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Stage set for Hill biz summit

Reza Pradhan | Darjeeling |

Blue and white banners and boards, replete with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s photo, dot the roadsides and Chowrastha at the Mall wears a festive look, with small tents pitched and a pandal pitched at the town’s popular promenade.

The Queen of Hills is ready to witness its first ever Business Summit that begins here on Tuesday. Miss Banerjee arrived here late in the evening, even as the rain and hailstones that fell here failed to dampen people’s spirits as they lined up on the roadsides to welcome her to the two-day ‘Hill Business Summit.’

Organised by the state’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) department, along with the Department of Tourism and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the summit is poised to see many business persons and industrialists from different parts of the country as they attend the event that aims to draw investment, set up industries in the Hills, and generate employment.

“This is the first time that the Hills are witnessing such a business meet,” chairman of the GTA Board of Administrators Binoy Tamang said.

A pandal has been erected at Chowrastha for the meeting, while the first day on Tuesday is set to be attended by business persons, different stakeholders, and state government department and GTA officials.

The next day will see an interactive session and the closing ceremony. According to sources, a separate event is also scheduled to be held on the 15th by the MSME department at the Tourist Lodge here, where progressive farmers will be felicitated, among other programmes.

The summit hopes to rope in investors in many areas like tourism, small-scale industry, horticulture, floriculture and medicinal plants.

Among those welcoming the CM to the town were supporters and central committee members of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha, the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Darjeeling Municipality, and local people who offered her khadas (traditional scarf ) at different locations in the town, including the Gorkha Rang Manch Bhawan.

The last time Miss Banerjee was in the town was on 6 February, her first trip to the Hills after the Gorkhaland agitation that began in early June and lasted over three months.