Morcha team meets FM seeking GTA funds hike

The Bengal Post

New Delhi-The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) on Thursday reiterated its demand that the annual financial allocation for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) be raised from Rs 200 crore to Rs 400 crore.
A three-member GJM team led by its president Bimal Gurung met finance minister P Chidambaram to seek more funds for speedy development in the region.
“We have appraised the finance minister on the need to increase the financial allo­tment or else the developm­ent activities of the GTA may be hampered,” Gurung told reporters after meeting Chidambaram at North Block.
“Out of the total Rs 200 crore, we have got only Rs 65 crore till da­te. We have appealed to the Ce­n­tre to release the remai­ni­ng Rs 135 crore immediately,” the GJM president said.
The GTA came into existe­nce following the signing of an agreement between the GJM, the Centre and the West Be­ngal government at Pintail Village near Siliguri in 2011. The members of the new bo­dy were elected in July last year.
“The GTA is functioning smoothly. We want proper cooperation from the Centre to make the hills prosper,” said Gurung.
The GJM leaders also sought Darjeeling DM Soumitra Mohan’s removal from the post of GTA principal secretary and withdrawal of CRPF personnel deployed in the region.
“There is peace prevailing in Darjeeling so there is no need to retain the CRPF in the area,” Gurung said.
Referring to their proposed four-day-long strike in the hills, Gurung said a final call would be taken at a central committee meeting of the party in Kurseong on Friday.
“We have decided to take a final decision on our proposed strike after all central leaders appealed to us to call off the strike,” said Gurung.
Protesting against the West Bengal government’s alleged interference with activities of the GTA and their (GJM’s) demand for a separate state (Gorkhaland), the Morcha has called a four-day-long strike in the three sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong on March 14-15 and March 21-22.
The Morcha leaders have already met President Pranab Mukherjee, union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal during the last two days in the national capital and briefed them on the present situation in the hills.

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