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Kanwaljit Singh Cheema appointed as GTA secretary

Kanwaljit Singh Cheema full-time secretary of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration
Calcutta: The Bengal government on Monday appointed Kanwaljit Singh Cheema, a 1993-batch IAS officer, as the full-time secretary of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, days after announcing the allotment of Rs 640 crore to the hill body to undertake development projects.
The GTA, which is likely to be used by the government to reach out to the hill population through development projects, had been functioning with a part-time secretary since the agitation started in June.
The commissioner of Jalpaiguri division, Barun Roy, had been officiating as the secretary along with his regular responsibilities after the removal of R.I. Singh, the previous GTA secretary.
"The state government has announced the allotment of Rs 640 crore for development projects in the hills. In such a situation, it needs a full-time secretary in the GTA," said a senior state government official.

The state has also appointed a board of administrators, with expelled Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang at the helm, to run the GTA.
Sources said the government needed a full-time secretary at the GTA for two reasons. First, the state government wants proper implementation of the projects and second, it needs regular monitoring of the funds.
"The government doesn't want any allegation of misappropriation of funds. Besides, timely implementation of the projects is also important to win over the trust of the hill people," said an official.
Cheema, who was the mass education secretary, would be replaced by Anup Agarwal, the secretary of the planning, statistics and programme implementation department.

Induction advice
Rajen Mukhia, the president of Darjeeling district (hill) Trinamul, said on Monday he would the seek the advice of the state leadership on whether to induct Morcha leaders willing to cross over.
He said people who had deserted Trinamul during the agitation were among those who wanted to return.

Source: The Telegraph

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