Mamata clears air over Bengali in Hills
Laying to rest all speculation, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressing a Government programme in Mirik on Monday declared that Bengali would not be compulsory but an optional language in the Hills. She further stated that as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) did not have any issue before the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) they were resorting to divisive politics over the language issue. The Chief Minister declared that a special audit would be conducted in the GTA.
Talking on the language issue Banerjee stated "I have never said that Bengali is a compulsory subject in the Hills. The law has not been framed till now. It is a blatant lie. I have okayed Nepali in Public Service Commission so that it helps my Nepali brothers and sisters get employment" declared Banerjee.
She stated that just as it was important to know Nepali in the Hills, similarly it was important to have a working knowledge of Bengali if hill people went to work in the plains. "It is a major advantage but learning Bengali in the Hills is optional and not compulsory" the Chief Minister clarified.
Without naming Gurung, Banerjee stated: "Your threats will not work. Threatening to drive tourists away, threatening to close down hotels, transport and even schools. You have to remember that there are so many legal cases pending against you all including the Madan Tamang murder case. Law will take its own course. However, I do not believe in political vendetta" stated the CM.
"I will hold two Cabinet meetings in Darjeeling every year. The first one will be held on June 8 in Darjeeling. I will come to Darjeeling each month. It is my motherland" stated Banerjee.
The chief minister reiterated that she would deliver on the promises made to Mirik residents.
On the land document issue, she instructed the District Magistrate to hand over land right documents to the families by 5th of July.
The chief minister has allotted several crores to develop roads, improve lighting, drainage and potable water. Beautification of the Mirik lake is also on the anvil.