GTA to take court path for departments

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters  torch rally in Darjeelinng
The GTA is planning to file a case in Calcutta High Court against the state government for allegedly failing to honour the act that facilitated the formation of the autonomous hill body.

Sources said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha which along with the state and the Centre was a signatory to the GTA memorandum of agreement on July 18, 2011, was preparing a complete list of grievances and before moving the court, a white paper would be issued about it to the hill people.

Asked when the GTA would move court, Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri, also an executive GTA Sabha member, did not give a date.

In 2012, the GTA had filed a case in the high court against the state for failing to form a panel of names to enable the selection of the principal secretary of the hill body.

In 2014, it had lodged another case against the north Bengal development department's decision to construct three roads in the GTA area.

In both the cases, the GTA got favourable rulings.

Today, a Morcha leader said: "The GTA will issue a white paper so that people stating that the state government has fully supported the hill body stand exposed. Ultimately, we will have no option but to move the high court."

The Telegraph has access to some portions of the report, according to which, the officials and staff members of the social welfare department are not reporting to the executive director of the department in the GTA.

"Social security schemes like the widow pension, disability pension and Kanyashree are being implemented by the district magistrate. The allotments for widow pension and disability pension used to come to the GTA but from this fiscal (2015-16), they are being given to the DM, Darjeeling, without the knowledge of the GTA," the report said.

According to the GTA Act, 59 subjects under 40 departments are to be transferred to the GTA. According to the hill body, despite notifications being issued for the transfers, most departments have not been transferred or have been transferred partially.

A Morcha source said: "The function and functionaries of the land and land reforms department are yet to be transferred. We also want the transfer of records and functions of the tauzi department and the Darjeeling Improvement Fund." The fund controls some local market areas.

The report says the state has failed to form the School Service Commission, sub-ordinate selection board and transfer of Darjeeling Polytechnic, despite issuing a notification.

"We have been seeking the constitution of a committee for preparing the GTA rules so that the GTA Act can be properly implemented, but to no avail," said a source.

The report said apart from a "paper notification, the PWD was yet to be transferred" and no maintenance funds were given to the GTA for "26 roads measuring about 386km that were transferred to... the GTA. A notification to transfer the fire department has also been issued but it is yet to be implemented," it said.

Last month, Morcha president and GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung had written to the chief minister mentioning several issues, including delay in transfer of departments.

Today, a Morcha leader said: "We want BDOs to be declared as Territorial Development Officers and brought under the control and supervision of the GTA, a committee to regularise pay band employees of the GTA, revision of pension and provident rules, implementation of health scheme, 2008, for staff under deputation in GTA and deputation allowances as per revised rates. We have written to the state, but we are yet to hear on the issues."(TT)

The GTA is planning to file a case in Calcutta High Court against the state government for allegedly failing to honour the act that facilitated the formation of the autonomous hill body.

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