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Odisha CM seeks Mamata’s help for safe return of Odias stranded in Darjeeling

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Bhubaneswar: Amid reports of scores of Odias stranded in Darjeeling, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to facilitate safe return of the tourists from the state.

Expressing disquiet over the situation in the Hills, Naveen requested Mamata and Rajnath to intervene into the matter.

On the other hand, Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda said that efforts are being made to evacuate the tourists from the troubled region.

Panda spoke to his West Bengal counterpart Gautam Deb where the duo discussed about the situation. The latter assured to extend all help for safe return of tourists.

“I have spoken to West Bengal Tourism Minister on the issue. He said that three buses are leaving Darjeeling’s Chowk Bazaar to Siliguri carrying tourists. From Siliguri, the passengers are being shifted to Kolkata. Steps are being taken for the safety of the tourists,” Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda said.

“Special buses were pressed into service to help ferry stranded tourists to Kolkata, Siliguri, and Bagdogra airport. We are making all efforts to send them to their destinations,” Deb told media.

It may be mentioned here that the prominent tourist destination is on the boil after activists of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) clashed with police over West Bengal government’s decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools. Following violent clashes, Army personnel were called in to control the situation.