Dated 24-09-2017 2:00PM Siliguri:
Darjeeling the most popular and beautiful hill stations in North East and the city was established during British reign to trade the best tea leaves in the world. Later it became the most popular tourist destination which is situated in West Bengal.
For the last few years there is a political and sociological glitch in the city for the demand of “Gorkhaland”. During the monsoon of 2017 the demand and agitation took the highest violent way and the city faced a 101 days of strike where all the shops, hotels, transportation was shut. During this strike the West Bengal Govt has shown their efforts to call some meetings and solve the matter diplomatically however the GJM supremo Bimal Gurung did not show interest in the meeting and diplomatic way of solving the problem.
Today just a day before the Durga Puja season on 24th Sept the local business and trade unions unitedly decided to open the shops to show their protest against the strike saying they had been facing a lot of issues financially at their home for the strike and bandhs. They want the city to come to the normal life again with out any delay. However the hotels are still closed and the tourists has not shown their confidence to reach Darjeeling so far. It might take some more time with the help of Police administration and local people to show the welcoming note to the tourists.
Since the major earning source for the local people is Tourism and the tourism business is shattered for more than the last 3 months local people are facing critical issues at their home to earn the livelihood income. This effect of the strike doesnt limit to the food or money it has a huge impact on the medical grounds. People suffering from critical disease needs to be shifted to Siliguri which is the nearest town where the modern medical facilities are available. Due to the strike it has become impossible for local people to move to Siliguri in this situation.
The whole country has the question why the State and Central Govt is not interfering and solving the matter. The State Govt which is a Trinamool Congress rulled govt has taken some initiative to solve the strike by deploying Army but the situation went further to critical phases since Army solve all the problems with Gun. The demand of Gorkhaland was old and majority of the people staying in Darjeeling is Nepali speaking Indians. So a Govt can not ever solve a demand with Gun powder. It needs lot of patience, lot of discussion and positive attitude to solve the problem. While The West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee sanctioned a budget of 900 Crore to Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) 5 years ago and the GJM (Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) leader Bimal Gurung refused to provide the audited report of the 900 crore. After this event the court has issued arrest warrant in the name of the top GJM leaders including Bimal Gurung who is absconding from a very long period. The Central Govt which is run by BJP can not take a risk to sanction the demand of Gorkhaland since the demanded Gorkhaland areas are a integral part of West Bengal. If the demand is sanctioned the whole West Bengal bengalee sentiment will go against BJP and BJP will never get a chance to win West Bengal elections.
Since the leaders were absconding from a long time and there is no upliftment of the situation local supporters for Gorkhaland has lost their energy and hope and they want to return to their own businesses accepting it will still remain West Bengal. We hope things will be sorted and we will see a peaceful Darjeeling again.
BBC, Indian Express, Hindustan Times.