Development in Darjeeling will never be compromised: Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said that the state government would work together with the local parties and people for its prosperity.

Published: 21st November 2017 10:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st November 2017 10:33 PM   |  A+A-

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (File|PTI)


SILIGURI: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said the development in the Darjeeling Hills would never be "compromised" and the state government would work together with the local parties and people for its prosperity.

Banerjee said this at a meeting with representatives of all political parties in the hills near here.

"We want peace. We want progress. We want the hills to prosper and develop. People in the plains and the hills will work together for development," she said at Pintail village.

The chief minister congratulated people of the hills for the restoration of normalcy.

"Peace has returned to the hills. We are overwhelmed by the positive response from the people," she said.

The turmoil in the Darjeeling Hills began in June, after Banerjee announced her decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools.

While she had clarified that hill districts would be exempted from the rule, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) began an agitation that soon revived the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Banerjee said her government will provide compensation to the families of those who lost their lives during the recent unrest in the hills.

A sum of Rs two lakh each would be given to the families of the deceased, while the injured would receive a compensation of Rs 50,000 each.

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) would also provide employment to one family member of those who lost their lives.

She said teachers will receive salaries for the period during which schools were shut in the wake of the protests.

"We request all the teachers to take extra classes and complete the syllabus for this session so that students do not face any difficulties. We will pay them salaries for the period when schools were shut due to protests."

Banerjee said the state government employees would get two months' salary, along with an adjustment of one-month special leave.

"We will also ensure workers of those tea gardens, having not received salary and bonus during this period, be paid the same," she said.

A decision has also been taken to waive all penal action against activists during the time of the protests.

On the development of tourism in the region, the chief minister said a festival would be organised by the GTA in Darjeeling in the last week of December or early January.

"We have asked the GTA to draw up a comprehensive development plan for Kurseong and Kalimpong. They will also renovate the tourism centres in Mirik. We are building a 100bed hospital in Mirik," she said.

The popular Darjeeling Gold Cup football tournament will also be revived.

The Sports and Youth Affairs Department would organise the Vivek festival to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, Subhash festival to observe the birth anniversary of Subhash Chandra Bose, besides 'Chhatra-Jubo Utsab' in January, science fairs will also be organised, she said.

Banerjee said the state government was looking into a request for making Nepali an optional subject in the West Bengal Civil Service exam syllabus.

"A proposal to make Darjeeling a centre for WBCS examinations is also being looked into."

The next date for the all-party meeting will be communicated soon, the chief minister added.

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