Calcutta, Feb. 19: Siliguri and Jalpaiguri towns once fought over where the circuit bench of Calcutta High Court should be set up.
This time, the office of the new northeast zone of the West Bengal School Service Commission was the bone of contention. But there were no winners. Mounting pressure from both towns has forced the government to abandon the idea of setting up the northeast zone altogether.
Influential CPM-backed organisations of teachers, doctors and lawyers in Siliguri and Jalpaiguri were learnt to have put pressure on the government for establishing the new zone in their town.
The CPM leadership was not too keen on speaking about the backout. “We are facing some problem in setting up the northeast zone of the school service commission and have decided not to proceed with the plan for the time being,” said school education minister Kanti Biswas.
The government had decided to set up two zones in addition to the existing four to provide better services to school job seekers. The government passed a bill last December in this regard.
Following the decision, a new southeast zone has already been set up with its headquarters in Barasat, North 24-Parganas.
The south zone, which is headquartered in Calcutta, covers South 24-Parganas and the city. Hooghly, Howrah, Birbhum, Burdwan and Nadia come under the east zone, which is centred in Burdwan. The west zone covers Bankura, Purulia and the two Midnapores. The recently created southeast zone covers North 24-Parganas and Nadia.
The setting up of the southeast zone was announced in a gazette notification on February 5. But the notification did not mention anything about the constitution of northeastern zone as promised by the government.
The school education minister said it will take some time to set up the new zone in the north.
The government had planned to set up the northeast zone to cover Cooch Behar district, Siliguri and Jalpaiguri.
Till that happens, job-seekers from Cooch Behar, Siliguri and Jalpaiguri would be able to apply for teachers’ posts in the northern zone, which covers Murshidabad, Malda, the two Dinajpurs, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar.
A zone for the three subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong was set up earlier. But the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council virtually ignored it. The zone is now virtually defunct.