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Featured Image: Mamata Banerjee during a minority public rally at Furfura in Hooghly on Friday afternoon. She made the announcement on new districts after a Cabinet meeting at Nabanna before this. 

Newsmen Bureau

Kolkata, 18 December: LESS than a month after a public announcement by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Cabinet today cleared the proposal for creation of five new districts in the state.

This apart, the Bengal Cabinet has approved the decision to create three new sub-divisions in the state.

The five districts in the offing are ~ Sunderbans (to be carved out of North and South 24-Parganas districts), Basirhat (to be carved out of North 24-Parganas), Jhargram (to be carved out of West Midnapore and contiguous Junglemahal areas of Bankura, Purulia districts), Burdwan Rural and Burwdan Urban (by bifurcating the present Burdwan district), and Kalimpong (to be carved out of Darjeeling district.

In her 27 November announcement at Sandeshkhali in North 24-Parganas, Mamata Banerjee had named all the new districts but Kalimpong. Many believe that Kalimpong made a last minute entry in the new district list to further Banerjee’s plan to corner the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in the Hills.

This became evident as while announcing the approval for new districts at the state secretariat Nabann, the Chief Minister today gave credit to rebel GJM MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri and local Trinamool leaders in the Darjeeling Hills.

Banerjee said that the process of forming the five new districts would be completed within next one year.

Apart from the new districts, the state will also get three new sub-divisions ~ Jhalda and Manbazar in Purulia, and Mirik in Darjeeling. As of now, Mirik is a block under Kurseong sub-division.

Overjoyed by the announcement on forming Kalimpong district, Harka Bahadur Chhetri termed it “the best news that the Hills have got since Independent.” “This will go a long away in taking governance and development to the people as Kalimpong is a very large area,” he said.