Vivek Chhetri and Rajeev Ravidas, TT, March 15: Political parties are leaving no stone unturned in the hills to corner each other with municipal and GTA elections round the corner.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today put up posters in Bijanbari block, saying relatives of eight Trinamul Congress leaders were the beneficiaries a housing scheme by the state government for economically backward people.
The posters also claim all 72 houses allotted under the Gitanjali scheme in the block were given to Trinamul cadres.
Trinamul said the party had formed a committee under Shanta Chhetri, the working president of the party's hill unit, to verify the allegations.
Satish Pokhrel, the elected GTA Sabha member from Kaijalia-Relling constituency, which falls under Bijanbari block, told The Telegraph: "Trinamul says it wants to develop the hills and wants the people to forget Gorkhaland in lieu of development. We have, however, proof that the benefits under the Gitanjali scheme have gone to relatives of Trinamul leaders and cadres."
According to Pokhrel, the mother of Prawaris Subba, the Trinamul block president, and Prem Sunder Lepcha (Shekar), the president of Trinamul Relling unit, are the beneficiaries of the scheme.
"Nirmal Singh, the secretary of Trinamul's hill unit, has got a house for his wife, while Ramesh Kadariya, the secretary of Trinamul youth wing's hill committee, has got a house for his mother and wife. Pramod Subba, the secretary of Trinamul Bijanbari block committee, has got a house for brother and wife. Dhan Bahadur Bardewa, the president of Lodhama 1 Trinamul unit, has got a house for his wife, while Anand Gurung, the president of Bijanbari youth unit, has got houses for his brother and his wife's brother," alleged Pokhrel.
Under the Gitanjali scheme, the state government provides Rs 75,000 to each financially backward family to construct a house.
N.B. Khawash, the spokesman for Trinamul (hills), challenged the Morcha to form a committee to examine the schemes launched by the GTA and Darjeeling municipality. "Let them conduct an inquiry on the 890 houses built by the Darjeeling municipality. Let them also look into the Hamro Ghar Yojana (housing scheme) of the GTA," said Khawash
Kadariya, an alleged beneficiary, said: "Houses have been built and that is not corruption. Corruption is taking all the money without constructing anything. Why are they getting involved in personal matters?. My brother is a labourer and my mother is also entitled to the scheme."
Joyoshi Dasgupta, the Darjeeling district magistrate, said: "We received the complaint yesterday and will look into it."
Amir Basnet, the spokesman for the Yuva Ekai, the youth wing of Jana Anodolan Party, today said the resignation of GTA Sabha member Prakash Gurung was a tactic. "The Morcha asked its MLAs to resign before the last Assembly elections and promised to launch a full-fledged agitation for Gorkhaland. However, it forgot the agitation once it won the elections. The Morcha is using the same tactic now. It is ridiculous and the people can see through it," said Basnet.
Binny Sharma, the spokesman for Hill Trinamul, called Prakash's resignation a drama.
The Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha today endorsed the resignation of its president Prakash from the GTA Sabha and said a musti daan (collection of a fistful of food) campaign would be launched from March 18.