PRADIP LOHAGUN, KALIMPONG, 4 Mar 2014: After the formation of the Lepcha Development Board, the state government has given its nod for a Tamang board as well. The Limboo and Bhutia communities are also pursuing for similar setups. With other communities also seeking tribal status, the entire hills is witnessing community based politics. But if the state government has appeased many by forming development boards, it has also drawn a lot of criticism.
Educationist and former Zilla Parishad chairman PR Pradhan lashed at the state government’s policy of forming community based development boards. He disapproved the policy of segregating communities citing development and warned doing so will not bring about overall development of the region.
“Development must take place for all. Developing only one of the ten fingers will render the hand useless,” he remarked. Each community must be incorporated in an inclusive development scheme instead of divisive policies.
Pradhan also commented on the policies of the GTA and stressed on the need for building up human resource in the region to ensure “real development”. He urged the GTA to arrange for special reservations in reputed educational institutions across the country for the “Gorkhas of Darjeeling”. If this is done it will be a great achievement for the hills and also give meaning to the development works of the GTA, said the educationist. According to Pradhan, the GTA has taken up the task of establishing colleges, university and super-specialty hospitals, among others, but locals will not get employment in such institutes as they demand highly proficient people. Experts from outside will have to be hired to work in these institutes and this will give no meaning to development, he said.
If locals are to be employed, the GTA must seriously look into providing reservations for hill students at the finest institutes in the country. “If the Gorkhas of Darjeeling get reservation in national institutes of excellence, the GTA can select meritorious students and send them to study there,” Pradhan said, adding, “If this can be done we will have ample human resources in our region after 10 years.”
CAPTION: PR Pradhan.
Text and Photo by: EOI
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