Centre keen to wrap up Gorkha talks | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Centre keen to wrap up Gorkha talks

Anxious to resume developmental activities that have been affected due to the Gorkhaland agitation, the Centre hopes to settle differences with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on the powers to be delegated to the proposed autonomous authority “at one or two more rounds” of talks.

delhi Updated: Mar 19, 2010 00:22 IST
HT Correspondents

Anxious to resume developmental activities that have been affected due to the Gorkhaland agitation, the Centre hopes to settle differences with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on the powers to be delegated to the proposed autonomous authority “at one or two more rounds” of talks.

At the first tripartite talks at the political level, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri and Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken formally put their version of the regional authority on the table.

Home Secretary G.K. Pillai had represented the central government at previous meetings with GJM leaders, who wanted the level of the dialogue to be upgraded to an appropriate political level. West Bengal’s Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharya represented the state government at the talks.

“The government has shown its readiness to discuss all aspects of our demand including the territorial aspect and our demand for an interim administrative arrangement till 2011,” Roshan Giri, GJM general secretary said.

The next meeting is expected in the second week of May. GJM leaders had informally reached an agreement with the government on the powers and jurisdiction of the proposed authority at previous consultations with the home secretary. But an impression that the government would accede to the demand for Telangana prompted them to stick to the demand to carve out the hill district into a separate state.

“We expect a resolution at one or two more meetings.But it will eventually depend on how pragmatic the GJM leadership is,” a government source said.

“GJM leaders came up with a draft of the interim arrangement. West Bengal was given the draft and have to respond to it,”Maken later said.

“It is important that the interim authority is formed at the earliest so that development starts in the region and funds are devolved,” he said.

On Thursday’s meeting, Bhattacharya made an emotional pitch to the GJM leaders to not insist on hiving off the hill region from West Bengal. He received an equally emotional response: a GJM leader asked him to consider the hill region as the state’s son who had grown up and wanted to live independently.