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Mamata Banerjee blasts as Darjeeling hill body fails to carry out development schemes

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee
KOLKATA: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday held the semi-autonomous Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) responsible for lack of development in Darjeeling Hills despite financial and administrative support given to the organisation by her government.
"The GTA was created for the development of entire Darjeeling. It was also created to maintain peace and integrity of the Hill people. Our government has also helped a lot to the GTA for carrying out development projects in Darjeeling. But I am sorry to say that nothing has happened in the Hills. Let the GTA tell us about their failure and we will certainly devote much more time for implementing all the development schemes in the Hills. Even the GTA could not keep the lake at Mirik clean," Mamata said at a function at Mirik in Darjeeling district while announcing tyhe area as a new sub-division.

Interestingly, the GTA is being run by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) activists. Bilateral relation between the ruling Trinamool Congress and GJM which practically runs Hill administration, is not very cordial and chief minister's criticism about the GTA, just a few weeks ahead of civic polls in Darjeeling bears tremendous political significance.

Four municipalities of Kalimpong, Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik are likely to go for polls in May. All these civic bodies are now under the control of the GJM. Trinamool Congress had won 211 of the total 294 seats in the state Assembly last year. But all the three Assembly seats of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong were won by the GJM. The BJP had also won the Darjeeling lok sabha seat in 2014 with support from the GJM. Naturally, Trinamool Congress is not in a very sound position in Darjeeling despite their massive control over rest of Bengal.

Very recently, Trinamool Congress has managed to bring splits in the GJM and Thursday's criticism of the GTA by the chief minister indicates clearly that the ruling party is making all possible moves to win the May civic polls in Darjeeling to give an impression throughout the state that chief minister's popularity is growing every day.

Apart from her blast against the GTA, the chief minister also instructed Information Technology, agriculture, horticulture and floriculture sectors to generate employment and economically uplift the people of Darjeeling and Kalimpong. The Tea Park in New Jalpaiguri will also become operational soon, she said.

" I have asked the Agriculture, Animal Resource Development and Industries department to look into this. I have also instructed the Secretary of the Information Technology department to prepare IT projects for the Hills.” the chief minister said.

The Chief Minister stated that tourism projects including the ones at Gajaldoba and Tiger Hill were discussed in detail in the presence of tourism minister Gautam Deb and the Chief Secretary.

“We have discussed different projects in connection to roads, drinking water and electricity,” she added.


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