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Mamata holds meeting with GJM, promises development for Darjeeling

Darjeeling: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday held a meeting with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung and assured all support of the state government for all-out development of Darjeeling Hills.

"We want development of Darjeeling," she told reporters at the end of her meeting with Gurung.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling on Monday. PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling on Monday. PTI

"I am happy to come to Darjeeling. We have cordial relations with GJM. It is a relation of love and good wishes," she said.

The Chief Minister, who arrived here from Siliguri on a three-day visit said, her government was planning a package for tourism development covering Darjeeling, Terai and the Dooars region.

Proposed tourist spots like Jorebungalow, Rohini and Takdah were being identified for development as potential tourism destination.

Banerjee said, her government was also mooting an idea to set up a film city at Siliguri, which would open an opportunity for shooting films in Darjeeling.

"Road development is a priority area and some roads are National Highways," she said.

Ahead of her meeting with Gorkaland Territorial Administration (GTA) tomorrow, Banerjee told newsmen on reaching Bagdogra airport that her government and GJM will have to maintain friendly ties as it was necessary for the development of Darjeeling Hills.

Quizzed on the ties with GJM, which had deteriorated earlier this year, she said, "We will hold discussions ...The people will see it for themselves."

"The GTA office bearers are here to receive me... So you can understand the relation," Banerjee said adding that she had visited north Bengal 20 times since assuming chief ministership two years ago, out of which she had visited Darjeeling 13 times, including her current visit.

Banerjee is scheduled to meet GJM leaders and hold talks with the Gorkha Territorial Administration during her stay in the hills, official sources said.

She will also attend several government functions to announce development schemes for the region, the sources said.

Asked about her reaction to the Calcutta High Court order on panchayat polls, she expressed her happiness over it.

"The government had wanted to hold the panchayat polls in winter to avoid the summer heat. But we are happy that the problem has been resolved, and we will now have to work to complete the election process by 15 July," she said.

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court today rejected the State Election Commission order for 800 companies of central forces to overlook the panchayat poll, and directed that elections be held in three phases and the process be completed by 15 July.

The court also directed that poll dates be notified by the state government in consultation with the State Election Commission.

PTI