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Narendra Modi says process to grant ST status to 11 Gorkha community started

Bimal Gurung with Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Madrihat Bengal confirms that process to grant St status to 11 Gorkha Communities has began.

“Many promised that they will include the Gorkhas among the SC and ST category. But none delivered. Your MP has started the exercise,” - Modi

Speaking at Madarihat in the North Bengal Dooars tea belt, Modi started his speech in Bengali, drawing on tea to connect with his audience. “You produce tea here. I also sold tea in my childhood. I want your blessings as I want to solve your problems.”

In quite a few tea gardens in the Dooars region, more than 100 workers had died of conditions related to severe malnourishment in the past few months. Given the ailing condition of several tea gardens, the Centre in January authorised the Tea Board of India to take over seven gardens belonging to the G P Goenka group – Birpara, Garganda, Lankapara, Tulsipara, Huntapara, Dhumchipara, Demdima with a total of 17,555 workers. The move followed more than one visit of union minister Nirmala Seetharaman who came to check on the situation in the gardens.

“We ordered takeover of the tea gardens. But Mamata Banerjee together with the owners went to the court and obtained a stay... But I will not stop. I will not allow welfare of the tea workers to stop,” Modi said, as he accused the state government of apathy and alleged no welfare officers were willing to listen to the plight of the distressed tea workers.

“The Left took the state on the path of ruin in 34 years. Didi is pushing Bengal forward in the same direction,” he added.

Also focusing on Gorkhas, Modi said, “Many promised that they will include the Gorkhas among the SC and ST category. But none delivered. Your MP has started the exercise,” referring to S S Ahluwalia who won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 with support from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), a BJP ally.

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