Kolkata, Aug 20 IBNS | 2 years ago

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday attacked the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is spearheading the movement for a separate state, and said its 'political gimmickry' is harming everybody.

"A tri-partite Memorandum of Agreement amongst the Central Government, the State Government and the GJMM created GTA on 18th July, 2011. Accordingly, election was held and GTA Sabha swore in on 3rd August, 2012. Breaking almost 20 years of non-development of the Hills, a new era of ushering peace and development in Darjeeling began," Banerjee said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

"As per the Agreement, transfer of administrative power, functions of various departments and allocation of fund were made to facilitate GTA to function smoothly and effectively for welfare of the people of the Hills," she said.

"I respect all my Darjeeling brothers and sisters. I am proud of them. But it is very unfortunate that instead of developmental works, that political party has resorted to agitational programme stalling the development process," she said.

Attacking the GJM, Banerjee said: "Politics is fine. But it should facilitate development, not impede it. The political mandate is there. It should be used for the benefit of the people of Darjeeling. It should not harm them. The ongoing political gimmickry is harming everybody."

She said the ongoing agitation has hit every sectors in the hills.

"From the poor people deprived of NREGA entitlements, to the poor patients unable to buy medicines at a discount from the Fair Price Shop, to the innumerable students forced to forsake their studies and hostels, to the jobseekers in the PSC and SSC - not to speak of the thousands engaged in tea, tourism and travel, industries - all are badly affected. Some of the damage may be irreversible. Students may lose a year. NREGA funds may lapse. Tea exports from the Hill may fall and be possibly replaced by tea from other countries. Who is to be blamed?" Banerjee said.

The Chief Minister said she intends to make Darjeeling a dream destination.

She said she will visit Darjeeling during the first week of September.

"My intention is to make Darjeeling a dream destination, which will bring growth and prosperity for the people of Darjeeling. Like Jangalmahal, I have visited Darjeeling more than 20 times. I will be visiting Darjeeling again during the first week of September. The Lepcha brothers and sisters have invited me to attend a programme. We want to see all-round development in all spheres like education, health, employment, industries in Darjeeling," Banerjee said.

"We want to see Darjeeling as a peaceful haven so that its future is settled forever," she said.

GJM president Bimal Gurung on Tuesday announced two days suspension of the Darjeeling agitation after rains and thunder storms damaged private and public properties and plunged the entire hills into darkness.

The agitation was suspended from Tuesday.

Rains and storms also caused widespread damage to road links, uprooted electric and communication poles which disrupted power and water supplies to even all emergency services like hospitals, police stations and vital installations.

The entire Darjeeling hills plunged into total darkness since last night following heavy rains and thunder storms, uprooting electric and communication poles, official sources said.

All emergency services, including hospitals, water supply stations and police stations have been reeling under darkness since last night.

State electricity board's zonal in-charge Ashoke Shina said he received reports from various transmission centers that power lines have been remaining inoperative after rains and thunder storms flattened electricity poles resulting disconnection of supply lines to the hills.

He said they were trying to ascertain the details and finding out what might have gone wrong due to natural calamity.

After weeks of agitation for statehood, the life in the hills, many thought would come to normal but the natural calamity made the life more measurable with disruption of water and power supplies since last night.

Darjeeling witnessed 'Gharer Bhitore Janata' movement on Monday for 24 hours with all the residents remaining indoors due to rains.

SDPO, Kurseong, Nima Norbu Bhutia said all the police stations have no power connections. He said road links have been snapped.

"After last night's devastating thunder storm many places in hills have been damaged. Many houses in tea gardens have been damaged. Many roads have been blocked. Electricity may not be restored today in the hills. Many people injured and have been admitted to the hospital," Gurung said.

He said the GJM was assessing the damages done by the thunder storm.

"We will take 2 days for restoration of normalcy in the hills, " he said.

"The GJM will organize a rally on August 22 at 10.30 am for Gorkhaland. Please be there." Gurung said in a statement.

(Posted on 21-08-2013)