The people of Darjeeling are fed up and will vote for change on Monday, according to singer-turned-director Anjan Dutta, who grew up in Darjeeling and has shot several films in North Bengal in recent years, including Chalo Let’s Go and Chowrasta: Crossroads of Love.
“The people of the Hills will be voting after a long time and those of us who love the area want a democratically elected government to come to power,” Dutta told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview.
Dutta thinks that, although the scales seem tilted in favour of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the people of the Hills feel that the local parties have betrayed them over the years.
“Civic amenities, such as water, road and health facilities, have increasingly gone from bad to worse,” he said.
“As for the Left Front government, it’s clear that they don’t care. There was apathy even after Madan Tamang’s gruesome murder,” he added.
Neel Dutta, who did the music for his father’s film, Chalo Let’s Go, and has assisted his father in directing some other projects, recalls how, during the shooting of Chalo Let’s Go, a unit member developed heart problems and had to be brought all the way back to Kolkata for medical treatment.
“While doing a couple of telefilms, we shot extensively in Gorumara, Chapramari, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. The number of shops may have gone up, but there’s been no development of the rural or urban areas. It’s time for change,” Neel said.
Filmmaker Ashoke Viswanathan, who has been shooting in the Dooars, Darjeeling and Kalimpong for the past 20 years, feels that nothing has changed in the villages of North Bengal over time.
“There may be red bastions in North Bengal, but the Opposition parties will definitely make a dent in the votes this time round,” Viswanathan stressed.
During the shooting of a film on literacy and another one on the folk culture of Bengal, Viswanathan travelled extensively in such areas as Mathabhanga, Changrabanda and Chilapota and realised that the people were “politically aware” but “economically deprived”.
“No development has reached them over the years… electricity, education, navigable roads… nothing,” he said, adding that the area was still a rich repository of folk theatre.
However, he felt that the local administration was still keen to do things for the people. “The DMs and the BDOs can deliver, but they need direction. Funds, too, must percolate down to the people,” Viswanathan said.
Mukul Roy’s son arrested at Naihati
Kolkata: The CPI(M) has been given a new campaign weapon against the Trinamool Congress, after the absconding Trinamool candidate from Bijpur in the North 24-Parganas, Subhrangsu Roy, was finally arrested on Sunday from a public meeting of party supremo Mamata Banerjee at Naihati.
Roy, who happens to be the son of Union minister of state for shipping and Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy, had been absconding ever since he was identified as the prime accused in an assault on Election Commission (EC) officials at Bijpur. Parthapratim Roy, inspector-in-charge of Bijpur police station was suspended by the EC after he failed to arrest Roy.