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On World Engineers’ Day gurung announces Rs 3.50 cr packaged drinking water plant for Mungpoo

GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung
On World Engineers’ Day gurung announces Rs 3.50 cr packaged drinking water plant for Mungpoo - The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration today announced a plan to set up a packaged drinking water plant in Mungpoo under Darjeeling sub-division as part of its efforts to be self sufficient in running the council.
The plant is expected to come up at Ranju Valley in Mungpoo, some18km from Darjeeling town. Although a detailed project report is yet to be prepared, GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung today announced this during a programme to mark the 47th World Engineers’ Day organised by the Hills Engineers’ Welfare Association (HEWA).
He said, “We will invest Rs3.50 crore on the packaged drinking water plant that will come up at Ranju Valley. Once complete, we expect to generate revenue on our own as also provide employment opportunities to the locals.”
At the same time, Gurung asserted, “We will not allow packaged drinking water of other companies to enter the hills because we want the locals, who are forced to venture outside in search of jobs, to benefit from the project.”
Further, the GTA chief executive said he would request Union HRD minister Smriti Irani, who is expected to visit Kalimpong in the near future, to set up a central university and also form a subordinate selection board for recruiting Group B, C and D employees in the varsity.
“There are several projects the GTA has in the pipeline that can usher in development and employment in the hills. We will take them up avidly with the central government as the next five-year period is very critical for us,” said the GTA chief.
The chief executive went on to say a training programme on horticulture, a super-specialty hospital worth Rs120 crore on the Public Private Partnership model, poultry farming projects at four places in the hills and up-gradation of eight high schools at a cost of Rs8 crore are just some among the many initiatives the GTA has taken up.
Alluding to the state government with which the GTA is in sour terms, Gurung said it has no intention of doing the hills a good turn. “We have been told by the central government it will not sanction funds for tourism projects in the hills for the next three years. This is because the state government has not yet submitted utilization certificates of some projects for which the Centre had already sanctioned funds. This clearly indicates the attitude of the state government towards the hills and its denizens,” maintained Gurung, adding he would henceforth contact the central government directly for any work relating to the Darjeeling hills.
The GTA chief executive, who is also the president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, warned of starting a fresh agitation if the state government does not refrain from interfering in the functioning of the council.
“I have already filed two cases against the state government. Personally, the GTA is not a permanent setup we are content with, but I want to give my best till it remains functional. However, if the state government does not shed its anti-hills attitude soon, I will be forced to re-embark on the road to agitation,” he said without elaborating on how the new agitation would build up.
It may be noted that Gurung had recently filed a petition in the high court against the
North Bengal Development Department for floating construction tenders for three roads in the hills without taking the GTA into confidence. Prior to this, the GTA had moved the high court after the state government unilaterally forwarded one name for the GTA principal secretary’s post, despite the agreement mandating the proposal of a minimum of three names to make a choice. (EOIC)

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