Hill meet: CM talks restoration of peace; steps to boost tea, tourism
Kolkata: The next all-party meeting will be held at Pintel village in Darjeeling, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced at Nabanna on Monday.
Talking to newsmen after the all-party meeting, the Chief Minister said it had ended on a positive note and in a cordial atmosphere.
Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa represented the GJM while there were representatives from the GNLF too. Three MLAs from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, namely, Amarjit Singh Rai, Rohit Sharma and Sarita Rai attended the meeting.
Shanta Chetri, state Tourism minister Goutam Deb, minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Aroop Biswas and state Chief Secretary Malay De were also present. The Chief Minister also made it clear that there will not be any break in service for those who did not turn up for work due to the indefinite strike in the Hills. The meeting condoled the death of Amitava Malik who was shot dead during an ambush in Darjeeling on Saturday. She added that the other demands including payment of compensation to those who got killed or injured during the strike was looked into. "Nobody wants any disturbance in Darjeeling and everybody wants peace. The place is globally famous and it is an integral part of Bengal," Banerjee maintained.
Binay Tamang, GTA chairman said: "The situation is peaceful but tense in Darjeeling." He said four demands were raised when the all-party meeting was held in Uttarkanya and some more demands were raised in Monday's meeting.
"Chief Minister has accepted the demand that there will not be any break of service of those who did not attend office due to the strike during the Gorkhaland movement." He said the Chief Minister has assured that she will look into the demands regarding compensation to be made to the next of kin of those who died during the strife and also to the injured. Also, there is demand to upgrade the tea gardens and payment of wages to the workers. He said the prime purpose is now to ensure that there is improvement in tourism, education, healthcare system and water supply. It may be mentioned that due to the movement, tourism in Darjeeling has been badly affected. Also, as the educational institutions were closed during the strike, progress in studies has been stalled. "The main task now is to restore peace and normalcy in the Hills and ensure that tourism which is the prime source of earning is restored."