Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced the formation of Tamang Development and Cultural Board at a public meeting in Darjeeling’s Chowrasta square.
In her speech, she cited “the community’s development” as the reason behind the board’s formation. “We set up the Lepcha Development Board (last year). They have done brilliant work. They built 998 homes (for the Lepchas) within a year. I am sanctioning funds for 1,000 more homes. Similarly, I have decided to sanction funds for the Tamang community, too,” Mamata said, while informing that she has “written to the new Central government to confer tribal status to 11 communities of the hills”.
Mamata then promised to set up an IT hub in Darjeeling and a university if the central government allocates a sufficient financial package to the state government.
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The CM is also of the view that “politics should not be done on the issues of public service” and reminded the public of her “40 visits to Darjeeling” since assuming office in 2011. “And I will keep coming back to look after you. I only want love from you,” the CM, who is here on a two-day administrative tour, told the gathering.
Reacting to the formation of Tamang Board, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said: “The state government is indulging in divisive politics here. They want to divide the Gorkhas and rule. But they will not be successful.” Incidentally, one of the board members is Sanjog Tamang, son of slain Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang. Madan’s murder case is being investigated by the CBI while several senior Morcha leaders, including Giri, had figured in the FIR as “conspirators”.
The meeting, or the “administrative programme”, was organised by Darjeeling district administration, and both the GJM and its wing GTA had claimed that they “did not receive any official invitation” to attend the programme.
Mamata, however, informed that her officers did go to invite GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung but were told that he was “busy with his birthday celebration programmes”. “(Upon learning) I wished him on his 50th birthday,” the CM said.
Later in the day, a Morcha delegation, led by Giri and MLAs Trilok Dewan and Rohit Sharma, held a meeting with chief secretary Sanjay Mitra where it was decided that a GTA delegation led by chief executive Bimal Gurung will remain present at the administrative review meeting today. Mamata will hold the meeting at 2 pm.