Hill Travel Industry Fears Requisition Of Tourist Vehicles For Polls

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Darjeeling: The travel trade industry has appealed to the government for an exemption as the industry fearing that the requisition of tourist vehicles from Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts for the forthcoming rural polls would cause major inconvenience to the tourists during peak tourist season.

Six districts of North Bengal will be going to Panchayat polls on April 5, with repolls (if required) scheduled for April 7. However, Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts will not go to poll.

The Hills are looking forward to a bumper tourist season this May, but also fear that the rural polls could emerge as a damper. Counting for this phase-wise election of West Bengal has been slated for April 8.

May is the peak tourist season for the two districts. Already, vehicles are being requisitioned from the two hill districts for the rural polls, claimed travel agents. Every year, more than 10 lakh tourists visit the Hills. There is a shortage of vehicles during peak season.

Along with tourists, locals also face problems. Requisitioning of vehicles will further aggravate the problem. The political unrest, along with the 104-day-bandh in 2017, had caused a major dent in the tourism sector, the economic mainstay of the Hills. Stakeholders including the GTA and state government, are trying to woo tourists back.

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