Allay after taking charge on Tuesday. (Suman Tamang)
Darjeeling, Oct. 22: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today made the first sign of reconciliation with the state government as the deputy chief executive of the GTA Sabha took charge as the GTA’s acting chief.
Lt. Col (retd) Ramesh Allay was given the powers to act as the GTA chief executive today as chief minister Mamata Banerjee started her tour of the hills. Around 1pm today, Allay entered his office at Lal Khoti.
Earlier in the day, the GTA Sabha, attended by 27 of the 50 members, empowered Allay to assume all powers until Binay Tamang, who has been elected as the GTA chief, takes charge.
“I have assumed charge and we will function in a full-fledged manner now,” Allay said after entering the office.
The election of the GTA chief executive became necessary because Morcha chief Bimal Gurung quit the post on July 30.
The state government and the Centre had earlier said the Morcha should shun the path of protests and work to strengthen the GTA.
During the July-September statehood agitation, the Morcha had said that it would exit the GTA at an appropriate time.
Other outfits of the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (JAC), which was leading the protests, had wanted the Morcha to quit the GTA immediately.
Right now, a turnaround for the Morcha seems difficult as it is left with few options.
Allay today said: “Even chief minister Mamata Banerjee wants development through the GTA. We will immediately review the pending projects as envisaged by our leader Bimal Gurung. The GTA will start functioning properly from now and we will concentrate on developing every nook and corner of the hills.”
The GTA today passed a resolution to give full salaries to the hill set-up employees for the month of August. Yesterday, state government officials in Calcutta had said the GTA had no power to do so as the salaries were slashed heeding a government order.
Binny Sharma, Trinamul (hills) spokesperson, said the party had also apprised the chief minister of employees’ absence during the agitation because of fear and non-availability of transport.
“We are hopeful that government employees from the hills will get to hear some positive news when our leader Mamata Banerjee visits Darjeeling,” he said.
The Morcha leadership seems ready for reconciliation with the chief minister.
“My representatives will definitely meet her (Mamata),” Bimal Gurung said in Kurseong while travelling to Darjeeling from Guwahati.
Gurung and Roshan Giri, the general secretary of Morcha, had gone to seek blessings at the Kamakhya mandir there.
During Mamata’s visit to Kalimpong in September, Morcha and the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee had asked the hill people to stay indoors as a mark op protest. This time Gurung did not make any such announcement.
“As a chief minister she can visit any place. She will also come to attend a political programme, which she can do,” said Gurung.
He was referring to a public meeting in Darjeeling on October 24 that Mamata is scheduled to address.
It is also the first district conference of Trinamul in the hills.
Morcha MLAs from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong will meet Mamata here on October 25.