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New district: Alipurduar

June 20: Alipurduar will become Bengal’s 20th district with the bifurcation of Jalpaiguri on June 25, chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced in the Assembly this afternoon.

Three years after the Trinamul government started work on the bifurcation of Jalpaiguri, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, West Midnapore and Burdwan, the state received Calcutta High Court’s clearance to split the north Bengal district.

The chief minister said in the House this afternoon: “The Alipurduar sub-division will become a separate district. It will be known as the Alipurduar district. The Jalpaiguri Sadar and Mal sub-divisions will remain in the Jalpaiguri district,” Mamata said.

She said the people of Alipurduar had to face “hardship in getting public services” as the district headquarters was far away. “They had to travel 101km to reach the district headquarters.”

“We wanted to do this for a long time. It took time because the high court’s clearance was necessary. We have got that. The creation of Jhargram (through the bifurcation of West Midnapore) and some other districts will take place soon, we hope,” the chief minister said. “I am all for decentralisation of power and smaller administrative units, which help improve efficiency.”

Following the bifurcation, eight of Jalpaiguri’s 17 police stations will go to Alipurduar, which will have five Assembly seats.

Administrative sources said the proposed Alipurduar district was likely to be formed with six of the 13 blocks in the Jalpaiguri district and the Alipurduar civic area. “Six blocks — Alipurduar I and II, Kalchini, Birpara-Madarihat, Falakata and Kumargram — are likely to be included in the new district,” a source said this evening.

Debaprasad Ray, the Congress MLA of Alipurduar, thanked the chief minister.

The CPM’s Surjya Kanta Mishra said later that the Left Front supported the bifurcation on principle.