamsang, with a cheque of Rs10 crore as additional funds for the projects the board is currently working on. Banerjee also presented another cheque of Rs2.5 crore to Tamsang for the construction of an MLDB administrative building, while she presented Rs5 crore to the Tamang Cultural Development Board.
Banerjee said the state government will provide employment opportunities for educated unemployed youths of the Lepcha community as para-teachers at 46 different schools in the hills. Apart from that, she also announced the launch of 28 new government buses for the public in the hills. These buses will operate under the North Bengal State Transport Corporation and cater to the public of all the three sub-divisions of the hills. Other developmental announcements made by the chief minister included construction of shopping complexes  in Kalimpong, Kurseong and Gorubathan as part of the government’s initiative of rural economic development; ecotourism development at Tinchulay, Takdah, Pokharitar and Chimni under Darjeeling and Kurseong forest divisions; and 10 new check posts at Pulungdung, Todey and Jaldhaka under the Border Area Development Scheme. She also announced new provisions under the state government’s Kanyashree Scheme.
Further, the chief minister informed the state government will provide Rs11 crore for the development of solid waste management in Kalimpong. She further informed the TMC government will also start four new hydro-power projects in the hills. The four projects, slated to be developed at Rammam in Darjeeling and Teesta in Kalimpong, will be constructed at a total cost of Rs 3,300 crore. 
Praising the work executed by the MLDS in such a short span of time, Banerjee said, “There are people who need work, but do not know how to find it. But the MLDB has done it and everyone should learn about work ethics from this board. Efficient usage of funds provided by the state government is also a commendable achievement.”
She also provided cheques to various beneficiaries working under a number of state government sanctioned schemes, including the Kanyashree Scheme, Farmer Credit Card Scheme, Meter Taxi Scheme, Minority Welfare Scheme and Lepcha Women’s Welfare Scheme. Lauding the completion of 1,000 Lepcha houses before the estimated time and the progress of the construction of an additional 1,000 such houses, Banerjee assured sanction of funds for 1,000 more Lepcha houses after the current lot gets completed. Further, the chief minister also assured the MLDA of providing land and funds for the construction of a Lepcha Cultural Heritage Centre, which was proposed by the board earlier.
The chief minister further directed DM Punit Yadav to form a steering committee for the beautification and conservation of the numerous rivulets and streams that flow through the Darjeeling hills. She said water from such sources can be purified for various usages under the MGNREGA programme. “This will also provide the people of rural areas an opportunity to earn extra income through the 100-day work scheme,” she added.
Further, the chief minister assured of speedy work on the development of the chief minister’s office in Darjeeling along with rural tourism development in Labhraysap and Lolaygaon areas and improvement in government hospital services. “Earlier you used to travel to Kolkata to meet the chief minister, but now I will bring Kolkata here. Until this body remains, I will always visit the Darjeeling hills. The hills call me and I have developed a special relationship with the Kanchenjunga,” she stated. Claiming her dream is to make the hills developed, prosperous and self-sufficient, Banerjee said, “Darjeeling is for the people, by the people, of the people.”
The third foundation day of the MLDB was also attended by NBDD minister Gautam Deb, Siliguri MLA Dr. Rudranath Bhattarai, chief secretary Sanjay Mitra, home secretary Basudev Banerjee, community development secretary SK Tathay, GTA principal secretary Gautam Ghosh, MLDP chairman Lyangsong Tamsang and TCDB chairman Sanjay Moktan along with other top bureaucrats and police officials. Other guests included representatives of various communities demanding tribal status from the state government.
Thanking the chief minister for gracing the foundation day ceremony with her presence, Tamsang and Moktan presented her with a citation and a memento. Representatives of various other communities, including the Limboo, Emi Bhutia, Singsa Bhutia, Bhujel, Mangar, Newar, Khamburai, Mukhia, Khas, Hitkari and Bengali also presented the chief minister with traditional gifts.(EOIC)

Lepchas call Mamata ‘goddess of good fortune

Kalimpong, 3 September: Chairman of the Lepcha Development Board (LDB) Lyansong Tamsang Lepcha today praised chief minister Mamata Banerjee and addressed her as the Kingchoom Daarmit (goddess of good fortune) at a programme to mark the 3rd foundation day of the LDB.
“Mamata Banerjee is the only one chief minister in West Bengal, who listened to us by heart and has come to the heartland of the Lepchas several times within a year despite her busy schedule,” Mr Lepcha told the programme.
“No other chief minister has come forward like her in 64 years since 1947,” he said. Mr Lepcha said the LDB has published magazines and text books for Lepcha students for primary education.He thanked the chief minister for awarding eight Lepcha folk artistes with the Banga Vibhushan and for sanctioning a pension of 21 of them. “Her role for women empowerment is highly appreciable,” he added.
“Madam, may God bless you, because the dreams of the Lepchas have come true,” he added.He recalled a previous statement made by the chief minister regarding the Lepchas and said: “The CM had said that the LDB ‘dil se kam kiya hai. Bahut bariya namuna dikhaya hai,” (The LDB has worked with all its heart and has done a wonderful job). The LDB president’s speech left the CM speechless and delighted and failed to control her emotions. It seemed she got a relief from all the stress she had been going through, especially due to the ongoing CBI probe into the Saradha scam.
"In a very colourful programme organised by the Lepcha Board, thousands and thousands of my Lepcha, Tamang, Bhutia, Limboo, Mangar, Sherpa, Newar, Mukhia, Bhujel and my hill brothers and sisters took part. I express my sincere gratitude for conferring on me the Hon’ble title of `Kinchoom Darmit`," Miss Banerjee later said in her Facebook post.  (sns)


Panel to protect hill streams - Conservation plan through 100-day job scheme irks morcha

Kalimpong, Sept. 3: Mamata Banerjee today announced the formation of a steering committee comprising the Darjeeling district magistrate and the police chief to conserve mountain streams in the hills through the 100-day work scheme, raising the hackles of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha as the job guarantee initiative falls under the purview of the GTA Sabha.
Coming on the heels of Mamata’s announcement yesterday that she would set up a chief minister’s office in Darjeeling, the Morcha sees the formation of the committee as an effort by the government to infringe on the powers of the GTA.
The chief minister, who was addressing the third foundation day of Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board at Ronaldshay Park in Kalimpong, also announced that an office of the north Bengal development department would be opened in Kurseong.
Morcha leaders, who had yesterday reacted to the decision to set up a CMO in Darjeeling by saying it would not accept “a dual administration” in the hills, today maintained that it was “clear” that the chief minister was trying to “erode” the powers of the GTA.
Mamata, during her address, said today: “The jhoras (mountain streams) are beautiful and the water that flows through jhoras are clean. We need to conserve them now. They can turn out to be a big industry in future.”
Mamata was probably hinting at the packaged drinking water business.
She then went on to announce the formation of a steering committee. “We will form a steering committee to conserve the jhoras. The district magistrate and the superintendent of police will be members of the committee. We will also have Lyangsong Tamsang (chairman of the Lepcha development board) as one of the members. They will do their work through the 100-day job scheme. The representatives of the predominant community residing in the area where the work is being implemented will also be included in the committee.”
After the formation of the GTA, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, or the 100-day work scheme, is being implemented through the hill body as the panchayat and rural development department has been transferred to the hill body.
“The district magistrate has no role in the implementation of the MGNREGS in the areas that are under the GTA,” a senior district official said.
“The principal secretary of the GTA is the programme co-ordinator in the GTA areas. The district magistrate is the programme co-ordinator only for Siliguri subdivision (which does not fall under the jurisdiction of the GTA).”
The official said the funds for the job scheme sponsored by the Centre came to the GTA through the state government. “The GTA has been receiving anything between Rs 150 to Rs 200 crore annually for the 100-day work scheme,” the official said.
Roshan Giri, reacting to Mamata’s announcement, told The Telegraph today: “The administrative set-up in the hills is different from the rest of Bengal. How can the district magistrate head the steering committee for work, which is being done through the 100-day work scheme? The committee has to be under the principal secretary of the GTA.”
Sources in the hill Trinamul Congress said the decision to form the steering committee and set up a branch of the north Bengal development department in Kurseong was a move aimed at boosting the morale of supporters.
Rajen Mukhia, the president of the Trinamul Congress Hill Committee, said: “We welcome the chief minister’s decision. We will work in areas where people have been victimised (by the Morcha).”
Trinamul leaders in the hills have complained in the past that with most of the administrative powers vested with the Morcha-dominated GTA, the party was not being able to spread its wings in the hills. “People come to us with some expectations but we have not been able to do much for them,” a Trinamul leader, requesting anonymity, had recently told The Telegraph.(TT)

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