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28 Oct 2017

Hill govt. meetings sans minutes... doubt on the resolutions

MANAS R BANNERJEE, SNS, SILIGURI. 27 OCTOBER 2017: Though the state government held a series of meetings on the Gorkhaland agitation in the Hills, none of the meetings, be it at Nabanna in Kolkata or at Uttarkanya Siliguri, allegedly saw minutes written down.
The government has also not recorded the statements of Hill leaders who attended the last two meetings at Nabanna and at Uttarkanya, convened by chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The government has also not sent the minutes to participants, despite reminders, it is learnt.
Official sources said that top state officials, who were present in the meeting, did not specifically engage officials to record the statement made by speakers and jot down the minutes, something the government does traditionally when is comes to important meetings. As per the official system, a fresh meeting starts only after recapitulating the minutes of the previous one. The matter came to light after All India Jan Andolan Party (JAP) president Dr Harka Bahadur Chhetri demanded minutes of the meetings from the state government.
"No. The state has not yet doled out the minutes. They are silent on this front," Dr Chettri said when asked if he got the minutes of the meetings he attended recently."I think it is a calculated move. They want to save their people. If their statement is recorded verbatim, they will be exposed as people will come to know what they actually said. The government wants to protect them for their own interests," Dr Chettri told this correspondent.
This was one of the reasons to the JAP's decision to not attend the third meeting at Nabanna on 16 October,- said Anmol Prasad, a member of the AIJAP bureau. "With due respect we said that being the chief minister, she should have listened to the Hill people as a bigger section of the people has been demanding Gorkhaland," Mr Prasad added.
Secondly, we also requested the chief minister to repeal both the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) Act and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Act and stop experimenting wit the administrative boards," he said.
Controversy cropped up on the CM's views on the tripartite meeting proposed by the Hill leaders and the decisions to set up the board of administrators for the GTA later. Miss Banerjee turned down the plea for tripartite talks in the Uttarkanya meeting, as, according to her, all elected members of the GTA, belonging to the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GIMM) had resigned.
Notably, a triparte  meeting was demanded in the 17 point memorandum served by the GJMM break-away group leader, Binay Tamang, at the beginning of the meeting at Uttarkanya. A section of the Hill leaders, especially the AIJAP messed unhappiness over the state government's decision to set up the GTA board.
"The chief minister played a very significant role in handling her Hill Affairs Department since the inception of the GTA, and her bid to bring about peace and and development through various means, including formation of the various development boards. Similarly, her role is also important in handling the demand for Gorkhaland and its movement, As a result, the minutes of the meeting on these issues are a must from a historical point of view for research scholars in the future," a senior government official said. 
"Some Hill leaders' speeches during arguments with the chief minister were nice and that should have been recorded", the official said on condition of anonymity.
(Source & Courtesy: The Statesman, Siliguri Edition, 28 October 2017)

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