Tea firms line up tea tourism projects in Darjeeling hillsAugust 23rd, 2012 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Aug 23 (IANS) Tea producers are venturing into tea tourism projects in the picturesque Darjeeling hills, hoping the newly-created Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) will restore peace in the region.
The three picturesque Darjeeling hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong in northern West Bengal have been on the boil for nearly three decades over the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland. Agitations, killings, police crackdowns and long shutdowns had severely impacted the local economy and its mainstay, tea, and tourism.
Elected members of the GTA were sworn in earlier this month after the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) swept the polls, raising hopes that the law and order situation would improve in the hills.
Banking on this, firms possessing tea estates in the “Queen of Hills” have lined up projects for developing tea tourism.
“At least five to six proposals for setting up tea tourism projects in Darjeeling hills have recently been submitted to the West Bengal government by different companies,” Darjeeling Tea Association secretary Kaushik Basu told IANS.
Among these are three projects from the Kolkata-based Bagaria Group and one from Sourenee Leaves Pvt Ltd (SLPL), a part of the Titagarh Group.
“According to existing laws, maximum 25 acres of non-crop land within the granted (garden) area can be used for tea-tourism, subject to government approval,” Basu informed.
According to him, a number of tea makers are interested in foraying into tea-tourism business and want to apply to the government for that.
The Bagaria Group, headed by Sheo Shankar Bagaria, wants to develop three tea tourism projects within its Orange valley Tea Estate, situated in close proximity to the Kanchenjunga Mountain range and surrounded by orange trees.
“We are waiting for the approval. Once approved, we will invest a total of Rs.30 crore in the three projects - Rs.10 crore will be spent on each project,” Bagaria said.
Tea maker Sourenee Leaves Pvt Ltd (SLPL) wants to set up a luxury hotel within its more than 100-year-old Sourenee Tea Estate in the picturesque Mirik Valley.
“We expect that we would get the approval from the government within one month. We will build a 30-room luxury hotel in the estate,” said Vinita Bajoria, a member of the promoter Titagarh Group.
She, however, did not divulge details on total investment for the project saying, “It is not yet finalised.”
Bajoria hoped that tea-tourism in Darjeeling would soon see a good business as “things have been sorted out” after the election to the GTA.
“We expect good response for our tourism project in Mirik as it has good flight connectivity from both Delhi and Kolkata,” she said.
Sourenee will also use its existing bungalow at Mirik for high-end tea tourism by December this year.
(Mithun Dasgupta can be contatcted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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- Polls to new Gorkhaland civic body July 29 - Jun 25, 2012
- Decision on territorial polls Saturday, says GJM - Jun 28, 2012
- GJM faces heat from rival parties for strong-arm tactics - Jul 07, 2012
- GJM threatens to renew Gorkhaland demand - Feb 09, 2012
- 122 candidates file nominations for GTA polls - Jul 10, 2012
- Gorkhaland team meets Bengal governor - Aug 22, 2012
- 'Will do everything for Darjeeling, no separate Darjeeling' - Oct 11, 2011
- GJM to take part in GTA polls - Jun 30, 2012
- GJM announces agitation, calls for burning GTA agreement - Jun 10, 2012
- GJM to take part in GTA polls, Mamata happy (Lead) - Jul 01, 2012
- GJM to boycott Rajya Sabha polls - Mar 18, 2012
- GJM candidates only ones in fray in about half of GTA seats - Jul 12, 2012
- All CPI-M candidates pull out of Gorkhaland polls - Jul 12, 2012
Tags: association secretary, close proximity, crop land, darjeeling hills, gjm, gorkha, kalimpong, kaushik basu, kurseong, orange trees, orange valley, tea association, tea estate, tea estates, tea makers, tea producers, territorial administration, tourism business, tourism projects, west bengal government