DARJEELING, 10th June 2017: More than 50,000 tourists from as far as Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra are in a fix over whether to stay or leave Darjeeling Hills. Their predicament has resulted out of the fact that while the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has expressed its wish to not to enforce further strikes but it is yet to give up its agitation on the issue of the forceful imposition of Bengali language as a compulsory subject in school curriculum in Darjeeling Hills. The Chief Minister herself as said that the Bengali language would be optional in the hills but she too have dillydallied on the issue of issuing a Gazette Notification to that effect.
Further, according to political analysts with the lose of Mirik to the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the GJM has been forced to some extent to re-exert its might over the hills if it has to dominate in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) elections which is near the corner. The Chief Minister and the President of Trinamool Congress (TMC) too wants to make certain that the GJM does not gain a majority to be at the helm of the GTA after the forthcoming elections and thus is making sure that GJM is put in the backfoot. This has led to a turf war between the two and the result is that common people are facing great problems.
According to a tour operator, there has been a tremendous influx of tourists in Darjeeling this year. So much so that the hotels have not been able to service them and many have been forced to sleep at Railway platforms, Temple precincts and even rent living rooms of locals. The same has been with the transport system, which is overstretched and overused with many making the best of it and charging both locals and tourists double or triple the fare. Now that the stage has been set that neither GJM nor the State Government would back out, many tourists feel that the should leave before the tension escalates again which could have a drastic effect on the tourism industry once again.