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'Tense Bengal, centre ties affecting funds release for GTA'

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  12 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Kolkata, April 11: The tense relationship between the central and West Bengal governments is affecting the release of central funds for infrastructure development projects in north Bengal, a senior Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader said here on Saturday.

As per the tripartite agreement inked between the central, Bengal governments and the GJM, the centre is to give a fincial package of Rs.600 crore for three years. The funds are meant for projects to develop socio-economic infrastructure in the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) in addition to the normal plan assistance to the state government.

“In the agreement itself it is mentioned that certain projects would be taken up by the union government. Rs.200 crore for three years (Rs.600 crore altogether) was meant for extra projects... that money hasn’t yet reached us,” senior leader and MLA Harka Bahadur Chettri told the media here. “Some of them have been undertaken but that (the money which has come) will not cover even 10 percent of the projects that are supposed to be undertaken,” Chettri said on the sidelines of the second Nepali literary symposium here. The area of GTA shall comprise the areas of the entire sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong with extended areas of Kurseong. He said the money has to be given by the centre to the state and the state has to route it to the party. “Unfortutely... between union government and state there is estrangement and between state government and our party there is a love-hate relationship going on, it is blow hot, blow cold,” he observed. Chettri said both the central and state governments need to do their part. “Some of it (funds) have come (from the Centre) and the state government has withheld and most hasn’t come and the state government isn’t taking any initiative to pressurize the union government for the release of funds,” he said. He said some of the major projects include car plazas, a medical college, a central university, a super-specialty hospital, nursing college, skill development institute etc.

Armed with more powers than its predecessor - the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s - the GTA was created on July 18, 2011 via a tripartite agreement between the GJM and the state and central governments. The GJM has been demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of parts of Darjeeling and its neighbouring Jalpaiguri district. (IANS)

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