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Central Govt to create special tourism zone including Darjeeling hills,terai dooars Sikkim - Ahluwalia

Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia
The central government is mulling at creating a special tourism zone by including the Darjeeling hills, the Dooars-Terai region and Sikkim, according to Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia.
In an exclusive interview over phone, Ahluwalia said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken special interest in the proposed STZ, and he had also announced the plan during his election campaigning.
Foreign and domestic tourists visit the Darjeeling hills during the scorching summer months and an STZ will help draw in more tourists to help the economy of the region, said the MP.
Speaking on the water problem in the region, he said, “It will be among the Centre’s top priorities to solve the water problem of Darjeeling. Ongoing projects will get further impetus.”
The people of Darjeeling have been enduring with acute scarcity of drinking water over a number of years and the erstwhile Left Front government, including the present dispensation, has done little to tap the vast potential of rivers that flow in the hills such as the Teesta, Jaldhaka, Neora, Rangit, Balasun and Mahananda, said Ahluwallia.
Beginning from the 1980s till the recent past, tourists have trickled in very small numbers as they did not want to risk themselves given the unpredictable political situation in the region. However, things have now normalised to a considerable extent and most areas earmarked under the proposed STZ are seen packed with tourists.
Help Tourism convener Raj Basu said, “If the government takes an initiative to relocate offices and establishments such as schools and colleges from the Darjeeling town area to suitable places, the move will help residents as well as hoteliers receive enough water supplies. We have submitted a proposal to the administration on behalf of our association for conservation of tourism.”
The STZ concept has been successfully adopted in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines. The UAE has implemented it very successfully to change the very landscape of the desert region.  Darjeeling, the Dooars-Terai and Sikkim, which showcase incredible tourism assets, would do well to go in for an image makeover on these lines, observed Basu. (HindSam)

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