New poll sop: Autonomous council for Darjeeling Hills
Darjeeling hill areas will get an autonomous self-governing Gorkha Hill Council and constitutional protection under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to ensure it stays autonomous.
The Union Cabinet on Monday cleared introduction of two bills in Parliament to create an autonomous, self-governing council for the Darjeeling hill areas in West Bengal under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The GHC, Darjeeling, would become the eighth autonomous region in the country after Independence; the Bodoland Territorial Council was the seventh.
Information and Broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi described the proposed bills as a “tribute” to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who had intervened in 1988 to arrive at the first settlement with the Gorkha national Liberation Front.
The I&B minister said the West Bengal assembly had on March 16, 2006 adopted a resolution for setting up an autonomous council for the Darjeeling hill areas.
The proposed bill will also take into account the demand to incorporate some more areas of Siliguri district to make the autonomous region economically and geographically viable.
The assembly resolution was in line with the tripartite agreement between the central and state government with the GNLF in December 2005.