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May 30, 2018

We will work together for the progress of the Hill region, says CM

We will work together for the progress of the Hill region, says CM

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today urged “my brothers and sisters in the hills” to work together for the progress and prosperity of the region. “Peace and cooperation are the key words, and not animosity,” she pointed out.

Crowds of people braved inclement weather to greet and cheer her when she arrived in the hills. At a public meeting in Kalimpong today, she started her speech by paying respect to Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on his birth anniversary. “He is the pride of the country”, she said.

The Chief Minister reiterated that the Government was very earnest and keen for the progress and betterment of the hill region and its people. “Kalimpong was made a separate district last year for this purpose. And I pay a visit every six months to see the progress that is being made. But if there are bandhs and strikes that go on for months, then the livelihood of the people will be seriously affected, and the prosperity of the region will be badly hampered.”

Tourism is the mainstay of income for Darjeeling and Kalimpong. People come to enjoy the beauty and climate of the hills, as well as the warm hospitality of its people. More tourism centres and homestays as well as appropriate industry must be set up so that the region can go ahead. An education hub is coming up at Kurseong by Presidency University. People from afar come to the hills for education as their are good institutions here. The government has earmarked land for the setting up of a university at Mongpu.

The Chief Minister also said that 300 poor families would be given ‘pattas’ (land rights) in Darjeeling soon. The Government had allotted Rs 96 crore for the progress of the eight hill boards. This was in addition to the Rs 557 crore given earlier. “We want that a proper audit of the expenditures from this fund is made, for this is the money of the common man.”  About 47,000 people had benefited from the programme.

The poor had been given housing, and 19,000 new toilets had been built. A hostel, mountaineering facilities, annual sports tournaments and other schemes have been initiated, and a “clean Darjeeling, green Darjeeling” drive had also been started. In the coming days, more people would get homes under the Gitanjali Housing scheme. “We want that people should live with respect and with their heads held high in their own homes.”

The Government was willing to cooperate in every way possible. “Those who will work well and cooperate with us would get further assistance. We have to strive together for the progress of the region like members of one family. I will pay visits regularly. We want to see that the people in the hills are always smiling,” she concluded.