CM Mamata scheduled bipartite meeting with GTA in Kalimpong on Sept 2

CM Mamata GTA chief Bimal Gurung
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to make a three-day trip to Darjeeling from September 1 during which she would have a meeting with Gorkhaland Territorial Administration members and attend a programme of the Lepcha community on September 3, according to Nabanna sources in Kolkata.
During the stay of the Chief Minister, on September 2, the state government has decided to convene a bipartite meeting with the GTA in Kalimpong to discuss issues related with the council’s functions and powers. GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung announced this on Tuesday after an “introductory meeting” between new GTA principal secretary Gautam Ghosh and council executives in Darjeeling.
 Coming in the wake of Gurung’s recent visit to Delhi where he had taken with him a team of GTA officials to discuss developmental projects for the Darjeeling hills, it is to be watched if Mamata will try to woo the GTA leadership with her own set of projects. Whenever the chief minister visits North Bengal including the Darjeeling hills, she announces a lot of development projects for the area.  People in north Bengal, and Darjeeling in particular, are eagerly awaiting to hear what she will have to announce this time, particularly because she has just returned from her Singapore tour.
Significantly, Gurung announced he would leave for Delhi on Wednesday along with GTA members Anit Thapa and Dawa Lepcha and council secretaries for a meeting with Central representatives. On August 28, Gurung will meet spiritual guru Ramdev and lay the foundation stone for a Gorkha Bhawan at Saket, Delhi the following day before heading back home.
Gurung said, however, that the state government had not yet sent any written communication on the bipartite meeting even though it has called for the GTA’s participation.  “We received only a verbal communication from Kolkata telling us about the proposed bipartite meeting slated to be held on September 2,” he said, after a meeting held between 45 elected and five nominated GTA sabhasads and secretaries and executive directors of various departments.
The upcoming bipartite meeting will be the first one after the one-to-one closed door talks between the Chief Minister and Gurung in Darjeeling on June 18. The chief minister was in Darjeeling then to launch a number of projects and also officially announce the formation of the Tamang Development Cultural Board. The chief minister had announced then that a bipartite meeting would be convened within a month which would be followed by a tripartite one to discuss GTA-related issues.
 The GTA has been alleging “unnecessary interference” by the state government in matters under its jurisdiction including its smooth functioning ever since its formation on August 4, 2011. Due to all these and a number of other reasons, relations between the GTA and state government are presently not at their brightest.
Gurung said he has asked the state government to send an “action taken” report regarding the previous five rounds of bipartite meetings.  “We have had five meetings, but the state government is yet to give us reports of what actions have been taken. Such reports are necessary because the GTA sabhasads will have to take stock of things first before they are taken up in the upcoming September meeting with the state government,” the GTA chief executive pointed out, adding the state government has given a verbal assurance of despatching the reports immediately.
Issues such as transfer of departments to the GTA and the recent state government notifications to the Darjeeling municipality are some matters which are expected to be taken up in the bipartite meeting. The bipartite meeting, notably, is scheduled after the appointment of  Ghosh as the GTA principal secretary last month. His predecessor RD Meena, who was also the Jalaiguri divisional commissioner, has retired. The importance of appointment of a senior IAS officer as the principal secretary of GTA has always been emphasized by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders.
Observers say that the silence of GJM leaders on the Gorkhaland issue since the Lok Sabha election and the recent visit of the top leadership of the party to Delhi has made it easier for the Mamata Banerjee government to talk development of the hills with the GTA.  It is to be watched if the GJM leadership can rope in the helps of both Delhi and Kolkata for speedy development of Darjeeling.(EOIC)

In her three-day trip to Darjeeling from September 1,CM Mamata scheduled bipartite meeting with GTA chief Bimal Gurung in Kalimpong on 2 Sept

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