Kolkata, Sep 20 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced the formation of a nine-member board of administrators, headed by ousted Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Binay Tamang, to run the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
GTA is the developmental body in the north Bengal hills.
“The power that was enjoyed by the Chief Executive of the elected body, we are transferring the same power to a board of administrators and they are all from the hills,” Banerjee said at the state secretariat here.
“Many a time work of the GTA was not being done properly when power was vested in a single government official.”
The development comes close on the heels of a meeting held by the Chief Minister with Tamang and Anit Thapa at the secretariat earlier this week.
Tamang was expelled from the GJM along with party colleague Thapa on September 1 on charges of “conspiring with the state government to derail” the movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
The Trinamool Congress leader said Tamang would be the chairman and Anit Thapa the vice chairman of the GTA.
Other members include Gorkha National Liberation Front leader Mann Ghising, legislator Amar Singh Rai, Anu Chhetri, J. Khatun, L.B. Rai, Sanchari Subba and the Principal Secretary of GTA.
“They will run the GTA. Including Principal Secretary, they are nine in total. Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik are represented. If there are more public representatives they can shoulder more responsibility,” Banerjee said referring to Section 65B of the GTA Act, 2011.
“They will assume charge with immediate effect and can work till the elections are held. Since there is no possibility of elections now, we are forming the board. When the atmosphere becomes conducive to conduct polls and elections take place, then the elected body will work,” she said.
All elected GTA members including its chief executive Gurung, had resigned from the administrative body in June after the GJM revived the Gorkhaland agitation.
“We are in favour of an elected body. We didn’t tell anyone to resign, everyone did so on their own accord,” Banerjee said.
She said IAS Barun Roy was given administrative charge of GTA after the members stepped down.
Armed with more powers than its predecessor – the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s – the GTA was created on July 18, 2011, via a tripartite between the GJM and the state and central governments.
The GJM won the first GTA elections held in 2012, and ran the board till its leaders resigned.
The elected body’s five year term ended on June 30.
On June 27, the GJM burnt the GTA Regulation act documents in public as a symbolic protest against the board.
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