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Centre could announce university for hills during budget session - Gurung

Bimal Gurung
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration chief executive Bimal Gurung today said the Centre could announce a central university for the hills during Monday’s Budget session in Parliament. He said so while inaugurating the new building of Mirik College at Kowlay, about 2km away from Mirik town. The GTA has constructed the building at a cost of Rs7.60 crore. "The hills will get to hear some good news soon. I feel that a central university could be announced in tomorrow’s Budget session of Parliament. I am really hopeful about it," said the GTA chief. The GorkhaJanmuktiMorcha has long been demanding a central university for the hills, which also finds mention in the GTA agreement. According to Gurung, the hills’ getting a central university would be half the battle won as far as the statehood demand was concerned. "Getting a university means securing half of Gorkhaland. It will be a step forward towards achieving our statehood demand," he said. The university nearest to the hills is the North Bengal University in Siliguri sub-division. Students from the hills need to travel more than 80km to Siliguri to attend classes at the NBU, compelling most of them to rent rooms or stay as paying guests leading to additional expenses. Gurung said the GTA would provide two buses and a hostel to Mirik College. "The college will require buses to ferry students as it is some distance from town. We will provide buses and a hostel facility as well. Work will soon start on the fencing around the college premises. We will see what can be done to renew the old building," said the GTA chief executive. The new academic session at Mirik College begins from April and the institution will now be able to accommodate about 1,000 students, up from the previous 750-800. The new building is three- storeyed and houses 17 classrooms, two halls for holding general classes and more than 10,000 square feet of space. It is also equipped with 22 computers, an attic for a library and 32 CCTVs to monitor the campus area. In the second phase, the GTA will build staff quarters (the college presently has 35 teaching and non-teaching staff), a hostel, a science laboratory and an administrative building. Gurung today also laid the foundation stone for a Rs3.26-crore tanga road (pathway for the movement of horses) from Thurbo tea garden check-post to SorasalayGaon to promote tourism. "The GTA has several development plans for Mirik. We have started work on a 6km road to promote tourism. We hope to attract more tourists to this place," Gurung said. The state cabinet has agreed to upgrade Mirik into a sub-division. The place comes under Kurseong sub-division and is a major tourist attraction, mainly for the quaint Mirik Lake and the boat rides on offer. (EOIC)

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