Anit Thapa proposes bifurcation of three dev blocks in GTA area
Anit Thapa, Chief Executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has written a letter to the Secretary, Panchayat and Rural Development department, Government of West Bengal with the proposal of bifurcation of three existing blocks in the GTA area, thereby raising the existing number of blocks from 9 to 12.
The letter comes on the heels of a meeting between Thapa and the secretary on the issue. “The letter is to take the matter forward. It is as part of decentralisation of power and administration,” stated Thapa.
The letter proposes the bifurcation of Gorubathan development block in the Kalimpong district, Darjeeling-Pulbazar Development Block and Jorebunglow-Sukhiapokhri Block, both in Darjeeling districts.
“A person has to traverse 68 km to reach the Block Development Headquarters in Gorubathan from Tode-Tangta, thereby defeating the very purpose of decentralisation of power. Difficult terrain of the Hills makes matters worse,” stated Thapa in support of the demand.
The GTA chief stated that in some cases, a person has to travel for a day and even stay overnight to get a job done in a block headquarters. This takes both time and money.
“The bifurcation of these blocks will have several important implications for local governance and rural development. This will help in efficient local self governance, enhanced citizen participation, targeted development initiatives, improved accountability and transparency, customised decision making along with empowerment of local communities,” stated Thapa. These points find mention in the letter also.
The Darjeeling Pulbazar Development Block has an area of 348.45 sq km with a population of 63766 as per the 2011 census. The Jorebunglow-Sukhiapokhri Development Block has an area of 378.51 sq km with a population of 113531 and the Gorubathan Development Block has an area of 418.52 sq km having a population of 60663.
The bifurcations of these blocks have been a longstanding demand of the Hills. “Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) had mentioned the bifurcation of these three blocks in the party election manifesto during the rural polls. Now that people have elected us with a thumping majority ,it is our duty to fulfill our commitment,” stated Thapa, who is also the president, BGPM.