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20 Jun 2017

Minister Goutam Deb terms "this" vandalism as criminal offense

SNS, SILIGURI, 19 June 2017: As the acts of torching government offices, police vehicles, vandalising gover ernment properties become regular incidents in the Hills, state tourism minister Cautam Deb condemned such acts as criminal offense.
Mr Deb said the tourism industry faced the loss of around Rs 60 crore in the past few days. lie apprehended the figure would cross more than rupees of hundreds of crores during the coming festive season.
A number of government establishments including primary health centres, police out posts at Mongpu were set on fire allegedly by GJMM supporters.
The ITIwas torched when chief minister Mamata Banerjee was touring Hills on
June. A office of West Bengal State Electricity Distribution book Company Limited at Garubathan was vandalised, its billing centre at Lodhoma was torched.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway suspended its opera ons indefinitely following the incident of arson and after a portion of the Gayabari station was set ablaze on 16 lune. Around 20 policevehicles have been set on fire so far.
Yesterday, the grain panchayat offices at Dalian and Alley in Kalimpong district were torched, the security room of Kalimpong Sub Divisional Library was set on the. A police jeep was set ablaze at Pedong in the district.
"This is criminal offense. A number of government properties have been damaged. Educational institutes are not even spared in the name of movement. The administration is assessing the loss.The state Government will take necessary steps, Mr. Deb said.

Meanwhile, the Calcutta High Court on 16 June directed the state government to assess the quantum of damage to public properties from the beginning of the renewed agitation on 9 June_ The estimated value of the government properties which were damaged during the GIMM sponsored shut down in the Hills in 2013 was Rs 69 crore.

"The tourism industry is facing huge loss. The government has not only faced the loss but other industry stake holders who run the home stays, handicrafts shops . transport faced the losses. We apprehend the figure may reach to rupees hundred crore in the festive season: he added. (Source & Courtesy : http://epaper.thestatesman.com/1251173/The-Statesman-Siliguri/20th-June-2017#page/13/3)

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