'Will turn Darjeeling into Switzerland in two years'
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Sunday said it will work for developing West Bengal's Darjeeling hills, turning the popular tourist destination into "Switzerland" in two years.
The GJM, that has been running an intense separatist movement for weeks, will continue pressurising the central government for Gorkhaland.
The GJM, in a reconciliatory approach with the state government, committed to work for the development of the region by efficiently running the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), an autonomous hill council.
"Some opposition leaders are taking advantage of the current political situation, so we have decided to work full fledged for GTA. I am giving two years to GTA members to transform Darjeeling into Switzerland," GJM chief Bimal Gurung said.
He said the GTA which has Rs.1,000 crore, will focus on development and urged the hill council members to "work honestly and efficiently for the common people and not for themselves".
With the Gorkha outfit slated to hold a meet with the Mamata Banerjee-led government Nov 20, Gurung said the main meet agenda will be ensuring no interference in the working of the GTA.
Gurung has often accused the Banerjee government of interfering in the working of the GTA and even threatened to "repeal it at an appropriate time".
He also said the GTA will soon start recruitment process to fill 4,000 vacancies.
"Our agitation for Gorkhaland will now go to Delhi and we will put pressure on the central government for Gorkhaland," added Gurung.
Armed with more powers than its predecessor - the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s - the GTA was created July 18, 2011 via a tripartite agreement between the GJM and the central and state governments.
The GJM swept the GTA's maiden elections in 2012.
(Posted on 17-11-2013)