Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has set a three-month deadline for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and four hill municipalities to complete projects.
Mamata stressed the need to develop more tourist sites and suggested that more traders and shopkeepers accept dollars from foreign visitors.
Mamata complained about frequent disturbances hampering development work in the hills before setting the deadline.
Told it would take another “six months” to complete renovation of “Swiss cottages” in Mirik, Mamata said: “I have been hearing this for the past five years. You have to complete it within three months.”
She directed the hill municipalities to improve roads, sewerage and garbage collection in that period.
“In Darjeeling, underground cables and pipes run along roads. The cables have destroyed the road. I enquired and was told that funds have been paid (by the cable-laying companies to the civic body),” Mamata said.
The chief minister wants Lava and Lolegaon in Kalimpong district to be further developed. “Whenever I think of visiting Lava Lolegaon, there is problem in the hills. The place can be developed further.” Mamata said pine forests near Pashupatinagar and Mirik could also be given a facelift.
Stability was a key theme. “When I visit Darjeeling, it is also a type of marketing for the place. I am hearing that tourists have not come in droves this time because of lack of stability,” Mamata said.
Turning to trade, the chief minister suggested that hoteliers and traders should start accepting both in the Indian currency as well as dollars more widely “because a lot of foreign tourists visit” the hills.
Told that the Darjeeling Hills University project was estimated to cost Rs 333 crore, Mamata hauled up the PWD department and asked it to start initial work with Rs 50 crore.
Dow Hill, the only state-run ICSE school for girls, will be upgraded to a higher secondary school.
The chief minister also directed the Kurseong MLA to look after the work related to the second campus of Presidency University in the hill town.