Morcha proposes tourism board

Kalimpong, Oct. 14: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has decided to put in place an umbrella organisation — Gorkhaland Tourism Board — to promote and protect the interest of tourism in the hills.

The board is expected to be ready before the spring tourist season.

However, Morcha president Bimal Gurung made it clear to a delegation of Eastern Himalayas Tour Operators’ Association who called on him last night that there would be no relaxation in the us of “GL” number plates by taxis travelling to the Darjeeling hills.

Pemba Tshering Ola, chairman of the Darjeeling Municipality who was present at the meeting, said the decision to form the board was taken keeping in mind the importance of tourism in the hills. “Tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers, transporters and guides will be part of the board,” he said over the phone from Darjeeling. The delegation, Ola said, comprised its president Raj Basu, his deputy Catherine Lobo, Dipak Gupta and Suresh Periwal.

Ola said since all stakeholders were busy with the autumn tourist season, the formation of the board could only happen by the next season. “The ultimate aim is to create a proper infrastructure for tourism in the hills. Once the board is formed, we will conduct classes for drivers to make them aware of the history of the place and improve the language skills,” he added.

The chairman said his party’s directive on the use of “GL” was not targeted against any individual or community, but the state government. “There will be no relaxation on this, Bimal Gurung made it clear yesterday. We are in favour of tourists coming to the hills. In fact, members of Gorkhaland Personnel will ensure the security and safety of tourists in the three hill sub-divisions.” (The Telegraph)

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