KALIMPONG: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today announced formation of a development board for the Mangar community and sanctioned funds for Lepcha Board, prompting GJM supremo Bimal Gurung to allege that she was indulging in "divide and rule policy" in the Darjeeling Hills by forming separate boards for various communities.
In an obvious reference to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), Banerjee said "If anyone wants to talk, you can talk to us. I appeal to all of you. It is the people who suffer if situation in the Hills deteriorates," she said.
"The Hill communities are very close to my heart. Today I have announced setting up of a Development Board for the Mangar community," the Chief Minister said here.
She said the state government has sanctioned funds for construction of night schools, hostels for girls, jhora improvement schemes, apart from several other projects for the Lepcha board, which would now be known as West Bengal Mayal Lyang Lepcha Development Board.
"Today, I have handed over a cheque of Rs 10 crore to them for construction of houses for Lepcha families under the 'Rong Lee' housing scheme. 2,000 such houses have already been completed and 1,000 more are going on which will be completed very soon," the Chief Minister said while speaking at the 4th foundation day celebration of the Lepcha Development Board.
Criticising the Chief Minister for formation of separate boards for various communities in the Hills, GJM chief Bimal Gurung accused her of indulging in "divide and rule" policy.
"This was not in the agreement (for Gorkhaland Territorial Administration). I have written to the Centre as well as the CM. How this will go on? It will lead to conflict tomorrow. Our demand for Gorkhaland is still there."
The Chief Minister had talked about making Darjeeling as Switzerland, but "it is becoming Murdaland (land of the dead)," he further alleged.