Mamata Banerjee talks of special package for Darjeeling

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DARJEELING - Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee emphasised that she would urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit the hills in West Bengal and offer special economic package to the people of the region.

Banerjee, who flagged off a tourist special toy train on World Tourism Day in Darjeeling, said: “I will recommend to our honorable Prime Minister. I will request him to visit the hill areas. Come to the hill town with a special package as there is a requirement of a special package in Darjeeling.”

Banerjee outlined that the package should include settling up of schools, colleges, education facilities, jobs for the youth and a tax holiday to attract industries to the hill region.

She admitted that the people of the town have been neglected over these years, which has intensified their demand of a separate State.

Banerjee said that the Gorkha population of the State has always talked of development as the primary issue of their region.

“I had a talk with the Janamukti Morcha (Gorkha Janamukti Morcha) but these people never talked about a separate Gorkhaland state with me. They just talked about development and they are present here also,” she added.

The Gorkhaland Movement that began in the 1980s had ended with a truce between the then-leader Subhash Ghising and New Delhi after he accepted limited autonomy in 1988 with a new Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

A renewed demand for Gorkhaland, which would include Darjeeling and some contiguous areas of Jalpaiguri district, was again raised by a set of new leaders like Bimal Gurung, plunging the hill areas into fresh turmoil.

The Gorkha population in West Bengal is around a million out of the state’s 80 million people. (ANI)

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