Mamata’s sops to ‘turn Darjeeling into Switzerland’

October 11th, 2011 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Darjeeling, Oct 11 (IANS) In a bid to fulfil her pre-poll promise of turning Darjeeling in northern West Bengal into Switzerland, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday announced a host of tourism and economic projects for the hilly region.

“Darjeeling will be Switzerland and everybody’s dreamland. The master plan for tourism development is underway, and once completed and implemented, the region will turn into Switzerland,” Banerjee said at a government programme here while announcing the ‘Destination Darjeeling’ project.

“Under the project, from installing street lamps and signages on roads, to sanitary development and garbage disposal, all will be done to make the city better. Eco-tourism policy for Darjeeling is ready. The funds have been sanctioned,” she said.

Banerjee also unveiled six railway projects, including a modern printing press and basic training centre at the neighbouring hill town Kurseong, a filter manufacturing plant and a multi-functional complex building at Siliguri in the plains.

A tourist information centre (TIC) will be set up in the picturesque Mall, the tourist hub of Darjeeling town.

An international research centre named after Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and a Nepali academy named after poet Bhanubhakta will also come up at Kalimpong’s Mongpu.

“In addition to the beautification of stations, tourist lodges will be renovated and upgraded. A trekking route will be created from Moniganj to Sandakphu…With private participation, four ropeways would also be installed,” she said.

A tea tourism festival and an orange festival will also be held, with the former being organised from Dec 20 to Jan 5.

Besides, a Rs.28 crore parking lot and a Rs.3 crore stadium will be set up. Air-conditioned buses will soon connect Darjeeling to various important centres.

She also said her government would provide Rs.56 crore for developing drinking water facilities in the region and establish 100 primary and upper-primary schools.

The government will also upgrade hospitals and health centres in the area.

The youth of the region have been promised police jobs.

“Like the people in Junglemahal (Maoist-affected forested areas in western part of the state), the youth here too will get police jobs,” the chief minister said.

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