SILIGURI, March 29: The GNLF is playing the guardian in Kalimpong, even in matters of trade and commerce.
Fraught with infighting, the Kalimpong Chambers of Commerce has not been able to come up with a substantive body for quite some time. Annoyed, the locals have been alleging that the situation has led to uncontrolled and whimsical pricing of commodities in the markets.
The situation took a turn for the worse with the resignation of Mr Dinesh Mittal from the KCC ad hoc committee president’s post recently.
In stepped the GNLF to salvage the situation and in a letter addressed to local businessman Mr Narendra Somani on 27 March, the GNLF Kalimpong branch president Mr Dawa Pakhrin wrote: “You are being appointed convenor for the formation of a regular elected committee within a period of one month from the date hereof from amongst the existing members.”
The letter has stirred a hornet’s nest and the CPI-M has come down heavily on it. “It is worrisome to notice that a political organisation is controlling and instructing a traders’ body. It is not acceptable,” stated Kalimpong CPI-M leader Mr Tara Sundas indicating his organisation would resist political interference in trade and commerce.
Claiming all was in good faith, Mr Pakhrin explained why he intervened. “The KCC is an important institution but wrangling in the organisation, which often turned into legal battles, was doing the institution no good. So, to bring cohesion in the organisaton, I intervened,” he analysed.
Stating that he was striving for major development projects in the hill town, the GNLF leader said: “We want peace and order in Kalimpong and wish to make it a strike free land.”
The CPI-M is not buying his logic. “The KCC is not a unit of the GNLF. Interfering in its matters and arranging for its election as well is beyond the GNLF,” Mr Sundas argued.
Mr Somani, recipient of the contentious letter is shaken by the development. “I have received Mr Pakhrin’s letter but I would send a reply tomorrow stating that it was not possible for me to accept the convenor’s post or hold the elections to the KCC,” he told The Statesman today.
He cited “health problem” and “local discontent” as reasons for his decision.