Tripartite meeting agrees to abolish Gorkha Hill CouncilAug 12th, 2009 | By editor | Category: In News, Nation
NEW DELHI: At the tripartite talks held here on Tuesday, the Centre, the West Bengal government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha agreed in principle to abolish the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council and set up an alternative administrative framework in Darjeeling.
The meeting also decided to appoint an interlocutor to carry forward the discussions and send a Central team to Darjeeling to review the development works.
“It was agreed, in principle, to repeal the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Act of 1988. The repeal of the Act will be in process as soon as an alternative administrative set-up /framework is finalised through mutual consultations and agreement,” Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said after the meeting.
The meeting agreed that the proposal for establishing a hill council under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution would be dropped.
“The GJM promised that a peaceful and conducive atmosphere would be maintained, and all the parties agreed to work in a spirit of constructive cooperation to carry the talks forward,” Mr. Pillai said. As an interim measure and to restore the democratic process, the Centre and the West Bengal government proposed elections to panchayat samitis, gram panchayats and municipalities. The GJM delegation promised to get back to the State government after consulting the party.
The West Bengal government informed the meeting that portions of the Central Relief Funds and Special Central Assistance, amounting to Rs.70 crore, were lying unutilised. “It was agreed that a team of State government officials would be sent to Darjeeling to discuss the utilisation of the funds,” Mr. Pillai said.
At a press conference later, Amar Lama, a GJM Central Committee member who led the 13-member delegation to the talks, described the outcome as “fruitful.”
Flanked by Jaswant Singh, senior BJP leader and Darjeeling MP, Mr. Lama said the decisions marked a “forward movement” towards creation of a Gorkhaland State, for which the GJM intensified its stir 22 months ago. While the Centre was represented by the Home Secretary and the Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry, the West Bengal government sent its Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary. The next round of talks will be held in Darjeeling on December 21.