Gorkha deal may be sealed soon
A crucial tripartite meeting at the home ministry on Tuesday could practically seal a deal between West Bengal, the Centre and GJM, the outfit spearheading the agitation in the hill districts of Darjeeling. Aloke Tikku reports.delhi Updated: Sep 05, 2010 23:34 IST
A crucial tripartite meeting at the home ministry on Tuesday could practically seal a deal between West Bengal, the Centre and GJM, the outfit spearheading the agitation in the hill districts of Darjeeling.
The three sides have been in negotiations over the past one year to work out the form, structure and powers of the Gorkhaland Regional Authority (GRA) to be constituted as an interim arrangement.
Last year, the GJM agreed in principle to an interim arrangement since talks on statehood would take time. The GJM also recognised difficulties in arriving at a permanent resolution as the state was heading for assembly elections next year.
Sources said the government expected the details of the interim authority — expected to be have features of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council — to be finalised at Tuesday's official-level talks.
Once an agreement is reached, one more round of political level talks would be held to formally clear the deal.
"There is broad consensus on most points… the remaining would be sorted out at Tuesday's meeting," said a source.
Among the points expected to be finalised are the number of members that GRA should have. The GJM wants 56 members since the now-defunct Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council had 42 members and not 20 members as proposed by the government.
While the GJM and the Centre agree that GJM leaders be nominated to the body, the West Bengal government wants membership to be decided on the basis of proportional votes polled in Gram Panchayat and Panchayat Samiti elections.
Sources said GJM was also expected to be pragmatic about difficulties in expanding the territorial jurisdiction of the interim GRA.
The meeting will also decide if the GRA should have a two-year tenure beginning this year-end as proposed earlier or accept the state government's suggestion of a five-year term.