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Gorkhaland demand crops up again ahead of West Bengal polls

Gorkhaland demand crops up again ahead of West Bengal polls

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  9 March 2020 9:57 AM GMT

NEW DELHI: With the Assembly polls in West Bengal slated for next year, the decades-old demand for the carving of a separate Gorkhaland from the eastern state has once again gained momentum.

The Gorkhas associated with the movement believe that only after the formation of a separate Gorkhaland comprising areas from Darjeeling hills, Terai areas of Siliguri and Duwas would pave the way for a permanent solution to the issue. As part of the increased activities, BJP leader and Darjeeling MP Raju Bisht met with party national general secretary Ram Madhav.

Bisht also held a meeting with leaders of BJP allies — Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, Gorkha National Liberation Front, Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Morcha, Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League, and CPRM — on February 20 and discussed the formation of a ‘steering committee’ to purse the Gorkhaland demand with the Centre.

The BJP won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in 2009, 2014 and 2019 due to its support to the demand. Raju Bisht told IANS: “In the February 20 meeting, the Central government was urged to set up the committee comprising representatives of the West Bengal and central governments, and parties associated with the Gorkhaland movement to look for a permanent solution.

According to the BJP, the central government is serious about finding a permanent political solution to the problem of Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri’s Terai and Duwas areas, but the Mamata Banerjee government was yet to reply to a letter from the Home Ministry on their demands.

“Revenue of Rs 20,000 crore is received by the West Bengal government from Darjeeling and surrounding areas. But the state gives only Rs 400 to 500 crore for the development of the Gorkhaland area. So far, the Mamta Banerjee government has not even held panchayat poll here even though the Centre has sent Rs 1,500 crore for panchayats. In this way, the problems of Darjeeling and Siliguri areas remain,” rued the Darjeeling MP.

People living in the Darjeeling Hills say their culture is different from that of those living elsewhere in West Bengal. Also, they claim the state government is not serious about the development of the mountainous areas of Darjeeling. In such a situation, their problems can be resolved only by the formation of a separate state. (IANS)

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