Darjeeling: Ahead of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) leaders’ meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Darjeeling DM Joyoshi Dasgupta addressed the crisis in Darjeeling.
While refusing to comment on the political aspect of the situation, she stressed on the point that people can still restore peace, if they want.
The District Magistrate (DM) said that the petrol pumps have been closed for two months which has led to immense discomfort among people.
“Number of deliveries at homes has increased because for ambulances, there is very little fuel available. Even to bring patients to hospitals, people are not able to get vehicle,” she said.
People are being charged exorbitantly for travelling from one place to another, as normal mode of transport is still closed.
Addressing the situation of government offices, she said, “State government offices, we are managing to keep open to the extent possible. Apart from the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) officers, most of the staff is attending office.”
The main problem, Dasgupta said, is of cash crisis, as the banks are closed, and the ATMs are empty. If people want to withdraw cash, they have to come down to the plains, and they are being charged by some local people for that too.
Dasgupta said that the key to restoring peace is in the hands of the people.
“One part, I think it’s largely the responsibility of the people also. If 5,000 tea garden workers want to start work, I don’t see why 50 people should come in the way. A lot of the problem is that people have been brainwashed,” she told ANI.
Elaborating on her point, she said that some people are of the mind that they will be paid four times their pay if the Gorkhaland movement succeeds.
“If people want peace it is in their hands, no one is stopping them from resuming work. We have always said right from the beginning. Even in June, Home Secretary was here for a peace meeting. Some people came many people didn’t come,” she added.
Mamata Bannerjee on Tuesday called for an all-party meeting on August 29, to restore peace in Darjeeling hills.