|Gurung addresses DGHC employees at Darjeeling Gymkhana Club on Thursday. Picture by Suman Tamang
Darjeeling, May 29: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today set a June 27 deadline for the Bengal government to dissolve the DGHC and create a separate state comprising Darjeeling, the Dooars and the Terai.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri made the announcement following a marathon meeting of the central committee at the party’s head office in Patlabas here.
“We believe that the council that was set up in 1988 has failed to fulfil the aspiration of the hill people… The council had also left out Siliguri, Terai and the Dooars. The central committee has unanimously decided to start an agitation if our June 27 deadline to dissolve the council is not met. The only alternative that we are demanding is Gorkhaland,” Giri.
The general secretary neither spelt out the details of the agitation, nor spoke about the fate of the contractual employees currently working in the council.
However, Morcha president Bimal Gurung told DGHC contractual workers at Darjeeling Gymkhana Club early this morning that none of them would lose their jobs.
“I will not make you fight for Gorkhaland on empty stomach or by dousing your hearth. Rest assured that no matter what, no one would be able to take your jobs. You are all getting a meagre salary but the days are not far when you would be receiving a good salary,” Gurung told the large gathering.
The DGHC employs around 8,000 workers on six-month contracts and pays them between Rs 2,000 and 3,500 a month. Ever since Gurung started talking about the need to dissolve the council, these workers have been afraid of losing their jobs.
In another development, 104 gram panchayat pradhans from across the hills today resigned in support of Gorkhaland. “Of the 112 pradhans in the hills, 104 have resigned. The other seats belong to the GNLF, CPM and other political parties,” said Binay Tamang, the media and publicity secretary of the Morcha.
Although the state government had dissolved the gram panchayats in 2005 and did not hold elections after that, the pradhans were later appointed presidents of village committees overseeing the implementation of the 100-day work scheme. The pradhans/presidents also issue birth certificates.
“For us, nothing is more important than Gorkhaland, “ said Urmila Singh, the pradhan of Bijanbari.
The state government has not reacted to the en-masse resignation yet.