Darjeeling strike hits tourism in the northeastJune 19th, 2008 - 3:43 pm ICT by ANI
Siliguri, June 19 (ANI): Sikkim was badly hit after activists fighting for a separate Gorkhaland state in West Bengal blocked National Highway 31 A, considered the lifeline of the state.
“This area falls under Darjeeling district. This highway connects Dooars area that is part of the state of West Bengal to Sikkim,” said Dawa Chettri, a member of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
Strike supporters have forced tourists out of Darjeeling.
The northeastern state depends on one connecting road from the plains below for supplies. The government officials said tourists were not able to reach the state.
Thousands of tourists flock to Sikkim every year, also known as the “Land of Mystic Splendour”, nestled below Mount Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world.
The state is popular for the grandeur of the mountain peaks, its lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls and fast-flowing rivers.
The strike has badly hit the tea industry in the Darjeeling hills, the mainstay of the local economy. A tea industry official warned exports of premium Darjeeling tea could fall 20-25 per cent this year.
The communist government has agreed to talk, but the Gorkhas have refused, saying they were willing to talk to the Central Government in New Delhi.
Gorkhas, who are ethnic Nepalis, are demanding a separate state of “Gorkhaland” to be carved out of West Bengal to protect their culture and heritage. (ANI)
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