No more compromise on Hill impasse: CM
As the situation in the Darjeeling Hills limped back to normality on Saturday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reviewed the situation with the police and administrative brass from Uttarkanya, the mini-secretariat in Jalpaiguri district. The Chief Minister declared that there will be timely elections to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA.)
Talking to media persons at Uttorkanya, the mini Secretariat in Jalpaiguri after a meeting with administrative and police top brass, the CM remarked "The new GTA board has to be sworn in before August 2 as the 5 year tenure ends." The CM declared that there will be no more compromises in the hills. "Bandh is illegal. The Court has declared bandhs illegal. Whenever they are in a tight spot, they resort to bandhs" stated the CM without naming the GJM.
"Compromise can be done with peace but not with violence, with arson, with brick batting and arms. Law will take its own course. The Administration will take necessary action. No one is above law" added the CM. Reacting to talks of Gurung's arrest doing the rounds in connection with the violence and arson unleashed in the Hills on Thursday, the CM stated "That is for the police and administration to decide. The police and administrative top brass are camping in Darjeeling. They are keeping a watch on the situation. No one is above law. Law is the same for me and for you."
Meanwhile there have been some reshuffles in the Police. Akhilesh Chaturvedi replaced Amit P Javalgi as the Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling. Chaturvedi was the Deputy Commissioner (Central) Kolkata before joining as SP, Darjeeling on Saturday. Chaturvedi had earlier served as Additional Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling.
Tirtha Sarathi Nath, Inpector in Charge, Dinhata replaces Bhanu Rai as IC, Kalimpong. Parijat Sarkar, Inspector of the Police Commiserate replaces Dipankar Som as IC, Kurseong.
With normality on Saturday after the 12 hour long Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha bandh, vehicles started plying in the Hills. Stranded tourists took the opportunity to return. "We will continue providing the free State bus services from Darjeeling to Siliguri and from Siliguri to Kolkata. The service has been extended till Sunday. There are many who have missed their scheduled trains and can avail these services" stated the Chief Minister.
The CM keeping in mind the interest of the tourist has waved off the restriction for Hill vehicles to ply to other districts. "It is an old rule and will be done away with from Monday in the interest of tourists and transporters. They can now travel to any district" stated the CM.
The CM stated that tourism is the economic mainstay of the Hills and should be given priority be all. Reacting to the recent strife which resulted in tourists facing harassment, Banerjee stated "Because of the irrational and irresponsible behavior of some people the international brand Darjeeling is being maligned. Some people think that Darjeeling is their monopoly. There are one or two bad people. The others are good" claimed the CM. Regarding the time period of the deployment of Army, the CM stated "It is for the administration to decide."
Reacting to Morcha's indefinite bandh call from Monday, Tourism Minister Gautam Deb stated that it will be countered both administratively and politically. The TMC took out a rally in Darjeeling on Saturday demanding the immediate arrest of Gurung.