Pintail adds another twist in Darjeeling’s politics


Sukna (West Bengal) : Witness to several twists and turns in the politics of West Bengal’s troubled hill areas, the Pintail village, a tourist resort, Monday was the venue of a new accord on setting up a new development agency for the region.

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Chosen as the venue for the signing of the landmark Darjeeling tri-partite agreement, Pintail is a village dotted with cottages and open spaces situated close to the plains of Siliguri.

The resort was run by the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) and now passes into the hands of a new authority. It was a brainchild of Gorkha National Liberation Liberation Front (GNLF) Subhas Ghising, who spearheaded the movement for a separate Gorkhaland state in the mid-1980s and took over as DGHC chief after inking a tripartite agreement with the central and state governments.

Ghising planned it as a heritage resort for the tourists and a halting point for students and others journeying from the hills to the plains. Ironically, Ghising himself had to take refuge at the resort in 2008 after the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) refused to allow him to return to the hills.

Pintail village was again in the news in August last year when Nicole Tamang – a GJM central committee member and prime accused in the murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League chief Madan Tamang – fled from the resort where he was in police custody.

There have been allegations that earlier the GNLF during its heyday and now the GJM has misused the facility to hold party meetings and media meets there.

Banerjee, who earlier wanted to sign the tripartite in Darjeeling town, agreed to hold the signing ceremony at Pintail village in Sukna. This followed a request from the central government that the programme be held in an area which was more easily approachable than the hills in view of the inclement monsoon weather.