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Govt eyes elected body

Posted by Ramesh Khati on August 13, 2009

Calcutta, Aug. 12: An elected “set-up” with more resources and powers will replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council once the autonomous body is dissolved, Bengal home secretary Ardhendu Sen today said.

Sen, who returned to the city after attending the tripartite talks with Union home secretary and representatives of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in Delhi yesterday, said the hill party had “realised (that) it cannot attain a separate state at the drop of a hat”.

Bengal chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti was also present at the third round of talks along with Sen.

“You cannot demand a separate state and expect it to be there tomorrow. We are thinking of doing something for the hills now. It will neither be the DGHC, nor the Sixth Schedule. The new set-up will definitely be an elected body and it will be evolved with the suggestions put forward by all the three parties to the talks,” Sen told journalists at Writers’ Buildings.

Administrative sources said the state government would send its suggestions on the new set-up to the Union home ministry and the Morcha leadership by the end of this month.

Sen said the new set-up would be accorded more resources in the form of funds and would have more administrative powers than the existing DGHC.

At yesterday’s meeting, it was agreed that the DGHC Act, 1988 would be repealed. The Morcha delegation was also told that the Sixth Schedule draft that had been placed in Parliament would be dropped.

With these two legacies of the Subash Ghisingh era removed, the Morcha leaders had returned from the talks with a positive frame of mind. The next round of talks is scheduled to be held in Darjeeling on December 21.

Chakrabarti said all three parties had “more or less” reached a consensus on the need for a more powerful administrative set-up in the hills. “The Morcha was one with us that the focus should be on development and nothing should hamper the work,” the chief secretary said.

A state government official would be sent to Darjeeling to run a check on the unused funds of the DGHC. The official would also find out whether the council money had been properly utilised or not, Chakrabarti added.

Source:The Statesman


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