Morcha relief for damaged houses

Party brass asks people to submit claims
Darjeeling, Jan 24 : The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has decided to compensate its supporters whose houses were damaged during the recent spate of violence in the Dooars.
“We have already provided Rs 10,000 each to the six families from the Lakhipara tea garden (in Jalpaiguri) to construct their houses which had been burnt down by the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad members recently,” said Binay Tamang, the media and publicity secretary of the Morcha.
Apart from the financial aid, the Morcha is also distributing food items like rice, flour and mustard oil to its affected supporters.
“The six families came to meet our president Bimal Gurung at Gorubathan on Wednesday. He gave them around three quintals of rice, a tin of mustard oil and flour. We will also provide them with clothes in the days to come,” Tamang said over phone from Gorubathan in Kalimpong subdivision.
In a meeting held in Calcutta on Wednesday, a seven-member delegation led by party general secretary Roshan Giri, had demanded compensation from the state government for their supporters who had lost their properties in the recent violence.
Tamang also said the Morcha had directed 112 people living in a camp at Jhaldhaka to submit to the party within two days the details of the damage they had suffered in the Dooars. He added that an initial compensation of Rs 10,000 would be distributed among them.
“They were also asked to give their names and addresses so that the party can work out the compensation package. The same list will be given to the government for the compensation,” Tamang said.
The Morcha said the state government gave them a positive response on providing aid.
“It might take some time for the government aid to reach the victims, but the party has decided to go ahead with its own compensation package. We have asked the victims in the Dooars to get in touch with the Morcha leaders for the compensation,” said the spokesperson.
The party is expected to verify the extent of the damage before it doles out the compensation package. The Morcha alleges that properties owned by more than 50 of its supporters were damaged during the recent strife in the Dooars.
Earlier, too, the Morcha had provided relief material, consisting mostly of clothes and foodgrain, to about 14 “innocent” families whose houses were razed to the ground at Rohini on January 1.
Around 20 houses had been burnt following the murder of Subodh Pradhan, a Morcha leader, in Rohini.
The Morcha had claimed that the houses were burnt down by “a mob angry over the death of the leader”. The victims had, however, lodged an FIR, accusing Pradeep Pradhan, the Morcha vice-president, of leading the attack.
But the party said no relief or monetary assistance would be given to the members of the six families who were allegedly linked with Pradhan’s murder.
Talks offer
The Bengal government has invited the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Bikash Parishad, spearheading an anti-Gorkhaland movement in the Dooars, for talks in Calcutta on January 29.
“We have received a message from the divisional commissioner of Jalpaiguri that the chief minister and the top brass of the government would like to meet our representatives in Calcutta,” Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad, said over phone from Calcutta today. “We have decided to send a 10-member team to hold talks.”