KOLKATA: President Pratibha Patil gave her assent to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Bill on Tuesday. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had promised to push the Centre to pass the Bill in her meeting with the hill party on February 11. Mamata even spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on February 22, who promised to expedite the tripartite agreement on the GTA.
“We are thankful to the government. We expect the government and the Chief Minister to ensure that the GTA comes into effect soon,” said Roshan Giri, general secretary of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). The GTA Act will now be sent back to the state government which will, in turn, work towards its implementation. The election to the GTA would then be conducted. The main challenge before the state government would now be to resolve the GJM’s demand to include the Dooars and Terai regions under the ambit of the GTA.Otherwise, the GJM won’t participate in the elections.
“We have spoken and thanked the Chief Minister. But how the GTA will be implemented is a problem. The government should think and come up with ways and means to go about it. But without the added territories (Dooars and Terai), election to the GTA is difficult,” Giri added. Mamata had earlier indicated that Dooars and Terai may not be included under the GTA.
“We can’t accept that new areas like Terai and Dooars will be included under the GTA. We want to ensure that peace is not threatened in the areas,” said Surjya Kanta Mishra, Leader of Opposition.