Sukna (West Bengal) July 18: The Darjeeling tripartite accord would not lead to any division of the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Monday, accusing the Left Front and other opposition parties of playing “divisive politics” on the issue.
”The state has not been divided. It is one and the same. Darjeeling is an integral part of West Bengal. It is the heart of the state and so are the other parts of the hills. The hills and the plains will together march towards prosperity and development,” Banerjee said at the accord signing ceremony.
At a ceremony also attended by union Home Minister P. Chidambaram at Pintail village in Kurseong sub-division of Darjeeling district, a historic tripartite agreement on the Darjeeling hills was signed between the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) and the West Bengal and central governments.
At the core of the accord is the formation of a new autonomous, elected Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) formed in the late 1980s.
Countering criticism that the naming of the new hill development council as Gorkhaland Territorial Administration could ultimately lead to the formation of a separate state of Gorkhaland, Banerjee said: “We have only changed ‘Regional' into ‘Territorial'. Nothing else has changed.”
”Those who are doing politics over names must keep quiet and let the new government function. They did nothing during the 34 years when they were on power,” Banerjee said, referring to the Left Front that ruled the state uninterruptedly from 1977 to May this year.
Accusing political parties of playing divisive politics by seeking to create a rift between the people in the hills and plains of Darjeeling district, she said: “There have been many a politics to divide the hills. Parties have plotted to create rift between the peoples of the plains and that of the hills. We will never let that happen.
”The hills and the plains will always remain together. Only when the hills are fine will the plains be okay. Siliguri (the plains sub-division of Darjeeling district) and (hills) of Darjeeling are twin sisters.”
Banerjee said the election of the representatives of the GTA would be held within six months. The new autonomous agency would get all help from the state and central governments.
She also said Darjeeling and other tourist attractions in the area would return to their earlier glory. “Darjeeling will be the Switzerland of India.”
According to the chief minister, a host of projects, including super specialty hospitals, multi-disciplinary colleges, research centres, schools, cold storages and multi storey car parks, would be set up under the auspices of the GTA. IANS