The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has decided to remain tightlipped on the contents of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) draft. The silence has invited chaff from other political outfits of the Hills.
"We will make public the contents of the draft after the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on July 18", stated Roshan Giri, GJM general secretary.
Giri however divulged that this administrative arrangement would have a Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Sabha (on the lines of an Assembly) with a chairman and deputy chairman. The house will comprise of 45 elected members and 5 nominated members.
The GJM, a political outfit of Darjeeling has been agitating for a separate state since October 2007. After numerous rounds of talks with the Centre and State Governments, a solution is all set to emerge in the form of the GTA (an administrative arrangement) for the Darjeeling Hills.
"If the agreement is in accordance with the bipartite discussion the then state government had had with union home minister P Chidambaram on January 25, 2011 then we are hopeful that things are moving in the right direction. The draft should have been made public. However the present State Government should not have agreed to the formation of the high powered committee for looking into the Morcha’s demand of including 199 mouzas each of Terai and Dooars region of the plains in the GTA. This will further complicate matters and could even lead to an ethnic flare up owing to mixed demography of the Terai and Dooars", stated Asok Bhattacharjee, CPIM leader and former urban development minister.
"The signing of the Memorandum of Agreement will not ensure peace in the Hills. GJM has betrayed the aspiration of the Gorkhas. The signing of the MOA could buy peace for a while but finally there will be a flare up. For how long can the true aspirations be suppressed? Chief minister Mamata Banerjee should have realized this” stated Govind Chettri, Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM), Spokesperson.
"The GJM had fought assembly elections on the Gorkhaland plank and now they have settled for an arrangement that is worst than the 6th Schedule. The former 6th Schedule arrangement for the Hills at least would have had a constitutional guarantee. The GTA under the West Bengal assembly is a mere tool in the State Government’s hands", remarked SB Zimba of the All India Gorkha League.
The man on the street, wary of the near four year long agitation is all set to welcome the signing. "At least it will herald in peace. The economy of this place is in shatters. With peace the tourists will return. This in turn will help rejuvenate the economy", stated a Hill resident.