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14 Feb 2017

Kalimpong To Etch Its Identity As Bengal's 21st District Today-- Kalimpong Gets Set To Celebrate Historic Day

Amitava Banerjee | Millenium Post, 13 February 2017: The map of Bengal is all set to be redrawn with the creation of the 21st district Kalimpong, and with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ready to announce the same on February 14, political parties are all geared up to reap the maximum and long term benefits from this development.
With the Darjeeling Hills set to go to Municipal, Panchayat and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) polls this year, Mamata Banerjee put the creation of Kalimpong district on fast track opined political pundits. Earlier the announcement of Kalimpong district was scheduled to take place on April 14, the day of the Poila Boisakh. However, Banerjee chose St Valentine's day instead.
"I am in the Hills because Kalimpong is becoming a new district. In April, Jhargram and Asansol will become districts," tweeted Banerjee on Monday.
Both the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Jan Andolan Party (JAP) are claiming credit for the new district which has been a demand of the people of this region since long. "Didi (Mamata Banerjee) has kept her words. Development is not about building roads and constructing houses. That is short term. The upgradation of the Kalimpong sub-division to a full-fledged district will bring about long term development for the public.
It will ensure socio-economic empowerment. The full credit for this goes to Didi" claimed NB Khawas, TMC leader from the Darjeeling district.
The State Government recently created 15 development and cultural boards for different hill communities. The boards are to ensure all-round development of these communities. Interestingly, majority of these boards are Kalimpong based or have their headquarters in Kalimpong.
The CM is expected to open the development floodgates in an attempt to showcase the new district as a worthy contender to Darjeeling which is a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM- the party in power in the Hills at present) bastion. Using Kalimpong as a stepping stone, the TMC is expected to gain a strong political foothold in the Hills.
Not to be left behind, JAP is also ready to retain a slice of the district cake. JAP had come into existence riding piggyback on the demand for a separate Kalimpong district. Dissident GJM leader and former Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chettri had floated the party on January 27, 2016. The party is largely Kalimpong centric.
Chettri had raised the demand for the upgradation of the Kalimpong sub-division into a district. The demand found lots of takers and soon the Kalimpong District Demand Committee (KDDC) was constituted with Chettri at the helm.
On December 18, 2015, the West Bengal Cabinet gave a nod to the formation of Kalimpong district and Mirik sub-division further boosting Chettri and the KDDC's morale. Challenging the GJM might, Chettri then floated JAP thereby dissolving KDDC.
"People of Kalimpong know who all have worked for the formation of this district. It is in their minds. However, we are not looking at short term benefits and stop gap politics. We are looking at long term gains. We want to maintain a stable and healthy relation with the state government whereby both the State and the new district stands to gain. The State knows that we are rationale people who will not indulge in irresponsible politics. We, on the other hand, want good governance, all-round development and peace" stated Chettri talking to MP.
"We were the first to raise the demand and welcome the creation of the district. However, we feel that the issue should not be politicised. CM Mamata Banerjee should not indulge in divisive politics between Kalimpong and Darjeeling also" stated Rosha Giri, General Secretary, GJM.

Kalimpong Gets Set To Celebrate Historic Day

It will be Holi-Diwali combined in Kalimpong on St Valentine's Day as Kalimpong gets upgraded from a sub-division to a district.
While Trinamool Congress will be commemorating the historic day with Abir (colours) and by bursting crackers, the Jan Andolan Party has asked all residents to light candles in front of their houses marking the day.
CM Mamata Banerjee arrived to a warm welcome to Kalimpong on Monday. The CM's cavalcade took more than 3 hours for 65 km journey from Siliguri to Kalimpong and people lined up on both sides of the streets to welcome the CM. They stopped her cavalcade to offer Khadas (traditional scarves.)
Welcome gates were put up at all important junctions with huge cut-outs of the Chief Minister. At many places Naumati Bajas (traditional instruments) greeted the CM. "She has fulfilled our long cherished dream of a district. Till now development was Darjeeling-centric. Now Kalimpong will get her due recognition," stated Amar Thapa, a college student.
Kalimpong is steeped in history too. The land was ceded by the Kingdom of Bhutan to the East India Company. The Treaty of Sinchula signed on November 11, 1865 between Sir John Lawrence, Viceroy, Governor-General of Her Britannic Majesty's possessions in the East Indies and the King of Bhutan, ceded these parts.

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