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Mamata slams Gorkhaland set-up for failing in tourism efforts

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday slammed the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) — the hill area governing body run by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha — for failing to boost tourism in northern Bengal.

“We help them (GTA), we help Darjeeling…in whatever way we can and cooperate with them. There is a beautiful lake in Mirik. But why didn’t you do anything to renovate the Mirik Lake? Why didn’t you take care of tourism cottages? Why couldn’t you do it? If you couldn’t do it, then you should have told me,” Banerjee said at a public rally here in Darjeeling district.

“Is this the way? You will not do (work) and you will not let us do either,” she said.

The Trinamool Congress supremo declared Mirik, which was earlier a block, as a new sub-division of Bengal.

“Is there any difference between you and I? Is your blood, blood? Mine is not? We want development of the hills. We want employment for the youths here,” she said.

Pointing out the deficiencies in tourism services, the Chief Minister exhorted the locals to support her government’s efforts.

“There are lots of tea gardens, but no places for tourists to stay. There is no electricity, no water. You should develop Mirik town. We want that tourism, be it home-tourism or tea tourism, be developed properly. We want to develop Kalimpong, Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik. Bengal is your land. We can’t walk ahead without your support. GTA elections are coming up. I will not say more,” she said.

Banerjee said a team from the state government will carry out a land-survey to mitigate land related issues.

“Whatever has happened, let it be. Twenty-thirty years have passed but no work has been done. There is only sloganeering during elections but people go away after that. This shouldn’t happen,” she added.

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