Darjeeling: The meeting between Mamata Banerjee and Pawan Chamling has brought hope for the tourism and transport sectors in both Bengal and Sikkim.
Strained relations between the neighbouring states had started taking its toll on the two economic mainstays amid complaints of stringent checks from commercial vehicle owners from both sides.
“Vehicles will keep moving between Bengal and Sikkim. Senior officials of both states will sit together and take necessary steps so that no inconvenience is faced on either side,” the Bengal chief minister said after the talks with Chamling.
Operators had feared problems in the peak summer season for tourists this year, which would have added to their woes after losses last year from the statehood agitation in the Darjeeling hills.
Asked about joint promotion of tourism – north Bengal and Sikkim are considered an integrated circuit – Mamata said proposals from Sikkim would be welcome. “We will invite Sikkim to the next edition of the hill business summit. If we work together on the tourism circuit, itwill benefit both states,” Mamata added.
Tour operators welcomed the announcement. “We had high hopes from the meeting and it seems the talks were effective. It is nice to hear that both states intend to work together for development of tourism in the region,” said Debasish Maitra, president of the Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators’ Association.