Kolkata : Expressing satisfaction with the help received from the central government in tackling the aftermath of Cyclone Aila, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacahrjee Wednesday said he will go to Delhi June 19 to hold discussion with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“Yes, I am happy,” the chief minister said to a poser from a mediaperson on the central government’s role on the issue.
Bhattacharjee especially praised Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
“Work has progressed fast because of Pranabbabu and Chidambaram. They have announced the 11-member central team which will be coming here for assessing the Aila damage,” he said.
Asked if he wanted help from other union ministers from the state, Bhattacharjee replied: “Of course. Everybody should come forward.”
Bhattacharjee said some members of the central team will be requested to go to Darjeeling for a first-hand idea of the devastation there caused by landslides triggered by the cyclone.
“They will also go to south Bengal,” he said.
Bhattacharjee, who had a meeting with a seven-member GJM delegation at the secretariat during the day, said Darjeeling has suffered heavily due to the landslides.
“Roads, water supply and power have been seriously disrupted,” he said.
“But the money we pay as compensation for damaged houses is very low. That’s the reason I want the central team to go to Darjeeling.”
Bhattacharjee termed his discussions with the GJM delegation as good, but rejected their demand for holding the three-tier panchayat elections there immediately.
“I have told them that the elections for the two lower tiers of the panchayat can be held. But that of the top tier cannot be conducted.”
Bhattacharjee said as per the hill development body Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) rules, the top tier for the district rural bodies is the DGHC. “But now the GJM doesn’t want the DGHC. They want a separate state. Tripartite discussions are on in Delhi on this. Till there is a solution to this, I cannot hold the polls to the top tier.”
He, however, said the GJM seemed to have softened its stand vis-�-vis the state government. “Let us hope for the best. I have always tried to keep the dialogue channel open,” he said.