Siliguri (West Bengal), Dec 18: The President of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Subash Ghising, has demanded more powers and autonomy soon for the Hill Development Council in Darjeeling hills.
Ghising, the former Chairman of the Autonomous Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (ADGHC), said the hill people would be frustrated if the parliament does not approve the Constitution Amendment Bill granting Sixth Schedule status to the Hill Council in the next Budget Session of Parliament starting mid-February. "People tend to get frustrated. In 2005, the memorandum settlement (for the autonomy of the Hill Development Council) was prepared, but the project is yet to be materialised," Ghising said after a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee here.
The GNLF wants the Darjeeling Hills to be included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, while the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM), a breakaway faction of the GNLF, led by Bimal Gurung, opposes the demand.
GNLF launched the agitation for a separate state in 1980, but dropped the demand for Sixth Schedule after New Delhi agreed to confer partial autonomy in 1988 for the Nepalese-speaking people.
An agreement was signed by the Central Government, the West Bengal Government and the GNLF paving way for the setting up of the Autonomous Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (ADGHC) in 1988.
The State Government in West Bengal has been resisting demands for a separate state to Gorkhas.