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Let's forget past (Gorkhaland Statehood Demand ?) and work for better future: Mamata Banerjee

Darjeeling : "Let us forget whatever happened in the past and work for a better future of Darjeeling" was the message propagated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the end of the all-Hill party meeting in Darjeeling on Thursday.

The day saw back-to-back meetings of the Chief Minister with representatives of Hill political outfits; Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and various development boards at the Raj Bhavan in Darjeeling.

Dubbing the meetings as fruitful, the Chief Minister declared: "All political parties have their individual ideologies. However, burying differences we should unitedly work for development and prosperity of Darjeeling."

She stated that an industrial meet will be held in March in Darjeeling along with a meeting with community representatives in May in Kalimpong.

"Darjeeling has immense potential in Information Technology, tourism, horticulture and agriculture sectors. We will invite industry captains for a meeting in Darjeeling in March and aim to develop it as an industrial hub." Stating that there is 1,000 acre of land under Cinchona, she added: "We have to see how this land can be utilized."

Banerjee remarked that a review meeting of the 15 development boards will be held in Kalimpong in May. "Representatives from the community as well as the GTA will be present. We will chalk out plans as to how the community can be developed further," she added.

The Chief Minister also announced that she has given necessary instructions for suitable land to be allocated for a new University. She also stated that three months of pending salary for government teachers (during the agitation) will be disbursed. "However, the teachers have to take extra classes so that the syllabus is completed and students do not face any problem," she remarked.

Addressing various long pending demands, she stated: "We had initiated the process of handing out land documents in the Hills, starting from Mirik as well as regularisation of adhoc teachers. However, with the unrest, all this had been hampered. We will initiate the processes again. We will also recruit Gorkhaland Personnel without any criminal antecedents in the police force along with unemployed youth who are good in sports in the civic voluntary force."

Other issues that were discussed included separate mining rules that would be issued by the Commerce and Industries department.

The meeting also discussed the creation of 109 posts in the power department of the GTA as it is contemplating generation of hydel electricity by utilising the available water resources.

Incidentally, the GTA has already submitted a list of 744 such teachers who have been working in various GTA schools since long but have not been regularised.

In the meeting, the state government has agreed to issue a fresh letter to the Union government for the inclusion of 11 Gorkha communities in the Scheduled Tribe list.

A seven-member committee for the appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff for schools will be formed by the GTA to be endorsed by the state. This committee will remain functional till the formation of SSC for the GTA area.

An adhoc Subordinate Staff Selection Board will also be formed for recruitment of employees in the GTA.

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