Kolkata, May 1 (IANS) The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has demanded Rs.575 crore from the central and state governments for creating infrastructure for the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) in northern West Bengal's Darjeeling hills now run by the party.
"As per the memorandum of agreement for the Gorkha Territorial Administration, funds for laying down the infrastructure for the GTA will be provided by the central government.
"We need Rs.575 crore for creating the infrastructure. That includes the GTA secretariat complex, the building for holding the formal sitting of the elected representatives - the GTA Sabha, the residential quarters for the officers and other staff and the quarters for the elected members of the GTA," Roshan Giri, secretary general of GJM, told IANS.
The GTA had asked for the funds during a review meeting in New Delhi Dec 26 last year.
Besides GJM leaders, the additional secretary (home) of the central government and West Bengal home secretary Basudeb Banerjee were present at the meeting.
"I have reiterated the demand at a meeting with chief secretary Sanjay Mitra in Kolkata yesterday (Tuesday). We will once again raise the issue at a tripartite meeting in Darjeeling mid-May," he said.
A tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM and the state and central governments July 18, 2012, for setting up a new autonomous, elected GTA. It sought more powers than its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, which was formed in the late 1980s.
The GJM swept its maiden territorial elections in July 2012.