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Gurung elected GTA chief executive
Pradip made Sabha chief

Darjeeling, Aug. 3: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung was today made the chief executive of the GTA, the highest post in the body, and party vice-president Bhupendra Pradhan was chosen the chairman of the GTA Sabha.

The GTA Sabha today held its first meeting at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling, where members also elected Lopsang Yolmo, who represents Rongo-Today-Jaldhaka constituency, as the deputy chairman of the Sabha.

The chairman and deputy chairman of the GTA Sabha will conduct the business of the council.

After the meeting, Gurung said: “The house today elected Pradip Pradhan (the name by which Bhupendra Pradhan is commonly known) as the chairman of the Sabha and the Lopsang Yolmo as the vice-chairman.”

Of the 45 elected members, Dipen Mallay was absent from the meeting as he is in jail, and Champa Bivar, who is from the Sukna-Panighata seat, reached the venue after the session got over.

All five nominated members of the GTA Sabha, among them three chosen by the Trinamul Congress, were present at the meeting.

Sources present in the meeting said the additional district magistrate of Darjeeling, Gopal Lama, first welcomed the members after which Pradip Pradhan was nominated as the chairman to conduct the proceedings.

Then, the vice-chairman of the Sabha and the chief executive of the GTA were picked.

All the members will take oath at Chowrastha tomorrow. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will be present at the swearing-in.

Governor M.K. Narayanan will administer the oath to the chief executive and then appoint the principal secretary in the home department to administer the oath to the other members. The swearing-in, which was to start from 11am tomorrow, has been advanced by half an hour as Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has to return to Delhi for urgent work. Shinde arrived in Darjeeling today.

In a day or two, Gurung will nominate 14 executive members of the GTA, including a deputy chief executive.

It is not yet known where the permanent headquarters of the GTA will be.The GTA will temporarily function from Lal Khoti where the dissolved DGHC was headquartered.

“Since the GTA will have 45 elected and five nominated members, we are not sure about Lal Khoti area. We might have to look for other places to accommodate all the members and even this Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan looks good for an administrative building,” Gurung said.

The Memorandum of Agreement signed by the Centre, state and the Morcha has stated that a “one-time financial package” will be given to the GTA to develop administrative infrastructure.

The clause reads: “The Government of India/ State Government will provide one-time financial assistance required for development of administrative infrastructure viz., GTA Sabha House, Secretariat Complex and the residential quarters for the elected members of GTA and the senior officers.”