Siliguri: As the demand for statehood for Gorkhaland grows louder, the indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has left the tourism industry in West Bengal dry.
"Instantly when we are on the verge of getting over our survival, the movement again started. And the movement started in such a period where actually the tourists come into the region for Puja and Diwali seasons," Samrat Sanyal, a tour operator, said.
The tourism industry is feeling the pinch of the indefinite ban called in the Darjeeling area, as tourists have cancelled over 70 percent of their bookings within a short period of time.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Thursday gave a call for a two-day shutdown, Saturday and Sunday, in West Bengal`s Darjeeling Hills in the wake of the arrest earlier in the day of its assistant general secretary Benoy Tamang along with six party workers.
Darjeeling has been most affected as it is a prime vacation destination for both domestic and international tourists throughout the year.
The Gorkhaland movement that began in 1980s had ended with a truce between the then Gorkha leader Subhash Ghising and New Delhi, after he accepted limited autonomy in 1988 with a new Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).
GJM called an indefinite bandh pressing their demand for Gorkhaland as a separate state to be carved out of parts of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts of northern West Bengal.
After the decision to carve out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh was made public, the demand for creation of other states has grown louder throughout the country. There have been demands and protests to divide Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal.