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Darjeeling to have new administrative set-up

Home Secretary G K Pillai chairing the Tripartite Talks on Gorkhaland Issue.
Home Secretary G K Pillai chairing the Tripartite Talks on Gorkhaland Issue.
The Centre, the West Bengal government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) today agreed that the proposal for the establishment of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution would be dropped and decided to work for the establishment of an alternative administrative framework in the hill district.

At the third round of the tripartite talks between the three parties here today, it was also agreed, in principle, to the repeal of the DGHC Act, 1988.

"The talks were held in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere," an official statement issued after the meeting said.

The Union Government's delegation to the talks was led by Union Home Secretary G K Pillai, the West Bengal delegation by Chief Secretary A K Chakrabarty and the GJM team by Mr Anmole Prasad.

The statement said the repeal of the Act would be processed as soon as an alternative administrative setup/framework was finalised through mutual consultations and agreement.

The Government of India announced the appointment of an Interlocutor to carry forward today's discussions and both the West Bengal government and the GJM welcomed the move.

"The GJM assured that a peaceful and conducive atmosphere would be maintained and all the parties agreed to work in a spirit of constructive cooperation to carry the talks forward," the statement said.

The Centre would also send a team to Darjeeling to review the development works in the district, it said.

The Centre and the West Bengal government proposed that, as an interim measure and to restore the democratic process, the elections to the Panchayat Samitis, Gram Panchayats as well as Municipalities be allowed to be held. The GJM stated that they would consult and revert back to the State Government, the statement said.

The State Government informed the meeting that unutilised portions of the Calamity Relief Fund and special Central assistance, amounting to Rs 70 crore, were lying unutilised. It was agreed that a team of State Government officials would be sent to Darjeeling to discuss the utilization of these funds.

The next tripartite meeting would be held on December 21 at Darjeeling, the statement added.

NNN
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