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Affiliate's potshots at Morcha & GTA

Darjeeling Chowk Bazar
An association of casual employees at the GTA owing allegiance to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today indirectly lashed out at the party leadership and the hill body apparently frustrated over lack of progress in fulfilling their demand for regularisation of jobs.
The Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangathan today held a rally and a public meeting in Darjeeling to demand the immediate regularisation of the jobs of over 5,000 casual employees at the GTA.
Addressing the meeting at Chowk Bazar, Deepak Sharma, the spokesman for the JAKS, said: "We had supported the demand of Gorkhaland and we still support their demand. However, at Pintail Village (where the GTA memorandum of agreement was signed on July 18, 2011), they kept aside the demand of Gorkhaland. If such an important issue like Gorkhaland can be kept aside, we guess our demand is of no importance to them."
Without naming the Morcha, Sharma was clearly criticising the party for accepting the GTA.
"Earlier the government from the plains used to underestimate us, now the government in the hills is behaving no different," Sharma said.
He blamed the Morcha leadership administering the hill body for the problems at hand but refrained from criticising Bimal Gurung.
"Why have you accepted a body which is not working? Everything in the hills is in doldrums, right from the education system to the functioning of the GTA. Bimal Gurung, however, is not to be blamed as he is still helping us. But the GTA is not working," Sharma said.
This is the first time any frontal organisation of the Morcha has criticised the party leadership.
Sharma also issued a veiled warning to the Morcha leadership. "We are the ones who had played a major role in changing the previous administrative dispensation (DGHC). We hope such a situation (on the need to change the present administrative dispensation) will not arise," said Sharma. "We, however, think the GTA will not work now. We will support anybody who will help fulfil our demand."
Other leaders of the organisation also criticised the Morcha leadership for remaining aloof from the problem.
K.C. Rai, the president of the Kalimpong unit of the JAKS, said: "They have been elected as representatives of the public but we hardly get to meet them even at Lal Kothi. As Bimal Gurung is currently on a padayatra, others should be taking care of the hill body. But that is not happening."
The president of the JAKS, Machendra Subba, sought to balance things out. "Some members from Kurseong were of the opinion that if our demand was not fulfilled by December-end, we should remove the J from JAKS. However, I have told them that our problems will be addressed by the J in JAKS. We demand that the bipartite meeting between the state and GTA be held in Darjeeling and on December15 as agreed earlier," said Subba.
"The state government and the GTA should not take our demand lightly. If we do not get a favourable response at the December 15 meeting, we will intensify our agitation," he added.
Told about the criticism against the GTA and the Morcha leadership, Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the party, said: "We are serious about their problem and have been raising their issue continuously."
Asked about the bipartite meeting, Giri said: "Till date, we have not received any official communication regarding the bipartite meeting."
After the bipartite meeting on November 9, Giri had said the state government had said the next round of meeting would be held in Darjeeling on December 15.(TT)

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