Gangtok, Aug 11: Reiterating the CPI(M)'s rejection of the Gorkhaland demand, a senior West Bengal Minister has affirmed that the proposed upcoming tripartite talks between Centre, state government and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and other organisations in Darjeeling 'will not be on the separate state' issue.
''There will be no talks on Gorkhaland issue during the tripartite talks,'' West Bengal Urban Development Minister Ashoke Bhattarcharya told media on Sunday, Aug 10 on the sidelines of a CPI(M) party meeting here at Gangtok. Mr Bhattarcharya said the Gorkhaland demand of the GJM will not be discussed during the tripartite meeting and even the Centre was not in favour of a separate state. ''We will discuss alternative issues and we are ready to give more powers to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC),'' he said.
''The separate statehood demand is unacceptable and we don't want further division of West Bengal,'' the CPI(M) leader said. Issues like strengthening the DGHC by giving it more autonomy for more economic development in the hilly regions will be raised during the tripartite meeting, he said.
Accepting that there were obstacles in the path of development of Darjeeling hills, Mr Bhattarcharya said a separate state was not the single solution to the problems and laid the entire blame on former DGHC chairman and GNLF supremo Subash Ghisingh.
''The lack of development was due to Ghisingh's misadministration that led to his downfall and created the present unrest in Darjeeling,'' he said.
Accusing the Bimal Gurung-led GJM of indulging in undemocratic activities, Mr Bhattarcharya said the state government had restrained from taking legal action in order to prevent further deterioration of the law and order situation in the hills.