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Gitanajali housing scheme transferred to Gorkhaland Territorial Administration

Gitanajali housing scheme Gorkhaland Territorial Administration
Darjeeling: The Bengal government has agreed to implement the Gitanajali housing scheme through the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in the hills - a move that could help strengthen the support base of the Binay Tamang camp of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
The Mamata Banerjee government's earlier decision to implement the scheme through 15 development boards formed for various hill communities bypassing the GTA was one of the reasons for the strain in relations between Bimal Gurung and the chief minister.
Gurung had alleged that the development boards were formed to "divide and rule" the hill people. The most important activity taken up by the development boards was construction of houses for economically backward families.
The GTA, in an effort to counter the development boards, launched its own housing scheme called "Hamro Ghar Yojana" and was providing a sum of Rs 1.6 lakh to each beneficiary.

Binay Tamang, the chairperson of the board of administrators of the GTA, said on Sunday: "The state government has agreed to implement the Gitanajali housing scheme through the GTA. The scheme will be implemented from the current month onwards."
Tamang, who met Bengal housing minister Shovan Chatterjee in Calcutta on Sunday, said: "Of the 1,400 houses, 500 would be constructed in Darjeeling, 400 in Kalimpong, 300 in Kurseong and 200 in Mirik."
The GTA chairperson said the minister had assured him that 5,000 more houses would be allocated to the GTA under the scheme from the next financial year.
The Gitanjali scheme had not been implemented on a large scale in the hills because of the existence of the development boards. However, few houses had been allocated under the scheme through the Darjeeling district magistrate.
Observers said in all probability, the development boards would continue to get funds for building homes as in the past.
The state government's decision to engage the GTA to build homes for the poor in the hills is seen as an attempt by Mamata Banerjee to help the Morcha's Tamang lobby further consolidate its base in the hills.
Ever since Mamata engineered a split in the Morcha, the state has been vigorously trying to dent the influence of Gurung, who was later expelled from the Morcha by the rival faction.
Tamang on Sunday submitted a memorandum to Chatterjee, who is also the minister of fire services, for setting up fire stations at Sukhiapokhri, Algarah, Gorubathan and Sonada, and to make the Mirik fire station operational as early as possible.

The Telegraph

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