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Gurung gives team a year to deliver

Darjeeling, Aug. 19: Bimal Gurung has warned 14 executive members of the GTA Sabha that he would not hesitate to replace them if they failed to perform in a year.

Gurung, the GTA chief executive, gave the warning while addressing all 45 elected members of the Sabha at an event organised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s Darjeeling subdivisional committee at Gymkhana Club yesterday.

“Both the elected and nominated members of the GTA must work together. The public, the Opposition parties and even the state government are closely monitoring the functioning of the GTA. The biggest challenge is to fulfil the expectations of people and if the executive members fail to perform to the best of their ability in a year, I will not hesitate to replace them,” Gurung said.

The GTA Sabha has 50 members — 45 elected and five nominated — and 14 of them have been made executive members and been given charge of various departments.

The chief executive, however, said it would take time for the GTA to function smoothly and called upon the employees of the now-defunct DGHC (who are with the GTA now) to improve their work culture.

“I find that some of the employees of the DGHC do not work properly. Old habits have to be changed. I, too, will work day and night and I expect the same from the employees. I will make surprise visits and if I find that the employees are not working properly, we will take immediate action.”

The chief executive stressed the need to free the GTA of corruption, terming it as the biggest bane of the DGHC.

“I have zero tolerance towards corruption. Even the GTA members should ensure that there is no corruption. The members should also ensure that there is no nepotism in the GTA,” he said.

Gurung reminded the GTA members that they were no longer agitators and they had to now deliver as administrators. “Earlier, we used to go door-to-door calling upon the public to raise slogans and participate in the agitation (for Gorkhaland). The time has now come to ensure that development reaches the doorstep of the people.”

A GTA Sabha member, who didn’t wish to be named, said he welcomed Gurung’s warning. “Everyone has already realised that if we don’t perform, the people will not forgive us. We have to ensure better administration and development for the region.”

Gurung also demanded that development work related to gram panchayats which were being undertaken through the BDO be vetted by respective GTA members.

Even though the panchayat and rural development department were transferred to the DGHC, elections haven’t been held to gram panchayats in the hills since 2005. The department is now with the GTA.

“We will soon make a representation to the government as well as submit deputation to BDOs saying development work by the panchayat and rural development department must be carried out through the elected GTA Sabha members,” said Gurung.

Observers believe it wouldn’t be difficult to meet Gurung’s demands as the panchayat and rural development department is with the GTA.