Morcha to close block offices in hills

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today announced that it would lock all the block development offices across the hills from November 7 even as the interlocutor for the talks involving the Centre, the state government and the party arrived here.

“However, we have decided to exempt those sections which deal with registration and issuing of birth and death certificates at the BDO offices from the agitation,” said Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha.

The move is expected to paralyse administrative and development works in rural areas. Bimal Gurung, the president of the Morcha, had announced one week back that all panchayat offices would be closed indefinitely from November 7 as part of its non-co-operation movement.

The party has also decided to close down all the liquor offshops in the hills from the same date and asked business establishments to use the word “Gorkhaland” on their signboards.

Lt Gen. (retd) Vijay Madan, who had been appointed the interlocutor to look into the demands of the Morcha, arrived in Darjeeling yesterday.

The decision to appoint the interlocutor had been agreed to at the third rounds of talks among the Central and state governments and the Morcha in Delhi on August 11. The Union home ministry had announced Madan’s appointment on October 23.

According to sources, Roshan Giri, general secretary of the Morcha, along with the party’s central committee members Amar Lama and Asha Gurung, met Madan in Darjeeling last evening. “It was basically a courtesy call,” said a Morcha source.

A meeting between Gurung and Madan has been fixed at a Darjeeling hotel at 3pm tomorrow. “The meeting has been confirmed,” admitted Tamang.

Gurung is expected to reach Darjeeling late this evening after his five-day tour of Sandakphu-Rimbick. According to sources, Madan will be leaving Darjeeling on November 3. His visit is seen as a move to prepare the groundwork for the next tripartite meeting scheduled to be held in Darjeeling on December 21.

Gurung had already announced that he would intensify the agitation and impose “home rule and declare “Gorkhaland”, if the December talks were not fruitful.

The closure of the BDO offices is likely to affect the Central government’s 100-day work programme and projects like construction of roads.

The BDO offices look into every aspect of development in rural areas like the implementation of the Indira Awaas Yojna, under which houses are built for people below poverty line. (The Telegraph)

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