Siliguri, Sept. 30: The Trinamul Congress in the hills has decided to campaign on micro issues by focusing on civic amenities, instead of countering the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on statehood.
“We have decided to launch a movement at the local level across the hills. The Morcha runs all four civic bodies in the hills (Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik). Yet, problems of drinking water, sewerage, disposal of garbage and road conditions persist in all towns,” Binny Sharma, the spokesperson of Darjeeling district hill Trinamul, said here today. “It is evident that the civic boards run by the Morcha in the hill towns have failed to address civic problems.”
Sharma said: “Rallies, meetings, demonstrations, submission of memorandums and similar forms of democratic movement would be organised in these towns to create pressure on the civic boards. We will also highlight the government’s effort on resolving the drinking water problem in Darjeeling and how these initiatives are being stalled because of the Morcha strike.”
He claimed that “hundreds of common people have come to us (Trinamul) with these problems and want the party to organise protests for speedy solutions”.
Trinamul sources said they had enough reasons to move ahead in the hills as the common people, particularly the poor, were living in miserable condition.
“People have noticed that during the strike, the civic boards stopped functioning. The Morcha councillors and chairpersons of these municipalities refrained from delivering civic amenities. They instead, focused on the movement without considering the plight of their voters,” a Trinamul leader said. “This prompted us to plan a movement on local issues.”
Trinamul leaders have decided to launch protests and demonstrations in the hamlets dotted across the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling or in the GTA area.
“Right from rural scheme (MNREGS) work to allocation of houses under the central housing scheme, gross anomalies have come to our notice,” Sharma alleged.
“During our visits to the remote pockets in the hills, several aggrieved residents, mostly BPL families, have come to us and mentioned how they are deprived of the employment guarantee scheme and other benefits by officials and local Morcha leaders who are hand-in-glove with each other,” Sharma said.
“Being a responsible political party, we are vocal about the anomalies in the implementation of welfare schemes for the poor as well as civic services across the state. If we can launch protests in Siliguri for the abysmal performance of the Congress-run SMC board, the same should be done in the hills. Such political activities were absent in the hills. But our party has decided to initiate activities at local level,” the Trinamul leader added.
The party has succeeded in making bases in Dooars areas where the Morcha was strong.
“Our senior leaders… have spoken on macro issues such as the statehood demand and maintenance of law and order. But at our level we felt the need to raise local issues,” a hill Trinamul leader said.