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Mamata attends MLDB’s 3rd foundation day in Kalimpong

Pradip Lohagun
Kalimpong : Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attended the 3rd Foundation Day ceremony of the Mayel-Lyang Lepcha Development Board at Dr. Graham’s Homes Ground in Kalimpong. The chief minister announced a slew of new projects as well as additional funds for projects announced earlier. Appreciating the work done by the MLDB, she presented the board president, Lyangsong Tamsang, with a cheque of Rs10 crore as additional funds for the projects the board is currently working on. Banerjee also presented another cheque of Rs2.5 crore to Tamsang for the construction of an MLDB administrative building, while she presented Rs5 crore to the Tamang Cultural Development Board. Banerjee said the state government will provide employment opportunities for educated unemployed youths of the Lepcha community as para-teachers at 46 different schools in the hills. Apart from that, she also announced the launch of 28 new government buses for the public in the hills. These buses will operate under the North Bengal State Transport Corporation and cater to the public of all the three sub-divisions of the hills. 

Other developmental announcements made by the chief minister included construction of shopping complexes in Kalimpong, Kurseong and Gorubathan as part of the government’s initiative of rural economic development; ecotourism development at Tinchulay, Takdah, Pokharitar and Chimni under Darjeeling and Kurseong forest divisions; and 10 new check posts at Pulungdung, Todey and Jaldhaka under the Border Area Development Scheme. She also announced new provisions under the state government’s Kanyashree Scheme. Further, the chief minister informed the state government will provide Rs11 crore for the development of solid waste management in Kalimpong. She further informed the TMC government will also start four new hydro-power projects in the hills. The four projects, slated to be developed at Rammam in Darjeeling and Teesta in Kalimpong, will be constructed at a total cost of Rs 3,300 crore. Praising the work executed by the MLDS in such a short span of time, Banerjee said, “There are people who need work, but do not know how to find it. But the MLDB has done it and everyone should learn about work ethics from this board. Efficient usage of funds provided by the state government is also a commendable achievement.” She also provided cheques to various beneficiaries working under a number of state government sanctioned schemes, including the Kanyashree Scheme, Farmer Credit Card Scheme, Meter Taxi Scheme, Minority Welfare Scheme and Lepcha Women’s Welfare Scheme. 

Lauding the completion of 1,000 Lepcha houses before the estimated time and the progress of the construction of an additional 1,000 such houses, Banerjee assured sanction of funds for 1,000 more Lepcha houses after the current lot gets completed. Further, the chief minister also assured the MLDA of providing land and funds for the construction of a Lepcha Cultural Heritage Centre, which was proposed by the board earlier. The chief minister further directed DM Punit Yadav to form a steering committee for the beautification and conservation of the numerous rivulets and streams that flow through the Darjeeling hills. She said water from such sources can be purified for various usages under the MGNREGA programme. “This will also provide the people of rural areas an opportunity to earn extra income through the 100-day work scheme,” she added. Further, the chief minister assured of speedy work on the development of the chief minister’s office in Darjeeling along with rural tourism development in Labhraysap and Lolaygaon areas and improvement in government hospital services. “Earlier you used to travel to Kolkata to meet the chief minister, but now I will bring Kolkata here. Until this body remains, I will always visit the Darjeeling hills. 

The hills call me and I have developed a special relationship with the Kanchenjunga,” she stated. Claiming her dream is to make the hills developed, prosperous and self-sufficient, Banerjee said, “Darjeeling is for the people, by the people, of the people.” The third foundation day of the MLDB was also attended by NBDD minister Gautam Deb, Siliguri MLA Dr. Rudranath Bhattarai, chief secretary Sanjay Mitra, home secretary Basudev Banerjee, community development secretary SK Tathay, GTA principal secretary Gautam Ghosh, MLDP chairman Lyangsong Tamsang and TCDB chairman Sanjay Moktan along with other top bureaucrats and police officials. Other guests included representatives of various communities demanding tribal status from the state government. Thanking the chief minister for gracing the foundation day ceremony with her presence, Tamsang and Moktan presented her with a citation and a memento. Representatives of various other communities, including the Limboo, Emi Bhutia, Singsa Bhutia, Bhujel, Mangar, Newar, Khamburai, Mukhia, Khas, Hitkari and Bengali also presented the chief minister with traditional gifts.

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