Stating that industries would be set up in the Hills in three phases, Chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Board of Administrators Binoy Tamang on Saturday said that the process for setting up small-scale industries would start soon after the two-day Hill Business Summit gets over on 14 March.
Mr Tamang spoke to the press after a meeting he held at Lal Kothi, the GTA secretariat, on plans to hold the first ever Business Summit in the Hills.
The meeting was attended by the additional chief secretary, joint director, and director of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) department, along with representatives of the Confederation of Indian Industry and other stakeholders, including farmers.
“We want to capitalise on the resources of Darjeeling and bring them in the markets, so we will be dealing it in three phases–long term, where big industrialists wanting to set up industries here might take three years to build the infrastructure.
The medium-term will have investors who can start production in six months or one year’s time. For the short-term, it can be started within a week or a fortnight’s time and this will include small-scale industries. We want to start this process as soon as the Business Summit gets over,” Mr Tamang said.
“There are many things here like cardamom, brooms, ginger, turmeric and honey, but the farmers have not been streamlined. There are two things that are needed–production and marketing–and there are big houses like Big Baazar, Amazon and Spencers which are ready to buy local products in the initial level,” said Mr Tamang, adding that these big houses will also be present in the upcoming Business Summit.
According to Mr Tamang, about 60 percent of such products of Darjeeling go outside and given other names, which will be stopped from now onwards and will only go outside as a Darjeeling product. “Such branding will be decided by the GTA and the state government, and we are working in the ground level with officials visiting different places where such products are found.
We want market-added value for these products after packaging is done. We want maximum gains for farmers in minimum investment,” he said, adding that the state government, along with the GTA, will also provide aid and create the infrastructure for such products in the villages with them targeting about 50,000 farmers in a year.
Mr Tamang also said that major announcements would be made on 14 March, “but for now 10 small scale industries will be set up here, along with skill development programmes for Darjeeling and Kurseong for children to be groomed in hostels with 70 percent placement to be given.”
Speaking about another meeting between the GTA and folk cultural units, Mr Tamang said, “Like in northern India, their cultural instruments, attires and other things are attached with tourism and are exposed outside with marketing also being done. We also want to have these units, so that apart from preservation, income can also be generated. If a place is given to us by any community, the GTA, along with the state government, will form such a unit.”
Mr Tamang also said eight more places in the Hills will have fire stations.
“It is under process, with the demand already taken up with the Fire and Emergency Services minister Shovan Chaterjee. We have marked places for fire stations in Algarah and Sukhia Pokhari for which an NOC is needed from the district magistrate,” he said.