Siliguri: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that her government will review the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Accord to explore a permanent solution to the demand for self-rule by the people of Darjeeling Hills.
Banerjee was addressing state government organised celebrations of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary at Mall in Darjeeling town this afternoon.
“Before the next GTA election, which will happen after the Lok Sabha polls, we will review the Darjeeling (GTA) Accord. We want to explore whether something more effective can be done.”
“…We want a permanent solution so that development of the Hills is not hampered,” the Chief Minister said in her speech.
GTA Accord was inked in 2011 between the state, the Centre and, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which was then spearheading the second bout for Gorkhaland state to be carved out of Bengal.
The Accord paved way for the formation of GTA, a semi-autonomous body under a state Act.
But even after this, the aspiration of the Hill people for a separate state remains, which they believe will strengthen their identity through self-rule.
Keeping this in mind, Banerjee made the announcement in Darjeeling today. This attains much significance as irrespective of the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls this year; her government is here to stay until the next Assembly election in 2021.
Banerjee today also took a dig at the BJP-led Central government.
“They make promises before the polls every time but do not fulfil. They had talked of setting up a Central university in Darjeeling, where’s it now? But we have already laid the foundation for a state university.”
The Bengal CM further said that despite making a promise, the Centre has not accorded scheduled caste status to 11 communities from Darjeeling Hills. “If law permits, we will do it after this government (Modi) is ousted from power.”