The West Bengal government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Saturday agreed to respond within two weeks on the Centre’s proposed Gorkha Interim Authority. Negotiations on its powers and jurisdiction will begin on August 17.
The decision was taken at the second tripartite political level talks on the authority at a meeting chaired by Union MoS for Home Affairs Ajay Maken.
“The meeting was very cordial. We hope that the government will soon come up with a concrete proposal for Darjeeling to bring a lasting solution to the problem,” general secretary Roshan Giri told reporters.
The home ministry had put its plan for the interim authority on the table this year, proposing an enhanced set of powers to the body.
This included doubling the number of subjects that would come under the authority from the 27 subjects delegated to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council set up as part of the 1988 pact with Subhash Gishing of Gorkha National Liberation Front.
Once the written reactions to the central initiative come in, an attempt will be made to reconcile the differences through negotiations at the home secretary level. The third political level talks will be held soon after Parliament’s monsoon session.
Government sources said the killing of rival Gorkha leader Madan Tamang did not figure at the meeting. "That is an issue for the state government … We are continuing with the talks since they appear to have the popular support," a source in Delhi said.