EOI, DARJEELING, 30 Mar 2017: With the promise of providing land rights, developing the tea and tourism sectors of the area, and support to entrepreneurs, chief minister Mamata Banerjee today officially declared Mirik as a new sub-division. When she last visited the hills on February 14, the chief minister declared Kalimpong sub-division as the 21st district of Bengal.
Her promise to look into land rights is significant given Mirik with nine municipality wards is a notified area and surrounded by three tea gardens, Okaiti, Phuguri and Thurbo.
Several areas of Mirik fall under these tea gardens. “I have come to know that many residents of Mirik live in the town area. I thought and talked with my (state) chief, home and land secretaries who have accompanied me today. We will conduct a survey and then take an official decision to allot you an address with holding numbers or land rights,” Banerjee said.
Terming Mirik a neglected area of the hills, the CM said her government would develop it with support from the tea gardens. “The Mirik Lake is dirty and the tourist cottages are in a shambles but nothing has been done to repair these assets. But we have plans to develop the tea and tourism sectors of this area like other places of the hills. We will also construct a government tourism bungalow for officials to stay when they visit Mirik as there are none at present,” she said.
Banerjee also said the state government would extend all support to entrepreneurs of the area if they were interested. “I cannot do everything as I am neither Ishwar, Allah or God but I assure you whatever is possible I will definitely do for you, as I love the hills and the people here. If you want to start an IT centre, food processing unit or cactus or orchid cultivation, then tell me or come to me. We will extend all help,” she said.
With the municipality election around the corner, the TMC president did not let go of the opportunity to woo voters, highlighting the failures of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha run GTA. “I thought the GTA was a government and it would work for the people. We (state) gave funds to the GTA to develop the hills but nothing has happened. The GJM neither works nor lets me. I want to do so many things here but cannot as we don’t have the municipality,” Banerjee said.
During the programme held at Alley ground, the CM laid the foundation stones for sub-stations at Sonada, Bagdogra, Kawakhali and Purbakaraibarir Chat and a SJDA guest house in Matigara at a cost of Rs38.52 crore and inaugurated projects worth Rs186 crore including a fair price diagnostic MRI at Darjeeling district hospital.