GTA members sworn-in, Centre to give Rs 200 crore
By PTI - DARJEELING
04th August 2012 01:18 PM
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today promised Rs 200 crore to the newly-formed Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), which was sworn in here.
"We are giving Rs 200 crore to GTA from the Centre and if it performs well the central government will provide more funds for development of hills", he said at the swearing-in of 45 members of GTA at a function at the Mall in this tourist resort where people thronged in large numbers in colourful traditional dresses.
State Governor M K Narayanan, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Jaswant Singh, MP of Darjeeling and Union Home Secretary R K Singh, North Bengal Development Minister were present at the function.
Lauding the role of the Chief Minister in the formation of GTA, Shinde said she had taken the crucial decision on it along with the Centre.
The GTA, he said, has a "huge responsibility" to ensure development of the hills .
"I had talks with Bimal Gurung, the Chief Executive of GTA, and I have high hopes that with his interest in working for the people he will do well," he said.
Shinde also promised to consider Gurung's request for taking the hill people in the police force and relax criteria for them.
Recalling that he had come here earlier on a holiday with his family, Shinde said, "Now I have come here as the (union) home minister and I will tell my cabinet colleagues how happy the people here are now. I want to congratulate the chief minister for this."
He later left to attend a crucial meeting on the serial blast in Pune.
Beginning her address in Nepali amidst loud applause, Banerjee assured the GTA all help and cooperation from the state government which has already given Rs 84 crore and Rs 23 crore in two tranches.
She promised a new university in the hill besides three ITIs, two polytechnics, one university, a Nepali academy at Mongpu and a sainik school.
She sought land for the university from the district magistrate.
The hills are an integral part of the state, she said adding, "Darjeeling is my mother. We don't want any squabble and we want to work for its development together".
She said the process of inducting the youth from the hills into the police force had already been initiated and urged Gurung to provide jobs to the families of those who died during the agitation in the hills.
She also asked Gurung to set up small scale industries suitable for the environment of the hills so that more people could find employment.
Both Shinde and Banerjee said attention would be paid to road infrastructure and NH 55 linking Siliguri to Darjeeling, which had been damaged by a landslide two years ago, would be repaired soon.
"I want Darjeeling and Dooars to be like Switzerland.
Tourism should be developed here like never before", Banerjee said.
Addressing the chief minister as 'Ma-Mati-Manush', the Trinamool Congress slogan, Gurung sought the cooperation of the state and central governments to fulfil the aspirations of the people.
Governor M K Naranayan administered the oath of office to Gurung as the chief executive of GTA, while state home secretary Basudev Banerjee administered the oath to the rest of the 44 members.
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