“We have allotted Rs 6 crore for building infrastructure. We are awaiting a nod from the judiciary to carve out Kalimpong as a separate district with Mirik a new sub-Division to boost development activities in the area”, she said at the annual convention of Lepcha Development Board here.
Stating that the state government has so far incurred Rs 119 crore for development in the hills, Banerjee said that her government would encourage more development and promote more tourist spots including Tiger Hills to attract a large number of tourists.
“The more you work for development, the more funds we will allocate,” she said. “Municipal elections in the hills would be held. Those who win must work for development. We (Trinamool Congress) don’t have any MP, MLA or councillor in the hills. It hardly matters about who wins the election.
Development is our top priority. If we win we shall work hard for development in the hills and if any other party wins we must assist them in development,” Banerjee said. “I don’t speak about politics and talk about development in the hills,” she said.
“Previous governments have failed to usher in development, but the focus of our government is clear development for the hills. Hills must keep smiling,” Banerjee said.
Meanwhile, Banerjee expressed satisfaction over the performance of Bhutia, Lepcha and Tamang boards.
Without referring to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM), she said: “Work seriously and do not criticise us.” She said in the past four years, the state government had allotted Rs 4,000 crore from planned and non-planned budget for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
The chief minister also said that a separate tea directorate has been set up for north Bengal.
“I am proud of the young generation of the hills. If hills do not progress, Bengal cannot progress,” she said.
On her third trip to North Bengal after being re-elected as chief minister, she was welcomed by the people in the hills as ‘Pahari Ma’ (Mother of hills).
She said, “I am like your sister. We have to live in harmony in the hills. I will keep coming here.”
She also met representatives of different tribes in the hills, while lauding performance of different Boards set up in the hills during her tenure.