The new tea tourism policy of the state government has failed to thrill estate owners who claim it is neither practical nor different from the existing one. “The new policy has not created interest as it is not practical and so we are not very optimistic,” Darjeeling Tea Association chairman S S Bagaria told PTI.
“There was a policy during the Left Front government as well and people who applied did not receive clearance in 2-3 years,” he said. Bagaria said unless the government offers time-bound clearances, all efforts will go in vain since the processes involved are not user-friendly.
The Bengal government has allowed tea tourism in estates and gardens of Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, but with riders. The new tea policy allows gardens and estate owners to use some of the areas that are not under cultivation for alternative use such as tourism to improve revenues.
The government has, however, restricted land meant for tea tourism to five acres both in the plains and hills.
The policy also mentions that construction can be carried out in an area not exceeding one-and-a-half acres in the plains, while in hills it will be limited to an acre.