Faced with opposition from the West Bengal government, the Centre on Monday allowed continued deployment of 800 paramilitary personnel in Darjeeling to maintain law and order in the hill areas.
As of now, 15 companies of paramilitary forces were deployed in Darjeeling and the central government wanted to withdraw 10 of them for deployment in other places for duties during festival season, a home ministry official said.
However, as the state government wanted to deploy the forces for more time, the home ministry, after a fresh assessment, decided to withdraw just seven companies and allowed the remaining eight companies to remain in the hill areas.
A company of paramilitary comprises around 100 personnel.
As the situation has become relatively calm, the local police should take over, the official said.
He said there were demands from other states also as festivals are coming up and there will be elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. “The central forces cannot be converted into local police,” he said.
On Sunday, the home ministry had ordered withdrawal of 1,000 paramilitary personnel, including 300 women, deployed in Darjeeling
However, the West Bengal government protested the move and wrote a letter asking the home ministry not to withdraw the forces from Darjeeling.
The situation in Darjeeling has improved in the past few weeks, another official said.
The Mamata Banerjee government had last month formed a nine-member board of administrators, headed by Binay Tamang, instead of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) to look into the development works in Darjeeling and Kalimpong.