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Stalemate over Gorkhaland continues to persist

Jalpaiguri, Sat, 17 Mar 2012 ANI

Jalpaiguri, Mar 17 (ANI): Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in West Bengal has rued at the impasse over the inclusion of their areas in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Bill.


Commenting on these aspects, state lawmaker and GJM spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri said that both, the state government and the Gorkha groups, were fixated on their stands, but hoped that the deadlock would be broken in a couple of days.


"Till now our stands are unmoved. The state government is saying that first the elections will be conducted as written in the Act, but the Act also mentions a high power committee, which will do its work and we will do our job," said Chhetri.


"But we have asked the state government to include the regions first and then conduct the elections. So right now there is a stalemate, but hopefully in a couple of days - as we have our central committees meeting - a solution will be worked out," he added.


A renewed demand for a separate Gorkhaland region, which would include Darjeeling and some contiguous areas of Jalpaiguri District, has created fresh turmoil over the past few months.


The non-political tribal outfit, Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP) that had joined hands earlier with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), has now distanced itself from the separate state (autonomous region) demand.


Both outfits have been at loggerheads as the ABAVP is now agitating over the demand of GJM for the merging of 199 administrative blocks (mouzas) each from the Dooars and Terai region in the GTA.


Earlier in February, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had met GJM leaders to discuss the simmering row over Gorkhaland issue.


Banerjee, accompanied by 12 ministers along with Secretaries of concerned department and senior officials of six districts, held a review meeting at Siliguri to take stock of development work in north Bengal.


The meeting was to discuss the GTA Bill that was passed by the state government on September 2, 2011.


The Bill is now awaiting the approval of the President for implementation.


The GJM had signed a tripartite treaty with the state government of West Bengal and the central government on the issue of granting semi-autonomous territorial status to the Gorkhaland region.


The Gorkhaland agitation had scorched the hill districts of Bengal for most parts of last year leading to chaos in the region.


The Gorkha population in West Bengal is estimated to be around a million.


The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is a semi-autonomous administrative body for the Darjeeling Hills in West Bengal. The GTA will replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, which was formed in 1988 and administered the Darjeeling hills for 23 years. (ANI)


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