Tourists who had flocked to Darjeeling to witness snowfall left a disappointed lot as a seven-day bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha began today, the second shutdown this month, to press for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
All tourists had left yesterday after having to shell out thrice the normal fares for taxis to Siliguri in the plains.
There was no traffic on the roads, with offices, banks, shops, markets and business establishments closed, official sources said.
Tea gardens and cinchona plantations, and schools and colleges exempted from the purview of the bandh, were open in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong subdivisions, the sources said.
Bazaars were thronged with shoppers till late hours yesterday to stock up on food and essential supplies.
The week-long bandh was preceded by a four-day one from January 12 to 15 on the same demand of carving out a separate state from West Bengal.
GJM chief Bimal Gurung alongwith 90 supporters will go on a padayatra from Garubathan in Kalimpong subdivision to Sankosh in the Dooars in the plains during the day to create public awareness on the demand for Gorkhaland.