Siliguri (West Bengal), Feb 13 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has rejected a demand for a separate Gorkhaland State by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
Bhattacharjee said the State government would consider greater autonomy and more funds to the region if the agitators gave up violence and agreed to talk.
Bhattacharjee said: "We have repeatedly said in our meetings that creation of separate state is not possible. We had earlier given more funds to Darjeeling (hilly region), if they want more funds."
"We are ready to grant funds because we want people of the region, who are facing poverty and unemployment, to progress. If they want more funds and power, we are ready to provide," he added.
Bhattacharjee further said that the agitation for the creation of a separate Telangana state has boosted the demand for a separate Gorkhaland.
He said that the agitation for a separate Telangana state, to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh, has boosted the demand for separate Gorkhaland state.
"The Telangana issue has escalated the Gorkhaland crisis in the hills. The Centre is also in a dilemma as to what is going to happen. The issue has divided the parties and they don't know which way to go," said Bhattacharjee.
The regional outfit Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) has been spearheading the movement for creation of a separate Gorkhaland state, to be carved out of West Bengal.
Gorkhas, who are ethnic Nepalese, have been demanding a separate state to help protect their culture and heritage.
The demand for Gorkhaland gained momentum after Centre announced in December last year the formation of a separate Telangana state. (ANI)