GTA Bill at present under inter-ministerial consultation
The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Bill is at present under inter-ministerial consultation. Following a green signal from the ministries, the Bill will require an assent from the President of India.india Updated: Jan 09, 2012 23:16 IST
The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Bill is at present under inter-ministerial consultation. Following a green signal from the ministries, the Bill will require an assent from the President of India.
With the Darjeeling Hills steeped in a separate state agitation launched by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha since 2007, several rounds of talks between the Government and the GJM ensued in the signing of a tripartite agreement between the Centre, State and the GJM for the formation of an autonomous administrative body dubbed the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) on July 18, 2011. A GTA Bill was passed in the West Bengal Assembly on September 2, 2011.
A Review Committee comprising of Central, State and GJM representatives had also been constituted to review the progress regarding the formation of the GTA. The first meeting of the committee had been held on September 12, 2011 in Kolkata. The second meeting was held in Delhi on Monday.
While B Bahamati, Additional Secretary, Union Home Ministry represented the Centre; GD Gautama, State Home Secretary represented the West Bengal Government; GJM General Secretary was represented by GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri. Anil Verma, Administrator, Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) also attended the meet.
On the current status of the Bill, it was stated that the Bill is under inter-ministerial consultation with comments awaited from 16 ministries. "The comments are expected to come in within January 16. The Bill will then be sent to the President for her assent" remarked Giri.
West Bengal and DGHC representatives stated that the State has already sent in project proposals for the Rs. 200 Crore annual Additional Central Assistance to the Centre. The Memorandum of Agreement talks of an additional Central Assistance for three years at a tune of Rs 200 Crore per year.
Giri demanded the power to recruit Group C and D staff; transfer of School and College Service Commission in the GTA and the recruitment of Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) in police and paramilitary forces. "I was informed in the meeting that the Government is already working in this direction" added Giri. Incidentally the demands raised by the GJM have already been agreed upon in the Memorandum of Agreement including recruitment of "Gorkha youths" in paramilitary and armed forces.
All the three parties agreed to expedite matters for the early formation of the GTA. The territory issue however remains contiguous with the GJM pressing for the incorporation of Gorkha dominated mouzas of Terai and Dooars areas of the Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri Districts in the GTA.
A joint committee has been constituted comprising of representatives from all the three sides. The committee headed by former Justice Shyamal Sen is studying the ground realities on the territory issue and will be handing in a report. The committee started work by seeking public opinion on the matter and will soon be conducting a ground survey. However it is a time taking process, the joint committee on territory has stated.