Darjeeling: GJM to ease shutdown on Monday, Tuesday

Darjeeling, Sept 6 : The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), spearheading the indefinite shut down demanding statehood for the Gorkhas, on Friday announced relaxation from strike in Darjeeling hills on Monday and Tuesday.

This was announced after the GJM's central committee meeting, which was chaired by party president Bimal Gurung.

After the GJM's meeting, a meeting by the eight-party umbrella organisation Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (GJAC) also approved the decision to relax the shut down on September 9 and 10.

The GJAC will meet again on September 10 and decide the future program of the agitation.

The GJM has been leading the indefinite shut down of Darjeeling since July 29 demanding Gorkhaland state.

GJM president Bimal Gurung sid they will carry on the ongoing movement until their political goal of statehood demand was not achieved.

Gurung said they have nothing to ask from the state government. "Our demand is with the Centre since it has conceded Telangana," Gurung said.

"The people want to carry out the movement and there is no stopping now," Gurung said as the agitation crippled the economy of hills for over past four weeks.

World famous Darjeeling tea, cinchona cultivation, the cash churning tourism sector and timber trade hit a rock bottom due to the agitation.

Analysts say the situation would become worse when thousands of tea workers would demand Puja bonus from this month end as the team planters already announced loss of revenue for various reasons, including blockade or roads.

Seemingly indifferent to the arguments against the strike, Gurung said, "Development can happen later. We want our identity first."

Meanwhile, life has been badly affected due to the bandh everywhere in the hills of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong.

The state government in an affidavit claimed that the economy of Darjeeling suffered a loss of Rs 66 crore in July month.

The affidavit was filed by the state government in the Calcutta High Court on Thursday following a direction of a Division Bench presided by Chief Justice Arun Mishra last week.

The government has asked a compensation of more than Rs 69 crore due to continuous shut down.

--IBNS (Posted on 06-09-2013)

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