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GTA committee to monitor fund-mobilising companies in Darjeeling hills

Bimal Gurung
The GTA today set up a committee to monitor the activities of fund-mobilising companies and said the autonomous body should be notified if any such firms planned to operate in the Darjeeling hills.
Even though the GTA does not have powers to ban any companies which have requisite permission from regulatory bodies like Sebi, sources said Bimal Gurung was planning to use municipalities to keep track of deposit collection companies in the future.
All four municipalities in the hills are administered by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
"Every business has to obtain a trade licence from municipalities and its needs to be renewed every year. Gurung wants to ensure that the activities of the fund collection companies are also monitored by the municipalities as most of their offices are invariably set up in urban areas. If there are complaints, the licences can be cancelled ," said a source.
Senior state government officials at Nabanna said fund mobilising companies were usually registered with Sebi and Registrar of Companies.
The state government has framed an Act - The West Bengal Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments Bill, 2013 - soon after the collapse of Saradha where district magistrates are given authority to act against sham companies if complaints are lodged, said officials.
"The Act is yet to secure presidential assent. Once the Act gets the Presidential nod, district magistrates would have some authority but a body like the GTA apparently does not have any authority to control such companies," said a senior government official.
Gurung announced the committee after fund mobilising companies' agents and depositors met his at his Patlabas office in Darjeeling today.
The committee is headed by Binay Tamang, elected GTA Sabha member and also the assistant secretary of the Morcha. Other members include GTA elected members, Samuel Gurung, Mahendra Pradhan and Arun Ghisingh, chairman of Kurseong municipality Samar Deep Blone, GTA media executive Vikram Rai, Darjeeling municipality pleader Regan Lama and law officer, GTA, Bedan Gurung.
Gurung said in a press release that the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the party, would also "assist" in the monitoring of the fund companies. #The statement also said the "agents and depositors of various companies today requested Bimal Gurung to help them recover their deposits". "Gurung has assured all help that is possible from the GTA," said the release.
"Gurung has said the issue should not be made political... From now onwards the GTA will strictly monitor the activities of fund mobilising companies and will not allow illegal companies to function and for these purposes, a committee was formed today," the release states.
"In future, such companies must notify the GTA about its activities failing which the GTA will take legal recourse," the statement said.
A source, who was present at the meeting, said: " Gurung was told that various small companies, which are not known properly, also operate in the hills. Gurung wants the committee to find out if such companies are operating in the hills even now."
Anurag Srivastav, the district magistrate, Darjeeling, said: "I am not aware of the decision taken by the GTA. Technically, there are regulatory bodies like Sebi, RBI and therefore, I think they might not be able to prosecute anyone. Anybody can inform regulatory bodies if they find anything amiss."

 - The Telegraph

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