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Hills on CM’s Delhi list

Siliguri, Dec. 18: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today promised to urge the Centre to confer Sixth Schedule status on the Darjeeling hills at the earliest, 24 hours after Subash Ghisingh warned the Bengal government against “outbursts of frustration”.

Bhattacharjee today left for Delhi to attend a meeting of the National Development Council.

Before flying to the capital from Calcutta, he did not specify with whom he would take up the matter in Delhi.

“Ghisingh was here and we discussed the bill. As it was not passed in the winter session of Parliament and has been sent to the standing committee instead, we expect it to be passed in the budget session,” the chief minister told reporters at the circuit house here.

The committee, he said, will submit its recommendations on the first day of the budget session. “We hope the bill will be placed a couple of days after that.”

Ghisingh “apprised” the chief minister of “the situation in the hills” yesterday and said there could be “outbursts of frustration” in case of further delay.

Bhattacharjee confirmed that the GNLF leadership was in favour of the immediate implementation of the Sixth Schedule and not a separate Gorkhaland state. “I find no change in their stand,” he said.

The Gorkha leader had yesterday said: “I was the first to raise the Gorkhaland demand but right now the time is not favourable for a separate state.”

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