Nagrakata (WB), Dec 28: In a blunt message to the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha demand, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today ruled any division of West Bengal.
"There will be no division of Bengal. Darjeeling is not outside West Bengal. Dooars is not outside West Bengal," Banerjee said while launching the campaign in North Bengal for next year's panchayat elections.
"People living in the plains and hill areas will stay together," the chief minister apparently said this referring to GJM leaders in Darjeeling who have renewed their demand for inclusion of Terai and Dooars in the jurisdiction of the new hill council, Gorkha Territorial Administration.. Banerjee was on the second day of her visit to North Bengal to make an on-the-spot study of the implementation of state government projects.
During the campaign, Banerjee announced that 8,000 tea garden workers would be given 'pattas' (land deeds) under the own land, own house scheme.
"2,000 of them have already been given pattas," she said. Speaking about tourism, Banerjee said that there was enough scope for its development in Dooars and Terai and urged the private sector to invest.
"There is a scope for 24,000 employment centering the development of tourism in Dooars and Terai regions," she said.
Her government, she said, had allocated Rs 46 crore for the Dooars Mega Circuit project, the work for which was in progress.
Banerjee said that as decided by the government, Jalpaiguri district would be bifurcated into Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts.
She said that consent of the Calcutta High Court has been received by the state government in this regard. Banerjee also reiterated that the state was not getting what other states were getting from the Centre which was taking away Rs 26,000 crore annually as interest payment on the huge loan which it allowed the previous Left government to take leaving the state in a disastrous financial condition.
"We do not want mercy or a pittance. We want what is due to us should be given. Other states are getting their dues, but we are not. The Centre is taking away money from us. There is no fund to carry on development work," she said.
Banerjee also referred to poor condition of major national highways in the state. "The condition of national highways is very bad. These highways pass through border areas and army vehicles use them," she said.
Banerjee said that she had taken up the matter, even with the Prime Minister, seeking immediate repair of damaged stretches, but to no avail.