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Ghisingh rebuff for Videocon township

Siliguri, Dec. 4: At a time when the Bengal government is facing a barrage of protests from Opposition parties over the Singur issue, GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh is no exception.

The caretaker administrator of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council has made it clear that land cannot be allotted for the “Darjeeling in Darjeeling” project. A concept of V.N. Dhoot, the managing director of Videocon Group, the scheme was proposed last month.

“So far, we have not received any proposal. But it should be clear that there is not much land in the hills which could be allotted for projects such as this,” said Ghisingh this morning. He was on his way to New Delhi to see his ailing wife. “The state government, instead of concentrating on such schemes, must work to improve the socio-economic condition of people in the hills,” he added.

On his visit to Siliguri last month, Dhoot had proposed a “new Darjeeling” in Darjeeling hills — the concept of a township complete with resorts and other paraphernalia — spread over an area of 18,000-20,000 acres. With state urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya seated beside him, Dhoot had said the presence of the GNLF leadership there would not be a problem in implementing the project.

“Before showing interest in such schemes, the state should contemplate on upgrading the Bagdogra airport to an international air hub. This is a long standing demand and such improvement would attribute to the development of the region,” said Ghisingh.

The GNLF leader further said the formal declaration of the Sixth Schedule by the Centre is just a matter of time now. “We had been successful in signing the tripartite agreement on December 6 last year. That was the most important part,” he said. “We are not worried about the delay in declaration. In case the bill is not passed this winter, it will be passed in the next session. The Sixth Schedule status is a reality and there is no hurdle before us.”

Ghisingh also has plans to pay courtesy calls to the Union home ministry to check the progress of the bill, party insiders said.

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