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22 Jun 2017

Darjeeling unrest cost govt Rs150 cr ...Audit team finds discrepancies

Youngsters play on the street during the strike
MP, 21 June 2017, Kolkata: The agitation by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) led to a total loss of Rs 150 crore till Tuesday. A consolidated report has been filed by Darjeeling and Kalimpong district authorities to the state government on Wednesday.
The state government will be submitting the report before the Calcutta high court on Thursday. On June 16, the court had directed the state government to file a report within two weeks after assessing the damage caused to properties due to the trouble in the Hills.
Since June 8, several cars, buses and government offices were set on fire after a bandh was called in Darjeeling. Advocate Ramaprasad Sarkar had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court against the bandh in the Hills. The court had upheld its previous order stating the bandh to be illegal and also directed the state government to assess the total loss incurred due to the damages caused to properties.
Soon after getting the order from the court, the state government had directed both the district authorities to assess the total loss. The district authorities submitted the report to the state home secretary Malay De on Wednesday.
Sources said that the departmental heads of each of the offices under different departments have calculated their respective losses caused due to the agitation and "hooliganism" carried out by GJM workers in the Hills.
Losses incurred by each of the department in the Hills have been compiled and it was found that damage caused to properties in the Hills till Tuesday night led to a total loss of around Rs 150 crore. Sources said that the report will be filed before the court on Thursday.
According to a senior official of the state government, such a huge loss comes at the time when the Mamata Banerjee government is taking several steps to ensure an overall development of the state. It may be recalled that the Chief Minister had always protested against damaging public property.
In several programmes she said: "It takes a lot of time to create something or to make something constructive. But it takes just a few minutes to damage the same and it finally leads to a loss of public money."
Meanwhile, the special audit team found that many work orders were allotted without following proper tendering processes. The preliminary report of the special audit will be submitted within the next few days. The state government might change one or two officials in the special audit team if necessary but it will continue auditing the GTA. 
The Chief Minister had also said that there will be an all party meeting in Siliguri to ensure peace in Darjeeling. The meeting will be held on Thursday in which the state Home secretary will be present besides senior ministers including the state Parliamentary Affairs minister Partha Chatterjee and the state Tourism minister Goutam Deb. Representatives of the committee comprising members from the development boards of the Hills that was formed to propagate peace among people in the Hills are also scheduled to be present in the meeting.  (Source & Courtesy : http://www.millenniumpost.in/kolkata/kolkata-248511 )

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