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New office in New Year for Gurung

- Gorkha Rangamanch bhavan the seat of GTA power

Darjeeling, Dec. 31: Bimal Gurung has decided to start his second innings as the chief executive of the GTA Sabha from a new office, the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan from January 2 as his previous office cannot be accessed easily by the public because of transport problems, said sources in the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Gurung’s office during his earlier stint as GTA chief was at Lal Khoti. Even though Gurung had an office at the Rangamanch Bhavan, he operated from Lal Khoti.

“Bimal Gurung will take charge on January 2 but unlike in the past, he will work from a new office at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan,” said a Morcha source.

“The chief’s decision to shift to a new office is to ensure that the public is not inconvenienced. The fact that transport is not easily available to the Lal Khoti area has prompted the chief executive to shift his office. From now, anyone can walk to his new office,” said the source.

While Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan is situated at Mall, the heart of Darjeeling, Lal Khoti is about 3km away from the town.

Lal Khoti had been the administrative headquarters of the DGHC. Subash Ghisingh, the chairman of the erstwhile DGHC, had his office at Lal Khoti, a bungalow formerly owned by the royal family of Cooch Behar.

After taking oath as the chief executive in August 2012, Gurung, too, set up his office there.

He, however, asked the GTA officials to allocate the room used by Ghisingh to the principal secretary of the GTA. The chief executive’s office was set up in the room that was being used as a conference hall by Ghisingh.

However, Gurung hadn’t gone to his office since January to protest the perceived interference by the state government in the functioning of the GTA. He resigned from the post on July 30 to concentrate on the agitation for Gorkhaland in the wake of the Congress’s green light to the formation of Telangana.

At the moment, offices which are situated at Lal Khoti include those of Lt. Col. (retd) Ramesh Allay, the deputy chief of the GTA, and executive Sabha members Roshan Giri (school education), Binay Tamang (information and cultural affairs) and Anit Thapa (public health engineering).

The offices of the principal secretary, tourism executive director and the finance executive director are also situated at Lal Khoti. The meetings of the GTA Sabha are held at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan, where the offices of the chairman of the hill body and his deputy are also located.

“Gurung hasn’t yet taken a decision whether other offices should also be shifted to Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan. The Lal Khoti office of the chief executive will not be closed down though he is shifting to a new building,” said the Morcha source.

The Morcha has decided to hold a public meeting at Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling on February 3.

“The meeting will be attended by central committee members of the Morcha and will be organised by the party’s town committee,” said Narayan Pradhan, the general secretary of the town committee.

“The meeting is being organised to talk about the present situation and the need to make the GTA fully functional so that development and jobs can be created through the GTA,” he added.