In a move that is being seen as both appeasement politics and pressure tactic, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday announced to form Tamang Development and Cultural Board in north Bengal.
“Our government has decided to set up a Development and Cultural Board for the Tamang community,” the Chief Minister said. She was addressing the National Convention of Tamang community on invitation of Tamang leaders at Mirik in Darjeeling.
Mamta said she was “in awe of Tamang’s folk songs and dance” and conveyed her best wishes to “all community leaders present in Darjeeling.”
Tamangs are one of the indigenous inhabitants of Nepal. They have their own distinct culture, language and religion.
This is second such board for the development of a particular community and comes eight months after the Mamata government had constituted a similar one for the Lepchas.
Significantly, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which had earlier opposed the forming of the Lepcha Board and had accused Mamata of playing “divisive politics”, today welcomed the TMC government’s decision.
However, they said, there should be separate development boards for every other hill community. “We welcome the initiative taken by our CM. But we demand that the development boards be constituted for all the hill communities,” said Roshan Giri, general secretary, GJM.
Meanwhile, Mamata claimed her government was making efforts to convince Centre to grant tribal status to the hill tribes.
“We will request Centre to include several indigenous tribal communities of the hills in the ST list,” she said, adding it was needed for the “all round development of the region, as well as progress of individual communities.”
She stressed on spread of education in hill area and offered to set up three ITIs — each at Kalimpong, Gorubathan and Mongpu — besides a polytechnic at Mirik.
The CM, who is on a four-day visit to the hills, said Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birthday January 23 would be celebrated in Darjeeling this year.