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Handing over GTA properties for petty amount: Bimal Gurung seeks CM’s intervention | Mio Kitchen


Amitava Banerjee, MP, 8 July 2024, Darjeeling: Bimal Gurung, president, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has levelled allegations that the people at the helm of affairs in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) are “usurping public properties, to benefit a select few chosen financiers of the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM).” 

They have further appealed to the Chief Minister to cancel “all these illegal handing over of public properties by the individuals running the GTA.” 

The letter states that the Maneybhanjyang-Sandakpu route where the nine GTA tourist huts are present, is a popular tourism destination. 

“Yet those running GTA have silently handed over nine tourism bungalows, also referred to as tourism huts along this route to an individual at the rate of Rs 38.5 lakh only, which amounts to around Rs 4.25 lakh per bunglow per year, without conducting any public auction or following proper norms. It will rake in crores of benefit to this individual, who was handpicked by BGPM leadership to indirectly own these properties for the next 30 years,” stated the letter written to the Chief Minister. 

The letter goes on to complain that the GTA has handed over a prime property in Darjeeling More, Siliguri at the rate of Rs 50 lakh per year for the next 3 years. 

“The rough earning potential of this building as a hotel or tourist guest house has been estimated at over Rs 3 crore per year. 

Even the lease alone would have been more than this, had the GTA followed open auction policy. Yet they handed over this building in a hushed manner, causing massive loss of revenue to the exchequer.

There is further report that GTA is planning to hand over all tourism bungalows under their control to their chosen private operators, silently without any auction,” stated the letter, seeking the Chief Minister’s intervention to cancel all these arrangements. 

Reacting to this, Norden Sherpa, GTA Sabhasad in-charge of tourism, while talking to Millennium Post, stated: “Everything has been done as per norms. A tender had been called in both cases in the Bengal government tender portal and the highest bidder was awarded. Anyone can get the details by filing RTIs. 

We even had constituted a committee with representatives from the Tourism department, engineering division and finance to study the proposals carefully and then after weighing all the pros and cons the committee had decided to enter into operation-maintenance contracts. Technically it is not lease also. 

The properties belong to GTA and they are just operating the properties and maintaining them as well.” 

He stated that the 9 tourism huts were in such dilapidated condition that they hardly attracted any tourists. 

“We would not even earn Rs 6 to 7 lakh annually from the huts together. When the committee assessed how much it would take to repair and upgrade the 9 cottages, the amount that was estimated was Rs 6.8 crore. The GTA did not have this amount to spare for repairs alone. The same was for the Siliguri property. It was in ruins. The party having won the tender bid is now maintaining and operating the property. They have spent a lot towards maintenance. 

Earlier the GTA was not earning anything from this property” stated Sherpa.
Courtesy & source- Millennium Post

https://www.millenniumpost.in/bengal/handing-over-gta-properties-for-petty-amount-bimal-gurung-seeks-cms-intervention-571083

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