CM declares Kalimpong as state's 21st district

Announces Rs 220 cr road link project to connect Kalimpong with Sikkim via old Silk Route
Report by: 
Durgadas Bandyopadhyay
Kalimpong
14 Feb 2017

True to her promise, chief minister Mamata Banerjee today presented a gift to the people of Kalimpong, when she declared it the 21st district of the state. Kalimpong was till now a sub-division of the Darjeeling district.
``We are celebrating Kalimpong Day on Velentine's Day,'' Mamata said at a function at the Mela Ground of the hill station that was attended by a huge number of residents of the hills who cheered the chief minister as she spoke``We have no political presence here. But I thought the area needed development and so I took the decision, without looking at colours   or political allegiance,'' Mamata said. And for a beginning she announced a grant of Rs 50 crore for water supply project in Kalimpong. She also said that a Rs-220 crore road link project will be taken up to connect Kalimpong with Sikkim via the old Silk Route.

While G Viswanath has been named the district magistrate, Ajit Singh Yadav has been named as the superintendent of police of the new district. "After the formation of GTA, I set up several boards in the Hills for better development and all are working well," Mamata said adding, "the new district has been formed for ensuring better development." Darjeeling Hills has been witness to violent statehood movements since 1986 under the leadership of Subhas Ghising and after a few years' thaw, again under Bimal Gurung, the present chief executive of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).

While Ghising-led Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) had got the West Bengal government to set up the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), the Bimal Gurung-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's agitation had set the ball rolling for replacing DGHC with the present Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, a local governing body with certain powers.
"I urge all people in the Hills to live peacefully and not pay heed to any attempt of igniting violence," Mamata said while referring to the burning down of forest and other government bungalows at Tagdah, Kalimpong and some other places in the Hills during the agitation. "We have rebuilt the Tagdah bungalow and others. We will ensure all-round development of the Hills," she said amidst cheers from the crowds. "Lepchas, Gurungs, Bhutias and all others are living together, we want you to light up diyas (lamps) of peace," she further said.