As Chief Minister and Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today released her party’s Assembly election manifesto in Kolkata, by also mentioning the Hills, the Terai and the Dooars and constituting a Special Development Board, Darjeeling MP and BJP’s national spokesperson Raju Bista reacted categorically to the same from the North Bengal perspective.
According to him, the manifesto is “shocking” and that apart from a foreword mention of some development board for the Terai-Dooars region, ‘North Bengal’ has been completely left out of the TMC vision.
“Despite North Bengal being one of the highest revenue generating regions in the state, and Siliguri being the second largest city in West Bengal, TMC government has absolutely ignored to envision the aspirations and developmental needs of the people from here,” Bista said.
“The TMC duplicity towards Darjeeling Hills, Terai and Dooars is made apparent, as Permanent Political Solution, is not mentioned as a part of the TMC manifesto or agenda. Rather, it is just a part of the “appeal” Mamata ji has made in the foreword. It is included in her personal ‘appeal’ section, and not the commitment of the TMC party. This is TMC insincerity towards our region and people coming to the fore,” he added.
Bista, who is looking into the Hill, Terai and Dooars affairs ahead of the Assembly elections, also talked about the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), which he termed as a product of Mamata Banerjee, who looks after the Hill affairs.
“Point in case, the annual development budget for Gorkhaland Territorial Administration under TMC was Rs 170-180 crore for the past five years, and this year TMC claims they have allocated Rs 11,523 crores for development of Hill areas and tea estates,” Mr Bista pointed out, adding, “Does TMC really expect us to believe this?”
“It is amusing to see TMC lists formation of Gorkha Battalion as their achievement. Fact is, West Bengal just changed the name of 123 SAP battalion to Gorkha Battalion, and only four out of a total of 123 jawans recruited are Gorkhas,” the MP claimed.
He further said that the TMC government had denied tea garden workers their ‘parjapatta’ (land deeds) rights, but claimed that it built pucca houses for 3 lakh tea workers under the Chha Sundari project.