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Chill sets in the air, but hills aren't happy

Chill weather in Darjeeling chowrastha
Darjeeling: The chill is in the air and the woollens are out. But the hills aren't happy.
While hotel owners and vehicle operators are ruing the lack of tourists despite the strike being lifted, farmers are unhappy about a fall in orange production because of a fungal infection. The winter charms are less even for the students, who will have to attend school to make up for the time lost during the strike.
Met officials said winter had set in early in the hills, with the mercury plummeting suddenly to as low as 6°C in Darjeeling town on Wednesday. Local residents and the few tourists that are in the hills moved around covered from head to toe.
In the evening, the chill in the air pushed people indoors.

Sources in the Met department said the temperatures might dip further over the next two to three days.
"In any case, there are hardly any tourists in the town. During this time of the year, the entire town is usually crowded with visitors. The footfall continues freely until New Year. But this year, it's quite disappointing. We have already incurred a loss of about Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh over the past few months and it continues to mount even after the strike was lifted. There is hardly any booking even for the Christmas-New Year week," said the owner of a 20-room hotel.
For the students too, the winter is not quite encouraging as they will miss out on the long vacation. As for the succulent Darjeeling oranges, they seem all but gone this year.
Orange production in the hills has been on the decline since 2015. The hills used to produce 2.5 lakh quintals of oranges annually across 4,742 acres. Farmers said the production was likely to fall by over 60 per cent because of fungal infection, pest attacks and old bushes.

The Telegraph

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