Union finance minister P Chidambaram has assured the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) of financial assistance to carry out much needed development in the Hills.
A six-member Gorkhaland Territorial Administration team, led by chief executive Bimal Gurung, is at present camping in Delhi.
On Friday they are expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union tourism minister and also the chairman of the Planning Commission.
During his meeting with the GTA team, Chidambaram said Rs. 200 crore special central assistance (annual for three consecutive years) for the first year will be released soon. Chidambaram also stressed that the GTA should deliver.
"The finance minister told us that funds will not be a constraint if the GTA delivers," said Roshan Giri, executive member GTA.
The GTA team also appealed for the release o f the one-time special financial assistance from the Centre.
This fund will be used for infrastructure development of the GTA including construction of the secretariat, quarters for the GTA members and for procuring vehicles.
Though no figure was divulged, Giri stated that Chidambaram had assured the GTA team that he would look into the matter at the earliest and do the needful.
In separate meetings with President Pranab Mukherjee and Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, the team appealed for the inclusion of the GTA in the North-Eastern Council (NEC) along with a tribal status for all Gorkha sub-communities except the sub communities already included in the scheduled caste list.
The North Eastern Council (NEC,) constituted by an act of Parliament in 1971, is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the northeast.
"If the GTA is included in the NEC then people residing in the Hills will be able to avail the same benefits as member states of the North East Council including special financial schemes and assistance, tax holidays, seat reservations in educational institutes," said Giri.
The delegation comprises of GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung, deputy chief Ramesh Allay; executive members Roshan Giri, RB Bhujel and Anit Thapa along with principal secretary Saumitra Mohan.