The proposed tripartite talks between the Centre, state and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), slated for October 23, could run into rough waters with the state antagonised by the unilateral announcement of the talks by the centre.
On Septembr 30 , GJM announced that it received a phone call from the ministry of home affairs, Delhi that tripartite talks will be held on October 23.
“We have not received any intimation regarding tripartite talks from the centre yet. The state is Being Bypassed. The centre should have first consulted the state Before announcing tripartite talks. If the centre has any suggestions regarding Darjeeling it has to first discuss it with the state. The federal structure of India demands this. The centre is indulging in divisive politics,” said Gautam Deb, North Bengal development minister.
The state, already irked By the alleged unilateral withdrawal of 4 companies of Shashastra Seema Bal, has Been further antagonised By the announcement of talks.
“The centre is provoking the GJM to agitate for a Union Territory. The centre wants to divide West Bengal. We will launch an agitation against the centre,” threatened Deb addressing a Trinamool indoor meeting at BijanBari, 30 km from Darjeeling town.
The minister also sent a strong message to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) that the government would not tolerate hooliganism in the name of agitation. The government will continue to take legal action against all such acts.
The day saw the arrest of ar un Sigchi, Gorkhaland Territorial administration (GTA) member from Mirik. Sigchi is wanted in multiple cases.
“In the name of agitation they are destroying puBlic property. Forest Bungalow, tourist Bungalows and state Buses are being torched in the Hills. The government will not tolerate this. Do not forget that the name of the chief minister is Mamata Banerjee and not BuddhadeB Bhattacherjee,” warned Deb scorning the former Left Front government’s non-confrontation policy in the Hills.
“Let it Be anyone, and that includes Bimal Gurung; the law will take its own course. No one is above the law,” said Deb. He said that anyone causing disturbances and disrupting normalcy in the Hills would not be spared.
“After more-than-a-monthlong Bandh they have again called a vehicular strike on Thursday. They have to withdraw the vehicular strike or appropriate action will Be taken,” said Deb.
DeB’s advice to the GJM was to run the GTA sincerely for development of the Hills. “They should maintain good relations with the state so that all-round development can Be achieved in the Hills. The state is sincere towards peace and development of the Hills But repeated agitations By GJM are emerging as a major hindrance. It is time the GJM acted responsiBly, “said Deb.
The minister flagged off a North Bengal State Transport corporation Bus service from Bijanbari to Siliguri. “This has Been the long-standing demand of the people of this region,” said Deb.
The minister also alleged that corruption and nepotism riddled the GTA run by GJM.
“The North Bengal development department sanctioned Rs 3 crore for the new bridge at bijanbari which replaced the suspension bridge that collapsed killing 32 people. The contractor who had constructed the bridge is a relative of a GTA member. The civil work is not up to the mark and the new bridge is also vulnerable. I will talk to the PWD minister immediately to look into the matter and so that the contractor is blacklisted,” said Deb.