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Mamata vows development, but says no to Gorkhaland

india Updated: Sep 27, 2010 23:27 IST
Amitava Banerjee

Ruling out any chance of agreeing to carve Gorkhaland out of Bengal, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee promised a bouquet of development for the hills on Monday that ranged from a special economic package including tax holiday and 10,000 new jobs for the local youth.

The Trinamool chief emphasised the ongoing agitation was for developmental needs only.

“The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leadership met me on Sunday. They did not talk of a separate state, rather all their demands pertained to developmental issues. You all are agitating for development, for employment and for civic amenities,” said Banerjee atdressing a public rally on the second day of her two-day trip.

“After the Commonwealth games I will meet the PM and recommend that he should visit Darjeeling with a special package,” said the Railway minister.

The package she outlined featured a tax holiday to attract industry, 10,000 new jobs, a central university, new schools and educational institutes, infrastructure development including drinking water, roads, setting up IT industry and those relating to the power sector.

She admitted that Darjeeling and its people have been given a raw deal, but ruled out any possibility of creating a new state.

“Darjeeling is a part of Bengal. We have to stay together and work together for the benefit of the state and country at large...,” said Banerjee.

Welcoming the package for the hills, GJM spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chettri said, “We are grateful that a leader from Bengal has finally seen for herself the true condition of the hills.”

But Chettri tried to downplay her stand on Gorkhaland. “She is the Railways minister and it is not within her purview. She is wise and steered clear of it.”