Mamata, Chamling agree to shelve differences, work together

Elias Hubbard
March 16, 2018

The CM said that he has agreed with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to fully cooperate in all matters of development.

Guwahati: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will meet her Sikkim counterpart Pawan Kumar Chamling in Siliguri today, in a crucial meeting to try and chart a new course after months of strained ties between the neighbouring states.

Cops from the two states clashed over fugitive Gorkha leaders previous year.

Support for programmes and prosperity of respective States will be extended, he said.

Bot the leaders deliberated on issues pertaining to the development of Sikkim and West Bengal, including strengthening of tourism prospects in both the States, he said.

Stating that Sikkim's presence at the just-concluded Darjeeling Business Summit could have helped the region attract more investments, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo invited Chamling to its next edition. "Bengal and Sikkim both can prosper now by working hands to hand", said Banerjee.

"Bengalis constitute a major chunk of Sikkim's total tourist volume. Vehicles from both sides will move freely and officials from both the states will take appropriate measures in this regard", she said.

Following the meeting of the chief ministers on Friday, it is to be seen if the administration of Sikkim co-operates in nabbing Gurung and other Gorkha leaders now on the run, said Darjeeling district officials, asking not to be named. West Bengal has formally alleged that Sikkim was harbouring criminals responsible for the unrest in Darjeeling past year.

The relationship soured after the agitation for statehood started in the Darjeeling hills last June and Mr Chamling wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh backing the Gorkhaland demand.

Mamata, on several occasions, had alleged that Sikkim had been fanning violence at Darjeeling and had been offering shelter to fugitives. She had also alleged that those with vested interests in Sikkim did not want development in the hills of Bengal.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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