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Gurung to invite Union ministers to inaugurate completed projects by GTA

Bimal Gurung in Darjeeling
Bimal Gurung today said he would invite Union ministers to inaugurate various projects being completed by the GTA as most of them were funded by the Centre, a remark which is perceived to pre-empt any move by the Mamata Banerjee government to take credit for the schemes in the hills.
Talking to the media after a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha delegation met Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at Raj Bhavan in Darjeeling today, the GTA chief executive said: "It is through central funds that we have been constructing car parking facilities, Nepali academy, model schools and auditoriums. During my last visit to New Delhi on May 26, I had invited the Union home minister to visit Darjeeling between July 11 and 17 to inaugurate the car parking facilities."
Two car parking lots are being constructed at Singamari and near Darjeeling railway station.
"Since the Centre has funded these projects, we have to invite Union ministers to inaugurate them... we will invite central leaders to launch the projects funded by the Union government," said Gurung.
Observers said Gurung had referred to the central assistance to implement various projects in the hills so that the Trinamul government didn't take credit for the same ahead of the municipal and GTA elections.
"The distribution of rice at Rs 2 per kg to BPL families has helped Trinamul to a great extent in the just-concluded Assembly polls. But the fact is that the state is implementing the scheme with central funds. Gurung seems to be aware of it and doesn't want Mamata to stake claim to the projects," said an observer.
In the Assembly polls, the Morcha's victory margin has come down in the three hill seats compared to the 2011 elections.
While elections to four municipalities in the hills are slated for December, those to the GTA are due next year.
Regarding the relation with the state, Gurung today said: "The Trinamul Congress has formed the new government. We have to create a good atmosphere for the welfare of the people and for development to take place."
Asked if he would meet Mamata during her next visit to Darjeeling, Gurung said: "I will definitely meet her as protocol demands so."
During the times of strained relations between the duo, Gurung didn't meet Mamata during her visits to the hills.
Talking about the Morcha delegation's meeting with the governor, Gurung said: "We took up with him the issue of proper transfer of departments from the state to the GTA, implementation of three-tier pachayats in the hills, granting land rights to tea garden and cinchona plantation inhabitants and giving tribal status to 11 communities."
Later in the day, Gurung attended a meeting organised by the 11 communities seeking the ST status at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan here. He urged leaders of the 11 communities to prepare detailed documents on the respective communities.(TT(

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