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District administration calls all-party meeting on separate Kalimpong district


DARJEELING : The Darjeeling district administration convened an all-party meeting for feedback and suggestions on the state government’s proposal to upgrade Kalimpong sub-division into a new district. Just before the Assembly election, the state cabinet had placed a proposal to convert Kalimpong into a separate district, and Mirik in to a sub-division. Harka Bahadur Chhetri, who floated the Jan Andolan Party last year, championed the separate district demand after he severed ties with the GJM. The demand for a Kalimpong district was endorsed by chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her party supported him in the Assembly election. Meanwhile, the GJM too went on an overdrive on the issue and besides Kalimpong, it wants new districts of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik. Today, representatives of 10 political parties (both regional and national) including the three hill MLAs attended the meeting with the district administration to discuss and share their feedback. “We called the all-party meeting as we have to take suggestions and feedback from all the political parties of the hills. 

There are issues like demarcation of areas in the separate district that need to be addressed. We will submit the final proposal to the state government after getting all the feedback and suggestions,” said Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastava. The JAP proposed a list to be incorporated while forming a separate Kalimpong district. It wants committees to be formed comprising stakeholders, NGOs, experts and citizens to monitor and assist, consultations with expert town planners in developing the required infrastructure, a new township and to extend the southern and western boundaries of Kalimpong. “First of all we are thankful to the state government for consenting to form a new district of Kalimpong. Today’s meeting was positive and no one opposed the proposal. We have submitted an eight-point proposal for incorporation as there will be lot of technical issues while forming the district,” said Anmol Prasad, JAP bureau member. The TMC unit of the hills also welcomed the formation of a separate Kalimpong district and said it would place its proposals and suggestions to the district administration tomorrow. 

Other political parties too said they would submit their proposals in a couple of days. GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said the party was all in for a separate Kalimpong district and the proposal for creating new districts of Darjeling and Kurseong should also be taken up by the state government. “We have always advocated for upgrading Kalimpong into a district. But we want the new district to have all the administrative facilities and this should not be just for show. We will submit our feedback and suggestions later,” he said. Later in the evening, GJM president Bimal Gurung issued a press statement welcoming the initiative to form a new Kalimpong district, even as he said more sub-divisions and districts should be formed as that would help in boosting the party’s demand for a separate Gorkhaland state. 

- EOI

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