After providing a boost to the Gorkhaland demand, chief minister Mayawati’s Bill to divide Uttar Pradesh into 4 states, has now resurrected the demand for a Union Territory (UT) status for the Darjeeling Hills. A Darjeeling District Congress Committee (Hills) team is departing for Delhi on Saturday towing the UT demand.
Saroj Kumar Khatri, Vice President, Darjeeling District Congress Committee (Hills) stated “With the Bill to divide Uttar Pradesh into 4 states being passed by the UP Assembly , there is an undercurrent of resentment among the Hill populace as to why the 105 year old demand of Gorkhaland is not being considered by the Government. West Bengal has meted out step motherly treatment towards Darjeeling. They have socially and economically exploited the Hills. Darjeeling wants separation from Bengal. We will meet the Congress Central leadership and demand for a Union Territory status.”
Khatri added that even Late Rajiv Gandhi had displayed a positive attitude towards the UT status for the Hills. The Darjeeling District Congress Committee (Hills) had moved a resolution for the UT status for Darjeeling Hills in April 2011.
“We will meet UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi along with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram requesting immediate Central intervention for the UT status. UT is the fastest and easiest option for separation from Bengal” remarked Khatri.
Following the Bill passed by the UP Assembly, the Youth wing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had given a clarion call for a Gorkhaland agitation.
The delegation led by KB Chettri, President, Darjeeling District Congress Committee (Hills) will also meet concerned Ministers with other demands. They will be meeting the Surface Transport Minister demanding the immediate repairs of the National Highway 55, the lifeline connecting the Darjeeling Hills with the plains.
“The NH55 has been shut down for the past one and a half years owing to major landslides at Tindharia and 14th mile. We demand the immediate restoration of this lifeline” demanded Khatri.
The Congressmen have also demanded the filling up of all vacancies at the All India Radio Station at Kurseong; immediately starting a FM radio station in Darjeeling; Filling up of vacancies at the Kurseong Railway Printing Press; Railway Workshop at Tindharia; a super specialty hospital under All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the Darjeeling Hills; Jobs for the next of kin of the deceased in the Bijanbari bridge tragedy and also a special package (equivalent to Sikkim) for relief and rehabilitation of damages caused by the earthquake that had rocked the Hills on September 18.