The ties between West Bengal and Sikkim were strained after unrest, violence gripped Darjeeling last year over the demand for Gorkhaland.
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Sikkim counterpart Pawan Chamling buried all acrimonies after meeting each other in North Bengal secretariat in Siliguri on Friday.
To maintain friendly relations between the two states, both the CMs made it clear that misunderstanding between them was over and that the Darjeeling issue has become past now. They also assured each other of cooperation.
The relations between the two states were strained after unrest and violence gripped Darjeeling last year when the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) led by its president Bimal Gurung called for bandh to press for the demand of Gorkhaland. The bandh continued in the hills for a long time.
Lashing out at the BJP ruled government in Sikkim, Mamata openly accused Chamling of patronising GJM and sheltering Gurung to evade arrest.
When a West Bengal police team went to catch Gurung hiding at a resort owned by a relative by Chamling in Sikkim, they faced resistance by the Sikkim police.
Also, Kalimpong superintendent of police Ajeet Singh Yadav was booked in a case by the Sikkim police for the raid.
According to sources, the two CMs agreed to meet following the Centre's advice.
Addressing a joint press meet with Mamata, Chamling said, "Now we will work together for the development of Sikkim, Darjeeling and West Bengal. Our discussion was focused on development issues. Whatever misunderstanding was there is past. Now we have to move together for our better future and better relations."
Mamata Banerjee said, "Bengal and Sikkim are two neighbouring states to each other."
She elaborated, "Our people love very much to travel in Sikkim. So we want good understanding between the two states. Since Siliguri is called Chicken's neck, Sikkim is very important from the northeast point of view. If the two states can undertake work simultaneously, both of them can prosper with the tourists' rush. We will sort out our problems which took place between ourselves. It is unanimous. We will work together."
Mamata further explained, "We will give our full cooperation to Sikkim for its development. That was discussed. I think a new rapport has been created and the two states have come close to each other. The misunderstanding over Darjeeling is over now. Past is past. Whatever problem there was, it is over now. Now, a new innings have started. Let us start it from now. This is a good sign."
She added, "This is good for Darjeeling, Sikkim and Bengal. Like our vehicles will go to Sikkim, their vehicles will also come here. Our officials will discuss it with their counterparts. If our meeting would have taken place a few days ago, I could have invited Chamling to the industry meet here. Next time I will invite Sikkim to industry summit. Both states will benefit from it. Tourism will get a boost in both."
Mamata also asked Binay Tamang, head of the board of administrators of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, to talk to Sikkim to improve ties.