Salary revision, land rights among sops Mamata Banerjee announces for Darjeeling | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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Salary revision, land rights among sops Mamata Banerjee announces for Darjeeling

Dec 08, 2023 07:03 PM IST

Focusing on employment opportunities, the chief minister said, “We want to have IT sector industries in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. We will give a loan of Rs.5 lakh each to 200,000 young people to start their own businesses. You can set up hotels and shops. We want peace in the hills

Revision of salaries for Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) employees, along with housing schemes and land rights for tea garden workers, figured among the announcements West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee made on Friday at Kurseong in Darjeeling district.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (Twitter Photo)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (Twitter Photo)

“We allot Rs.75 crore for GTA. The salaries of GTA employees will be revised. Those who retire will get a gratuity benefit of up to Rs.20 lakh. They can encash 10 months of leave,” Banerjee, who is on a week-long tour of the hill region, said at her first official programme.

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“There are many schools where posts are lying vacant. We will recruit 590 teachers. A district school board will also be formed under GTA,” Banerjee said.

Also Read: ‘How democracy can be killed’: Bengal CM Mamata on TMC MP Mahua Moitra expulsion

Although the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat, the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) – an ally of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) – controls the GTA.

In July, BGPM bagged more than 65 % of seats in 112 gram panchayats and won six of nine panchayat samitis in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts.

BGPM president Anit Thapa is also the chief executive of GTA which has jurisdiction over the hilly areas of Darjeeling district and the entire Kalimpong district. Thapa was present at Friday’s event.

“Permanent houses will be provided for 300,000 tea garden workers and 1,200 people in Kurseong will be given legal right to the land where they live. Every home will get a water connection, something the Centre has not been able to achieve yet. Around 83,000 homes in this region already have water connections. The rest will be covered by 2024,” Banerjee said.

Focusing on employment opportunities, the chief minister said, “We want to have IT sector industries in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. We will give a loan of Rs.5 lakh each to 200,000 young people to start their own businesses. You can set up hotels and shops. We want peace in the hills.”

Bengal BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari targeted Banerjee saying she had gone to Kurseong to attend the marriage of Abesh Banerjee, the son of her brother Samir Banerjee, which is being sponsored by the state government.

Also Read: ‘Unacceptable’: Mamata Banerjee slams BJP as Mahua Moitra expelled as Lok Sabha MP

Abesh Banerjee married Diksha, the daughter of a Kurseong municipality employee, on Thursday night.

“This is a state-sponsored marriage. Government vehicles and staff are being used for the ceremony,” Adhikari alleged.

At the event, Mamata said the marriage strengthened her ties with the hill people.

“I am very happy that Diksha is married into my family. The bride and groom are both doctors. I always wanted a home in the hills. God has given me that home,” she told the crowd.

Coming months before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Mamata’s tour is being described as significant by political observers as in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP won seven of the region’s eight Lok Sabha seats and 30 of 54 assembly seats in 2021.

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