Kolkata: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha rebel and chairman of the Board of Administrators for the Darjeeling Hills, Binay Tamang, on Monday demanded special funds from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for an international tourism festival.
Darjeeling is a tourist hotspot in India and one of the popular destinations for movie shootings. But tourism industry was badly hit due to Gorkhaland agitation for the last four months.
Most of the hotels are still closed and tourists are wary of going to Darjeeling due to security reasons. In a normal tourist season, 45,000 foreign and nearly 5 lakh domestic tourists visit Darjeeling annually.
To give a boost to the tourism industry, Tamang has requested Banerjee for special fund to bring tourists once again to Darjeeling.
“Special tourism publicity campaign for Darjeeling in regional and national media with tag line ‘Darjeeling Hills Welcomes You’ and 10 day international level tourism festival during the last week of December 2017 to attract national and international tourists and sanction of fund for the said purpose,” Tamang said in a letter to Banerjee.
He also demanded that all cultural development boards formed for various backward class communities by the state government should be brought under the administrative control of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
During the meet with Banerjee, Tamang reminded her that several departments like rural development, cooperation department, minority affairs, fire and emergency, PWD, forest, tribal bodies, which are supposed to be under GTA are still be to be transferred. He also demanded a separate Suchana-O-Sanskriti Bhawan for GTA.
Raising concern over the plight of tea workers, Binay asked Mamata to take action against Alchemist Group and its chief KD Singh (owner of several tea gardens in Darjeeling) for non-payment of wages to tea workers for months. Singh is a Trinamool Congress MP.