North prepares for 2019 Elections

Fri, Jan 25, 2019

Our Correspondent
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) agreement would be reviewed after the Lok Sabha elections for making certain changes to benefit the hills. She was addressing the 123rd birth anniversary of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose here at Chowrasta.
After the Lok Sabha elections, the GTA agreement and accord would be reviewed so that more developmental work can be done for the hills, said the Chief Minister. She assured to work for the security of the Gorkha identity along with a permanent solution for the hills.
“The Gorkha Regiment were with Netaji and when he formed the Indian National Army, the people from the hills were in it. The identity of the Gorkhas started from there and the identity of the Gorkhas will stay on,” said Mamata.
“I want to give an assurance to my Gorkha brothers and sisters that for the security of your identity and to make the hills stronger whatever needs to be done from my side I will do. I want the development of the hills and a permanent solution,” she said in her speech later on.
The Chief Minister mentioned that the birth anniversary of Netaji is being organized here in the hills for about five years now. She pointed out that in the year 1936, Netaji was in house arrest at Kurseong for seven months from where he also led the freedom movement coming back to Darjeeling in the year 1937 also.
On the state university that is to come up in the hills, the Chief Minister said, “There was the demand of a central university but so many days passed and nothing was done. It seems that they only make false promises during the elections but I don’t do such things as I have given a state university here. Whatever needs to be done I will do for Darjeeling.”
“For the tribal status for the 11 communities here, I have already given the letter but the centre has not done anything on it as yet. After this government goes away. I will do this if it is according to the laws and rules. How much time is required to do something?” questioned the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister, on the occasion, handed over cash prizes, motor bike and scooter along with trophies to the winners of the different sports events organized by the Darjeeling police as part of the Himal Terai Dooars Sports festival. Five of them who excelled in the sports festival were given appointment to civic volunteers.
Mamata also handed over the appointment letter to 121 primary teachers along with handing over different amounts to beneficiaries of different schemes like Rupashree Prakalpa, Kanyashree Prakalpa, beautification of home stays and old age pension scheme.
Foundation stones of thirty six projects were also laid by the Chief Minister for different parts of North Bengal.
Meanwhile, GTA chairman Binay Tamang thanked Mamata for her announcement regarding the identity and safety security of the Gorkhas in India.
¨We have been at the forefront of leading the struggle for realizing identity and safety of the Gorkhas in India and we would want an immediate redressal and interference to resolve on all the pending issues of the Gorkhas regarding to identity and safety. We have also demanded that land pattas should be given to tea garden workers along with minimum wages. Today in her speech, the Chief Minister has assured that she will look into all the problems and we are happy to know that she acknowledges the key long pending demands of the Gorkhas,"said Tamang.
During our meeting with the Chief Minister yesterday, we had a long discussions on the matters relating to linguistic minority status for Nepali speaking people in India, GTA being brought under the Development Of North Eastern Region (DONER), immediate transfer of DI Fund to GTA, up gradation of Darjeeling Municipality into Municipal Corporation,  absorption of Group D in cinchona plantation, said Tamang.
“The Chief Minister has also agreed to review the existing GTA Act and give more powers to it and GTA elections will be held after Lok Sabha elections,” said Tamang.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi