Mamata, Shah pledge to address different Gorkha concerns

Mamata, Shah pledge to address different Gorkha concerns
Sat, Apr 13, 2019

DARJEELING,: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and BJP president Amit Shah wooed the hill voters yesterday with promises to deliver on issues that are at the core of the Gorkha discontent – identity and tribal status.
Addressing an election meeting in Darjeeling, Banerjee said she would take steps to address the issue of Gorkha identity. “I want the Gorkha identity to be preserved in Darjeeling…After the parliamentary elections and before the GTA elections, we will try to take some decision so that identity is not a problem for our Gorkha brothers and sisters,” she said.
Shah, on the hand, told an election meeting in Kalimpong that the BJP would grant Scheduled Tribe status to the 11 Gorkha communities if the NDA government comes back to power. “If the Narendra Modi government comes back to power, we will ensure the Gorkhas in India are granted tribal status. We have mentioned it in our manifesto,” he said.
The Bengal chief minister also hinted that her government would compensate the tea garden workers for suffering losses during the 2017 agitation for Gorkhaland.
“Binay (the president of his faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) and others have told me that during the strike many tea garden workers had to face a lot of problem. The ones calling the strike have fled, but those who have stayed behind did not get their wages. Since model code of conduct is in now, I cannot say much on this, but we will look at it on humanitarian grounds and see if something can done about it,” she said.
On the demand for land rights for tea garden workers, Banerjee also gave very positive vibes. “I have discussed a lot on the issue of parcha patta (land rights) for workers who have been living in tea gardens for years. I have already formed a review committee. Once the panel files its report, a survey will be carried out. I do not want to deprive anyone,” she said.
Shah, however, accused Banerjee of finishing off the tea gardens and tourism in Bengal. “There are so much of opportunities in tea gardens and tourism, but they have not been tapped because of the atrocities carried out by Mamta Banerjee and her government. I have met your leaders in Delhi and have experienced their hurt…Conspiracies are being hatched to put them behind bars, but the BJP is standing like a mountain behind them. They will get justice one day," he said, referring to the Bimal Gurung faction of Morcha.
Shah also reiterated that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) would be implemented in Bengal, but assured the Gorkhas that they wouldn’t in any be adversely affected by it. “We will launch the NRC in Bengal so that infiltrators are identified and driven out of the state. On the other hand, all refugees who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains, would be given citizenship. The Gorkha community need not to worry, though,” he said.



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