DARJEELING, 15 MAY: Unlike the ruckus raised by her “Hills are part of Bengal” remark during her last trip in January when the Hills was grappling with the Telangana statehood heat, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today courted applause when she said the Hills was the “heart of Bengal”.
She officially launched a slew of developmental projects via remote control from Gorkha Rangmanch Bhavan in Darjeeling while inaugurating the auditorium for the complex.
“Bengal and Darjeeling should be like one for all and all for one,” she said, perhaps meaning that one without the other is incomplete. In a gesture that seemingly pleased the GJMM, she gave the memento of peace presented to her back to the GJMM chief, Mr Bimal Gurung, indicating she was passing the peace-baton to Mr Gurung who is running the GTA.
She continued to harp on about peace in the Hills, but was cautious not to ruffle feathers in the GJMM. “Thirty years from now no one will dare vitiate peace here with development going on in full steam here,” she said.
She attacked the CPI-M and the Centre, holding them responsible for the mountain of debt the state was under. “The CPI-M ruined the state. The Centre is unkind. Our fervent pleas to lighten the burden of debt have failed to move them. A major part of the revenues we earn are going waste by way of repaying the debt the erstwhile Left Front government left behind,” she said.
Mr Gurung said the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration cannot function without cooperation from the state government. “Some miscommunication had soured the relations between GJMM and the state government. Peace was disrupted. I am sure such a situation would not arise again,” he said.
Miss Banerjee said peace has been restored in both Darjeeling Hills and Junglemahal. “Junglemahal was in ferment when my government came to power around two years ago. People were being killed. Now peace prevails. Similarly in the Hills, development was crippled and peace was elusive. Now things have changed. The GTA is transforming the Hills. More is on the cards,” she said.