Gorkhaland Territorial Administration chief executive Bimal Gurung on Friday laid the foundation stone for a Gorkha Bhawan at Saket in Delhi that is estimated to cost Rs17 crore.
The four-storey structure is expected to house 27 rooms along with a dormitory, library and a cafeteria spread over 1,935 sq ft in the heart of the national capital. The purpose of erecting such a structure is for the benefit of members of the Gorkha community from the Darjeeling hills who need to visit Delhi frequently for various works.
It may be mentioned here that the construction of a Gorkha Bhawan figures prominently in the tripartite agreement signed between the State Government, the Centre and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in July, 2011.
“The Gorkha Bhawan in Delhi is one of the dream projects of the GTA.
When completed, the Bhawan will greatly benefit the people of the hills who often need to visit Delhi for various works including health issues. The lack of such a Bhawan forces our people to spend heavily on accommodation and food in Delhi, and now we are hopeful many will benefit immensely,” remarked GTA tourism department executive director Sonam Bhutia, adding the Bhawan is expected to be fully complete within the next 18 months.
Darjeeling MP Surendra Singh Ahluwalia, who was in Siliguri with some official work, was back in Delhi this afternoon in Gurung’s company. GTA sabhasads Roshan Giri, Dawa Lepcha and Anit Thapa and other officials comprise the GTA team presently camped in Delhi.
The GJM president reached Delhi on August 27 and is expected to return home afterSeptember 4-5. Party sources said Gurung will be meeting the union tribal minister to pursue the demand for granting scheduled tribe status to 11 communities, 10 from the hills and one from the Dooars in the plains.
Apart from the official itinerary, the GJM team on Thursday also met yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s disciple Bal Krishna at a programme. They are also expected to call on senior NDA leaders before returning home to the Darjeeling hills.
Sources said Gurung could rake-up the issue of a tripartite meeting following the state government’s invitation to the GTA for bipartite talks on September 2 in Kalimpong.
“Our party president may not attend talks with the State government, but our Sabhasads are expected to participate,” said one source. “However, Gurung could ask the Centre to call a tripartite talk to sort out issues in terms of transferring of departments and more powers to the council.”
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will arrive in Siliguri on September 1 and head to Kalimpong the following day to participate in the bipartite talk including a programme being organised by the Lepcha community. (EOIC)