Fire in the director’s bungalow of the Darjeeling garden, suspicions of fans

The emptied location is where the 1979 film Lahu Ke Do Rang starring Vinod Khanna and Shabana Azmi was filmed

Vivek Chhetri



Posted on 11.18.21, 01:23 AM

The empty bungalow of a tea garden manager where the 1979 film Lahu Ke Do Rang starring Vinod Khan¬na and Shabana Azmi was shot was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Tuesday.

But before the ashes even fell, conspiracy theories began to swirl around Darjeeling.

The fire came under scrutiny as management of the Kanchan View tea garden, where the bungalow was located, envisioned a Rs 200 crore complex in the garden, just 4 miles from town from Darjeeling.

Owner Ajit Agarwala, who filed a complaint with the Darjeeling Sadar police, told the newspaper that the wooden bungalow had been emptied to create a “fear psychosis” around the new investment.

Some local residents, in turn, believe management could have a helping hand in discouraging the tea plantation and focusing more on the seaside resort ahead.

The resort proposal, management said, got the green light after the state government’s 2019 policy on tea tourism and allied affairs was launched. Under this, the land cap for tourism and commercial projects has been increased to 15% of the total land with a tea. garden, up to 150 acres. Construction can only take place on 40 percent of the land designated for a project.

Work stopped in October in the field with 99 workers.

Jiten Rai, chief advisor to Gram Sudar Sammelan, a social organization in the region, said: “We too cannot blame anyone until the investigations are completed, but we cannot rule out a conspiracy.

“We don’t know if the guards were properly posted on the property,” Rai added.

“We are not against the project (resoirt), but we want all the provisions of the tourist policy to be respected. Our apprehension is that the management of the garden will not do this, ”said Rai.

Residents said that under the new tourism policy, only fallow and vacant land can be used for projects such as resorts and that there can be no reduction in the workforce. work or reduction in tea growing areas. “However, over the years the workforce (in this tea garden) has shrunk in the garden without major appointments,” a union leader said.