Mixed opinion over GTA’s utility

The Statesman

Kurseong, 22 July–  On the second anniversary of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), several views are revealed in the Hills. Notably, the tripartite pact for the creation of a new autonomous body for the Darjeeling hills, the GTA, was signed on 18 July 2011 at Pintail Village in Siliguri between the state government, central government and the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha.
Some section of the people are reluctant to support the GTA given that even after the completion of the two years of the GTA nothing new has happened in the Hills, while some section of the people are of the view that within a short span of its formation, it has brought a huge change in the development environment scenario in the Hills.
There are also a section that believes that any new set up should be given time to prove themselves, and to evaluate their performance after only two years is too early to say anything
about it. A local resident who did not want to reveal his name said that the present situation under the GTA is such that one feels insecure in the new set up.
After the GTA was set up, no new things have been implemented for the benefit of the public and one has the feeling that the GTA belongs only to the GTA members and its supporters. “The former times pre-GTA was better than post-GTA,” he added.  He further said that taxes have been increased and there is no respite to the water shortages that is rampant in the Hills, nor does the education scenario that most hill towns depend on for its economy looks rosy. In fact, besides towns that have regular flow of tourists, the economic situation of the other towns and villages within the Hills have plummeted.
On the other hand, some residents of Kurseong Town believe that the GTA is doing its work at its own pace as it needs time for the process of the set up to complete entirely then only can progress be measured and kept on tab.
It has only been two years since the GTA was formed, so let us give them three more years and see what they can or have achieved, they said in
“Several of the departments within the GTA is yet to be set up in a full fledged manner so the onus of making the GTA a success also lies with the State and Central Government, who are also signatories. Blaming only the GTA Chief and its members will not sort out its problems,” one of the residents said.
A local from Sonada said that he does not know what to make of the GTA as its members are in a hurry to announce one project after the other.
“It has so far only remained to announcements and he hopes that it does not remain so. If it does, then it is just an eye wash to hoodwink the common public in the name of development. If such a scenario prevails, no one would benefit anything,” he said.
He said: “If these projects, which are announced to be implemented in the nook and corner of the Hills, are really acted upon honestly by the present dispensation, then the public are the real winners in having supported to power the right representatives.


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