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Ghosh rider to work in hills

Rabindranath Ghosh
North Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh today said his department would not take up any development project in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration area unless representatives of the hill body sought its assistance.
Ghosh, who held a meeting with officials of his department at Uttarkanya today, said: "We held a meeting today. Based on the discussions, we have decided that the NBDD will not work in the GTA area. We will work within the territory of the GTA or extend our assistance only after they approach us."
"Earlier, many development projects were executed by the NBDD in the GTA area, including roads and bridges. But unfortunately, as the department took up the task of building three roads in the hills, it had to face a legal suit filed by the GTA over jurisdiction. Considering that, we want to make it clear that the department will not take up any project in the GTA area unless requested by competent representatives of the autonomous body," Ghosh said at a news conference here this evening.
He added that the department would take up development projects where required. "We are well aware of our jurisdiction and will work at all those places in north Bengal where infrastructure development is required. There is no question of ignoring the local bodies," he said.
The assertions of Ghosh, who has replaced Gautam Deb as the north Bengal development minister, are clear indications that the state will continue with its non-compromising stance when it comes to the GTA and bodies like the Siliguri Municipal Corporation run by the Left Front.
"His remarks are likely to give rise to fresh controversies. It is clear that the Trinamul government will not budge from its stance," a political observer said.
Sources said Ghosh would hold a meeting with the district magistrates of all seven districts of north Bengal tomorrow.(TT)

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