Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday formally declared Alipurduar as the state’s 20th district, carved out by bifurcating the Jalpaiguri district in North Bengal’s Dooars region. “Turning the Alipurduar sub-division into a district was a long standing demand of the people and we have fulfilled it,” Mamata said addressing a meeting in the new district.
The CM, however, said it will take time to smoothen things out. “When you set up a new home, you have to fix lot many things — doors, windows, furnishings, fittings. Similarly, the new district may have some teething trouble, but we will overcome those with time,” Mamata said.
Justifying the move to create the new district, she said since the administrate headquarters of Jalpaiguri was over a 100 km away, the people of Alipurduar faced hardships in availing government services. Mamata warned against any divisive politics which might threaten the peace in the Hills and plains and reiterated her stand against any division of Bengal. Without naming the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which wanted a separate Gorkhaland, she said, “Darjeeling Hills are smiling and Terai and Dooars are also smiling.”
Alipurduar, with a population of about 15 lakh, has a large concentration of Adivasi people and has around 70 tea gardens. Chief Minister said her government would lay emphasis on tea tourism, besides improving small scale industries in the district, which comprises eight blocks —- Alipurduar, Falakata, Shamuktala, Kumargram, Birpara, Kalchini, Jaigaon and Madarihat.
The CM announced names of Alice Vaz and Anup Jaiswal as the District Magistrate and Superintendent of the Police, respectively, of the new district. Of the 17 police stations in Jalpaiguri district, eight will now be under Alipurduar. Mamata also asked the members of the local chamber of commerce to meet the new DM and SP and give suggestions on industrial prospects of the district and send a detailed report to her at the earliest.
She said that her government would request the Centre to speed up some of the railway projects undertaken during her tenure as the railway minister in this region for better connectivity. Among others, top government officials including the chief secretary, the home secretary, and ministers, MPs, MLAs, the Speaker of the West Bengal Assembly were present in the meeting.