WB govt to launch 'clean and green' Darjeeling

Green wave

WB govt to launch 'clean and green' Darjeeling

In an effort to make Darjeeling more scenic, West Bengal government and the Gorkha Territorial Administration would launch a Rs 500 crore drive to clean up the “Queen of the hills”.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Tuesday that 50,000 toilets will be built on the hill town as the first step towards keeping the hills clean.

“The state government and GTA are working together for the project worth Rs 500 crore. Bengal is number one in India in Swachh Bharat campaign. Three out of top four districts are from Bengal,” said Banerjee, who is on a three-day tour of the region.

“I have visited Darjeeling more than 50 times in the last four years. I think noone (Chief Minister) has visited Darjeeling so many times. My Darjeeling is smiling,” she said.

Stressing on the need to improve educational infrastructure in the town, Banerjee said a campus of the Presidency University would be opened in Darjeeling soon.

She also said her government would develop Jalapahar close to the town as a world class tourism centre.

Rhododendron Dell, a well known heritage estate in the area, will be the central point of the planned tourism centre. The state tourism department is planning to start village tourism and home stay facilities at the estate, which has several small villas.

Officials said the government will set up training institutes across Darjeeling where locals will be trained as home stay anchors and tour guides.

Darjeeling, which the British started to develop as a hill station since mid 19th century, can have further growth as a major tourism centre as the Indian Railways is working on improving rail connectivity.

While Darjeeling already has an operational narrow gauge rail track connecting it to one of the biggest trade hubs in the region, Siliguri, railways minister Suresh Prabhu said on August 21 that the ministry is partnerhing with UNESCO to run the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, a World Heritage Site.

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