Languages
Page last updated at 06:28 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 07:28 UK

India tea region strike resumes

By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

A Gorkha state supporter in Darjeeling
The strike led to widespread violence in the hills

An indefinite strike called by a regional political party has resumed in India's tea-producing Darjeeling hills.

The strike - called by the regional Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)- was halted for a few days last week to allow tourists to leave.

It was also stopped to allow the shopkeepers to stock up on essentials. The strike resumed late on Monday.

The GJM is demanding a separate state and fairer treatment for Darjeeling's Nepali-speaking Gorkha community.

GJM secretary Roshan Giri said the strike would now continue "for weeks, perhaps months, if our aspirations are not fulfilled".

The strike, earlier this month, led to widespread violence between the Gorkhas and the Bengalis in the foothills of Darjeeling.

Police had to intervene several times to break up clashes and the army was put on alert.

Mainstay

The West Bengal government has called an all party meeting on Tuesday to discuss ways to handle the crisis caused by the agitation for a separate Gorkha state in the Darjeeling hills.

The GJM has also called an all party meeting in Darjeeling, asking other Gorkha groups and parties to join their protest activities.

"We will not talk to the Bengal government anymore. We are waiting for a call for talks with the federal government in Delhi," said Mr Giri.

Tea and tourism are the mainstay of Darjeeling's economy.

Tourists left Darjeeling in a hurry after the sudden call for an indefinite strike by the GJM earlier this month.

Tea industry sources say the more than 250 tea estates in Darjeeling and its foothills are likely to be affected by the indefinite strike.

This is time for the second flush - or harvest - of tea in the region, which fetches high prices in European markets.

But with movement of vehicles completely stopped, it will be difficult carrying the tea to auction centres in Siliguri and Calcutta, tea industry sources said.


SEE ALSO
Strike hits Indian tea production
11 Jul 05 |  Business
Strike halts Assam tea production
29 Sep 04 |  South Asia
Pests jeopardise India tea crop
06 Feb 04 |  Business
Tripura tea estates under threat
05 Aug 01 |  South Asia

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific