Millennium Post

Mamata announces pre-poll sops for the hills

Mamata announces pre-poll sops for the hills
The hills and the plains are like two sisters and may peaceful elections prevail during the GTA [Gorkhaland Territorial Administration] elections in Darjeeling in end-July, said Mamata Banerjee, while announcing a slew of development projects during her North Bengal tour beginning Tuesday.

This included new tourism projects worth Rs 50 crore for the Dooars, an initiative that would ensure that tourists flocked to the area round the year. ’Tea tourism will be the focus. We are also ensuring that labourers in the tea gardens, who are extremely poor, get all kinds of facilities, including rice at Rs 2 a kilo. We are also trying to distribute
pattas
of land,' said Banerjee, who also unveiled a number of new goodies in the education sector at New Jalpaiguri on Tuesday.

Banerjee, who recently got a bill allowing private universities in the state approved, announced the launch of a new university in Cooch Behar and another private university in North Bengal.

‘Upgrading 45 secondary schools into higher secondary schools, setting up of an ITI and a Hindi college have also been approved on Tuesday and will ensure quality education for students,' she said.

Banerjee also said that there will be new jobs in the shape of a film city that is coming up at Siliguri.

’We have received a number of proposals for this and the bids will open in a day or two. We have acquired 75 acres of land for this project,' she said.

Lamenting the condition of the highways of North Bengal [NH 31 and NH 34], Banerjee said that the National Highways Authority of India – NHAI – should repair the roads urgently as well as take good care of the Teesta and Jaldhaka bridges.

’I have spoken to the management several times as well as the Central Government. But there is no initiative with regard to road maintenance,' she rued.

The Chief Minister is also expected to visit Cooch Behar and Kalimpong over the next two days.

Interestingly, Banerjee recently won the cooperation of the GJM [Gorkhaland Janmukti Manch] – for the GTA elections, expected to bring greater autonomy to the local people and safeguard their economic interests.
Nandini Guha

Nandini Guha

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