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Gorkhaland issue meeting with Rajnath Singh in the Union Home Ministry

SS Ahluwalia, Bimal Gurung Rohit Sharma with union home minister Rajnath singh
A high level meeting was today convened by Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh on the issue of Gorkhaland in the Union Home Ministry.

Shri Bimal Gurung, GJM president and Shri SS Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Member of Parliament from Darjeeling along with senior functionaries of the GJM were present in the meeting that was also attended by senior home ministry officials including union home secretary. The Home Secretary was assisted by other officials including the additional secretary in charge of centre state relations, joint secretary, director and other officials.

From the GJM side, other functionaries included Shri Roshan Giri, Dr Rohit Sharma, Shri Swaraj Thapa, Shri PT Ola, Shri Narbu G Lama, Shri Bijoy Sundas, Shri Moti Prasad Sharma and Shri Kamal Sharma.

The meeting, convened in the committee room of the union home ministry in North Block, lasted for about 45 minutes.

The GJM presented the union home mnister with five different sets of memorandum, shri bimal Gurung foremost sought immediate setting up of a high level central committee to examine the formation of Gorkhaland. He appealed to the union home minister that the BJP has mentioned in their 2009 and 2014 manifesto that they would ‘sympathetically examine and appropriate consider the long pending demands of the Gorkhas.’

Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh assured the delegation that the Government has always been sympathetic to the gorkhas. He said that the government would look into the demand to set up a committee on Gorkhaland.

The Government side indicated that it will talk to the state government on the subject.

The second agenda was the immediate inclusion of the 10 Gorkha communities in the ST status across India namely Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami and Yakhha (Dewan). Shri bimal Gurung said that a memorandum has already been given to hon tribal affairs mnister jual oram. The government assured that the issue would be taken up with the tribal affairs ministry.

The third agenda the GJM delegation raised was the established of a Central University in Darjeeling Hills as mentioned in the MoA of the GTA Agreement. The GJM delegation also apprised the Hon'ble Minister that the DPR prepared by EDCIL of the Central University has been submitted to Smt Smriti Irani, Hon'ble Minister of HRD.

The GJM delegation also requested the Hon'ble Home Minister about all tea garden workers to be immediately brought under the Minimum Wages Act 1948. The current wages should be calculated taking into account the overall inflation, AICP Index and Minimum Wages Act with an effort to meet the basic needs of the Plantation Labours.
The issue related to death of 22 persons by malnutrition so far in the tea gardens of Darjeeling Terai and Dooars since May 12, 2015 wad also raised. Presently many tea gardens in the Dooars region have remained closed and death toll due to starvation/ malnutrition has reached over 1000 since 2002.

Besides these closed tea gardens, there are some other tea gardens also which have faced closure for some time now. The GJM delegation appealed to the Central government to take immediate steps to ensure that these closed gardens begin operations without any further delay so that workers are able to work and get their rightful due.

The issue of granting Pattas (Land rights) to the tea garden workers in all tea gardens was also raised with the Hon'ble Minister.

On the issue of GTA functioning, Sri Bimal Gurung and other delegation members intimated the union home minister that the West Bengal government has refused to part with powers and functions as agreed upon in the tripartite agreement. Shri SS Ahluwalia also forcefully argued that the state government had faulted on its promise to part with powers and functions.

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