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BDOs to place under GTA called TDOs (territorial development officers)

Roshan Giri, an executive GTA Sabha member
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today claimed that block development officers(BDOs)  in the hills would soon be placed under the GTA and they would be called territorial development officers(TDOs).
Two parallel administrations in the hills, one which is controlled by the district magistrate and the other run by the GTA, has been one of the major reasons cited by the Morcha for the lack of autonomy for the hill body.
The BDOs who report to the district magistrate are considered to be the cogwheel of the administration run by the district magistrate. Bringing the BDOs under the GTA would considerably curb the state's direct influence on the grassroots level in the hills.

Roshan Giri, an executive GTA Sabha member, said the state had agreed to bring the BDOs under the hill body during a bipartite meeting between GTA representatives and government officials. Chief secretary Sanjay Mitra, home secretary Basudeb Banerjee and principal secretaries of various other departments represented the state government at the talks.
"The Morcha has proposed that BDOs be called TDOs (territorial development officers) and they be brought under the hill body. The state has already moved a file in this regard and this will be implemented soon," said Giri.
However, an official at Nabanna, who was present at the meeting with the GTA representatives, said no promise had been made to bring the BDOs under the GTA. "This matter is being considered but nothing has been promised," said the official.
Giri said the main agenda of the meeting was the regularisation of jobs of 5510 employees of the GTA and 515 voluntary teachers who are currently on a dharna in Darjeeling. "The government has promised that positive steps will be taken for their regularisation and asked the GTA to give a cost implication on the regularisation. With regard to the 515 voluntary teachers, a register of appointment has been submitted by the GTA and the chief secretary has asked the education department to examine and submit the report in one month," said Giri.
He said the next bipartite meeting would be held in Darjeeling on December 15.
"We also raised the issue of delay in transferring some departments fully to the GTA. The state government has promised to send the principal secretaries of all departments concerned to Darjeeling where they will discuss with the executive directors of the GTA the transfer of powers," said Giri.
The GTA functionary also claimed that the Centre had written to the state government on its views on implementing the three-tier panchayat system in the hills.
"The views sought by the Centre are basically on the nomenclature as Siliguri subdivision already has a Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad," said Giri.
The state government has also assured that 150 cases registered against Morcha workers between 2007 and 2012 will be withdrawn by the year-end, he added.(TT)

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