West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said if the people of Darjeeling hills maintain peace, industries and development would automatically follow.
Inaugurating the first Darjeeling Business Summit here, Banerjee hoped it would open the window of many new opportunities for the hill people in terms of business and employment opportunities.
“Darjeeling is a part of West Bengal and will continue to remain so without being separated from it.
I give more importance to Darjeeling than my own constituency and will continue to do this if I am ensured that peace would be maintained here”, Banerjee said.
Stating that the Darjeeling hills have huge potential for development of trade and business, Banerjee said she was confident that apart from promoting tourism, tea industry, horticulture and floriculture, there was a lot of scope for development of cinchona cultivation in the hills.
“The hills will prosper only if there is business, economic growth, employment generation and peace,” the chief minister said at the inaugural programme of the two-day meet.
The CII partnered the state government and the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) to organise the meet here.
Expressing hope that the CII would extend cooperation in setting up some high-end hotels in the hills, Banerjee asked it to prepare a Plan of Action on how development and industrialisation could progress together.
She also asked the CII to prepare a Detailed Project Report on cultivation of cinchona, orchid and medicinal plants, which have huge market.
She also asked the investors to explore and identify their field and decide how fast they could transform their plan into action.
“The Darjeeling administration has incurred huge loss during repeated movements, which should not be repeated, if the people wants to change their future,” Banerjee said adding that there should not by any breakdown of essential services such as power, healthcare and education.
Banerjee was accompanied by some of her cabinet colleagues, senior officials and a business delegation.
“Darjeeling is a land of abundant natural and human resources with tremendous potential,” Banerjee said.
Apart from focusing on eco-tourism and adventure tourism, the GTA is identifying heritage sites which can be converted into effective tourism products, she said.
Tea tourism also could provide with a lot of employment opportunities in the hills, she said adding that the places like Sandakphu, Mirik, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Lava, Lolegaon and Tiger Hills could be made more attractive.
The Chief Minister also said Kurseong will be developed as an Education Hub, while two IT hubs would come up in Kurseong and Mirik.