Defence minister Parikkar to launch model school in Darjeeling
Under fire from the Opposition on the failure of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration to develop the region, the ruling Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will finally have something to throw back at them when Union defence minister Manohar Parikkar comes to Darjeeling, to inaugurate a model school.
As per the tentative schedule prepared by the GTA, the minister will reach Darjeeling on March 4. The following day, he will visit Ramakrishna Siksha Parishad, popularly known as RKSP school, in the upper fringes of Darjeeling town. The school has been converted into a model school by the GTA and Parikkar will inaugurate it.
RKSP is among four other schools - in Sukna, Kalimpong town, Gorubathan and Pokhraybung - that are being redesigned into model schools. GJM sources said the model school was to be inaugurated by Union home minister Rajnath Singh originally, but due to some unavoidable reasons, Singh could not make it and he was replaced by the defence minister.
The Opposition meantime, especially the Trinamool Congress, have upped the ante on the GJM for not being able to develop the region. The tirade against the ruling party has gained more traction with chief minister Mamata Banerjee forming community development boards, which appear to be gaining acceptance by the people of the hills.
Further, elections to the four civic bodies in the hills are likely to be held in April-May, and to the GTA in July. The TMC and other rival parties intend to capitalise on the failures of the GTA, an allegation the GJM is firmly denying.
“It is a trying time for the party. The TMC run state government is using everything at its disposal to gain advantage in the hills with an eye on the elections. The state government is not cooperating with the GJM in running the GTA. At such a time, we feel a Union minister's presence in the hills will definitely give the GJM's sagging ambitions a boost,” one of the sources said.
Ever since relations with the chief minister have soured, the GJM has been accusing the state government of failing to provide the GTA its share of funds, and instead showering the development boards with money that would have helped develop the region.
The GJM source also said party leaders are expected to hold a meeting separately with the defence minister to persuade him to establish sainik schools for the youths of the region (there are no such schools in the hills) in accordance with the GTA agreement and act.
GJM president Bimal Gurung is presently camped in Kalimpong ahead of the municipality elections where things are expected to be tough for his party. The Kalimpong-based Jan Andolan Party headed by Harka Bahadur Chhetri has managed to reduce GJM votes in Kalimpong with help from the TMC and the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF).
Nonetheless, Gurung says he is not fazed by all this and is confident of his party winning all elections in the hills. “I challenge them (state government) to announce polls to the civic bodies. Our party will emerge victorious. As far as the new district (Kalimpong) and development boards are concerned, I reiterate that people will not forget their aspiration for a separate state to ultimately vote for us,” said the GJM chief, who was on a tour today of wards 5 and 19 of Kalimpong municipality, to interact with the residents and understand their problems.
The GJM has spent Rs15.98 crore from the central assistance fund as per the 2011 GTA agreement to convert RKSP in to a model school, which will have all the latest facilities including smart classes and water harvesting system, among others. (EOIC)