Siliguri, July 19: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has said since the Dooars and the Terai have been excluded from the development programmes announced by the chief minister, it is planning to launch a movement to get a fair deal from the state government.
The tribal outfit said Mamata Banerjee had just sent a message of peace and amity for the people in the plains whereas she had bombarded the Darjeeling hills with promises of new projects.
“It seems that we have to launch an intensive movement throughout the region to draw the attention of the state government and ensure that specific welfare projects are taken up for the tribal populace in the foothills,” Tezkumar Toppo, the general secretary of the Parishad, said today.
“It is unbecoming of the chief minister to refrain from making any announcement for the development of the Dooars and the Terai when she addressed a public meeting in Siliguri today. This is contrary to what she offered the Darjeeling hills yesterday.”
The Parishad complained that the government had meted out an unfair treatment to the plains though the outfit adopted an attitude of non-confrontation. “We had called a 48-hour strike on Saturday and Sunday but withdrew it on Sunday after north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb assured us that the government had specific plans for the Adivasi-populated areas,” said Toppo.
“Since the new government has taken charge, we have tried several times to meet the chief minister. But we could not get an appointment. We could have organised protests yesterday in the Terai where the agreement to form the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration was signed. But we refrained from any such activities.”
Toppo said the Dooars were in no better condition than the hills and if Mamata didn’t announce any plan to improve the lot of the Adivasi population, the Parishad would have no other option but to organise an agitation.
Observers say Mamata is unlikely to take the Parishad into confidence since the outfit campaigned against the Trinamul Congress in the Assembly polls. “It is obvious that the Parishad which had wanted to enter into an electoral understanding with the Congress and keep Trinamul out of fray in the five Assembly segments in the Dooars would not be rendered equal importance like the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha,” said an observer.
He said there was also a chance that the government would announce projects for the Dooars without keeping the Parishad in loop as Trinamul had plans to consolidate its base in the tea belt.
The north Bengal development minister sought to assuage the Parishad’s worries.
“We have just initiated a move to develop north Bengal. It is only a matter of time before projects are taken up and implemented in the Dooars and the Terai,” said Deb. “We will soon hold a meeting with the Parishad leaders and listen to their grievances.Courtesy:TheTelegraph.