Submission of report on the territorial jurisdiction of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration

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Darjeeling, May 11: The Shyamal Sen committee is unlikely to submit its report on the territorial jurisdiction of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration by the first week of June as it is yet to receive the linguistic break-up of the population in each mouza in the Dooars and Terai.The high powered committee has sought mouza-wise population details from the directorate of census. However, the directorate of census couldn’t part with the data, as it didn’t receive clearance from the Union home ministry.

Apart from Justice (retd) Sen, four representatives of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, the district magistrates of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri, a representative of the state home department and the director of census are members of the panel. The administrator of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council is the convenor of the committee.

The panel that met last on April 19 has not been able to set the next date, as no progress could be made without the linguistic details.

“The last meeting was held on April 19, but the next date has not been announced. That is mainly because the director of census has not received the permission from the Union home ministry to release the mouza-wise linguistic details,” said L.B. Pariyar, one of the four Morcha representatives on the committee.

He said the committee had heard all parties which were for or against the inclusion of the mouzas in the GTA.

“Unless the linguistic details are furnished with the committee, not much headway can be made. The director of census is in the process of seeking permission from the Union home ministry. The permission is needed as the directorate of census doesn’t publish the number of people who speak a particular language in each mouza. The census report shows only the block-wise population details. Let us see what happens,” Pariyar said.

The data would be from the 2001 census as the 2011 report is not yet published.

The Morcha has demanded that 196 mouzas from the Dooars, 199 from the Terai and three from the Rajganj block of Jalpaiguri district be brought under the GTA.

Asked if the party would write to the Union home ministry to grant the permission fast, Pariyar said: “The committee is headed by a person of Justice Sen’s stature and it would not be proper for us to bypass him in this regard. We hope that the permission will be granted soon.”

Earlier, Morcha president Bimal Gurung had set April 28 as the deadline for the submission of the committee report and threatened to pull out of the GTA agreement and embark on a renewed statehood movement.

However, the Morcha later relented after holding talks with Mamata Banerjee in Calcutta and was assured that the committee would submit its report by the first week of June. It was also agreed by the Morcha and the state government that the elections to the GTA would be held either at the end of June or in early July.

The panel was formed on July 18, the day the GTA pact was inked by the Centre, state and the Morcha. It was given six months to hold sittings and submit the recommendations.

However, in February, the committee sought another six months as it had not completed going through the submissions and conducting the hearings on the territory issue.


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