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In Photo: Mamata Banerjee, with Presidency University VC Anuradha Lohia (6th from left) and other dignitaries, at the foundation laying for the varsity’s Darjeeling campus and an Education Hub at Dow Hill in Kurseong on Monday. Photo courtesy: AITC. 

By A Newsman

Kurseong, 14 September: CHIEF Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday laid the foundation stone for Darjeeling Hills campus of the Presidency University at Dow Hill in Kurseong. Alongside, she has laid the foundation for the Dow Hill Education Hub.

Both the Presidency University campus and the Education Hub will come up at existing premises of the state government owned Victoria Boy’s High School at Dow Hill. The state has already sanctioned Rs 30 crore for the project.

Speaking on the occasion, Miss Banerjee said that it was a new dawn in Kurseong in the education sector.

“Centres of learning, skill development and research will come up here, which will attract students and researchers from all over the country and abroad,” she said reiterating the Trinamool Congress government’s commitment to the all-round development of Darjeeling Hills.

The foundation stone laying ceremony was attended by a sizeable number of students and local people but neither the Kurseong Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) MLA Rohit Sharma nor any of its other leaders were present.

GJM is angry over the move to establish the Presidency University campus here as it believes that it would block the way for a Central university in the Hills which was a key provision of the agreement that it had inked with the state and the Centre in 2011.

The party has threatened that all its three MLAs will step down from the Bengal Assembly on 23 September to protest the state government’s ‘interference’ in the affairs of the Hills despite an autonomous body being in place.

The Chief Minister is on a three-day tour of Darjeeling Hills beginning Monday. She flew down at Bagdogra airport near Siliguri from Kolkata earlier in the day and then travelled to Kurseong by road.

Miss Banerjee is scheduled to attend two events organised by the Tamang and Lepcha development boards in Kalimpong on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. She will be back in Kolkata on 17 September.