New Tourism Properties Available For Lease In Darjeeling

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration has decided to lease out dozens of old hotels, resorts and other tourism projects to private companies. But the plan is already riddled with claims of biases.

By Sam
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The teas estates of Darjeeling

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The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), the autonomous body which runs the Darjeeling administration is planning to lease out tourism properties across the Darjeeling hills, some of which are in prime locations.

Norden Sherpa, the executive GTA Sabha member in charge of the tourism department, said that the department had just started surveying GTA tourism properties to explore the possibility of leasing them out. “The process could not be started earlier because of the union elections,” he said.

First Lease Done

In the first phase, the GTA had already leased nine cottages along the Maneybhanjyang-Sandakphu trekking route. The GTA said engineers estimated a cost of 6.8 crore to repair the nine cottages. “These cottages were earning only about 6-7 lakh per annum,” said Sherpa.

The GTA leased out the nine properties for 38.5 lakh per annum.

“It is for a period of 30 years and the lease amount will increase by 15 per cent every five years,” said Sherpa. Apart from the nine cottages, the GTA recently leased out a property in Darjeeling More, Siliguri. “The 21-room (complex) has been leased out for 50 lakh per annum,” said Sherpa.


However, local business leaders have stirred a controversy alleging favouritism in the lease allottment. They allege that the “21-room” description was misleading. “The 21-room description is misleading as anyone can see that this is a huge complex. Even mid-range hotels in Darjeeling go for an annual lease rent of 2 lakh per room,” said a businessman. “We suspect that politically influential individuals are being favoured.”

Many term the 30-year duration as a “very long duration” in the hotel business.

GTA Clarifies

The GTA official, however, said a proper process was being followed while leasing out the properties.

“A committee consisting of executive directors, engineers and finance people is surveying the property and coming up with base prices for lease and a proper tendering process is being undertaken. In some cases, we might have had to go below the base price,” said Sherpa.

There are 26 properties, including the nine leased cottages, under the GTA.

Some of the properties are well known and located in prime locations like the Swiss Motel of Mirik, Delo Tourist Lodge in Kalimpong or even Silver Fir at Chowrasta in Darjeeling.

Swiss Motel
The Swiss Motel of Mirik in Darjeeling is also available on lease

“We have not figured out which properties to lease out immediately. We are looking at the revenue they are generating and if they are satisfactory, we might not lease out,” said Sherpa.

The GTA Sabha member added that land documents of some properties are not in order. “We are also trying to get the land documents updated. Many of our lands have been encroached on,” said Sherpa.

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