Darjeeling: Darjeeling will host to the first ever business meet in March and chief minister Mamata Banerjee will be present in the hills for the second time in little more than a month.
Tea and tourism are the two economic mainstay of the hills but these sectors have been hit the hard by the 104-day statehood shutdown. Darjeeling attracts around 3.5 lakh domestic and 40,000 international tourists annually. However, the footfall is expected to plunge 70 per cent this year. The Darjeeling tea industry has had zero production between June and September-end this year.
The first ever Buisness meet is being organised jointly by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and the state government. Binay Tamang, the chairman of the board of administrators of the GTA, said: “For the first time in the hills, an industrialist meet will be held in Darjeeling on March 13 and 14. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will inaugurate the event at 2pm on March 13. She will also be present on the closing day.”
A GTA delegation will be leaving for Calcutta next week to chalk out the details of the event. Along with Mamata, state finance minister Amit Mitra and his cabinet colleagues will be present at the event. “The name of the event, details of the delegates and the venue will be finalised after the Calcutta meeting,” said Tamang.
“From tea, tourism to agro industry, food processes, horticulture, IT and medicinal plants, the hills have much to offer. Most of our educated youths are forced to leave homes for lack of opportunity. We are focused on this event and we are hoping to attract investment to the region,” said Tamang.