Patil assures all assistance to Sikkim to tackle bandh issue

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Gangtok, July 04 (UNI) As uncertainty looms large whether a fresh strike in Darjeeling begins tomorrow despite a Supreme Court directive to keep roads to Sikkim, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today assured Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for all assistance to keep open the highway.

Mr Chamling is now in New Delhi had briefed Patil about the critical issues pertaining to Sikkim owing agitation in Darjeeling.

Sikkim has been made to suffer whenever bandh either in Darjeeling or in Siliguri as activists first put up blockade on the National Highway 31A, that connects the himalayan state with the rest of the country.

Sikkim does not have rail service and the air service.

"Considering the gravity of the situation, the Union Home Minister assured the Chief Minister for all assistance and support to the state in tackling this kind of situation whenever necessary", government sources here today said.

Mr Patil also assured to look if his ministry could help in collaboration with other ministries in enhancment of the storage capacity of essential commodities including petroleum products to take care of any unavoidable exigency.

Mr Chamling also reiterated Sikkim's demand for allocating an additional helicopter service with 'enhanced' seating capacity till the new airport proposed at Pakyong in East Sikkim was commissioned.

UNI BG PC AB 1218

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