Darjeeling: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced the formation of a Rajbanshi Development and Cultural Board along with a Kamtapuri Bhasa Academy. Addressing mediapersons at Uttarkanya, the state's mini secretariat located in Jalpaiguri district on Tuesday, the Chief Minister stated: "It has been a long standing demand of the Rajbonshis. They have been deprived and exploited. This board will ensure all round development of the Rajbonshis."
The board will be chaired by Ananata Deb Adhikari, MLA and will have Girija Sankar Roy and Bangshi Badan Barman as vice-presidents. Interestingly, Bangshi Badan Barman has been leading the Greater Cooch Behar movement demanding as separate state for the Rajbonshis. When contacted, Barman stated: "We are grateful to the Chief Minister for the creation of the board." He also stated that he would sincerely discharge the duties as the vice-chairman. "However, our agitation for the separate state will continue. It has nothing to do with this board."
He also negated talks of his joining the TMC as "mere rumors." Incidentally, Barman is also the vice-chairman of the Rajbanshi Bhasa Academy. "It has also been a long standing demand of the Kamtapuris that the Kamtapuri language get due recognition. We have constituted a Kamtapuri Bhasa Academy with Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri as the chairman and Atul Roy as the vice-chairman," added the CM. Incidentally, Atul Roy heads the Kamtapur People's Party that has been agitating for a separate state of Kamtapur.
"We are thankful to the CM for giving due recognition to the Kamtapur language. The Academy will definitely work towards preserving, enriching and propagating the language," stated Roy.