Mamata Banerjee’s three-days hill visit

During her three-day stay, chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s itinerary includes attending a programme at Roy Villa here and handing out awards to youths in Lebong.

Chowrasta getting decked up ahead of Mamata's visit.
Chowrasta getting decked up ahead of Mamata’s visit.

Banerjee is scheduled to attend the annual convention of the Tamang community in Mirik on Tuesday before arriving in Darjeeling.

Speaking about the programme at the Mirik ground, Tamang Youth Association (Darjeeling sub-division) president Anand Lama said, “One of the main issues at our programme in Mirik is the demand for a Tamang Development Council. The chief minister has accepted our invitation and will be present. We received tribal status in 2002, but are yet to get any benefits. Hence, we are demanding the TDC. We hope the chief minister gives us some assurance regarding this in tomorrow’s programme.”

When contacted, All Sherpa Buddhist Development Council Action Committee chief coordinator Nima Wangdi Sherpa said, “This demand of a development board is a very old one and we hope the chief minister makes some kind of announcement regarding our demand. We have been invited to the programme, but we think we will not be able to meet her there. However, for her Darjeeling visit, we have erected a welcome gate at Sukhaypokhari where we hope to greet her and also submit a memorandum comprising our demand.”

Speaking on the same lines, All India Bhutia Association president Mewang Dhendup said, “We have already apprised the chief minister about our demands by sending her letters through the sub-divisional officer and we hope that she will mention this in the Mirik event. Our representatives will be present as we have been invited to the programme by the Tamang community.”

The programme in Mirik is slated to begin from eleven in the morning where the TYA has made elaborate preparations to accommodate about 2 lakh people. Besides the Tamangs, communities such as the Bhutias, Rais and Sherpas are also hoping for some kind of announcement to be made regarding their demand for their respective development boards by the chief minister.

It may be added here that an association named the Darjeeling District Tribal Welfare Association, which has a number of communities living in the hills among its members, has been demanding for a single development board to cater to their interests.

Following program in Mirik, Banerjee will remain in Darjeeling for two days, on January 22 and 23. Official sources said she will be attending a programme at Roy Villa where Sister Nivedita had lived her last days. She will also inaugurate a school of languages, a computer centre and launch a medical camp, among other tasks.

The CM is also expected to hand out a cheque worth Rs1 crore to the Ramakrishna Mission through the North Bengal Development Department for the renovation of Roy Villa.

The sources further said the CM will attend a programme of the Darjeeling Police at the Lebong football ground around 1:30pm and give away awards to winners at the games organised recently by the Darjeeling Police as part of The Himal-Tarai-Dooars Sports Festival. Banerjee will also attend the birth anniversary celebrations of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose on January 23 after which she is scheduled to leave for Siliguri.

Gorkhaland Territorial Administration chief executive Bimal Gurung will be present at the programmes in Lebong and Roy Villa. GJM assistant secretary Jyoti Kr. Rai, who is also a GTA member, said, “We have been invited to the programmes, but no meeting with the CM has been fixed yet.


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