IN HER maiden Cabinet meeting in Darjeeling, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced that a new secretariat will be set up in the town for the development of the hills. “Today, we held our first Cabinet meeting in Darjeeling and several important decisions were taken. To fulfil the long-standing demand of the people of the hills and give more thrust to development in the area, today we have decided to set up a new state government secretariat in Darjeeling, adjacent to the Circuit House Complex,” the chief minister said, after she finishing chairing the first Cabinet meeting in Darjeeling after 45 years.
The new building will be named ‘Tenzing Norgay Bhaban’, after the legendary mountaineer, she added. Work to set up the new secretariat will begin in six months. The next Cabinet meeting at Darjeeling will be held at the the new secretariat, said Mamata.
“People of the hills have been neglected for a long time. We will try our best to usher in development. No development took place in the hills during the 34 years of Left Front rule but things have changed after our government was formed. We have done so many development works here. I am proud to say that I am the first chief minister to visit the hills for more than 100 times,” the Trinamool Congress chief said.
With the ruling party recently winning the municipal elections in Mirik, the hill station found a special mention in Mamata’s speech.
“We have also decided to start a number of important development schemes for the hills. In Mirik, already, one polytechnic institute is coming up. We will also set up a skill development centre in Mirik, which will generate employment opportunities for nearly 3,500 youths every year. Moreover, the transport system will be hugely improved through the introduction of a large number of buses,” she said.
Mamata went on to announce that every year, two Cabinet meetings will be held in the hills and two in Jangalmahal (erstwhile Maoist-affected areas).
The chief minister also announced the setting up of West Bengal Higher Civil Service (Executive), which will look into the promotion of WBCS officers to the IAS posts within a short span of time.
“As part of our ongoing administrative reforms and good governance initiatives and to give more boost to development works, we have decided to create West Bengal Higher Civil Service (Executive) from among the talented and meritorious officers of West Bengal Civil Service (Executive) to take up positions of higher responsibility in the government,” Mamata said.
“We want to create more districts in the state, and for that we need more IAS and IPS officers. We do not have many IAS officers, and it takes around 25 to 30 years for one WBCS (Executive) officer to get nomination to become All India Services (IAS) officer.
The state Cabinet has decided to form a committee to look into the promotion issue. This will help officers get promoted to IAS ranks within eight to 10 years,” she added.
The chief minister, meanwhile, announced that Chandannagar in Hooghly district will become a new police commissionerate. This is the sixth police commissionerate in the state after Howrah, Bidhannagar, Barrackpore, Asansol-Durgapur and Siliguri.