GJMM to revive tourism in the Hills

Statesman News Service
DARJEELING, Aug.7: The Gorkha Jana Mukti Mukti Morcha is taking special steps to revive the tourism industry in the Hills for the coming festive season after it got a setback the previous season due to the indefinite strike called by the party. “It is evident that tourism suffered disturbances in the previous season but this season we will refrain from calling strikes as festivals should be celebrated in a peaceful environment. Other programmes like dharnas and rallies will be held though”, assured party president Mr Bimal Gurung.
Under the supervision of the Jana Mukti Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association, a body of the hotel owners in the Hills and an affiliate of GJMM, the party will organise tourist festivals not only in Darjeeling but in different parts of the Hills. “This time the tourists will be given special care and hospitality. To boost tourism the hotel owners will also organise carnivals for the tourists in different places of the Hills”, Mr Gurung said.
The entertainment programmes organised in the previous season was a big hit amongst the tourists until the GJMM called the indefinite strike. Addressing the apprehensions of prospective tourists Mr Gurung said, “There will be no disturbance this season so the tourists have nothing to fear”.
Another major attraction this season is the GJMM’s initiative to revive the Brigade of Gurkhas Gold Cup, a big affair in the Hills till the mid-eighties when it was stopped. “We are thinking of reviving the Football Gold Cup around October to give a filip to tourism”, Mr Gurung declared.

West Bengal minister seeks tourist safety in Darjeeling

Kolkata, Aug 6 (IANS) West Bengal Tourism Minister Manab Mukherjee has written to Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) supremo Bimal Gurung, seeking his assistance in ensuring the safety of tourists in the Darjeeling Hills. “I wrote a letter to GJM chief Bimal Gurung requesting him to bring back normalcy in Darjeeling, especially during the months of October and November, which coincides with the festivals of Durga Puja and Diwali,” Mukherjee told IANS Wednesday.

He said thousands of tourists, including foreigners, visit Darjeeling every year during the festive season. Tourism in Darjeeling is a roughly Rs.5 billon industry and the economy of the district largely depends on it.

“We want all tourists to have a safe holiday in the hills. For that I earnestly seek cooperation from the GJM leader to ensure that a proper environment is maintained in the entire district of Darjeeling,” Mukherjee said.

Since the past few months, the tourism industry in Darjeeling has been badly hit due to violence and shutdowns in the region over the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state. More than 100 hotels were lying vacant as tourists had left the pretty mountain resort.

The GJM, led by its president Bimal Gurung, has been spearheading a movement in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling district, which confers it greater autonomy.

Darjeeling was the summer capital of British India till the capital was shifted to New Delhi from Kolkata in 1912.