Showing posts with label GTA Sabha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GTA Sabha. Show all posts

Roshan Giri's peal to state education minister Partha Chatterjee

1:25 PM
DARJEELING 5 July 2016 Gorkhaland Territorial Administration sabhasad Roshan Giri today said the state government has given a positive response to the demand for regularising teachers serving on voluntary basis in various high schools and higher secondary schools in the hills.

Today, Giri and the three MLAs from the hills called on state education minister Partha Chatterjee in Kolkata and served a memorandum of demand following which they got the assurance. Speaking from Kolkata, Giri said, “We met the state education minister today and submitted a memorandum of our demands regarding regularising the voluntary teachers. The minister gave us a patient hearing and positive assurance.”

At present, 519 teachers are serving voluntarily in 129 junior, high and higher secondary schools in the hills. However, these teachers now want to be regularised and have started various forms of agitation under the aegis of the Janmukti Insecure Secondary Teachers’ Organisation (JISTO) to pressurise the state government.
Roshan Giri accompanied by hill MLAs Amar Singh Rai, Sarita Rai and Rohit Sharma met state education minister Partha Chatterjee
Roshan Giri accompanied by hill MLAs Amar Singh Rai, Sarita Rai and Rohit Sharma
met state education minister Partha Chatterjee
Besides regularisation, the GTA also wants the state government to form an ad-hoc selection board, giving permanent status to the headmasters of various schools currently holding temporary posts and a raise in salary of the voluntary teachers.

“There are schools in the hills that have headmasters who have been given temporary charge. We want permanent status for them for the smooth functioning of the schools. We also raised the issue of enhancement of salary of the voluntary teachers as assured by the state government in 2014,” Giri said.

According to the GTA sabhasad, the education minister assured the delegation that the process to regularise the voluntary teachers would start on receiving the green signal from the state chief secretary. “We have been assured that the minister would start the process to absorb the voluntary teachers, form an ad-hoc selection board and enhance salary once the state chief secretary gives the directions,” said Giri.

When asked for his comment on the development, JISTO coordinator Amit Gurung said, “We have not received any information yet about the meeting between the GTA and the state education minister. We will first wait for the details of the proposed ad-hoc selection board to see if it benefits us and comment only then.”

A discrepancy to be noted here is that on May 20 last month, the joint secretary of the state school education department had written to the home and hill affairs department stating that regularisation, absorption and appointment of voluntary teachers in the GTA could not be entertained until they secure their candidature through the West Bengal School Service Commission, which ironically, has remained defunct in the hills since 2003.

Telegraph - The GTA Sabha member in charge of education, Roshan Giri, met state education minister Partha Chatterjee today and demanded that an ad hoc selection board be formed to make the 500-odd voluntary teachers in the hills permanent.

Giri, who was accompanied by hill MLAs Amar Singh Rai, Sarita Rai and Rohit Sharma, said: "We have demanded that an ad hoc selection board be formed to absorb the 519 voluntary teachers in the hills. Since 2003, the SSC (School Service Commission) has been lying defunct and that is why the managing committees of the schools have had to recruit voluntary teachers. After having served for so long, it is justified that their (the teachers') services are regularised."

Chatterjee, however, said there would be no separate system for recruiting hill teachers. "The system followed in the plains will have to be followed in the hills as well," he said after meeting Giri at Bikash Bhavan in Calcutta.

Via   EOI and Telegraph

Darjeeling - another heritage gone, GTA pulls down Sailabash

12:42 PM
Darjeeling, May 31: Darjeeling's rare connection with present-day Bangladesh and a part of the hill town's rich history has been reduced to rubble.

The GTA has pulled down Sailabash, the over-a-century-old summer retreat of the raja of Digapatia, to set up a modern hotel management institute and guesthouse in one of the last few available green spaces in Darjeeling.

Digapatia is now in Rajshahi, Bangladesh.

The palace under the tourism department of the GTA near Jalapahar and was brought down about two weeks ago. "The building was in a dilapidated state and recent earthquakes too had caused some damage," said Kishore Ghimire, an executive engineer of the GTA.

In his book, A Concise History of The Darjeeling District Since 1835, which was published in 1922, E.C. Dozey, a writer and historian, said the building had been set up on land that was once owned by Capt J. Masson, the superintendent of Tukvar tea estate, by the "Digapatia Rajah". The retreat was earlier called Girivilash and the name was changed to Sailabash after Independence.
An undated photo of Sailabash: Courtesy Das Studio in Darjeeling
The Late Nayan Subba's soon-to-be-published book, Heritage buildings of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, says Raja Pramatha Nath Rai Bahadur had founded Girivilash whose garden was laid out by a German floriculturist and horticulturist, Morgenstern, and was looked after by 12 gardeners.

Nobody could say exactly in which year the building had been constructed. But its believed it was built in the last decade of the 19th century.

"Girivilash was a favourite place for the British governors of Bengal....The British army took over the palace in 1942. Later on, it was acquired by the government. It also served as a Tibetan school for a while. The palace has lost the historical grandeur of Girivilash," writes Subba.

According to Subba, the colonial building had an attic with miniature gables and a small dome, and an all-weather glazed rotunda with small square windows in classical style. There was a tennis court as well.

"Raja Pramadanath Roy occupied the front suite on the ground floor, which included the library, with its precious screens of velvet and ornate wooden pelmets," writes Subba.

The front suite of the upper storey with the snow view rooms was "for the rani",

Subba writes. It was "beautifully furnished with a curtained brass cot and a chandelier. There was a huge grandfather clock, which indicated the days of the month and the full moon day (Ekadashi). On the ground floor were the drawing room, dinning room, tash khana (card room) and the billiards room," Subba adds.

Despite being in a dilapidated state, Sailabash was still a landmark in Darjeeling and used to house a guesthouse after Independence. Once the building was taken over by the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, the office of the hill body's vice-chairman was housed there. For the past 20 years, the building had been lying vacant.

Bharat Prakash Rai, convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Darjeeling chapter), said: "How foolish can we be to dismantle such structures in the name of development. Could it not have been repaired? We have lost a piece of history and that is very sad."

Dawa Lepcha, the GTA Sabha member in charge of tourism, said: "A big-scale hotel management institution will be coming up and the requirements were such that the building had to come down."

GTA executive engineer Ghimire said the project cost had been pegged at Rs 55 crore. "Apart from the institution, there will also be a guesthouse with 24 rooms for in-house training. The infrastructure is being set up as per the parameters laid down by AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education)"

The five-acre plot in which the Sailabash was located has Annapurna and Kafal guesthouses, along with a pond built by the DGHC. "The Annapurna guesthouse will be used as an administrative building for the institution, while a part of Kafal will have to be dismantled. The pond will be smaller in size and we will have facilities for rainwater harvesting," said Ghimire.

The engineer said restoration of the building would have cost much more.

Via Telegraph

GJM Bimal Gurung upset with leaders, might reshuffle organisation

10:58 AM
Darjeeling, April 29: Bimal Gurung has expressed dissatisfaction with the functioning of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's municipal councillors and GTA Sabha members and said the organisation might be reshuffled from the grassroots level, said sources in the party.

The Morcha president held a closed-door meeting with members of the party's central committee and subdivisional committees at Malidhura in Darjeeling yesterday.

Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said it was "an internal meeting called to assess the recent election". Those who attended the session said off record that at the meeting, Gurung had not hidden his displeasure with the Morcha leaders' functioning.

"My party representatives are committing a lot of mistakes and I have to bear the brunt of your mistakes. It is time for self-correction by party leaders," Gurung was quoted to have said at the meeting by a source.
GJM Bimal Gurung
GJM chief Bimal Gurung
Gurung reminded the Morcha's municipal councillors and GTA Sabha members that their duty was to serve the people. "Don't take your chair for granted. The chair is not for earning money but to serve the people. Those who are in power are expected to do good work," Gurung reportedly said at the meeting.

The source said Gurung had specifically pointed to the collapse of a staircase connecting HD Lama Road with Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling on Tuesday. "Gurung said such incidents were bringing a bad name to the party's image and there should be no dereliction of duty by authorities concerned. He also expressed anguish at the growing congestion in town," said the source.

"Change is needed for the good of the party and also for the hill people," the source quoted Gurung as saying.

The GTA chief executive also warned that if need be, the Morcha would be reorganised from the bottom. "Gurung went to the extent of saying if needed, the party must be prepared to rebuild its organisation from the grassroots," said the source.

Gurung has also directed party workers not to wait till the election results to start a campaign to highlight the importance of the demand of granting tribal status to 10 hill communities.

Via Telegraph

Regularize over 5,000 casual employees within a month - GTA to State govt.

8:58 AM
Darjeeling, Feb. 2: The GTA decided to "bulldoze" its way through to regularize the services of over 5,000 casual employees at the hill body by setting a time-frame of one month for the state government to do so, failing which the autonomous institution itself will appoint them.  “A resolution was passed today in the Sabha that we will give the state government one month’s time to grant permanent status to the casual workers. If the state government fails to meet our demand, the GTA will appoint these casual workers permanently as per the 2011 agreement. We (GTA) will also give them salaries,” said BhupendraPradhan, the GTA Sabha chairman, after the meeting.

The GTA today also formed a committee to look at the possibility of constituting the Subordinate Selection Board on its own, though doubts persist if the hill body has powers to make the casual staff permanent and put in place the recruitment board.

The decisions come in the backdrop of the state's cancellation of a proposed meeting with the GTA on January 29 to discuss the regularisation of the casual staff. The Centre, too, had called tripartite talks with the state and the GTA in Delhi today but the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha alleged that the meeting had been cancelled because of the state's unwillingness to attend the session.
Regularize over 5,000 casual employees within a month - GTA to State gov.
JAKS demanding their right to permanent employment
Today, the GTA Sabha held a meeting at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling and passed a number of resolutions aimed at creating pressure on the state government.

Bhupendra Pradhan, the chairman of the GTA Sabha, said: "The Sabha today passed a resolution to write to the state to make the GTA workers permanent in one month. If they fail to regularise the jobs in a month, the GTA will start issuing appointment letters and we will pay their salaries from the GTA funds."

At the moment there are 5,321 casual employees in the GTA and the hill body has 4,011 sanctioned posts which are vacant now.

Many administrative officials said it was not clear whether the GTA could issue appointment letters. "There can be no clear answer on the issue as it depends on the interpretations of the GTA Act and various government notifications," said an officer.

Another officer, however, was of the opinion that the GTA had the power to issue appointment letters. "This is because there are 4,011 sanctioned posts. That the posts are sanctioned means that the government has given financial approval for the same. If the GTA makes appointment against the sanctioned posts, my opinion is that it cannot be termed illegal," he said.

Some other officials, however, said since the salaries had to come ultimately from the state, it is a must to get a concurrence from the state on the regularisation.

The GTA Act has empowered the hill body to fill up vacancies in Groups B, C and D through the Subordinate Selection Board. The board is to be formed by the state government in consultation with the GTA. However, the board has not yet been constituted.

At today's meeting, the GTA Sabha also formed a seven-member committee, which includes Ravi Inder Singh, principal secretary, GTA, Don Bosco Lepcha, secretary, GTA and Durga Kharel, nominated GTA Sabha member, to explore the possibility of forming the selection board.

"The committee will look into the provisions of forming the board as the state has failed to do so. We will bulldoze our way through as our people need jobs," said Pradhan.

In another resolution, the Sabha said the GTA would regularize the jobs of 515 voluntary teachers if the government didn't take an initiative in that direction.

"We will convene the Winter Session of the GTA on February 11 and 12 and come up with the budget. Our elected representatives will go to Calcutta along with GTA officials to place our budget before the state," said Pradhan.

A resolution was also taken to distribute Rs 60 lakh each to 45 elected GTA Sabha members as part of the constituency development fund which had been due for the past two financial years.

Source Telegraph

Bengal Invites GTA for Talks on Regularizing Over 5000 Casual Staff

8:01 AM

Writes: Vivek Chhetri

The Bengal government has invited the GTA for talks at Nabanna on January 29 to discuss the long-pending demand of the regularisation of jobs of over 5,000 causal employees at the hill body.

"We received a communication yesterday saying the state government had called a meeting on January 29. The home secretary, Moloy De, will chair the meeting as he is also in charge of the hill affairs department," Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha as well as an executive GTA Sabha member, said today.

"I will be attending the meeting at Nabanna (Howrah). The regularisation of casual staff is an important issue for the GTA. That is the only agenda of the meeting," he added.

The state's invitation to the GTA for the bipartite meeting has come a few days after the Morcha rejected chief minister Mamata Banerjee's call for talks on any issue.

Mamata had said in Siliguri on Thursday that if anyone had problems, they should meet her for talks and there should not be agitation in the Darjeeling hills.

The next day, Morcha president Bimal Gurung said he would meet the chief minister only if she declared that she would put an end to the state government's alleged "divide and rule" policy in the hills and agreed to talk on Gorkhaland.

At the moment, there are 5,321 casual employees at the GTA and since 2007, they have been demanding that they be made permanent. According to the Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangathan, which is an affiliate of the Morcha, the hill body has now 4,011 vacancies.

On May 14 last year, the high court had asked the state government to convene a meeting with the GTA in four months to decide how it would set in motion the process of absorbing the casual employees of the GTA.

In the order, Justice Sanjib Banerjee also told the state to allow two representatives of the JAKS, the sole association of casual employees at the GTA, to attend the meeting on the regularisation.

But soon after, the state filed an appeal with the division bench and the directive was stayed.

On September 17, 2009, following a hunger strike, the state government had given a written assurance to the JAKS.

A fax sent by the then home secretary Ardhendu Sen had stated: "The government has authorised the DGHC to start regularisation process against the sanctioned vacancies in all categories which it is authorised to do as per the existing act and the recruitment rules there under."

The fast was lifted following the assurance. The state government, however, went back on its assurance.

In 2011, the government decided to do away with the six-month contract system for the casual staff.

Source: Telegraph

GTA to conduct 4 sessions like Assemblies and the Parliament

12:51 PM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Nov. 27: The GTA Sabha today decided to hold four sessions similar to those in Assemblies and the Parliament from next year and invite the governor and the chief minister to address any of the meetings.

Bhupendra Pradhan, the chairman of the GTA Sabha, said the decision had been taken at a meeting of the Sabha held at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan today.

"During the meeting today it was decided that the GTA Sabha, too, would have sessions as the Assembly and the Parliament. The first of the annual four sessions will start from the first week of February and it will be called the winter session. The last meeting will be called budget session which will be held in November."

The second session, to be held from the first week of May, will be called the monsoon session. "The third session will be called the autumn session and it will commence from the first week of August," Pradhan said.

Explaining the rationale for holding the budget session in November and not in February or March as is the practice in the Assembly and Parliament, Pradhan said: "We need our budget to be passed by the Assembly. If we conduct the budget session in November, our budget can be sent to the state and it can be incorporated in their budget."

As of now, the GTA Sabha which came into being in 2012, doesn't hold sessions regularly and the meetings are generally for a day.
GTA to conduct 4 sessions like Assemblies and the Parliament
GTA Sabha a file photo
"We used to convene the Sabha meetings as and when they were needed, sometimes once in three months and sometimes in five months. But we realised that the Sabha is the only forum where all the members can air their views and there should be a fixed session," said Lopshang Yolmo, the deputy chairman of the GTA Sabha.

Pradhan said the governor or the chief minister "might not address the first session as we need to get a hang of organising the Sabha. The governor and the chief minister would be invited to address subsequent sessions."

The duration of each session has not been fixed. "It will probably depend on the issues that need to be discussed during a particular session," Yolmo said.

During today's meeting, it was also decided that the GTA would provide a one-time remuneration to voluntary teachers of 16 junior high schools. As of now, the teachers are not getting any pay. The remuneration amount is yet to be fixed.

Regarding another demand by a separate set of voluntary teachers, "a resolution was also passed to seek their regularisation of jobs. The teachers are currently agitating. The meeting requested the state government to withdraw its appeal in the high court so that the process to regularise the jobs of casual workers of the GTA can begin. The Sabha asked the state government to allow the GTA to appoint teachers in various schools to teach the Lepcha language as education is a transferred subject," said Pradhan.

Source Telegraph

Threats, Temptations, Patronage, and Gorkhaland

12:22 PM
Writes: NN Ojha

Politics like human mind remains in a state of perpetual unrest. While human mind remains turbulent because of endless desires constantly beyond the capacity of human endeavors to fulfill, the turbulence of politics and politicians is primarily attributable to ever changing goals sought to be achieved and the means to be employed for achieving those goals through political processes.

In so far as human mind is concerned ancient seers had suggested a number of stilling techniques ranging from meditation to solitude that could rid the mind of unrest and instill peace. No sage or seer could however ever devise any technique to alter the basic nature of politics from turbulent to tranquil. Those in politics therefore have to learn to live with turbulence and those wary of its horrors have no option but to keep out and away.

This is a universal truth but mercifully politics in our hills has been - relatively speaking - an exception. It has been steady in defining its goal and in its choice of the means. For over a century the goal has been creation of a state of our own separate from West Bengal and the choice of means peaceful within the limits permissible under the constitution. We haven’t deviated from the Gandhian path even in the face of worst provocations and at times the use of brute force by the state machinery resulting in loss of lives of hundreds of our innocent youth.
Threats, Temptations, Patronage, and Gorkhaland
Threats, Temptations, Patronage, and Gorkhaland
The steady flame of one single goal and the unwavering attention focused thereon irrespective of partisan, ideological considerations explain how our people enmasse stood by the late Suvash Ghising when he gave a call for agitation. It also explains why in December 2005 When Ghising dropped the demand for Gorkhaland ‘in larger national interest and out of deference to the call given by the (then) Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’ and accepted the Sixth Schedule as ‘full and final settlement’ he was pushed out of the political arena without any second thoughts.

If Ghising’s one time protégé Bimal Gurung was placed at the helm almost unanimously it was for no reason other than his pledge to carry on the struggle for Gorkhaland in repudiation of his mentor’s stand. The enviable record of successive victories of Bimal Gurung led GJMM in the elections for the state legislature, GTA Sabha and the last Parliamentary election may also be attributable almost exclusively to the wide spread popular perception that as of now GJMM was perhaps the sole vehicle for realizing the long cherished dream of Gorkhaland.

Quite understandably successive state governments of west Bengal have tried to erode this singularity of purpose and unity of political forces across party lines. The efforts visibly intensified after the TMC’s ascendance to power. The classical methods usually adopted by authorities to break people’s unity and destroy popular movements have been threats, temptations and patronage and the TMC supremo Mamta Banerjee has been trying each of these.

Soon after she assumed power in west Bengal she tried to lure the people away from the demand for Gorkhaland by promising that she would turn Darjeeling into Switzerland. When these pretensions were seen to be ineffective rants of ‘aami rough & tough’ came next coupled with threats of cutting the lez (tail) of the hill leaders that according to her had grown too large. As an astute politician however she has been prompt to realize that the Gorkhas who are themselves rough & tough more than just in a manner of saying can never be intimidated.

The tactics therefore seems to have entered into a Machiavellian phase of divide and rule through temptations in the form of separate development boards for different hill communities such as the Lepchas, Sherpas, Tamangs, Mangars and so on with rather liberal funding and largely unknown parameters for monitoring or audit of their usage.

The boards are unrepresentative in character and for all we know their office bearers are picked up in an arbitrary manner. The sole aim of the boards seems to be to create a constituency and a support base for the CM and her party. It is therefore not surprising that the at the very first meeting the President of the Lepcha Board declares that Ms Mamta Banerjee is not an ordinary human being. She is ‘Kimchung Darmit’ the Lepcha goddess of fortune. Similarly the President of the Tamang board declares that the CM is their most revered "Narsing Dolma - the "Goddess of light."

The boards are a clear case of give and take. I give you a position of authority in the board and place at your disposal sizeable resources including funds with relatively lax control on spending and in return you give me support of your community. A fringe benefit expected from the boards is inculcation of the perception that development and welfare of the respective communities is better ensured by the boards than by Gorkhaland for which the people have been suffering in a never-ending struggle with hardly any tangible gains.

Not much is known about the legal position of these boards whether these are created through a duly enacted statute passed by the state legislature or simply through some executive fiat. The specific provision under the general financial regulations governing allocation, application and audit of the funds is also not in public domain. Let us hope the C&AG some day examines these issues. That may be left to the discretion of the C&AG and his team of auditors. What is incumbent on the political forces in favor of Gorkhaland is to create awareness at the local as well as national level about the crude manner in which public money is being used for plain political gains by the government of a state.

We have seen the trail of threats and temptations being deployed to blunt the century old demand of statehood. Till now it seems neither has worked. My interaction with the common man belonging to the communities for whom boards have been already set up leaves me with the impression that a few self styled leaders of their communities might have sold themselves out but the masses can see through the game and are still unwavering in their commitment for Gorkhaland.

The perception about the common man being deeply committed to the idea of Gorkhaland is so widespread that even the community leaders who have obviously sold themselves out to Mamta Banerjee’s game plan are shy of owning up their sell out publicly. Those interested in politics or public life in any manner are well aware that any one reneging on the commitment to statehood or seen aligning with forces opposed to the same may find it difficult to preserve his standing in public life.

In the aftermath of the recent political developments involving the call by GJMM leadership to its MLAs to resign and their response, especially the response of the MLA from Kalimpong seem to be an exception to this age old trend of the hill politics. His proximity to Ms Mamta Banerjee has been too conspicuous for quite some time. His resignation from GJMM with whose support he contested and won the last assembly election and at the same time refusal to resign his seat in the assembly has led to rumors that he is shortly going to be rewarded with some position of authority by the state government. Some reports, unconfirmed though, suggest that he is to be put as head of an apex body to be created shortly, tasked to oversee the functioning of all the community based boards that Ms Banerjee has created or may create in near future.

If these reports turn out to be true then it may well nigh be the start of the third phase of the divide and rule policy, namely the phase of luring away the established political leadership in the hills from the avowed goal of Gorkhaland by offering them patronage. The masses will have to remain alert and give an appropriate response equally to those wanting to buy out and those willing to be sold out.

[Shri. N N Ojha writes exclusively for Darjeeling Times, you can read his articles in his column "The Expositor" at:]

GTA to form development boards for all hill communities - Bimal Gurung

1:46 PM
Writes Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Sept. 20: Bimal Gurung today tried to outdo Mamata Banerjee in her game by announcing development boards for all hill communities, but his speech betrayed his worry about the apparent public acceptance the chief minister has garnered in some parts of the hills.

"Enough is enough," said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief, while addressing a seminar on the issue of tribal status to 10 hill communities at the Gorkha Rangamancha Bhavan. "The GTA will now form development boards for all the hill communities. I promise you, 101 per cent, that the GTA Sabha will soon adopt a resolution to this effect and we will give responsibilities to you (development boards)."

Since 2012, Mamata has formed development boards for the Lepcha, Tamang, Sherpa, Bhutia and Mangar communities in the Darjeeling hills. During her last visit a week back, she said development board demands of the Rai and Limbu communities would be looked into.
Bimal Gurung at Gorkha Rangamancha Bhavan on Sunday
Bimal Gurung at Gorkha Rangamancha Bhavan on Sunday. Picture by Suman Tamang
Gurung has called this a divide-and-rule policy of the state government.

He today reminded the hill people about the importance of their collective identity, on which the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state largely rests.

"Our community is becoming weak every day. We are getting sold for a toilet. Our community is now worth Rs 3 crore, Rs 5 crore," said Gurung, referring to the amounts Mamata has sanctioned for some of the development boards.

Present at the seminar were Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling, Sikkim MP P.D. Rai, Tezpur MP R.P. Sharma and a host of ministers from Sikkim as representatives of the Gorkha community from across the country.

Gurung asked: "Is the worth of our community only Rs 3 crore. Just for Rs 3 crore, our people lined up along the streets from morning to evening, braving torrential rain. However, when a chief minister from Sikkim, who is from our community, has come, I have felt that a certain thing was amiss. I will talk about it later. We must learn to respect the personalities from our community."

The Morcha chief was referring to the welcome accorded to Mamata during her visit to Kalimpong recently. People from different hill communities had lined up the streets to Kalimpong, braving rain during her visit. Also when Mamata had said she would never let go of the hills, people in the audience in Kalimpong had applauded.

Today, Trinamul organised three meetings in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong to highlight "good governance" of the Trinamul-led dispensation, a rarity in the hills where the Morcha is the most powerful party. (See Page 8)

If the GTA does go ahead with the formation of the boards, at least 14 such bodies would be formed in the hills. At least five hill communities would have parallel boards - one formed by the state, another now proposed by the GTA.

The boards under the Bengal government have been registered as societies and are under the state backward classes welfare department.

"People ask me why I frequent Delhi," Gurung said, then explained that he goes to the national capital to meet MPs, ministers and central leaders for Gorkhaland.

"I am ready to touch their feet for Gorkhaland but I will not lose my self-respect on this issue. I go to Delhi because the issue is with the Centre, and not with Bengal. That is why my fight is not with Bengal," he said.

During the seminar, it has also been decided in principle that a national committee would be formed to look into various issues of the Gorkha communities.

Gurung has asked Chamling to lead the national committee. "I appeal to all political parties and all the people of the hills to rise beyond petty politics on the issue of granting tribal status and Gorkhaland," Chamling said.

Source Telegraph

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