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Town erupts in celebration

Alipurduar, June 20: Streets of Alipurduar wore a festive look today as residents welcomed chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement of the formation of the state’s 20th district with headquarters here, a demand of the local people for more than 30 years.

Trinamul Congress supporters and the local people came out on Alipurduar main road after hearing the announcement and started celebrating. They burst crackers, smeared each other with aabir, distributed sweets and took out a rally.

Trinamul supporters also distributed sweets to shopkeepers and made announcements on loud speakers thanking Mamata.

According to an official source, a meeting will be held here tomorrow to chalk out the programmes to be held on June 25 when the chief minister is scheduled to visit Alipurduar.

The Alipurduar Bar Association was the first to raise the demand to make Alipurduar a district more than 30 years back. Once Alipurduar is made a district, it will have its own district court and various government offices. At present, people have to travel 105km to Jalpaiguri everyday for official works.

People from remote areas like Sankosh and Kumargram have to travel around 170km to reach Jalpaiguri. The Alipurduar subdivisional hospital will become a district hospital with better health care infrastructure. The local people also hope that the condition of the roads will improve.

Prosanto Narayan Majumder, the president of Alipurduar Bar Association, said: “We are grateful to the chief minister as our 30-year-old struggle has finally borne fruit. On June 25, Mamata Banerjee will come to Alipurduar to declare it as a separate district and she will also have an administrative meeting at the Alipurduar Indoor Stadium.”

Nirmal Das, the convener of Alipurduar Jela Nirman Dabi Mancho as well as an ex MLA of Alipurduar from the RSP, said: “We have been fighting for more than 30 years to declare Alipurduar as a separate district. We are very happy and thank the chief minister.”

Paritosh Das, the secretary of Alipurduar Byabsayee Samity, said: “We are very happy and called an urgent meeting in our office today to discuss how we will celebrate on June 25. We plan to observe Diwali on that day.”

Pintu Ganguly, a CPM leader in Kumargram, said: “We are very happy with the announcement. From Sankosh and Kumargram, there is only one bus to go to Jalpaiguri (170km away) and Siliguri (196km from here). We have to go to Jalpaiguri and Siliguri for official work and court cases. It is a hectic journey.”