CM announces slew of projects for Darjeeling hills
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today announced a slew of developmental projects, including setting up of a university, vocational training colleges, employment of youth in police department and widening of roads for Darjeeling hills, saying land is an integral part of the state.
Addressing a massive gathering at Chowrasta here before the swearing-in ceremony of the first Gorkhaland Territorial Adminstration (GTA) Ms Banerjee said, 'Money would come if you work on welfare of the people and development of the areas,' pointing at the winning GTA members.
Bimal Gurung, who was sworn-in as the first chief executive of the GTA by Governor M K Narayanan, led all the 45 winning members of his Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in taking oath.
The Chief Minister termed the creation of GTA as 'historic' and the swearing-in ceremony as the 'beginning of a new chapter of GTA.' Ms Banerjee, who was cheered by the gathering for greeting them in Nepali, said the state government would set up two polytechnic colleges, three ITIs, a hospital and a university in the hills in two to three years time.
She said the state government had already waived tax arrears on some essentials and assured that a family member of those who lost their life in the agitation would get a government job.
Besides, the government would provide employment to the youth in the police department.
Ms Banerjee also called upon the business people to adhere to good business and stressed the improvement of road connectivity, widening the roads and bettering transportation on the hills.
She also urged the Central government to ensure creating a national highway leading to Darjeeling town, and said the hills of Darjeeling and Dooars would be converted to 'Switzerland of the East'.
She also emphasised the need of maintaining peace and harmony in the region, saying "Darjeeling is a very important place and part and parcel of West Bengal".
Addressing Bimal Gurung as her brother, she hoped he would take Darjeeling to a new era of development and progress.
The Chief Minister said her government kept its word in restoring peace in the Jangalmahal. With the formation of GTA, peace had returned to the hills as well.
The GTA, an autonomous body, formed after years of struggle, would start functioning with high financial and administrative powers.
The GTA will have 45 elected and five nominated members to utilise the fund received from the state and Centre.
The body will work with 50 departments under its jurisdiction. These include agriculture, education, food supply, forest, health, municipal corporation, planning, sports and tourism.