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Plains seek govt word on GTA report

Siliguri, June 15: A forum formed to protest the inclusion of plains mouzas in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration has warned that it will launch an intensified movement if the state government doesn’t take a final stand on the Justice Shyamal Sen report tomorrow.

The Terai-Dooars Joint Action Committee asked the government to declare whether it would accept or reject Justice Sen’s recommendation to add five mouzas in the plains to the GTA during the meeting between Mamata Banerjee and a delegation of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders tomorrow.

“The Terai and Dooars have been going through a period of uncertainty ever since the GTA accord was signed and a high-powered committee (headed by Justice Sen) was formed to look into the Morcha’s demand to bring 396 mouzas under the administrative body. People in the plains were anxious about the functioning of the committee as not a single person from the Terai or the Dooars was a member of the panel other than the Kalchini MLA (who is a representative of the Morcha),” said Darjeeling district Intuc president Aloke Chakravorty, who is also a leader of the Joint Action Committee.

“Now that the Sen committee has made its recommendations, the state must clarify tomorrow whether it will accept or reject the report. If the government doesn’t come out with an unambiguous stand during the meeting between the chief minister and the Morcha leaders, we (the Joint Action Committee) will be forced to launch an intensified agitation,” he said.

The Joint Action Committee is a conglomerate of 20 outfits such as the Intuc and the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad which are opposed to the inclusion of the plains mouzas in the GTA.

Observers said the anti-Morcha forum’s warning of a fresh movement could be a pressure tactic ahead of tomorrow’s meeting.

“The warning has been issued to mount pressure on the state government and dissuade it from giving any new promise on the Morcha’s demand for more territory,” said an observer.

The Parishad also said it was concerned about the outcome of tomorrow’s talks between the Morcha leaders and the chief minister. “Our organisation welcomes the recommendations made by the high-powered committee. But we are concerned about the outcome of tomorrow’s meeting in Calcutta,” Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad, told The Telegraph over the phone from Calcutta.

Tirkey said Parishad leaders would meet Bengal governor M.K. Narayanan and apprise him of the situation emerging out of the Sen committee’s recommendations.

“We had sought an appointment with the governor and he has agreed to meet us at 1pm on July 5. We will inform the governor about the resentment of the tribal people over the Morcha’s demand to bring the plains under the GTA. We will put forward our points before the governor and tell him that people in the Terai and the Dooars have rejected the Morcha’s demand,” Tirkey said.