Darjeeling hills deserted due to GJM's public curfew

Darjeeling, Aug 13 (IANS) As the 'public curfew' called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha crippled life in the Darjeeling hills, the party Tuesday said a unanimous decision has been taken to repeal the hill development body, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) soon.

The West Bengal government, which has started distributing ration in the northern hills, said a "shutdown-like situation" prevailed in the hills on day one of the two-day "public curfew", during which the GJM has asked people to remain indoors.

The three hill sub-divisions -- Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong -- wore a deserted look, with internationally famous tourism hot spots like the mall, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the Tiger Hills seemingly forlorn.

Home Secretary Basudeb Bandopadhayay, who visited this hill town Tuesday and held talks with top brass of the Darjeeling district administration and police, later said he will submit a report to the Calcutta High Court and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the situation.

"I don't know about public curfew. I saw there was a shutdown-like situation in the hills. I shall give a report to the Calcutta High Court and the chief minister," Banerjee said in Siliguri.

In the wake of the GJM-sponsored indefinite shutdown since Aug 3 in the three sub-divisions, the Calcutta High Court last Wednesday directed the state government to ensure there is no forced shutdown, and asked it to submit a compliance report within seven days.

The government said it would increase the centres for distributing rations to 11 from Wednesday, when a large number of North Bengal State Transport Corporation buses would also hit the streets.

Meanhwile, the GJM is likely to pitch for Birkhu Bhushal as interim chief executive officer of GTA to fill up the post which fell vacant following party chief Bimal Gurung's resignation. Gurung quit July 30 to concentrate on the Gorkhaland movement.

The decision was taken at a GJM central committee meeting following Banerjee's assertion that if the second man in GTA does not take command after Gurung's resignation, her government would fill up the post.

With GTA Deputy Chief Executive Ramesh Ale not agreeing to take charge, there was much speculation the state government's nominated GTA member Durga Khorel may be appointed.

"The state has given us a letter to choose a chief executive in three days, otherwise the government will appoint their own chief executive. Do we want a chief executive of GTA to be from the state or someone from our own community?

"The issue of GTA and its chief executive is only for a limited period as our final goal is Gorkhaland," said Gurung.

Meanwhile, Gurung spoke of repealing the GTA in a Facebook post.

"The GTA will be repealed but at an appropriate time. In an all-party meeting (Monday) we have decided that GTA should be repealed soon. It was a unanimous decision taken by all parties," he said.

Armed with more powers than its predecessor - the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s, GTA was created July 18, 2011 via a tripartite agreement signed between GJM and the state and central governments.

Following the central government's green signal for creation of a separate Telangana, the GJM intensified its separatist movement.

The chief minister Saturday issued a 72-hour deadline to GJM to withdraw the stir.

Claiming the ultimatum was by Calcutta High Court and not Banerjee, GJM said it would continue its stir but in accordance with the norms laid by the court.

GJM has announced a four-day relaxation, beginning Aug 15, in the indefinite shutdown to press for Gorkhaland.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »