Binay Tamang has decided to call Pawan Chamling in Gangtok

Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chief Binay Tamang
Darjeeling: Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chief Binay Tamang has decided to call on Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling in Gangtok on March 27, raising hopes of ending months of acrimony with the hill state's leadership.
Tamang and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had criticised Chamling for interfering in the Darjeeling hills' politics.
"To strengthen our age-old ties with Sikkim, I along with Anit Thapa (general secretary, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) will call on Sikkim chief minister, Pawan Chamling at his residence, Mingtogang in Gangtok at 3 pm on March 27," Tamang said on Saturday.
The ties between Bengal and Sikkim had hit rock bottom after Chamling passed a resolution supporting Gorkhaland during the statehood agitation last year and reports emerged that Bimal Gurung - Tamang's Morcha rival - had taking shelter in Sikkim for sometime while in hiding after facing cases related to the Darjeeling unrest.
However, following a meeting between Mamata and Chamling in Siliguri on March 17, the peace ball was set rolling between the two states.
Tamang's decision to call on Chamling is expected to have a major impact on relations between the two states as the leaders are expected to hold detailed discussions on every issue that affects the Darjeeling hills and Sikkim.

Speaking on Saturday, Tamang said the meeting was necessary to clear the air on "misunderstandings that have cropped up recently". "The time has come to strengthen our bonds which had been strong in the past," said Tamang.

Observers believe that the presence of Gurung loyalists in Sikkim is likely to figure prominently during the meeting between the two leaders. "This would mean that Gurung who is already on the run will have his problem compounded," said an observer.
The issue of rail link to Sikkim is also likely to come up in the meeting. "The GTA has not given a no- objection certificate as we want the railways to fulfil three of our conditions. These are setting up three stations on Darjeeling side, tunnels should be dug without using explosions and social welfare schemes must be initiated for the locals," said Tamang.
Tamang, however, added that these issues have more or less been solved. "The GTA will have a final meeting with the railways on April 4. We have already had interactions with the railways on earlier occasions and most of the issues have been solved including setting up stations on our side," said Tamang.
The first railway project to Sikkim has started but with the GTA not having given its clearance to start work in the portion that runs through GTA area, all hurdles have not yet been cleared.

Police talent hunt
The deadline for receiving entries for Rising Sun, a singing and dancing talent show organised by Darjeeling police as part of its efforts to boost community policing following last year's violence, has been extended by two days till march 27.
The competition has a total prize money of Rs 26.44 lakh. "Since we are getting innumerable queries, we have decided to extent the registration date till Tuesday," said Sidharath Dorji, DSP (town).

The Telegraph

Share news to: