Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee on Tuesday said the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and all the development and cultural boards of the various communities in the Hills must conduct proper audits into the several crores of rupees given by the state government and keep the financial status up-to-date.
Stating that it was all people’s money, the CM said that the government has given Rs 3804.17 crore to the “previous GTA,” while the “new GTA” has been given Rs 705.58 crores. She also gave 13 development boards an added Rs 96 crore on Tuesday.
Addressing a gathering of mostly development and cultural boards at Ronaldsay Park here, Miss Banerjee said elections to the GTA could not be held, given the present scenario.
“The GTA had resigned, bringing all development work to a halt, and that prompted us to create a new GTA… it is a nominated board,” she said. “I now want all the boards and the GTA to work efficiently and have proper audits. This is very important to keep the financial condition correct. This is people’s money. All boards should see that their accounts are done right,” she added.
The CM further said that she wants the Hills to move ahead and make up for the losses they suffered during the Gorkhaland agitation last year. According to her, she was ready to forget the past and work for the betterment of the Hills.
“I want to see success in development,” she said, while also complaining that “some politicians” shut the Hills for months, hindering development work. “I want the Hills to grow. I want the betterment of the Hills. I am here to help the people as the losses incurred in those 4-8 months can only be made up for by doing better,” she added.
Miss Banerjee also stressed on tourism and went on to compare the same with Goddess Laxmi. Tourism can churn a lot of revenue in the Hills, while more tourism centres are required here, “as there is a massive demand of tourism in Darjeeling and Kalimpong.”
According to the CM, the government has marked a plot of land in Mangpoo where a Central University will be constructed soon. She also said that land rights for forest dwellers will be provided too.
She promised to hand over land rights to 300 forest dwellers before she leaves, without elaborating. She said she will discuss more on tourism growth in Lava, Lolaygaon and Rishap in Kalimpong district in the administrative meeting to be held here on Wednesday.
On the development boards, Miss Banerjee later said they have done a lot of work for the public, where 47000 people got an opportunity to be the beneficiaries of various schemes, while 19,000 toilets were constructed and 70 jhoras were improved, while many people also received houses.
“I will help the boards which do good work. If the GTA does good work, I will help the GTA more,” said. The chief minister also inaugurated 24 development projects for the Hills.