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30 May 2018

I want more and more tourists to come to Darjeeling: Mamata

I want more and more tourists to come to Darjeeling: MamataMP | Kalimpong: "We have to move forward to usher in the good days," said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as she embarked on a four-day visit to Kalimpong on Tuesday and addressed a programme of the coordination committee of the 15 development and cultural boards at Ronaldshay Park.
Highlighting the importance of maintaining peace in Darjeeling Hills, which saw a record 104 day-long strike last year, she stressed on the development of tourism in this area. "We want peace here. It helps in achieving targets and when there is no peace, it affects even the work which is about to achieve success," she said while addressing a mammoth administrative meeting here.
"I want more and more tourists to come here. For that, we should be looking into the various scopes of development of the tourism sector here. Darjeeling is very popular among the people of this country," she said.
The Chief Minister also added that a detailed discussion on improving tourism and unemployment would be held in Wednesday's meeting with the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). She stated that the 15 development boards were doing a commendable job. However, she firmly insisted that public accounts be maintained and audited properly in a systematic manner.
"I have given Rs 96 crore to the Boards today (Tuesday). Earlier, I had given Rs 556 crore. Boards have done development work. 47,000 beneficiaries have reaped the benefits. Around 19,000 toilets have been built; 70 Jhoras (streams) have been improved; community development centres have been built; night schools have come up; many people below the poverty line have got houses as well," she stated.
"We want all the Development Boards and the GTA to work properly, maintain public accounts and audit accurately. The Boards that work well will get more help (in the way of funds.) If GTA works well, we will definitely give more funds," she said.
Calling for unity, Banerjee stressed on inseparable bonding and said: "We will live together like a family. Bengal and India love the Hills. The more the number of tourists, more the benefits for the Hills."
Vehemently criticising the politics of bandhs, she stated: "There are some leaders who after regular intervals clamp bandhs for months together. When there is a bandh, locals are the worst affected. Unemployment skyrockets, food becomes scarce, people from outside face problems, development activities come to a standstill. We have lost eight precious months. We will have to make up and move forward. I have come to aid this process."
The Chief Minister also spoke about setting up a new university in Mongpu for which land has already been earmarked.
She further mentioned that she would be distributing land documents (patta) to 300 forest villagers on May 31.
"Let Darjeeling and Kalimpong become self-sufficient and surge forward showing the way to the rest of Bengal, India and the world," she added.
Echoing similar thoughts, Binay Tamang, Chairman, Board of Administrators, and GTA, said: "I had told the Chief Minister that her present visit would be different from the past. The number that turned up on Monday to welcome her and even today (Tuesday) hold enough proof. Many could not arrive owing to heavy traffic. The huge tourist inflow and the lack of hotel rooms are indicators that peace and normalcy have returned to the Hills."
Tamang also stated that development and socio-economic upliftment of the people are the need of the hour. "For the past 30 years, the Hills have been backward. Now, the state government is extending all possible cooperation and we will have to move forward."

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