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Siliguri: THE semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has imposed some preconditions for granting no-objection certificate (NOC) for the construction of Sevoke (Bengal) –Rangpoo (Sikkkim) rail route.

GTA has also said that until and unless the Centre fulfils the conditions, it will not relocate the inhabitants of 164 forest villages necessary for the construction of the rail route that is to mostly pass through forested areas.

All the forested areas in Darjeeling Hills (barring the reserve forests) come under the purview of GTA.

“We want the rail route to happen but this cannot be at the cost the hills and the people. We have information that the railways have plans to make tunnels under the mountains through dynamite blasts. This will destabilise an earthquake-prone Darjeeling Hills and will increase landslides,” GTA officiating chairman Binay Tamang said today.

“Hence, we have written to Indian Railways that they must use other modern technology to dig the tunnel. Besides this, we have demanded that there should be two over-ground railway stations at Teesta Bazar and Malli even if the entire train line passes underground,” he said.

Not only these two conditions, GTA has also demanded the Centre to grant it a share of the electricity generated from the hydel-power projects on river Teesta that meanders through the Darjeeling Hills.

“Unless and until they meet these conditions, we will neither issue the NOC nor will relocate the forest villagers,” Tamang thundered.

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