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Bimal Gurung announced Rs1.5-crore to Mangar community

Bimal Gurung in Maha Adhivesan of Mangar Sangh Bharat Darjeeling
The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration has begun showering sops and doles to various communities of the hills in the form of development boards and annual grants, while urging them not to fall prey to the divisive policy of the state government. Today, GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung announced a Rs1.5-crore grant to the Mangar community for the construction of a bhawan-cum-museum to preserve and showcase the Mangar culture and traditions. Earlier this month, the GTA Sabha, which is run by the GorkhaJanmuktiMorcha, passed a resolution to grant development boards for 18 tribal and non-tribal communities along with an annual funding of Rs5 crore each. This afternoon, Gurung attended the second ‘MahaAdhivesan’ of the MangarSangh Bharat held in Darjeeling.
Addressing the gathering, he said, “There are forces who are trying to divide the hill communities and some intellectual elements are extending their support. However, the GJM is working to unite people for the future of the hills.” And in obvious reference to the Trinamool Congress, he added, “They will come and use you and then leave. But you must remember that I will be here and remain by your side until I die.” Following chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement of development boards for a number of hill communities, with the latest being one for the Mangars during her last visit in January,Gurung has made a counter move by announcing similar boards for a number of other communities. The state government has already formed development boards for the Lepcha, Sherpa, Tamang and Bhutia communities. The chief minister has also announced that boards would soon be formed for the Rai and Limbu communities.
On February 12, the GTA passed a resolution in the Sabha to grant development boards to the Gurung, Bhujel, Newar, Yogi, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakkha (Dewan), Khas, Rai, Mangar, Limbu, Tamang, Lepcha, Sherpa, Bhutia, Yolmo and Scheduled Caste communities. The Sabha also agreed to sanction Rs5 crore annually to these communities for their welfare and development. The GJM president maintains that the development boards being formed by the state government were meant to divide the hill people, while the GTA is intent on uniting them. “We want all the communities of the hills to unite. The boards we have approved will cement and strengthen the demand for separate statehood,” he said. Gurung said the concerned department of the GTA has already been directed to start the official process to implement the formation of the boards. “The process has started and representatives of the concerned communities must do their bit,” he said, even as he expressed faith on the BJP-led central government that something positive would be announced from Delhi soon.
“I have already met several Union ministers including the prime minister. We have full faith in the Centre. I can confidently say good news is on the cards. So let us wait for the time being,” said Gurung.
During the course of the programme, Gurung said the GTA would install a statue of MitrasenThapa, a renowned Nepali folk singer and writer of the Mangar community, and also name the open air ampi-theater in Chowrastha after JB Thapa, another stalwart of the Mangar community. (EOIC)

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