The tussle for Gorkhaland seems to have no ending in the near future as GorkhaJanamuktiMorcha continues to fight for a new state for the people of the Indian Gorkha ethnic origin primarily based in the hills of North Bengal’s Darjeeling district. Located at the lap of Mother Nature, this picturesque region apparently looks calm and peaceful but the fact of the matter is Darjeeling district has in the past seen heavy bloodshed when protectors, who demand Gorkhaland, engaged in fierce battles with the government forces.
Apart from the political activists and protestors, the demand of the local people residing in this district is simple. They want development which has so far been denied to them. Their call is for better infrastructure so that the future generations do not need to face the troubles they have to face every day in order to survive.
Since tourism is one of the major sources of income generation in this district, MSMN spoke to a hotel owner in Darjeeling’s Kalimpong town named MunnaChetri. Chetri said that more than Gorkhaland, he wants development. “Whether to stay in Bengal or become a part of Gorkhaland is not in the hands of common people. Our only demand is development.”
Whether be it BimalGurung, the founder of GorkhaJanamuktiMorcha, or Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, the hotelier said that he wants either of the two fulfil the promises they had made during elections.
“I want the district to remain free of violence. Many young boys and girls have lost their lives due to violent protests,” said Munna.
Talking about the difficulties the people of Darjeeling face every day, Munna said that the roads the go up are not at all safe. There is a serious lack of education infrastructure. He further complained about the lack of modern equipment and medical staffs in the district’s hospitals.
“Roads that go up from Kalimpong are very unsafe. They need immediate repairing. Unsafe roads are the prime reason why majority of the tourists do not go to places like Lava, Loleygaon, Rishop etc. Our children do not get good education here. The hospitals here resort to the usage outdated technology. In time of need, it is very difficult to get doctors and nurses in the government hospitals,” observed Munna.
Expressing his views on the Bengal government’s recent effort to promote tourism in this district, Munna said that the government must do more to encourage people to visit this beautiful place. “The entire Darjeeling district is filled with scenic beauties. Mamata Banerjee is promoting tourism here. We can see that she is taking up several initiatives. But still the footfall here is not as expected. The government must do more to promote tourism here.”
As far as the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool government in West Bengal is concerned, Didi ever since coming to the power in 2011, has laid special emphasis on the problems that are plaguing the hills. The fact that TMC became the first party from the plains to win the municipality election in Mirik will provide Mamata and her party a massive morale boost although BimalGurung’s party retained the Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong municipalities.