Kolkata, Aug 22 IANS) A delegation comprising the elected representatives of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) called on West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan here Wednesday to discuss development issues of the northern Bengal hills.
Following the hour-long parleys with the governor, GTA Chief Executive Bimal Gurung – also president of the Darjeeling hills’s dominant party Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) – said Narayanan had assured all cooperation.
He said the seven-member delegation, headed by Gurung, discussed important topics like fully utilising the scope for tourism in the hills as also the dearth of educational opportunities for children residing in the tea gardens.
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said the meeting covered a wide range of topics connected to development, education, health and tourism.
The GTA delegation would also discuss these issue with union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
The long-standing agitation on the demand for forming a separate state out of the northern West Bengal hills has led to loss of many lives over the past two decades, besides hitting hard the region’s economic mainstays of tea, timber and tourism.
On July 18 last year, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM, and the state and central governments for setting up a new autonomous, elected GTA, a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s.
The GJM has won all the seats in the 45-member GTA.