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On V-day, Kalimpong rejoices in its rebirth as 21st district

Amidst much fanfare, Kalimpong was officially declared as the 21st district of West Bengal.

In a programme held in the heart of the town, Mela Ground, Anurag Shrivastava, District Magistrate of Darjeeling read out the Gazette Notification (WB (Part-1)/2017SAR-52 dated February 8, 2017) declaring the formation of Kalimpong district which includes Kalimpong sadar sub- division and areas under Kalimpong, Jaldhaka and Gorubathan police stations with effect from February 14.

Dr Bishwanath took charge as the District Magistrate and Ajit Singh Yadav as the Superintendent of Police of the youngest district of the state. Basudeb Banerjee, Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal said that the Chief Minister is in favour of smaller districts for better governance. "With the formation of Kalimpong district, the administration will surely come closer to people", he said.

"Earlier, to solve certain problems, one had to pay a visit to the district headquarters in Darjeeling. There was no administrative freedom. Now, with the formation of the new district, the problems of the masses will be eased," said CM Mamata Banerjee.

In a deft balancing act between administration and politics, Banerjee stated that following proper planning Kalimpong will soon be developed into a tourist, education and Information Technology hub. Also, she pledged a sum of Rs. 50 crore for a water project to mitigate Kalimpong's water woes.

"The project will soon be implemented by West Bengal PHE Department. Kalimpong has a bright future. There are huge prospects in the field of agriculture, floriculture and horticulture here" she said.

While laying the foundation stone, Banerjee unveiled a slew of projects including road repair in Lava-Lolaygaon and development of nature education and wilderness centres in the newly-formed district.

Without naming the party in power in the hills, the 'bete noire Gorkha Janmukti Morcha' Banerjee said, "I do not indulge in politics of violence and also I shall not spare anyone who tries to stoke unrest. Some, who are unable to fight politically, always try to disrupt peace by indulging in violence. We should stand up against such sinister designs."

She also stated that though the Hill Municipalities and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration are not under her, the state government has been sincerely trying to ensure development in these parts.

"The GTA was formed to ensure all round development. In order to chip into the development process from our end, we have formed development boards for different communities. Next time you vote, elect the people who will work for you," she added.

Meanwhile, in Darjeeling, GJMChief Bimal Gurung welcoming the new district has urged Banerjee to immediately conduct the Hill Municipal and GTA elections.

"We want her to declare elections in the Hill Municipalities. We will show them that we have the public mandate. We will win all the four Hill Municipalities including Kalimpong," said Gurung. He further stated that GJM Kalimpong committees will be giving deputations and submit memorandums to the DM and SP Kalimpong from Wednesday in demand of inclusion of contiguous areas of Jalpaiguri district including Sipchu, Kumain, Mal and Metli in the Kalimpong district.

Welcoming the newly formed district, people were in a celebratory mood as crackers lit up the night sky.
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