A Division Bench of Calcutta High Court headed by the Chief Justice Girish Gupta on Tuesday declared the bandh called by GJMM in the hills as illegal and instructed the state government to take all steps to maintain law and order and ensure normal life.
Idris Ali, Trinamool Congress MP had moved a PIL challenging the bandh called by the GJMM in the hills on September 28.
Accordingly, three ministers would be camping in the hills to oversee security arrangements and ensure that life functions normally. State Tourism minister Goutam Deb said the bandh call was irrational.
He said the Supreme Court and the High Court had over and again gave their verdict against bandh and those who called the arbitrary bandhs should keep this in mind.
He said calling a bandh before the festive season was “highly irrational and arbitrary.”
State Food minister Jyotipriyo Mullick said all the ration dealers had been asked to keep their shops open and the district administration had been instructed to take stern action against those who would try to disrupt normal life.
“The District Magistrate and superintendent of police have been asked to ensure normalcy in the hills and any attempt to disrupt it will be dealt with seriously,” he said.
The bandh was called by GJMM after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in a meeting in
Kalimpong last week that the state government had given Rs 400 crore in five years to GTA for the area’s development.
Reacting to the statement Bimal Gurung of GJMM said that the Chief Minister should give details of the money which was given to GTA.
Otherwise bandh would be called in the hills from September 28. Mamata Banerjee had reacted
to the decision strongly and said that the state government would make every arrangement to foil the bandh.
Political experts said the GJMM was fast losing ground as through the formation of Lepcha, Tamang and Nehra boards the state government had proposed all round development in the hills.
As tourists are visiting the area in good numbers the financial condition of local youth has improved and the hotels are making profits.
Though Trinamool Congress has failed to bag any seat in the hills in the Assembly polls, it has consolidated the vote bank which has put a serious threat before GJMM.
The panchayat and municipal elections will be held in near future and this has put GJMM in a tight spot.
In a bid to flex its muscles, the party has called bandh in the hills. It will face a major problem if life functions normally, the experts said.