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26 Jan 2017

TMC looks to hill boards

Aroop Biswas
AVIJIT SINHA and BIRESWAR BANERJEE, TT,  Siliguri, Jan. 25: Leaders of the Darjeeling district (hill) Trinamul today said they will seek support from representatives of all 15 development boards of different communities formed by the state in the upcoming civic elections to be held in four municipalities spread across the hills.
The leaders, who had a meeting with state minister and party leader Aroop Biswas at the forest bungalow in Sukna this morning, said the state leadership wants to win all four civic bodies.
"We have been asked to approach every household and tell people about the development work carried out by the state government, vis-à-vis the failure of the immediate past civic boards and the GTA which could not meet people's basic demands like drinking water, housing, solid waste management, primary health services and primary educational facilities," Binny Sharma, the spokesperson for Darjeeling district (hill) Trinamul, said this evening.
The hill leaders said they would approach representatives of all 15 development boards formed by Mamata Banerjee. During the recent visit, the chief minister announced the formation of three more development boards for different hill communities.
She also made it clear that the ambit of work of these boards, which have been allotted funds for socio-economic development of the communities, would be increased to expedite development in the hills.
"The state has listened to the demands raised by different communities and formed a number of development boards one after another. These boards have been provided with funds for conservation of their cultural heritage and traditions and also to help the economically weaker sections of the communities. No such step has been taken by the GTA so far. Now that the civic elections are ahead, we will seek support from the representatives of these boards," Rajen Mukhia, the Darjeeling district (hill) Trinamul president, said.
He said those running the boards had closely witnessed how their formation and allocation of funds had helped the communities. "We are quite sure that the boards' representatives will extend support to Trinamul, not the Morcha," Mukhia said.
The Morcha is yet to secure Scheduled Tribe status for 11 different communities, a demand that its leaders want the Centre to fulfil at the earliest. "If the Centre confers ST status, it would act as a face-saver for the Morcha," a hill political observer said.

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