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Gurung revives Terai Dooars inclusion in GTA demand

Bimal Gurung
Renewing the demand for inclusion of areas in Dooars and Terai in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration(GTA), the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha(GJM) has formed a four-member committee, entrusting it with the task of preparing a report on the issue.

GJM is unhappy with the indifference of the West Bengal Government and the Centre to the demand for inclusion of 398 mouzas of the plains areas in the GTA. During negotiations for the formation of the GTA, a State Government-appointed committee had recommended for the inclusion of only five mouzas.

GJM had rejected the recommendation of the high power committee headed by retired chief justice Shyamal Sen in June 2012. The committee was formed after the signing of the GTA by the GJM, the State Government and the Centre to bring an end to the three-year-long statehood agitation launched by the GJM that had paralysed the hills.

With the GJM rejecting the Shyamal Sen committee recommendations and threatening to launch a fresh agitation, the State Government had formed a fact finding committee to identify Gorkha-dominated mouzas which were fit for inclusion in GTA. But, the committee is yet to submit its report.

On Sunday, GJM president Bimal Gurung expressed his displeasure with the delay in his social network site and announced the formation of an independent committee. “In the last tripartite talks between the Union Government and the State Government, the GJM has clearly expressed its disappointment over the issue of non inclusion of Gorkha dominated areas from Terai and Dooars in the GTA,” reads Gurung’s post. He further says, “The GJM is committed to include these areas in the GTA and for which we have decided to form a committee for the inclusion of Gorkha dominated areas of Terai and Dooars. The GJM has appointed S.N Pradhan and Santosh Rai from Dooars and Hari Niroula and Shankar Adhikari from Terai to be a part of this committee.”
A GJM delegation led by party general secretary Roshan Giri had discussed the issue with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling last month. The demand was again placed in the tripartite talk in Delhi on January 29 with the Centre, which advised the GJM to submit in writing the grievances they had on the Shyamal Sen committee report.

The Shyamal Sen committee had recommended the inclusion of three mouzas of M.M.Terai, Purba Kalaibari and Gulmathari under Darjeeling district and two mouzas of Samsing and Chalauni under
Jalpaiguri district into the GTA. According to the committee, the five mouzas had been recommended for inclusion taking into account their contiguity, compactness and ground-level conditions. The rest of the 398 mouzas demanded by GJM had failed to meet the criteria.
Gurung said in his post that more members from the GTA and the party would be included in the committee “The committee will prepare a report after going through the Shyamal Sen report which we will than place it to the Central government for speedy action,” said Gurung.
To press its demand that the areas of Dooars were part of Darjeeling Hills, the GJM had staged a “padyatra” on February 8, 2011 from Gorubathan in Kalimpong to the Sunkosh River bordering Assam. The Jalpaiguri district administration had however stopped the agitators at Sipchu. A clash ensued and in the police firing three GJM activists had been killed.

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