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GTA Sabha issued notices to six block development officers

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The GTA Sabha has issued notices to six block development officers in the hills, apprising them of a Calcutta High Court stay on the disbursal of funds, allocated by the central and state governments for the welfare of minorities, by the district magistrate.

The governments had allocated the grants under the multi-sectorial development plan.

The Centre had sent Rs 7.86 crore and the state Rs 3.3 crore under the plan to the district magistrate. The GTA filed a writ petition in the high court stating that "welfare of minorities" is a subject transferred to the hill body and the DM being an officer of the state government cannot be provided with the funds. Accordingly, on November 11, a stay was issued by the court on the disbursal of funds by the DM.

Binay Tamang, one of the deponents in the case and an executive GTA Sabha member, yesterday issued the notices to the BDOs of Kalimpong I and II, Jorebunglow-Sukhiapokhri, Kurseong, Runglee-Rungliot and Gorubathan. The other two blocks in the hills, Mirik and Bijanbari, do not come under the scheme.

"The notice basically reminds the officials (BDOs) that they and the person under whose instructions they are acting will be responsible for all costs and consequences of their actions including contempt of court. The notice also states that the GTA will be compelled to institute proceedings against the official/s at the appropriate time as permissible under law," said a source in the GTA.

"We have come to know that some blocks are either in the process of floating tenders or have floated tenders even after the court stay," added the source.

The GTA source said the court's order had been appended to the notice. "It has been sent by speed post and the BDOs will definitely receive it soon."

Officials in the Sukhiapokhri BDO office admitted that tenders had been floated on November 24 to execute various schemes under the plan. "We will definitely comply with any order. However, till this afternoon, we have not received the order. Nevertheless, there is time and the tender process has not yet been completed. So, this can be immediately stopped if we receive any written order," said an official in the BDO office.

He added that the scrutiny of the financial bids would take place only on January 27. "Till then, the tender process cannot be deemed to have been completed."

Sources said Puneet Yadav, the district magistrate of Darjeeling, had received the court's order on November 21.

The Telegraph

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