As the chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) board of administrators, Binoy Tamang, becomes the first leader of the Hills to be invited to the twoday Bengal Global Business Summit that kicks off in Kolkata on Wednesday, industrialists here have expressed optimism when it comes to the much-needed development in the Hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
The industrialists hope for fresh investments in the Hills. “Darjeeling and Kalimpong Hills have a lot of potential, while Hill people are also now showing interest in industrial development. Industries can be set up in the Hills, especially for tourism, floriculture, horticulture and MSME (medium, small and micro enterprises),” a senior member of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), North Bengal, said. “The region is gradually developing. So many positive initiatives have been taken recently for the development of the region. Mr Tamang must surely meet industrialists and investors during the two-day industrial summit to be held in Kolkata,” the member said.
It may be mentioned here that the tea and tourism industries in the Hills were severely hit by the 104-day-shutdown and the agitation for statehood recently. After he was made the chairman of the GTA board, Mr Tamang expressed his desire, during a meeting with chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Pintail Village near Siliguri last year, to organize a tourism festival and an industrial meet in Darjeeling for ushering in development. “It is a very big thing that Mr Binoy Tamang is joining the Industrial Summit in Kolkata.
The state government’s decision to invite him is very important and it indicates that the state has planned to develop the Hills,” said a senior tour operator, Samrat Sanyal. “Investment came in Darjeeling during the British era in the tea sector, and then the education sector later.
But there is no such remarkable investment for the Hills in the recent past,” Mr Sanyal said, adding, “An investment friendly atmosphere is, however, a must in Darjeeling before expecting investment and industrial development. With a vision of 10 to 20 years, there must be a master plan with land map and land bank for the development of tea and tourism.” According to him, Mr Tamang must meet brand hoteliers and invite them by offering ready land and infrastructure in the Hills.
Tourism destination meet at Gajoldoba
Meanwhile, the state tourism department has decided to invite Mr Tamang to attend another ‘tourism destination meet’ to be held at Gajoldoba on the banks of the Teesta river in Jalpaiguri on 21 January, sources said here today. Official sources added that more than 50 international delegates from at least 30 countries will also be attending that meeting.
“International delegates will also visit the Hills, including Kurseong, Kalimpong and Darjeeling,” the sources said, adding that state tourism minister Gautam Deb will make an official announcement on this very soon.