West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said her government would provide all support to Gorkha Territorial Administration(GTA) and other development boards for the development of the Darjeeling Hills. Banerjee said she has been visiting the state's northern districts often and the region was not neglected. A new road project is being built in north Bengal connecting Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to it. "Besides a new road connecting north and south Bengal will be constructed at a cost of Rs 3000 crore," she said after inaugurating the Uttar Banga Utsav organised by the state government here. "Our government will provide all support and cooperation to the GTA and development boards for the development of the Hills," Banerjee said The state government had in September last year announced a nine-member board of administrators to run the GTA, which was formed to look into the development works in Kalimpong and Darjeeling hills, and appointed rebel Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang as its chairman. Banerjee said her government has set up a group of ministers for the welfare of tea garden workers. "We have allocated Rs 100 crore and set up a separate directorate for the tea gardens," she said. Referring to the state government returning lands to farmers at Kawakhali, Banerjee said decision was taken to do away with tax on agricultural lands and compensated farmers affected by floods. Stating that the Hills would "prosper" if tourism flourish, Banerjee referred to various projects taken up by the state government to boost the sector in this region. "The Hills will prosper if tourism flourishes. We have started a safari park near Siliguri.
A big tourism project is coming up at Gajoldoba," she said. Cooch Behar has been declared as a heritage town and an airport has been developed from where flight operations will soon start. Airports are coming up at Malda and Balurghat, she said. Starting today, Banerjee is on a two-day tour to the northern districts of West Bengal.
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