West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday that the state government has managed to clinch a deal with the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha delegation that would end the ongoing Gorkha crisis.
A triumphant Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, waving an “agreement copy” in front of media persons in Kolkata, declared “The Darjeeling impasse stands resolved. We have already signed a deal at the Secretary level with the GJM. The final agreement will be inked in a political level tripartite talk between the Centre, state and the GJM, preferably in Darjeeling. This has been communicated to the union home minister.”
It was more of a Veni Vidi Vici for Banerjee who had assured of resolving the Gorkha crisis within three months of coming into power but managed to do it within 17 days of being sworn in as the chief minister of West Bengal.
After two rounds of bipartite talks on Monday and Tuesday, it was agreed upon by the state government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) that the new administrative arrangement would be run by an elected body. A bill would be passed to this effect in the state assembly following which elections to the new administrative arrangement would take place.
Regarding territory to be incorporated in the new administrative setup a high power committee has been constituted comprising of the Minister land and Land Reforms, Government of West Bengal; District Magistrates of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts; Administrator Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) and 5 GJM representatives as members.
While the Government has remained steadfast in the three hill subdivisions to be included in the new administrative setup, the GJM has demanded the inclusion of 230 “Gorkha dominated” mouzas of Dooars in the Jalapiguri district and 195 mouzas of Siliguri and Terai region in the plains.
“The verification team will hand in their report within six months. After the territory issue is resolved, the new administrative setup be implemented, replacing the DGHC. In the six months the DGHC will continue functioning. The DGHC will be run by a Board comprising of the 3 Hill MLAs, the District Magistrate Darjeeling as the Chief Principal Secretary and the Administrator DGHC” remarked Binay Tamang, Assistant General Secretary, GJM. talking to news person in Darjeeling.
The State has also agreed to hand over the Tauzi department (Department which is in charge of the land leased out by the State Government including Tea Estate land) to the new administrative setup.
Regarding the regularization of more than 6000 adhoc DGHC employees, it has been decided that all adhoc workers who have served for 10 years will be regularized with all existing Government benefits. For the remaining it will be a wage hike.
Tamang stated that the new administrative setup would have legislative, executive and financial powers. “The TMC- Congress led State Government has shown immense political will to resolve the issue and to establish peace and development. They have conceded to most of our demands. We will extend all our cooperation to the Government” remarked Raju Pradhan, Assistant Secretary, GJM.
Even GJM Supremo Bimal Gurung has lauded the outcome of the bipartite talks.