Pranab rules out Gorkhaland demand

Statesman News Service
RAIGANJ, 19 JULY: The Union finance minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee (in picture) categorically ruled out any possibility of a formation of a separate Gorkhaland state comprising three sub-divisions in the Darjeeling hills. “The GJMM leadership should see reason and stay focused on evolving a achievable solution to the prolonged tangle instead of harping on the statehood agenda. We are ready to consider anything sans the statehood demand,” he said here today.
Clarifying the Centre’s stand on the proposed setting up of an AIIMS pattern hospital in Raiganj Mr Mukharjee said there was no room for confusion in the matter. ‘The Union cabinet had approved the proposal in February last year and it is final. We would release the required funds for the ambitious project soon,” he affirmed.
The West Dinajpur Chambers of Commerce members demanded special tax exemption measures for the industries in north Bengal from the Union finance ministry on the lines on which several north eastern states were enjoying such facilities for years. “The cost of production is higher in north Bengal and so we are lagging in competition. This is coming in the way of the entrepreneurs evincing interest in investing in the industrially long-neglected region,” the trade body members are reported to have argued.
Mr Mukherjee is supposed to have assured them to announce some incentives to accelerate the pace of industrialization in the region.


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