September 3, 2013
Darjeeling is part of West Bengal and it is inseparable – Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee was conferred an honorary title `Kingchum Daarmit` (Goddess of Fortune) by the Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association (ILTA) at the Mela Ground in Kalimpong on Tuesday for playing the pivotal role in the formation of the Lepcha Development Board.
Speaking at the felicitation prorgamme West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee said, “my lovable brothers and sisters I am very thankful to all of you for bestowing upon me this hounor. I will remember this till my last breath. “
“I have visited Darjeeling 20 times in 2 years only because I want development here, I want to see that out of all the hilly districts and states in the country our Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong are the best. But I feel extremely hurt when even after starting development work here it is being stopped because of bandhs“ said the Chief Minister.
“Lepchas are the original, first and the oldest inhabitants of Darjeeling. But you all have always kept peace and unity and struggled to stand by yourself, and that is why I respect you all a lot. You all are truly brave. Your population is not less, almost 1.5 lakh Lepchas are residents of Darjeeling“ Ms Banerjee said to the cheerful gathering.
“We will set up a Lepcha Heritage Centre, Lepcha Academy, a Community Centre, a library and introduction of Lepcha language in the primary classes from next academic year, besides construction of a building for Lepcha Development Board“ She announced.
“5000 youth will be given government jobs in the police force“ She promised to the enthusiastic crowd.
“Since the GTA is an elected body, the government wants that the chief executive is elected by the members. If the GTA members do not choose an executive member from themselves, then the government might act upon it“ Ms Banerjee ascertained.
“They demanded Darjeeling`s political party, I made GTA, but this does not harm the Lepcha identity. More important is that our communities have poor people who do not have food and education. We have started the development work that had not taken place even after 65 years of independence. Why was there no development in the region? Because there are some people who only talk and do nothing. I love all my hill brothers and sisters, Lepchas, Tamangs, Nepalis, everyone, that is why I keep coming here“ said Ms Banerjee.
“We in the government cannot allow some leaders to dictate the terms like saying to people to stay home and some time to stay out and denying them freedom from food and schooling. It is like an autocracy in a democratic country. Autocracy is going on in the name of the agitation stalling the development of Darjeeling. Even a king does not dare to order people like this. It cannot be tolerated“ Mamata Banerjee said.
“How will the leaders understand the pain of the common people about closure of all establishments, including educational institutions, when their own children are studying abroad and have food grains stacked at their own homes!“ the Chief Minister said.
“Why every six months there is a disturbance in the hills while Rs 300 crore meant for development work for the hills are remaining unspent. Earlier we have seen during Subhash Ghisingh time there was movement and now after constituting the GTA still there is movement. Then, where and when will the people find development here? “ She questioned.
“They are free to go to Delhi. They are even free to go to Obama, if you wish. But Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong are part of West Bengal and will remain so. There is no question of separation. I would rather embrace death than seeing the state divided“ The Chief Minister concluded.