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GJM says kalimpong district plan is mamata's political stunt before 2016 election

Binay Tamang
Alleging the state government of dangling development carrots to the Hills people before the 2016 Assembly election, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leadership today said chief minister Mamata Banerjee should first deliver on her many promises.

One of the key issues that the GJM wants implemented before the 2016 election is the formation of a Kalimpong district which is doing the rounds ever since, MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri took it up after resigning from the party.

The issue of formation of a separate Kalimpong district though has never been mentioned by Banerjee during any of her umpteen visits to the Hills. Sources, however said state government representatives have visited Kalimpong to review the feasibility and topography of the area.

Today, GJM assistant secretary Binay Tamang said, “Even, we support the demand for a Kalimpong district, the issue which we have already placed before the chief minister in an all party meeting in 2011 in Kolkata. However, we feel like all her other promises, this is only a politic gimmick ahead of the Assembly election”.

In the same breath, Tamang however said that if the Kalimpong district was indeed formed before the 2016 election, the Hills people would forgive the chief minister for not keeping her promises. “As railway minister in the UPA government and then as Bengal chief minister, she (Banerjee) has announced and laid the foundation stones of nearly two dozen schemes in the Hills. But none have been started or implemented, yet. Therefore, it is imperative that first Kalimpong is converted into a district and Mirik a sub-division,” said the GJM assistant secretary.

Tamang gave out the list of schemes promised by the chief minister but yet to be implemented which include a railway recruitment board, skill development center, nursing training college up-gradation of the Tindharia railway hospital and a broad gauge line from New Jalpaiguri to Sukna in the foothills. As chief minister the GJM leader pointed that she had promised Rs.300 crore for a drinking water project in Kalimpong, 4 ITI and 2 polytechnic colleges, a film city and Rabindra- Bhanu Bhakta Nepali academy in Mungpo, Rs.20 crore for repair and renovation of NH 55 and a golf course at Tiger Hill among the many.

Besides, Kalimpong, the GJM party also wants separate districts of\ Darjeeling, Terai areas of Siliguri and Mirik, Kurseong and two more from the Dooars, to be created. “More districts will not only facilitate in the creation of a separate state but also be benefit the Hills people, administratively. In fact, we want more sub-divisions and blocks to be created and the state government should review this demand of ours,” Tamang said.

The GJM assistant secretary also had a word of advice to its former party leader and those demanding a Kalimpong district. “He (Chhetri) and others should not politicize the issue but instead take it up sincerely with the state government. We have no problem how a Kalimpong district is achieved,” Tamang said.

The Kalimpong MLA on Saturday formed the District Demand Committee comprising political and a-political organizations, to take forward the demand. The committee members will visit remote villages in Kalimpong and also hold a public meeting in town to feel the pulse of the people before chalking out a road map for the district demand. (EOIC)

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