Darjeeling Update

darjeeling-panoramaIt's been quite a year in Darjeeling!  Just this evening, the bandh (strike) was lifted and life should limp back to some form of normalcy.  For those of you not following the ups and downs of life in Darjeeling, this was an indefinite strike called on July 20 by those in favor of a separate state, Gurkhaland.  The situation is not new.  Last year and the year before, numerous strikes and processions were called.  Tripartite talks with the local, state and federal government were scheduled but no resolution was reached.  Hence, year after year, the unrest continues.

The impact on life is huge.  Darjeeling receives a major part of its revenue from tourism, and tourists were stranded without warning.  Water supply was limited, roads were closed, supplies were limited and the markets were emptied of fresh produce.  For our tea production at Makaibari, it was a challenge to obtain the raw materials needed to keep the factory running - coal, diesel, water, even cash to make payroll.  For the moment, normalcy has returned but this plays havoc with the district's revenue.  Without tourism and tea, Darjeeling has nothing.   A permanent resolution is sorely needed.  (Photo courtesy of Matt Monroe).

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