DarjeelingWest Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday slammed the previous board that ran the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) in Darjeeling for alleged violation of rules, and said that those who committed transgressions will be brought to book.

Dhankhar, who is in Darjeeling, asserted that that an audit would be held every year to keep a tab on GTA expenditure.

GTA, a semi-autonomous body which administers Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong sub-divisions, was formed in 2011. The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) that swept the elections to the council the following year had operated its board until 2017, when a government-appointed administrator took over.

The governor, after administering oath to the new chief executive of the council, Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM) leader Anit Thapa, said that provisions of the GTA Act had been flouted in the past.

I congratulate everyone who has come to be elected; it is a great responsibility. Provisions of the GTA act had been violated for lack of accountability and transparency, with no audit taking place even once. The audit should have been held every year, he said after the oath-taking ceremony.

The governor, lauding the BGPM-led board for starting a new innings on a clean slate, however, cautioned its members against transgressions .

This team is starting on a clean slate. Make sure there are no violations; make sure you show your commitment. You have my assurance there will be an audit for each year and everyone found committing transgressions will be brought to book, he said.

The BGPM, formed just nine months ago, emerged as the largest party in last month’s GTA elections, winning 27 out of its 45 seats.

Polls to the GTA were held in June after a decade that was marked by a series of changes in the region’s political dynamics.

This should have been the third GTA elections; unfortunately this is the second one, Dhankhar said.

Later in a tweet, he stated that all misdeeds of the council would be thoroughly investigated.

Guv Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar administered Oath of Office of Chief Executive #GTA to Shri @AnitThapa14 today. Guv exhorted elected representatives to work with honesty & assured that all past misdeeds will be thoroughly investigated and all responsible will be dealt as per law, he wrote.

Darjeeling, often referred to as the Queen of the hills, witnessed several agitations over the years for a separate state. In 2017, scheduled elections to GTA could not be held owing to violent protests over the demand, prompting the government to appoint an administrator to run the council.

Traditional hill parties like the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the Gorkha National Liberation Front, besides the BJP, had boycotted June elections, claiming that the body had little autonomy.

Also read: After pani puri, Mamata makes momo at Darjeeling stall


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