Staying the proceedings by the privilege committee, the bench issued notice to Lok Sabha secretariat (Privileges and Ethics Branch).
The Chief Executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), Mr Anit Thapa, on Sunday held a meeting at Kurseong with the leaders of all trade unions operating in tea plantations in the area on the issue of land survey and execution of the proposed plan to distribute deed of land rights (Patta) among tea workers in the Hills.
The trade union leaders, who opposed the land survey and the notification regrding only 5 decimal land a few months ago, demanded more land for workers at the place where they are currently living. The trade union leaders had a detailed discussion with the GTA Chief in this regard. Not only trade union leaders but also political leaders opposed the initiative of the West Bengal Government and refused to accept the decision following the notification issued by Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation Department.
The leaders alleged that the State Government has treated the tea workers, who have been living in the leasehold land for tea plantations for over 100 years, as refugees despite the fact that they have the right to seek their land rights. The tea workers and other local people’s sentiment prompted the GTA Chief Executive, Mr Thapa, to keep the matter on hold and requested the authorities concerned to stop survey of land for the proposed project.
Mr Thapa also informed the Chief Minister of West Bengal about the matter and requested her to provide additional land, which would be more than 5 decimal, so that they can use a part of land for other purposes, including horticulture for their own use. Notably, tea workers have been producing horticultural products where they live. They also demanded land rights claiming it as their ‘ancestral’ land, where they have been living for more than 100 years.
Mr Thapa said that the discussion about land survey was imperative before issuing a fresh notification on the matter when union leaders and workers opposed the decision as well as the notification. The GTA chief hinted that a fresh notification would be issued shortly.
“I have discussed the matter with all leaders of trade unions operating in tea plantations in the GTA area because all of them are our family members and we want to execute the decision and solve the land issues involving all of them,” Mr Thapa said. According to political observers, Mr Thapa, who is working on state subjects in association with the Chief Minister, wants to resolve the issue before the upcoming Lok Sabha Polls to beat the BJP.