Khairjhora residents confused over Gorkhaland Territorial Administration or Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad

Gulma station
Residents of Khairjhora, a tiny hamlet near Gulma station around 10km from here, are yet to know if the area is under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration or the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad.

Since 1988, the local people have been voting for both the SMP and the DGHC and now the GTA - a contradiction in itself as no village in Darjeeling district can be under the autonomous body formed with three hill subdivisions and the SMP simultaneously.

"Yesterday, we voted for the three-tier Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad polls. In 2012, we had voted for the formation of the GTA. This aberration has been here since 1988, when the DGHC was formed," Arjun Biswakarma, an elderly man from the village, said.

Yesterday, leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha based in the plains claimed that the village was under the GTA.

"It is disappointing that the Darjeeling district administration and the state did not bother to clarify and earmark Khairjhora village, in Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary area, as under the GTA or the SMP," Hemant Gautam, a Morcha leader who also contested in the SMP polls from Matigara block, said. "There are 377 voters in the village. This (confusion) has happened because of lapses on the part of the administration," he said.

Saran Karki, a youth from Khairjhora, said: "Development work is carried out both by the SMP and the GTA in their respective areas. We need a number of amenities in our village. As the officials of both the SMP and the GTA learn about the confusion here, they might avoid implementing welfare schemes in our area."

The Morcha leaders said they had filed an application under the Right to Information Act with the SDO of Siliguri.

"We had got a reply from the BDO of Matigara who had clearly said the village is under Kurseong subdivision and Kurseong block. This proves the area is under the GTA as Kurseong subdivision is under GTA. We are surprised when the administration notified that there would be three-tier polls here," Shankar Adhikari, the convener of the Morcha's Terai committee, said.

Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastava said: "We will look into the issue and check if there is any such area."(TT)

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