Kurseong: Back in Darjeeling where calm has returned after prolonged turbulence of Gorkhaland agitation, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday made an impassioned appeal for peace to ensure speedy development in the region.
"I am sorry for disruption in the development process in the Darjeeling hills, but my government is committed to expedite it in the interest of people there as well as the entire state," Banerjee told a programme organised by the Lepcha Development Board here.
She stressed that peace and cooperation were necessary to bring tourists to the hills from both home and abroad since they were the main source of revenue.
Once tourists begin arriving in Darjeeling in large numbers, it would change the entire economic scenario in the hills, she said.
The chief minister pointed out that home tourism has already been introduced at Lamahatta and Takdah under the supervision of villagers.
"If more tourists will come, it will boost the development process further," she said.
Giving an account of development works undertaken by her government, Banerjee said that the budgetary allocation has been increased for Darjeeling with special emphasis on upgrading of roads, power and infrastructure.
She said that that her government has sanctioned Rs 103 crore for developing power and Rs 29 crore for national highways.
A 300 MW hydel power project has also been taken up in the hills, she said.
She dwelt on the Lepcha Development Board and also said that 35 new schools have been set up in last two years. Two new colleges would come up with one at Pedong already announced.