Darjeeling, Oct. 9: The GTA Sabha expressed its displeasure over the delay in the transfer of departments from the state government to the hill administrative body and decided to send a delegation to Calcutta to discuss the issue with the chief minister.
The delegation, which will be headed by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri, is likely to meet the chief minister soon. “We have come to know that the chief minister will be busy tomorrow and the day after. So, we will leave for Calcutta in the next three or four days,” said Giri, who is also a GTA executive member.
Lt. Col. (retd) Ramesh Allay, the deputy chief of the GTA Sabha, said: “We feel the process of transferring departments has not moved at the expected pace. We want full power and authority over the transferred subjects and the Sabha has expressed its strong displeasure over the delay.”
According to the GTA Act, 57 subjects are to come under the GTA. “The state government has sent us a draft on the transfer of school education, higher education, food and supplies, consumer affairs, animal husbandry, co-operation and cinchona plantation departments. We are going through the state’s proposal and following our comments, the state government is supposed to issue a notification on the transfer,” said Allay.
The GTA Sabha today approved an interim budget of around Rs 950 crore for the remaining part of the financial year. “We have prepared a budget of Rs 362.90 crore under the state non-plan head and Rs 581.90 crore under the state plan fund heads like rural infrastructure development fund and hill affairs department,” said Giri.
The Centre has already released Rs 65 crore from the Rs 200 crore special fund which it had agreed to provide to the GTA on an annual basis for the next three years.
“Once the entire transfer of departments is completed, we will also send a further supplementary budget,” said Giri.
The Sabha has also decided to give each member a constituency development fund of Rs 30 lakh per annum. “The minimum budget of a project taken up under this fund has to be Rs 5 lakh,” said Giri.
According to another decision taken by the Sabha, 1,838 vacancies in GTA jobs will be filled.
“There are 281 vacancies in Group A category, 270 in Group B, 623 in Group C and 664 in Group D. We will request the state government for the financial approval to fill up the vacancies,” said Giri.
The GTA has decided to regularise the services of 269 ad hoc teachers in the hills. The the formation of GTA labour board and GTA tourism development corporation were also approved.