Gorkhaland Territorial Administration

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Gorkhaland Territorial Administration
गोर्खाल्यान्ड क्षेत्रीय प्रशासन
territorial council
Darjeeling is located in West Bengal
Darjeeling
Darjeeling
Location of Darjeeling in Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, West Bengal, India
Coordinates: 27°02′N 88°10′E / 27.03°N 88.16°E / 27.03; 88.16Coordinates: 27°02′N 88°10′E / 27.03°N 88.16°E / 27.03; 88.16
Country  India
State West Bengal
District Darjeeling
Established 14 Mar 2012
Headquarters Darjeeling
Covering Territory Darjeeling Sadar subdivision, Kalimpong subdivision, Kurseong subdivision &, Siliguri subdivision (some part only)
Government
 • Chief executive Bimal Gurung
Languages
 • Official Nepali
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Website http://gta-darjeeling.org/

Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is a semi-autonomous administrative body for the Darjeeling hills in West Bengal, India. GTA replaced the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, which was formed in 1988 and administered the Darjeeling hills for 23 years.[1] GTA presently has three hill subdivisions Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Kurseong and some areas of Siliguri subdivision under its authority.[2]

Background[edit]

Gorkhaland was the name of the proposed state in India that the Nepali-speaking Gorkha(Nepali) ethnic group in Darjeeling and the Dooars in north West Bengal have expressed a desire to create. The term Gorkhaland was coined by Subhash Ghisingh, leader of Gorkha National Liberation Front, who led a violent agitation for its formation in the 1980s. [3] This movement culminated with the formation of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in 1988. The DGHC did not fulfill its goal of forming a new state, which led to the downfall of Subhash Ghisingh[4] and the rise of another party Gorkha Janmukti Morcha headed by Bimal Gurung in 2007, which launched a second agitation for a Gorkhaland state.[5]

Formation of GTA[edit]

After three years of agitation for a state of Gorkhaland led by GJM, the GJM reached an agreement with the state government to form a semi-autonomous body to administer the Darjeeling hills.[6] A bill for the creation of GTA was passed in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on 2 September 2011.[7] The GTA will have administrative, executive and financial powers but no legislative powers. A 10-member joint verification committee headed by a retired High Court judge would examine the demand to bring the Gorkha-inhabited pockets of the Dooars and the Terai under the GTA.[8]

Memorandum of Agreement[edit]

The Memorandum of Agreement[9] for GTA was signed on 18 July 2011 at Pintail Village near Siliguri in the presence of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders.[10] The agreement was signed by West Bengal Home Secretary G.D. Gautama, Union Home Ministry Joint Secretary K.K. Pathak and GJM general secretary Roshan Giri.[11]

Demand for GATA[edit]

On 29 October 2011, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP), Dooars Unit signed an 18-point agreement at Mongpoo, after which these organizations jointly proposed a new administrative body called the Gorkhaland and Adivasi Territorial Administration (GATA) in place of the GTA.[12] The ABAVP decided to agree to incorporate 196 mouzas of the Dooars and 199 mouzas of the Terai region into the proposed GATA.[13]

President's assent and high-power committee report[edit]

The President of India Pratibha Patil gave her assent to the GTA Bill of West Bengal on 7 March 2012.[14] The West Bengal government issued a gazette notification for the GTA Act on 14 March 2012, signalling preparations for elections for the GTA.[15] In a meeting held on 24 March 2012 between GJM leaders and the West Bengal government, it was decided that the election to the GTA would be held in the end of June or in July 2012. [16] The Justice Sen Committee would be requested to submit its report on the inclusion of additional areas of Terai and Dooars in the GTA by early June 2012.[17] The WB government released a list of 45 constituencies of the GTA on 26 May 2012 to which elections are to be held in July 2012.[18] The high-power committee headed by retired judge Shyamal Kumar Sen that was set up by the West Bengal government has recommended inclusion of just five mouzas under the proposed GTA although the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had demanded 398 mouzas from the Dooars and Terai regions.[19] The West Bengal government announced that it would set up a three-member "Fact Verification Committee" to go into the recommendations of Justice Sen Committee after the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha rejected its report.[20] The Calcutta High Court admitted on 19 June 2012 the case moved by Gorkha National Liberation Front leader Subhash Ghisingh challenging the legality of the GTA. Justice Dipankar Dutta told the three signatories to the GTA agreement – the central government, the state government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha – to file affidavits stating their stand on Ghisingh's contention.[21]

GTA election 2012[edit]

The West Bengal government announced that the election for the GTA would be held on 29 July 2012.[22] The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha announced that it would contest the GTA polls, which it had earlier threatened to boycott over the Justice Sen-headed committee recommendations on territorial inclusion of the Dooars and Terai that it had rejected.[23] After a period of silence, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha announced the names of its GTA election nominees.[24][25] Parties that formed the Gorkhaland Task Force (CPRM, ABGL, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, GNLF(C), Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Morcha and others) decided not contest the GTA elections.[26] Both CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress fielded candidates in the election.[27] The GNLF decided to boycott the elections and its chairman filed a case in the Kolkata High Court challenging the GTA.[28] The CPI(M) withdrew the nominations of all its 13 candidates from the GTA elections, alleging threats and intimidation by the GJM[29] and the GJM bagged 28 seats of the GTA uncontested.[30] In the elections of the remaining 17 seats of the GTA held on 29 July 2012, GJM candidates won from all the constituencies.[31] Sanchabir Subba, the rebel GJM candidate from Gitdabling-Nimbong, narrowly lost to the party's official contestant Kalyan Dewan by 677 votes.[32] The newly elected members of the GTA were sworn in on 4 August 2012 at Darjeeling in the presence of home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Agreement signed". Outlook. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Dutta, Ananya (18 July 2011). "Pact signed for Gorkhaland Territorial Administration". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Interview with Subhash Ghisingh". Darjeeling Times. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Subhas Ghising resigns". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 11 March 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "GJM leader Bimal Gurung". The Hindu. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "Darjeeling issue solved: Mamata". Express Buzz. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "GTA Bill passed with 54 amendments". The Times of India. 3 September 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Ex-judge to head hill committee". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). 30 July 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Full text of GTA MoA". Darjeeling Times. 15 July 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Darjeeling tripartite pact signed for Gorkhaland Territorial Administration". The Times of India. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2012. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Agreement signed". Outlook. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Plea to rename Gorkha council". Zee News. 30 October 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "GJMM-ABAVP joint deputation on GATA". The Statesman. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "President gives her assent to the GTA Bill". Hindustan Times. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  15. ^ "Gorkha territory readies for polls". The Times of India. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  16. ^ "High-powered committee on GTA emerges as a perfect instrument to resolve impasse". Hindustan Times. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "GJM climbs down GTA demand, says polls in June-July". Outlook. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  18. ^ "Gorkhaland Territorial Administration draft lists 17 new constituencies". The Times of India. 27 May 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  19. ^ "Darjeeling might be violent again". The Economic Times. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  20. ^ "Govt to set up Fact Verification committee on GJM demand". Business Standard. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  21. ^ Legal, Our (20 June 2012). "HC allows Ghisingh GTA plea - Affidavit order for govts & Morcha". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  22. ^ "State sets July 29 date for GTA polls". The Times of India. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  23. ^ "Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to contest GTA elections". The Hindustan Times. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  24. ^ Chhetri, Vivek (5 July 2012). "GTA list of 32 but no Gurung". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  25. ^ Chhetri, Vivek (6 July 2012). "Gurung in GTA fray". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  26. ^ "GJM faces heat from rival parties for strong-arm tactics". Yahoo News. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  27. ^ "Darjeeling GTA election is taking one sided shape". The Economic Times. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  28. ^ Dam, Marcus (29 June 2012). "Gurung challenges Ghising to contest GTA polls". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  29. ^ "All CPI-M candidates pull out of Gorkhaland polls". News track India/IANS. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  30. ^ Chhetri, Vivek; Sinha, Avijit (13 July 2012). "Morcha gets 28, Gurung thanks CPM". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  31. ^ "GJM sweeps maiden GTA polls, not to give up Gorkhaland demand". Darjeeling Times/IANS. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  32. ^ Ravidas, Rajeev (3 August 2012). "Lone rebel Subba loses". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  33. ^ "Gorkha Territorial Administration members sworn in; Shinde, Mamata assure support". The Times of India. 5 August 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012. [dead link]