Development impetus for Hills: Bengal govt announces Rs 500 cr package
Kolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government on Tuesday announced a special package of Rs 500 crore for development in the Hills. The funds will be allocated to the newly-formed Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) Board of Administrators under the chairmanship of Binay Tamang.
"The funds will be forwarded to GTA through the state Hill Affairs department and will be utilised in carrying out development works like road repair, proper
restoration of power supply, renovation of various government offices that had been torched or vandalised at the time of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's movement for a separate statehood and the like. Development in Darjeeling and its adjoining areas like Kurseong, Kalimpong etc have come to a standstill due to the indefinite bandh that went on for 104 days at a stretch," a senior official in the state Secretariat Nabanna said on Tuesday.
The losses that the Hills have incurred due to the indefinite bandh and GJM movement are nearly Rs 1,000 crore, as per government estimates. However, the state government has made it clear to the GTA that they will have to furnish utilisation certificate for the work that they will undertake with the funds allocated by the state.
The earlier GTA board under the leadership of Bimal Gurung had not provided such certificates and the state government has found that funds for development has been misappropriated to a great extent. The state is also conducting an audit of the funds.
GJM rebel and chairman of the GTA Board of Administrators for the Darjeeling Hills, Binay Tamang, on Monday had demanded special funds from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for an international tourism festival. He had claimed that the tourism industry has been badly hit due to the Gorkhaland agitation for the last four months.
The police administration took strong steps and initiated a case under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against GJM chief Bimal Gurung and his associates in connection with the
gunning down of Sub-Inspector Amitava Malik who was killed in an ambush last Friday. A case has been started against 20 GJM supporters including its chief Bimal Gurung, his associates Dipen Male, Prabin Subba and many more at the Darjeeling Sadar police station Cases of murder, arson and Explosive Acts was earlier slapped against them The UAPA case that was initiated on Tuesday was suo moto on the part of the police.
The cops have started a manhunt against Gurung and his associates who may have fled to Sikkim as per a section of the state intelligence wing.