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Work begins for Gorkha museum

Darjeeling, Sept. 13: The GTA today started the construction of a Rs 1.5 crore Gorkha War Museum near Batasia at a time the hill body is accused of hurting the sentiments of the community by removing the Gorkha solider’s statue atop the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan.

The GNLF and the CPRM had plastered posters across the hills condemning the GTA’s decision to remove the soldier’s statue.

The GTA had said the statue didn’t suit the Rangamanch Bhavan, a cultural centre, and so it would be shifted to the war museum.

The foundation for the museum had been laid by Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh at Batasia Loop on April 8, 2012. He also donated Rs 25 lakh from his MP Local Area Development fund for the project. However, the authorities decided to set up the museum at Quarry in Batasia, 1km from the earlier location, because of problems in acquiring land.

Today, the work on the museum was launched at a programme attended by GTA deputy chief Lt. Col. (retd) Ramesh Allay, executive member Binay Tamang and GTA principal secretary Saumitra Mohan among others.

Of the Rs 1.5 crore needed for the project, the state government has already sanctioned Rs 1.05 crore. “We also have Rs 25 lakh given by Jaswant Singh. So, funds will not be a problem. Construction should be over in a year and it may take another six-seven months to landscape the entire area,” said Binay Tamang.

The two-storied museum will be spread over 20,000sqft and house Gorkha war memorabilia.

Tamang said a research centre would also come up at the museum and students could access it.