Elections for GTA, two-tier Panchayat to be held by end of 2019: Tamang
Darjeeling: Elections to a two-tier Panchayat and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) will be held by the end of this year.
The announcement came from Binay Tamang, former chairman of the Board of Administrators, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. "The state government is in the process of reviewing the GTA Act. As soon as the review process is over, elections to the GTA will be held. Following this, the delimitation process of the blocks will take place," stated Tamang.
At present there are 8 blocks in the Hills. There has been a long-standing demand of bifurcating the blocks into 12 blocks for administrative ease.
"With the completion of the delimitation process, election to the two tiers of Panchayat will be held in the Hills," added Tamang.
Incidentally, with the formation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in 1988, the three-tier Panchayat system prevalent throughout the country was replaced by a two-tier system in the Darjeeling Hills by amending the Indian Constitution in 1992.
In the Darjeeling Hills, the last Panchayat election was held in 2000, with the then GNLF party under Subash Ghising objecting to Panchayat elections in 2005, alleging that the Panchayat was diluting the powers of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). Since then, Panchayat elections have not been held in the Hills.
Later, the DGHC was replaced by the GTA. The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Act clearly talks of a three-tier Panchayat system in the GTA area.