Reiterating the state government’s decision to not allow Darjeeling to be curved out of Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday proposed to build a “new Darjeeling” by boosting tourism and announced a slew of projects for people in North Bengal during the annual meeting of the Lepcha Development Board in Kalimpong.
“We have to work together to build a new Darjeeling. For that, we would develop new tourist places. Darjeeling is congested now. We need to work on other tourist destinations like Kalimpong, Kurseong, Lava and Lolegaon. We have developed some tourist bungalows at Takdah and Lamahata too. After setting up Lamahatta eco-tourism, we are nowstressing on home tourism,” Mamata said.
Work has begun for a marketing complex in Darjeeling, she said, adding that three marketing hubs will come up at Kalimpong, Kurseong and Gorubathan.
Referring to development in the transport sector, Mamata said offer letters were given to 100 new ‘no-refusal’ taxis on Wednesday.
She further announced four hydel projects worth Rs 3,300 crore and a solid waste management project for Rs 11 crore for North Bengal to be carried out by NHPC.
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She said work is on for a Rs 2,000-crore drinking water project in the hills.
The state government would also set up schools for students of the Lepcha community, including a Lepcha medium school, she said, adding that the government is also mulling to set up a Kalimpong Development Authority.
Seeking cooperation from the people in the hills to build the new city, Mamata said, “If you are angry, attack and abuse me. But do not destroy government property as we do not have enough funds to re-build those structures. We do not have money in the treasury. Centre is taking away most of our revenue. Yet we are working hard for the people.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Mamata put up a Facebook post about Darjeeling trip, where she has visited more than 41 times. She mentioned meeting representatives of GTA, Chairman of Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board , All India Bhutia Association, All India Nepali SC Association, Kalimpong Tibetan Association and senior officials of NHPC, who would help in the implementation of hydel projects in Darjeeling.
Extending her gratitude to the people of the hills for giving her the title of ‘Kinchoom Darmit’, she posted: “In a very colourful programme organised by Lepcha Board, thousands and thousands of my Lepcha, Tamang, Bhutia, Limboo, Mangar, Sherpa, Newar, Mukhia, Bhujel and my hill brothers and sisters took part. I express my sincere gratitude for conferring me the Hon’ble title of ‘Kinchoom Darmit’.”
Mamata promised to work for the overall developnment of the hills. “My government is very proactive to meet the requirements of the people and overall development of the hills. We will do our best. My hearty greetings to my hill brothers and sisters,” she posted.