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BJP takes state cry to House

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 4, 2009

New Delhi, July 3: The BJP today raised the subject of Gorkhaland in Parliament in the garb of acute drinking water problem in the Darjeeling hills.

Raising the issue of water scarcity during the Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, BJP member Rajiv Pratap Rudy urged the government to look into the aspects of the demand for a new state or Gorkhaland.

Rudy was apparently doing what Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh is expected to do in the Lower House during the budget session.

The BJP threw up a small surprise for itself in an overall poor election result when it won the Darjeeling seat by a thumping margin after the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha issued a fiat in the hills that all should vote for Singh’s party.

Rudy started by criticising the Bengal government for going slow on the water supply projects in the hills. The Planning Commission had sanctioned a scheme for lifting water from the Balason river to meet potable water requirement of Darjeeling town. The project conceived in 1995 has not seen the light of the day.

“This speaks aloud about the development that has taken place in north Bengal so much so that this has resulted in implications of raising a separate state for which the people of the Darjeeling hills have been struggling. They have been agitating for more than three decades now,” he said.

“The neglect of the Queen of Hills with its poor infrastructure… coupled with growing discontent in the Dooars region and the plains… is a matter of concern,” Rudy told the Upper House.

Expressing fears that the Darjeeling hills were growing into a “slum”, Rudy alleged a “consistent neglect of the entire north Bengal”.

Rudy said since the area is in the chicken’s neck, the slim corridor that connects the rest of the country with the Northeast, it commands all the more attention. “The state borders three countries and it (north Bengal) is a gateway to Bhutan…Unrest in that region has created a dangerous situation,” said Rudy.

The BJP leader iterated that the Gorkhaland demand needed to be looked into by the Centre. “The bottom line for us is to wait and watch and keep watching,” said an official of the home ministry that is facilitating the tripartite talks among the Centre, the state and the Morcha, which is spearheading the statehood movement. Morcha leaders led by the Darjeeling MP had recently called on Union home minister P. Chidambaram.

Source: The Telegraph


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