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12 Jun 2017

Gorkha board cry in plains

TT, Jalpaiguri, June 11: The Bengal government is mulling a proposal to form a separate board for Gorkhas in the foothills of north Bengal, representatives of the Terai Dooars Gorkha Task Force said here today.
The state had formed the task force last year. Binod Ghatani, a former Morcha leader who had switched over to Trinamul, was made the chairman of the task force and Rs 5 crore was allotted for economically weak families of the Gorkha community in the Terai and the Dooars.
"We have built houses, installed tube-wells and repaired some roads using the funds spent through the north Bengal development department. But considering the huge population of the Gorkhas in the entire stretch of the foothills, right from the India-Nepal border in the Terai to the Bengal-Assam border in the Dooars, we felt that more funds were required for their socio-economic development. We had urged the state to form a development board for the Gorkhas in the plains like those for different communities in the hills," Ghatani said.
"We have information that the state is working on the proposal," he added.
In the plains, the government has sanctioned a board for the Rajbangshis. In the hills, over 15 development boards have been formed for different communities so far.
Political observers said the move was an attempt to prevent a spillover of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's movement into the foothills.
"In the present situation, there is always a chance that the agitation in the hills might spill over to the plains. If the state plans to form such a board and allots funds for the development of the Gorkha community, it would surely have a positive impact on the Gorkha population," an observer said.
Ghatani today said the Morcha supporters in the Dooars and the Terai were in a fix.
"Bimal Gurung has used them time and again for his own interests but has not done anything for them. Top leaders of the Morcha have not spent a penny for them, unlike the state government that has formed the task force and helped them through various welfare schemes. We don't think Morcha leaders in Darjeeling will succeed in inciting them any more," he said.

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