Bengal hopes tourists are back to Darjeeling by September

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Kolkata, July 7 (IANS) A month after a fresh spurt in violence forced tourists to scurry out of Darjeeling, the West Bengal government on Friday hoped that tourists would by back by the festive season in September.

“The situation in the hills is slowly becoming normal now. We are hoping that by the time of Durga Puja festivities, things there would be back to normal and the tourist footfall would pick up,” state Tourism Secretary Manish Jain said on the sidelines of Travel and Tourism Fair in Kolkata.

“We hope the bag packers would be back to the popular hill destinations like Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Mirik during the Pujas. We are planning to start our advertisement campaigns based on that,” he added.

The Durga Puja festival begins in the last week of September.

The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha sponsored indefinite shutdown in the north Bengal hills to press for a separate state of Gorkhaland has crippled normal life in the region for almost a month.

Soon after the shutdown last month, there was a rush among the tourists to leave the hills.

The GJM, spearheading the agitation in Darjeeling, also asked the tourists to leave, saying the shutdown and other forms of protests would continue till Gorkhaland became a reality.

–IANS

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