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TMC office in govt building

Darjeeling, July 12: The Trinamul Congress today declared that it would set up a party office on three floors of an unfinished government building in Darjeeling.

Trinamul workers planted party flags at the four-storey building, which belongs to the state industries department, in Judge Bazar on Hill Cart Road.

The CPM has a party office on the ground floor of the building since 1999. Two CPM leaders had applied for lease of the floor in 2007 and 2009 but are yet to receive any communication from the government.

Trinamul’s move to occupy the building comes at a time the Bengal administration has issued an order banning union activities at the state secretariat, Nabanna.

The CPM alleged that Trinamul activists had threatened to “occupy” the Left office in the Darjeeling building too. Around 11am today, Ramesh Kadaria, the district president of CPM youth wing DYFI, arrived at the party office to find the door broken. “Trinamul supporters did this,” Kadaria alleged and began shouting slogans in front of the building.

Soon, a group of Trinamul workers arrived and climbed the stairs planting the party flags. Kadaria lodged an FIR at Darjeeling Sadar police station alleging that Trinamul workers had threatened him.

Dinesh Gurung, the joint convener of Trinamul’s Darjeeling sub-division committee, said: “The CPM’s allegations are false. We don’t want to occupy their office. We will open our office on the remaining floors, which are lying vacant. We have spoken to the leadership about setting up the party office.”

Sources said the industries department had asked the PWD to construct the building in the 80s. But the construction could not be completed as the Gorkhaland agitation began in 1986.

The industries department used to run a goods ropeway service from the compound of the building to Bijanbari, Darjeeling. The service was discontinued in 1998. A portion of the compound has been encroached on by people who have opened shops there.

Trinamul state president and MP Subrata Bakshi said he was “not aware” of Trinamul workers occupying the government building. “I am against opening a party office in a government building. I will have to speak to our leaders in Darjeeling,” he said tonight.

Asked if any action would be taken against Trinamul for planting party flags at the government building, district magistrate Puneet Yadav said he had not received any complaint. “If a complaint is lodged, we will definitely do the needful,” he said.