Published: Sun, March 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Mamata, Chamling bury the hatchet

Mamata, Chamling bury the hatchet

A month after accusing neighbouring Sikkim of fomenting trouble in Darjeeling and dealing out cash to fuel the Gorkhaland agitation, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said the "misunderstanding" between the two states has been resolved.

One of the prime reasons for Mamata Banerjee behind burying the hatchet is the sizeable Gorkha population in Sikkim.

It may be mentioned that the West Bengal government's relations with the Chamling regime soured a year ago after the Sikkim chief minister expressed displeasure at the way the Trinamool government handled the Gorkhaland agitation.

The development comes on a day the Supreme Court rejected fugitive Gorkha leader Bimal Gurung's prayer for protection against arrest in various criminal cases started by the police in West Bengal. "From now on, we will be helping Sikkim in each way possible", CM Mamata Banerjee said. "It is nice to hear that both states intend to work together for development of tourism in the region", said Debasish Maitra, president of the Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators' Association. Our discussion was on development. "Now we have to move together for a better future and better relations", he said.

Asked if Mr Gurung will be arrested now, she said: "I will not comment anything on this". "I will not comment anything on this matter", she said. "I will surely go to Sikkim, since I love mountains and I love Sikkim". Binay Tamang, chairman of the Board of Administrators of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and a confidante of Mamata said that after the Supreme Court verdict, the roads are all clear for the state government to arrest Gurung.

The relationship between the two states had soured after Chamling backed the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of West Bengal. On the other hand, vehicles bearing Sikkim registration numbers were vandalised in Siliguri.

On the recent row between the states over the transport agreement, Miss Banerjee said: "Vehicles from Sikkim will ply in our area and vice versa. So we want there should be a better understanding between us", Miss Banerjee said, adding, "Since Siliguri is a chicken's neck and Sikkim is also important from the northeastern point of view, development may come if the two states work together".

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