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Harka Bahadur Chettri wants state to probe Rs 7 cr investment in Darjeeling hills

MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri
Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the senior political leader of Darjeeling, wheo recently left Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), today said he is now free minded and can work peacefully.

"Now I am free minded, can work peacefully in hills for the development of the people. I remain as an independent candidate for Kalimpong constituency and will work for the betterment of the hill people, "said Chhetri while returning from Kolkata at Bagdogra airport. Though Chhetri denied  having any tacit understanding with Trinamool Congress and plans to join Mamata Banerjee's party, some TMC supporters had thronged at airport today. Asked about joining TMC or any other political party he said: "Can't' say now but we should maintain healthy relation with the government for the all round development."

The Kalimpong MLA also said that the development in the hills have come up only in papers but not happened in reality. He also said the investment of more than Rs 7 crores needs to be investigated by the state government. Chhetri will soon dig out the investment and make the government aware for the further investigations. TMC hill leader Binny Leader was also spotted at the airport during the arrival of Chhetri but he said that he came for his personal work.(EOI)



No harm in betraying the ‘betrayers’: Chettri

Former Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri on Thursday said that GJMM leaders branding him a 'betrayer' is "like the pot calling the kettle black."

The GJMM leadership has indirectly called Chettri a 'betrayer' after he did not give two hoots to his party's call to quit as the MLA, and instead left the party.

"If they (GJMM leaders) betray the people in their dream for Gorkhaland, my resignation from the party is not illogical. There is no harm in stealing in the house of thieves. It is like the pot calling the kettle black," Chhetri said as he arrived at the Bagdogra airport from Kolkata on Thursday.

Some people from different places of the Hills, especially Kalimpong, gathered at the airport to greet him.

"I do not belong to any political party. I am a resident of Kalimpong and came here to welcome him as he has taken the initiative to upgrade Kalimpong subdivision as a district," said Prabin Lama.

Chhetri further said that if anybody who to resign, it was Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia.

"Ahluwalia was elected from the Darjeeling district on a one-point agenda--separate state of Gorkhaland. But he did not take any initiative. GJMM MLAs were asked to resign, but Ahluwalia should put in his resignation papers too by wearing a Tshirt written "we want Gorkhaland" in the Parliament," he said.

The MLA alleged that the relations between him and party leaders grew bitter whenever he raised the topic of irregularities. "During the recent landslides, I visited areas in Kalimpong and found that Rs.7-8 crore was sanctioned for the restoration of the roads. But no work has been done in the inside areas. The work was only done on papers. I will bring the issue to the notice of the state government and take initiatives so that an investigation agency conducts a probe," he said.

"In Samsing, 18 houses for poor people were sanctioned in 2013, but the money had been withdrawn without the project coming up there," Chhetri alleged.

Taking a dig at the GJMM, the former party leader said it is diverting the people's attention from Gorkhaland.

"Whenever they face a fund crunch or the government pressurises them, they ask people to take to the streets," he said.

Chhetri said he would be able to work freely for Kalimpong now.

Asked whether he has any plan to join the Trinamul Congress, he said he had not taken any decision to join any party. "I will be with my family, will take rest, discuss with my friends and then take a call."

Talking about his demand for a separate Kalimpong district, Chhetri said he had raised the issue earlier too.

"I had a meeting with the chief minister on this issue and she has assured me that she would look into it. I have learnt that the GJMM is also supporting the issue, it is good," he said.

Meanwhile, as he reached Kalimpong later on Thursday, Chettri raised questions on the capability of the GJMM leadership in running the GTA.

He said that he feels that the GJMM's allegation that the state government is not co-operating with them is false as "they themselves do not have the ability to run the GTA because it is concentrated in the hands of only few sabhasads and the other GTA members are just like the common people."

He said that he now feels "light, with no burden on my shoulder." Chettri said that he still has four-five months remaining as Kalimpong MLA and even in this short time he would do whatever is required for the people of Kalimpong.(sns)

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