West Bengal suffered an estimated loss of Rs three crore when several forest bungalows, five of them in Kalimpong sub-division, were either reduced to ashes or badly damaged during yesterday’s violence by GJM activists in the Darjeeling hills and Dooars.
“The loss on account of the burning of bungalows and damage to them has been primarily estimated at Rs three crore,” West Bengal’s Forest Minister Ananta Roy told PTI.
Roy said even residences of forest department employees were not spared by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha activists.
The minister said he would submit a report to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee detailing the quantum of loss to the Forest Department due to the violence and arson in Darjeeling hills as well as in the Dooars region.
“The chief minister will decide on plans to restore and rebuild the pictureque forest bungalows which attract tourists from different parts of the country,” he said.
The state’s backward classes department minister, Jogesh Chandra Burman, who held the forest portfolio earlier, said the GJM had caused a massive loss to national property which he described as ‘shocking’
GJM, he alleged, was only following the path of violence shown by GNLF chief Subhas Ghising years back in spearheading the movement for.
The minister defended the police firing yesterday that left two dead in the hills, saying, “The police was first attacked and they opened fire only in self-defence”.