Away from politics, an ex-foreign secretary continues his welfare works in Darjeeling's Siliguri

The Siliguri-Bagdogra area, where Harsh Vardhan Shringla conducts welfare activities is at a strategic location near the Nepal and Bhutan borders and fosters cross-border trade, while its fertile plains support a thriving agricultural sector.
Former foreign secretary and G20 chief coordinator, Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
Former foreign secretary and G20 chief coordinator, Harsh Vardhan Shringla. Express.

NEW DELHI: Former foreign secretary and G20 chief coordinator, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, is not in the race for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, but he continues to work on the ground in Darjeeling, Siliguri, and neighbouring areas.

“My objective is to serve the people here and help them in whatever way possible, whether it’s channelizing the youth who are seeking employment or working for the welfare of the elderly. I am committed to serving the community even after retirement and reaching out to common people through the Darjeeling Welfare Society, which was established nearly a decade ago,” Shringla told this newspaper.

Darjeeling and the Siliguri corridor areas are strategic development initiatives that have suffered due to gaps in centre-state coordination.

“The Siliguri corridor abuts Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and China and connects India to South East Asia and East Asia through Myanmar. So, it is of strategic significance. Besides, there is a lot that needs to be done for the local people here,” he added.

The locals of Darjeeling and Siliguri have appreciated his work in the area and were hoping to see him contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“The locals are very appreciative of him, especially after he organized G20 events here. He has also helped the young people get jobs in the area,” Sreejana C Gurung, an educationist from Mirik said.

In a job fair organized in the area a few months back, facilitated by Shringla, nearly 270 youths were offered jobs.

Meanwhile, talking about the Siliguri corridor, Shringla said that this part of the country was in a position to benefit from PM Modi’s focus on transforming the North East.

“The area is now in a position where it can leverage the conjunction of national and international initiatives. Siliguri, for instance, is where the National Highways Authority of India’s Golden Quadrilateral will connect to the Asian Highway network and future BIMSTEC land connectivity initiatives,” Shringla added.

The Siliguri-Bagdogra area is at a strategic location near the Nepal and Bhutan borders and fosters cross-border trade, while its fertile plains support a thriving agricultural sector.

Meanwhile, even though Shringla isn’t contesting the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, there is talk of him being offered a position of significance once the electoral process is over. After all the years he has successfully served as a diplomat, it’s time his services were utilised for the overall betterment of society.

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