Gurung set to return as GTA chief

KolkataChief Minister Mamata Banerjee with GJM chief Bimal Gurung in Kolkata on Friday. PTI

Bimal Gurung is set to return to the GTA as the chief executive, ending months of suspense over his joining the "failed" outfit. Gurung announced the decision after meeting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today.

The GJM president will swear in as the chief executive of the GTA on December 26 at Raj Bhawan.

Describing the tiff between the state government and the Morcha as 'problem in the family', Gurung said: "If there is a problem in a family, the members have to resolve it... and we are doing just that."

On his decision to join the GTA, Gurung said: "Mamata Banerjee has requested us to run the GTA. So I have decided to join the GTA for the sake of development in the Hills."

When asked about the Gorkhaland issue, he said, "That is not on our agenda now."

Gurung, who only three months ago, had warned tourists not to come to Darjeeling, Friday pitched the hill station as an ideal tourist destination. "We welcome tourists to Darjeeling. There will be no inconvenience for them. Come to Darjeeling and enjoy the snowfall."

Gurung also asked the state government to conduct the panchayat polls in Darjeeling after the general elections next year.

"We want the panchayat election to be held in July. We want the two-tier arrangement to be amended to a three-tier system," he said.

The Morcha leaders Friday also raised the issue of releasing the arrested GTA members. "We have asked the CM to consider the issue of arrested members. She said she will look into it. Since these are legal matters, it will take time. We have assured her that the situation in the Hills will be normal and there is no need of arresting people," he added.

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