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15 Jun 2017

GJM protests bleed state exchequer

Pritesh Basu | MP | 14 Jun 2017 | Kolkata: Unrest caused by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) against the "interest of the people" has affected the state coffers so dearly that it has to spent Rs 1.85 crore only to hire 150 additional vehicles of different sizes for three months for transportation of policemen and security forces in the Hills.

Sources said that the state police have sent a proposal to the state Home department to take necessary steps in this regard and the officials of the Home department are doing the necessary "on an urgent basis".

As per the proposal of the state police, there is a requirement of a total of 150 vehicles of different sizes in addition to the existing ones. The vehicles will be mainly used to transport policemen and for other uses of the police. Out of 150, there is a need of 100 cars, 30 medium size vehicles like mini-buses or mini-trucks and 20 big ones like buses. It has been estimated that it would take around Rs 1.85 crore to hire the vehicles for three months.

The situation in the Hills started turning worse after GJM supporters attacked the policemen and set some of their vehicles on fire soon after the Cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was held in Darjeeling on June 8. The deterioration of the situation had led to inconvenience of tourists when the Chief Minister herself monitored the situation to ensure safety of tourists.

Three senior IPS officers Jawed Shamim, Siddh Nath Gupta and Ajay Nand were posted in Darjeeling and at the same time, Akhilesh Chaturvedi has been made the Superintendent of Police of Darjeeling. With posting of the senior IPS officers, the situation has been brought under control.

But there are apprehensions of further trouble to be caused by the GJM. So, there would be necessity to mobilise additional policemen and security personnel to the Hills for which, the vehicles would be needed.
According to a senior official, this is a rare occasion when the state police need to hire so many vehicles at a time just for the Hills. Usually, the police use hired vehicles apart from the ones that are of their own round-the-year but that is a different matter because those are for regular use.

"Officials have been engaged to carry out special audit of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) as irregularities of fund have been alleged. Now, for the trouble caused by GJM, the state government has to invest such a huge amount of money that could have been used for development work as undertaken by the Chief Minister," the official said.

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