oppn parties Don't Let Darjeeling Burn

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PM Modi announces extension of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the free ration scheme for the poor, until November
oppn parties
Don't Let Darjeeling Burn

By Anukriti Roy
First publised on 2017-07-11 07:55:40

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Anukriti is a student who dabbles in writing when she finds time.
There seems to be no solution in sight to the Darjeeling imbroglio. With all the three parties to the dispute – the Centre, the State and GJM – taking up different positions, strike continues to cripple the region. This in turn is crippling tourism – a source of livelihood for the majority of the people. It is also dealing a hefty blow to the famous Darjeeling tea, already reeling under the impact of cheap, look-alike tea from Nepal.

The Centre is adopting a wait and watch position but it is now becoming more wait than watch. For, it is clear that there have to be tripartite negotiations to end the impasse. But the Centre is perhaps enjoying Mamata Banerjee’s discomfort. It cannot continue to be indecisive any longer as the people are suffering due to this dirty game of one-upmanship.

The state government, on the other hand, blundered by refusing Central forces when they were offered. It had unrealistic faith on the district police. Now, accusing the Centre for not helping is not going to hold water. While there can be no question of dividing Bengal, the state government must either engage GJM in talks or ask the Centre for tripartite meeting. A solution has to be found.

As for the GJM, it must realize that strikes have limited appeal as a pressure tactic. Beyond a certain point, they become counter-productive as they turn the people against the party for bringing hardships. Hence, the GJM leadership should now approach the state government first and then the Centre to redress their grievances.

If a quick solution is not found and if arson and violence continue, Darjeeling is going to see a hardening of attitudes that will take a lot of time to reverse. That would be in no one’s interest. Hence, a negotiated political solution must be arrived at by all the parties in an atmosphere of give and take.