Siliguri, 12th July: While addressing GTA's swearing-in ceremony at Chowrasta in Darjeeling on Tuesday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a list of developmental projects in the Darjeeling hills. Darjeeling MP Raju Bista did not hold back to take a jibe at the CM after the ceremony. In a statement, he wrote, "After successfully turning Darjeeling to Switzerland, and Kolkata to London, I applaud the announcement made by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ji of setting up a new city which will have 'industrial house, shopping mall, restaurants etc." He alleged that the CM did not have a single original idea to share about how to develop the hills.
"She spoke about giving Rs 7000 crores to the hills in the past 10-years, but that money never arrived in the hills, and this is precisely why people have zero faith in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). This is also why people have been demanding a detailed CAG Audit into the books of GTA, so that we can ascertain if the said Rs 7000 crore was actually sent? and if it was sent where did these Rs 7000 crore disappear? I challenge the WB Govt to show a single project of public importance executed by the GTA in the past 11 years," the statement further read.
MP Raju Bista accused Banerjee of copying the idea of BJP's "Har Ghar Jal Project" when she spoke of providing piped drinking water to all households by 2024. He said that despite the centre providing Rs 204 crores years ago to the Darjeeling Municipality for provisioning drinking water to all households, the TMC-led state government has not been able to do so to date.
"Ms Banerjee spoke of WB Govt going to renovate Bagdogra Airport and other airports in North Bengal. It is laughable at best. Fact is the Airports Authority of India had to pay Rs 25 crore for the land needed for the expansion of the Bagdogra Airport as TMC Govt refused to hand the land otherwise. Following my relentless efforts for the upgradation of Bagdogra Airport, the Central Govt has agreed to provide 100% of the funds (to the tune of Rs 1300 crores) required for Bagdogra Airport renovation. Who is she trying to fool?"
Bista condemned Banerjee for claiming to increase wages of tea garden workers when "fact is her government has refused to implement Minimum Wages Act in the tea and cinchona gardens till date, her Govt has refused to implement the New Labour Codes passed by the Central Govt, her Govt has refused to grant parja patta rights to the plantation workers," he added.
MP Bista accused the TMC government of draining resources from Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars region for the past 11 years and investing back only a small fraction of the citizen's taxes and revenues. Hence she is desperately trying to impose her rights on the people of hills. That itself exposes her hollow hypocrisy said Raju Bista.
"She can daydream all she wants, but the people of our region have overwhelmingly refused the GTA, which she is so desperately trying to impose on our region and people. That itself exposes her hollow hypocrisy," he stated.