Extend benefits for northeast states to Darjeeling: GJM

Kolkata, Nov 21 : Expressing satisfaction over the tripartite meeting here Thursday on Darjeeling, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) said it had demanded that the area be included in the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) and also sought extending to it the benefits available to the northeastern states.

Other "development" issues raised at the meeting with representatives of the central and state governments included implementation of the three-tier panchayat system, recruitment drive for hill youth into the army and paramilitary forces, withdrawal of cases against imprisoned GTA members and granting of Scheduled Tribe status to Gorkhas, except the Scheduled Castes.

"We discussed about the inclusion of Darjeeling hill in the BGRF and to extend benefits that are given to the northeast states. This is also being expedited by the government," GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told reporters here after the meet.

"The meeting was in a cordial atmosphere and good."

Giri said the state government has also forwarded a proposal to the central government for establishment of a central university in Darjeeling.

"Land has been identified for the proposed university as well as for a National Institute of Technology."

The GJM also submitted an estimate of Rs.553 crore for allocation of funds towards "setting up GTA secretariat building, GTA Sabha and residential quarters".

A committee would be constituted on waiver of taxes and incentives, he said, adding that GJM is expecting further tripartite talks in January.

--IANS (Posted on 21-11-2013)

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