Darjeeling, Sept. 11: The GNLF has accused the GTA of victimising its supporters, employed with the hill set up, by transferring them to remote places and said the orders would not be accepted.
GNLF leaders, who had been lying low for some time, said they would hold rallies across the hills to oppose the transfer and a new workers’ body would take up the issue.
Arjun Rai, the convenor of the GNLF in Mirik, said: “The GTA has started transferring our supporters (who worked in the DGHC earlier) to obscure places. This is nothing but political vendetta. Our supporters from Mirik have been transferred to obscure places in Kalimpong, Sandakphu and Jamuni in Darjeeling.”
He added that the GNLF would hold a rally in Mirik on Thursday to protest the transfer.
“In Mirik, 38 of our supporters have been posted at far-off places and with a salary of Rs 6,000, it is not possible for them to work out of station. All our supporters have decided not to accept the transfer orders,” Rai said.
The leaders said it was unfair to shift the workers as many of them were assigned duties at their native places by the DGHC in lieu of donating land to build roads and community halls. “They were given appointments in their own locality after they donated land to the DGHC to construct roads and community halls. To transfer these people to other places is unjust,” said Rai.
Binay Tamang, the executive member of the GTA in charge of the establishment section, had said earlier that the GTA had transferred around 550 workers. He said the shift had been effected because some of the important sectors like health had less staff.
GNLF leaders, however, refused to buy the justification.
“Supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha who were working outside Mirik, have now been transferred to places of their choice,” said Rai.
He added that at least 24 GNLF supporters in Darjeeling had complained of “unjust transfers”. “We wanted to hold a rally from Dali Fatak to Ava Art Gallery in Darjeeling today (to protest the transfer) but we did not get police permission. We will hold the procession as and when we get the permission,” Rai said.
The party today formed a Contract Service United Forum in Darjeeling. “The forum will now deal with the unjust transfer and the victims,” said Man Hang Subba, village chief of the GNLF’s Rock garden-Barbotey unit.
Tamang, however, said the GTA would stick to its decision. “If the employees refuse to join work, we will seek an explanation from them. A 15-day deadline will be given to provide satisfactory explanation, failing which jobs of the contract workers will be terminated,” said Tamang.
Around 6,000 erstwhile DGHC workers who are now with the GTA are on contract.
“Any government employee can be transferred to any place depending on the administration’s requirement,” he said.