Back in Darjeeling, Mamata pitches for peace, development

Mamata presents financial assistance to a Lepcha community member.

In Darjeeling after two months, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday reached out to the people in the hills and appealed to maintain peace to ensure speedy development in the region.

"If you want to fight, fight with me. But do not disturb the people living here. You just maintain peace and I do not want anything else. Allow me to start development. Do not think that just because there was no development in the past, there will be none in the future," Banerjee said during the programme organised by the Lepcha Development Board.

"I feel sad when work that has started is not allowed to be completed. The place is attached to my heart, so do not break it. Support the cause of Darjeeling, the cause of the people and development of the hills," she said.

At the programme, Banerjee announced a package of Rs 2 lakh for 1,000 Lepcha women who do not have houses. She handed over cheques of Rs 1 lakh to 1,000 Lepcha women as the first instalment.

Giving an account of development works of her government, Banerjee said the budgetary allocation has been increased for Darjeeling with emphasis on upgrading of roads, power and infrastructure.

She said her government has sanctioned Rs 103 crore for developing power and Rs 29 crore for national highways. Banerjee further said that a 300MW hydel power project has also been sanctioned in the hills.

Meanwhile, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha MLAs are scheduled to meet the Chief Minister on Friday even though Bimal Gurung has refused to meet her.

Banerjee will hold a public meeting in Darjeeling on Thursday, which will be attended by at least 4,000 GJM workers, sources in the Trinamool Congress said. GJM leaders, have, however, denied TMC's claims.

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