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Historic agreement for Darjeeling hills: Ghisingh

Written by: Staff

Kolkata, JulY 3 (UNI) A historic agreement was signed today between West Bengal government and the GNLF, incorporating two more mouzas in Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) taking the total to 18.

The agreement was signed at the Writers' Buildings by state Urban Development Minister and MLA from Siliguri Asok Bhattacharya and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) president Subash Ghisingh in presence of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who is instrumental in settling the '' controversial'' issue.

With these two new mouzas--Chhota Changra and Nipania in Naxalbari region--the DGHC will have a total of 18 mouzas under its jurisdiction.

Later Mr Ghisingh, also a caretaker administrator of DGHC, told reporters that his discussion with the Chief Minister was more than ''satisfactory''.

He said today's agreement was '' historic''.

Mr Ghisingh said, ''Inclusion of the mouzas was agreed with the Chief Minister on December 6, 2005. Today's meeting is just a confirmation of that agreement between the Chief Minister and the GNLF.'' ''The issue of incorporation, which was bone of contention between the state government and the GNLF, was sorted out in today's meeting,'' he said.

However, inclusion of Nipania was mentioned in the 1988 accord signed between the state government and the GNLF. But the state government, earlier, did not agree to transfer this mouza to DGHC, he added.

He said the government would now recommend to the Centre for to table a Bill in Parliament for granting sixth schedule status to DGHC.

With these two mouzas, 16 other mouzas are to be transferred to the DGHC.

Speaking about the DGHC election, Mr Ghisingh said,'' We will conduct election in six months after the Constitution Amendment Bill for facilitating the Sixth Schedule status to the hill council is passed in the monsoon session of Parliament.'' UNI JYN PC DB/AB PR RN2147

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