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GTA team led by Bimal Gurung left for Delhi

Bimal Gurung
A four member Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) team led by Bimal Gurung left for Delhi on Thursday to pursue with the Centre for including the GTA area in the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission and Housing for All.
The three ambitious schemes, that aim to develop Indian cities and towns as new engines of growth were launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the day.
GTA chief executive Gurung is accompanied by Sabhasads Binoy Tamang, Anit Thapa and P.T.Ola, while Darjeeling municipality chairman Amar Singh Rai is already in Delhi, to attend the two-day workshop on aspects and implementation of the three projects.
Tamang who heads the GTA information and cultural affairs department in a Press statement said, “We will pursue with the central government to include the GTA area in the three central schemes. The projects will greatly benefit the Hills if we can bag it”.
According to the criteria finalized by the Government, West Bengal gets to nominate four cities for the Smart Cities Mission and similarly 28 cities have been identified in the state under the AMRUT scheme.
Siliguri was nominated for the smart cities mission but Mayor Ashok Bhattacharya chose not to attend the two day workshop in Delhi that started from Thursdsay, leaving the field open for Darjeeling. The sub-divisions of Kalimpong and Kurseong on the other hand failed to make the cut.
“The Darjeeling municipality chairman is already in Delhi to attend the workshop after which the cities will be selected and the implementation process will start. We are hopeful that GTA will be treated as a special case and considered,” Tamang said.
The GTA team will also take up with the Centre the issue of providing the council body additional fund of Rs.8 crore. “As per the 2011 agreement the GTA was to receive Rs.600 crore over a period of three years as special grant for various development works. However, we only got Rs.320 crore and the three years period is also over. There are several projects that still need to be implemented and we will require more funds,” said a source in the council body.
Gurung and his team was also expected to pursue the matter of establishing a Central university, a skill development center and a drinking water project among the many lined up by the council with concerned central leaders in Delhi.(EOIC)

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