KOLKATA: Indicating at delayed Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stated that audit of the semi-autonomous council has to be conducted first before holding elections.
Speaking at a meeting with representatives of 15 ethnic development boards in Kalimpong on Tuesday, the West Bengal Chief Minister said: “We will have to look into the issue of audit of GTA first which will be discussed in the GTA review meeting tomorrow. Then, we can look into conduct of elections.”
The West Bengal Chief Minister had alleged massive corruption by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supremo Bimal Gurung during his tenure as chairman of the semi-autonomous council. The state government alleged that the pro-Gorkhaland agitators burned more than 50 government properties to hide the graft after Mamata Banerjee had indicated at an audit.
The GTA is currently being governed by a Board of Administrators (BoA) headed by Binay Tamang, who heads one faction of GJM. The BoA also has representation of other political parties.
The CM also gave Rs 96 crore to the 15 ethnic development boards. “The boards working well will get more money. We have already spent Rs 597 crores on the development boards. If GTA works well, it will get more funds,” she added.
In a veiled attack on Gurung – who is absconding for nearly a year -- the TMC supremo blamed him for holding back development in the region by violent agitation.
“If any leader shuts down the hill for some months, it is the poor people who are affected and development works are halted. Development is only possible if there is peace. However, let’s forget the bygones. I want to rectify mistakes from our side if there were any. We don’t want to repeat them. We want the hills to prosper,” she added.
The West Bengal Chief Minister also promised a university in Mungpoo in Darjeeling district and declared that she would distribute 300 land pattas.