Morcha closed food and supplies office in Darjeeling hills for indefinite period

Morcha closed food and supplies office in Darjeeling hills for indefinite period
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today closed down the offices of the subdivisional controller of food and supplies across the Darjeeling hills for an indefinite period, signalling a strategy of the party to force the state government to transfer different departments to the GTA Sabha.
Up to now, the Morcha had been relying on talks with the government for the complete transfer of 40 departments to the GTA.
Around 10-15 Morcha workers each went to the food and supplies subdivisional department's offices in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong and put up posters announcing their closure.
The agitation was led by the Morcha's town committees and the youth front.
Sources in the Morcha said the hill party was adopting a two-pronged strategy to compel the state to hand over the departments to the GTA in a proper way.
Morcha leaders said the government has not issued any missive saying that employees of the food and supplies department should report to the GTA, though the department itself has been transferred to the hill body.
In the absence of such an instruction from the government, the staff has been reporting to the district administration.
"Bimal Gurung has already said he has no fight with the chief minister. He has also said the Morcha will welcome Mamata Banerjee during her visit to Darjeeling on January 20. On the other hand, the party is mounting pressure on the government through lower-rung leaders for the complete transfer of the departments. That is why the Morcha's town committees spearheaded today's agitation," said a Morcha source.
Allan Chhetri, the president of the Darjeeling town committee of the Morcha, said: "Food and supplies is a transferred department but the government is interfering in its functioning. The public has a perception that the GTA is not addressing their concerns whereas the fact is that the government is not allowing the GTA to function."
He added: "We are hearing that ration cards of the hill people are being cancelled. This is nothing but a conspiracy of the government to show that less number of people live in the hills. There is no regular supply of sugar, rice and wheat to ration shops either. We are closing the food and supplies department for an indefinite period. We will not budge unless the state government solves this issue."
The Morcha's claim that the department had cancelled the ration cards could not be verified independently.
Contacted over phone, Pemba Tshering, the subdivisional controller of food and supplies department, Darjeeling, said: "I cannot speak over the phone today as I am currently on my way to see a doctor. I can speak only in my office tomorrow."
Of the 40 departments that need to be transferred, some have. Departments such as information and cultural affairs, fire and emergency services, public works department, college education and excise, Darjeeling Improvement Fund and lotteries have not yet been handed over to the GTA.

The Telegraph

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