CM Mamata Banerjee urges Gorkhaland agitators to restore normalcy in the Hills
Darjeeling, August 1, 2017: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday appealed to all pro Gorkhaland forces to restore normalcy in the Hills. The indefinite bandh in the Hills hit the 48th day mark on Tuesday.
Addressing a Government programme in Chopra in North Dinajpur district of North Bengal, Banerjee stated "I request all political parties to discuss the issue and normalize the situation by lifting the bandh. Peace needs to be restored. People are suffering. What is the use of creating disturbance, arson and vandalizing? No one stands to gain from such actions? "
The CMs appealed at the time when the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GLMCC- a conglomeration of 13 political and apolitical pro Gorkhaland organizations) were meeting in Delhi to chalk out the future course of action for the Gorkhaland agitation.
Banerjee stated that instead of playing with fire the leaders should work towards restoring peace in the Hills. Normalcy needs to be restored at the earliest. It is not the hill residents who are creating trouble. They are not at fault. There are outsiders who create trouble and then leave " alleged the CM.
She said that there was no food in the Hills owing to the ongoing bandh; education, transport and tea gardens have come to a grinding halt. "Political leaders need to work for the betterment of society and not for their own selfish gains" stated Banerjee.
However the CM did not fail to preach the unity mantra. "Darjeeling is an integral part of Bengal and we will not allow the division of Bengal. Unity is our strength" stated Banerjee.
Training guns at the Union Government, the West Bengal Chief Minister hauled up the BJP led Central Government for allegedly lifting subsidy from LPG along with planning to discontinue sugar and kerosene oil from the Public Distribution System.
"Subsidy held the economically challenged. It is a social obligation of the government. Subsidy is not given from anyone's pocket. It is the tax payers' money. What is the Union Government trying to do by cutting down interest rates in banks? Are they trying to prompting people to invest in chit funds? " retorted Banerjee. The West Bengal Government has decided to give a tax exemption on agricultural land announced Banerjee.
Mamata Banerjee is on a two day tour of North Bengal. She arrived at Bagdogra Airport near Siliguri on Monday evening. On Tuesday she attended the Government programme at Chopra followed by an administrative meet. On Wednesday she was return to Kolkata.
This time the CM is putting up at Uttarkanya Government Guest House in the Jalpaiguri district bordering Siliguri instead of Sukna Forest Bungalow.
Sukna in the foothills is in the grip of the Gorkhaland agitation. Recently there was a standoff between police personnel and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha activists over a rally. The women's wing of the GJM started a relay hunger strike demanding Gorkhaland from Tuesday.
The CM laid foundation stones and inaugurated a total of 47 projects. She laid the foundation stones for the inauguration of a Medical College in Raigunj; Model schools in Islampur and Chopra along with a new building for the Police department at Ittahar.
Later at the Administrative meeting she announced rehabilitation for the shopkeepers and land owners who would lose their properties to the Islampur bypass road. She urged the residents to cooperate for the Islampur bypass which would shorten travel time between Siliguri and Kolkata thereby benefitting all. The CM also announced that work order for the Dalkhola bypass has already been handed out.
In the administrative meeting Banerjee met residents of the district and listened to their woes and complaints. She then instructed the concerned authorities to initiate necessary action to mitigate the problems.
In another development, CPIM leader and Siliguri MLA Ashok Bhattacharjee urged the Union Government, State Government and the agitators to sit across the table and resolve the ongoing crisis at the earliest. However the veteran CPIM leader appealed to the agitators to abstain from any form of violence.
"We are against the separate state demand. We want a fully autonomous body with immense powers and functions having constitutional safeguards for the Hills" added Bhattacharjee talking to media persons in Siliguri.
He alleged that both the TMC led State Government and the BJP led Union Government were silent on the Darjeeling issue and were trying to drag it on for a long time in order to reap poll dividends. "For them it is just poll politics. All political parties should rise above selfish political ambitions and instead try to restore normalcy and peace in the Hills. People are suffering in the Hills" stated Bhattacharjee.
In GLMCC meeting it was resolved to continue with the ongoing bandh. The GLMCC leaders would meet the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister in Delhi.