Kolkata, Sep 1: Ahead of tabling of a bill seeking more autonomy for Gorkhaland, members of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with their list of proposed changes to the proposed law claiming the draft is different from what was promised in the July 18 declaration.
A GJM team, including general secretary Roshan Giri and party MLA Harka Bahadur Chettri met Banerjee, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee and Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh to place their demands and objections to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Bill, 2011 which is scheduled to be tabled in the state Assembly tomorrow.
The GJM said it has noticed several ‘discrepancies' in the Bill vis-a-vis the Memorandum of Agreement signed in Darjeeling on July 18 and has asked for necessary amendments before it comes up for discussion.
Giri said they had raised ‘24 points' and maintained Banerjee has assured them that the government would accept the points which would be brought in the form of official amendments tomorrow.
Pointing out the ‘discrepancies', Giri said, “The Bill only mentions about executive powers and not financial and administrative powers. The government has agreed to incorporate the transfer of financial and administrative powers in the Bill.”
“The agreement says that the Chief Executive of the GTA will nominate 14 members to its Executive Council, whereas the Bill says two of the Executive Council members will be nominated by the Governor,” he said.
The GJM would not accept this because the Governor already has powers to nominate five general members to the council, Giri said, claiming “they (government) have agreed to consider the GJM viewpoint in this regard.”
The GJM said while the Bill mentions socio-economic and linguistic development of the hills, there is no mention of ethnicity of the Gorkhas, which is a very sensitive, and perhaps the main issue for the people there.
The Bill, which is meant to pave the way for the formation of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in Darjeeling hills, has already been circulated in the Assembly and will be placed for discussion tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the BJP today criticised the state government for bowing to GJM's demand.
“We believe that the Bill would open a Pandora's box with other communities like Lepcha and Totos making similar demands,” the party's state unit said in a release. PTI