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GJM to work with state government following minister Rabindranath Ghosh's assurance

Roshan Giri GJM
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today said it had no issues working with the state government, a day after North Bengal Development Department minister Rabindranath Ghosh assured his department would not interfere in the independent functioning of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
Ghosh, who has succeeded Gautam Deb as the NBDD minister, on Wednesday held a meeting with department officials at Uttarkanya following which he said  his department would not undertake any development work in the GTA area unless assistance was sought by the hill body.
All this while, the GJM had been accusing the state government of unnecessary interference in the functioning of the GTA and infringement on its autonomy.
In fact, the once cordial relationship between the two had ebbed to its lowest although signs of revival are being noticed of late.
The GJM leadership today took a soft approach in response to the NBDD minister’s remarks. “We welcome the NBDD minister saying the state government would not interfere in GTA matters. This means the territorial jurisdiction of the GTA is being respected. And this is good as controversies will not be created unnecessarily. We are ready to work in tandem with the state government for the greater benefit of the people,” said Roshan Giri, the GJM general secretary and GTA Sabhasad.
In 2014, the GJM-run GTA had filed a petition in the high court against the NBDD for floating tenders and building three roads in the hills under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund scheme without its consent. The GTA’s contention was that doing so violated the GTA Act.
GJM president Bimal Gurung had earlier asserted he would not meet chief minister Mamata Banerjee or hold talks with the state government. But he has backtracked on that stance since, when he went to Kolkata last month to attend the oath-taking ceremony of the new state government on the invitation of the chief minister.
After his party's victory in the Assembly election, Gurung issued a statement congratulating the TMC chief and her party for regaining power. He even said he was ready to work with the state government  to usher development in the hills. Meanwhile, Giri said the appointment of Gautam Deb as the tourism department minister was a positive step. “He headed the NBDD and is well aware of the region and its needs. We want the tourism minister to endorse projects the GTA prepares and pursue them with the state government. This will help boost the tourism potential of the hills,” said the GJM general secretary.
But Sardha Subba, senior leader of the hill TMC unit, termed the GJM’s revised stand as a betrayal of the people. “The GJM won the election by advocating for a separate state and terming the TMC as an anti-hill party. But now they are willing to work with the very state government they seemed dead against. The people must understand the GJM is betraying them once again,” she alleged. (EOIC)

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