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Historic Darjeeling tripartite accord signed

Published on 19 Jul. 2011 1:34 AM IST
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A tripartite agreement on the Darjeeling hills was signed Monday between the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) and the West Bengal and central governments. At the core of the pact is the formation of a new autonomous, elected Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) formed in the late 1980s.
Terming the agreement as the new beginning for Darjeeling, union home minister P. Chidambaram said the central government will keep a watch on the path of the GTA and offer all kinds of help to the newly-formed administrative body. “This is a historic day. This is a day to step into the future and a new beginning for Darjeeling. We know you had faced lot of problems. This is a time to keep aside those sufferings and look into the future. You (GJM leadership) have to show that you can govern,” said Chidambaram at the signing function in Pintail village in Kurseong sub-division of Darjeeling district.
State chief minister Mamata Banerjee lauded the accord and ruled out any possibility of the division of Bengal. “After fighting for a long time, here comes the environment of peace and harmony. We will give full cooperation to the GTA. Darjeeling is heart of the state. Darjeeling and Siliguri are like two sisters. They cannot be separated from each other,” she said.

New body to hold election within six months

  • GTA will be headed by a chariman having 45 elected members and another five nominated by the governor
  • GTA will get sweeping powers to set up educational institutes and undertake developmental works.
  • High powered committee to probe feasibility of including new areas to the GTA in the Dooars and Terai region
  • GTA to receive annual grant of Rs 200 crores in addition to state sanctions
  • GTA will have greater autonomy than the erstwhile DGHC
  • State and centre to help set educational and research institutions State to announce special package for Darjeeling
  • Gorkhas to apply to backward classes department for tribal status

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