New tourist destinations in north Bengal

To promote Bangla as a favoured tourist destination, the State Government has taken a slew of measures and in another such initiative, the Tourism Department has earmarked new tourist destinations near Siliguri. Tourists are increasingly preferring offbeat destinations set in natural surroundings.

The Tourism Minister recently laid the foundation stone of an embankment project on the river Teesta, at Lalton Chumukdangi village in Dabgram, Jalpaiguri district. Embankment and spurs will be built at a cost of Rs 8.03 crore.

The village, located around 20 km from Siliguri, will be developed as a new tourist destination. There, tourists will be able to enjoy the serene natural surroundings around the river Teesta and the Baikanthapur forest, which is rich in flora and fauna, with elephant, deer and leopard among the animals that can be seen. The department will construct a resort with 14 cottages, a restaurant a dining hall.

The Tourism Department also has other projects near Siliguri in the pipeline. Eight acres near the BSF Radhabari Camp, on the road connecting Siliguri and Jalpaiguri, around 25 km from Siliguri, have been earmarked for an artificial forest. It will be planted with exotic trees and fruit trees and is expected to draw a large number of tourists and nature-lovers.

A ‘Karmatirtha’ will soon come up on five acres near Bengal Safari Park in Siliguri, which has become a major attraction within a short span of time, among both tourists and local residents. The Karmatirtha is expected to draw its clientele from among the tourists to the wildlife enclave. It will showcase and sell handicrafts and related items made by self-help groups.

Source: Millennium Post


9 new spots identified by State Heritage Commission

The State Heritage Department has identified nine new heritage spots across the State. This is a big step towards preserving the rich heritage of Bangla that is centuries old, and in turn promoting tourism.

The nine are:

* Shivshakti Annapurna Temple, Barrackpore
* Brahmamoyee Kali Mata Temple, Hooghly district
* Stuart Saheb’s (indigo planter’s) bungalow (nilkuthi), Barrackpore
* St Bartholomew’s Cathedral, Barrackpore
* Krishna Bhabini Nari Siksha Mandir, Chandannagar (school)
* Prabartak Sangha headquarters, Chandannagar
* Nandalal Bhar’s house, Chandannagar
* Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery, Bhawanipore, Kolkata
* Deb Sahitya Kutir’s headquarters, College Street, Kolkata

Special measures would be taken to maintain these and make them more popular among tourists, both domestic and international.

State Govt training homestay owners

In an effort to make homestays more popular, the Bangla Government recently organised a two-day training session in Darjeeling for owners of homestays.

The State Tourism Minister inaugurated the training. He announced that such training sessions would henceforth be held two to three times a year. He also asked the homestays to register with the State Government so that they were able to get all the facilities provided by the State.

Representatives of 287 homestays from Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts participated in the training. Among the issues tackled during the training were adequate supply of drinking water, cleanliness, environment-friendly facilities (creating a plastic-free environment, etc), adequate power supply, stable Wi-Fi facilities in the rooms, transportation facilities for tourists and others.

Tourism festival to be held in North Bengal this winter

For the first time, the State Government will organise a tourism festival this winter in North Bengal. It will showcase the local traditions, cultures as well as offbeat destinations.The project was approved recently by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The details of the festival were outlined by the Tourism Minister. The festival will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from November 15 to December 21.

The first edition will be held at the offbeat destinations of Meteli, Gajoldoba (Jalpaiguri district) Rajabhatkhawa (Alipurduar district), Sitong (Darjeeling district), Pedong (Kalimpong district) and Talidighi (Dakshin Dinajpur district).

The festival will lay stress on low-cost homestays, resorts, Swiss tents as well as local art products, cultural performances, jungle safaris and travelling to various locations (at Jayanti Forest, Chilapata, Buxa Fort, etc.), bird-watching, adventure sports, activities around bonfires at campsites and of course, gastronomical experiences. The venues will host blog writers, tourism experts and celebrities during the course of the festival.

Importantly, the festival will be an eco-friendly, plastic-free event. Medical support and ambulances will also be present at the venues. Pick-ups from and drops to the local airport and railway stations will be available. Token memorabilia will also be given to the tourists.

Each venue we will have accommodation for around 125 guests, of whom 25 will be accommodated in tents and the remaining 100 in home stays, on twin-sharing basis. Guests will be charged Rs 1,250 per person per day.

The State Government has allotted a budget of around Rs 2 crores. Booking for the festival can be made online through the WBTDC website and the official portals of the districts.

State Govt to tap several avenues of tourism aggressively

The Bangla Government is focussed on tapping the tourism potential of the State in the travel and tourism market. The 35th Annual Convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) was recently held in Kolkata where efforts to this end were made.

Since the city has changed significantly in the last 10 years, the Government plans to showcase the new face of Kolkata as a ‘hub city’. This would in turn generate interest in tourism all over the State.

The State Tourism Department is also planning to have a new slogan, ‘Ocean to the Sky’ in order to promote the diversity of Bangla.

Bangla offers a number of tourism circuits, and the State Government is at present trying to actively push heritage tourism by involving private tour operators.

The south-western part of the State provides a nice circuit for wilderness and adventure tourism via rivers, hills and forests. The Dooars also provides a great opportunity for tourism. The entire stretch from Kolkata to Durgapur-Asansol provides excellent opportunities for business and recreational trips.

For the promotion of cultural tourism, the Tourism Department plans to promote and encourage several festivals celebrated in Bangla including Durga Puja in October, followed by Kali Puja (Diwali), the Kolkata International Film festival in November, the Kolkata Christmas Carnival in December and the Sangeet Mela in January.

The tourism department is also planning to organise a River Festival in January for which an MoU has been signed with the British Council and the UK Government.

Apart from these, the Department is also focussed on promoting the State’s cuisines in a huge way.

Regarding cruise tourism, which is growing for the past five to six years, the Tourism Department plans to take on two more vessels, adding to the already existing four, along with two houseboat-type vessels which can be used for meetings. Besides in Kolkata, houseboats would also be floated on water bodies in Mukutmanipur and Chandannagar.

Buddhist stupas being restored as part of promoting heritage tourism

The State Tourism Department has started restoring several Buddhist stupas spread across north Bengal, informed the Tourism Minister recently in the Assembly.

This is part of the Tourism Department’s efforts to promote heritage tourism. Along with the restoration activities, the Government will launch several initiatives to augment heritage tourism.

He said that five stupas have been identified as of now, in Malda, Murshidabad and a few other districts, among which the work on the stupa in Jagjivanpur in Malda is almost complete.

Several stupas were constructed in Bangla in ancient times, starting with the Gupta dynasty, then by Harshavardhana, and followed by the Pala kings.

Another aspect of tourism that is being given stress on is bringing back horse-drawn carts (tanga) in Malda district. These can also be used to transport tourists, especially to and from monuments. At one time, tangas were available all across the district but their numbers have dwindled. Popularising them would lead to employment generation as well.



Source: Ei Samay

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Darjeeling: Looking at a bright future

Darjeeling has witnessed phenomenal growth and development in the last seven and a half years. Despite few incidents of unrest in the Hills, efforts led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were decisive in re-establishing peace there.

Health: 4 fair-price medicine centres, 6 fair-price diagnostic centres, free beds, 8 SNSUs, 2 SNCUs, 3 CCUs, 3 HDUs

Schools: 131 schools established, 116 schools’ levels upgraded

Scholarships: 2.28 lakh students under Kanyashree, more than 1.07 lakh students under Sikshashree

Higher education: Darjeeling Hill University coming up in Mongpu; 2 government degree colleges, 2 ITIs coming up

Kisan Mandi: 3 Kisan Mandis set up

100 Days’ Work: More than 4.17 crore man-days created from FY 2013-14 to 2017-18

Housing: About 22,000 people benefitted from housing schemes, including rural housing

Industry: First Hill Business Summit held in 2018, at which investment proposals worth Rs 2,000 crore were received

Roads & bridges: 3,611 km of roads built/repaired/widened

Tourism: Bengal Safari Park near Siliguri; environment-friendly tourist lodge on Tiger Hill, renovation of Netaji Museum in Giddapahar; Roy Villa in Darjeeling, where Sister Nivedita died, acquired by the State Government and renovated

Development boards: 16 development boards created for 16 communities in the district for the communities’ social development and cultural well-being

Samajik Suraksha Yojana: 1.82 lakh unorganised labourers enlisted

Karmatirtha: 3 Karmatirthas built

Sports: Himal-Terai-Dooars Spots Festival being held every year with a lot of enthusiasm


Bangla CM launches ‘Utkarsh Bangla’ e-governance portal

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee recently launched the website – – the e-governance portal of Utkarsh Bangla, a flagship scheme for skill development in Bengal. The annual target of the scheme is to train 6 lakh youth.

The portal will enable the State Government to manage the multifarious needs of the skilling ecosystem, starting from candidate registration to empanelment of training partners and their training centres to online biometric attendance system.

It portal will assist in maintaining transparency and accessibility in reaching out to the unemployed youth in every corner of the State. It will also act as a one-stop-shop for industries where companies would be able to find and recruit skilled manpower as per their requirement.

The short-term training duration starts from 300 hours and is completely free for the candidates. Some of the sectors for short-term training include tourism & hospitality, apparel making, agriculture and also engineering specific sectors like plumbing, welding and automobile servicing.

In its next phase, the portal will enable online payments, monitoring of skill trainings, industry interface, post-placement tracking of candidates, grievance redressal, etc.

It may be mentioned that at present there are 570 training providers with 1,198 short-term training centres, 250 industrial training institutes (ITIs), 152 polytechnics and 3,390 vocational training centres that are imparting training to 3.23 lakh candidates in over 30 different sectors.

Source: Millennium Post

Boost for tourism infrastructure at Sabuj Dweep

The popular tourist spot of Sabuj Dweep is being reinvigorated by the State Tourism Department, in collaboration with the PWD and Irrigation Departments. The department is focussing on creation of infrastructure in the form of modern cottages, a dormitory, picnic spots and an artificial golf turf.

Sabuj Dweep, as the name suggests, is an island, and is located about 60km from Kolkata. It sits at the meeting point of the rivers Behula and Hooghly.

Rs 1 crore is being spent for the entire project. There will be 26 cottages with all modern amenities. The cost of booking one would also be kept affordable. The dormitory-hotel will have 10 beds.

Source: Khabar 365 Din

Bengal Govt to set up eco-tourism hub in the Sundarbans

With the aim of promoting the Sundarbans as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the country, the State Government has taken up an initiative to set up an eco-tourism hub there. It will come up in Jharkhali.

Various Government departments like Tourism, Sundarbans Affairs, etc. are working in coordination to provide world-class facilities, which would attract foreign tourists too.

The hub would have both five-star resorts and budget hotels, cottages, swimming pools, a lake, club house and other facilities. It would be constructed on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis. To augment the infrastructure, the Government is allotting around Rs 90 crore to build roads and bridges in Jharkhali.

As a part of the overall development of the area, all the islands in the Sundarbans would soon be inter-connected – a project for which the State Government would spend around Rs 400 crore.

The State Government has already taken up various schemes to improve the socio-economic condition of the people in the Sundarbans. A comprehensive skill development programme is being conducted among the youth. Hospitality management courses have been started so that the educated but unemployed youth can be trained. Various courses on plumbing and electrical repairs are being conducted in various blocks.

Source: Millennium Post