Darjeeling residents resent frequent disruption of normal life

Darjeeling (WB), Feb 11 (PTI) As normal life wasparalysed in the Darjeeling hills for the third day today,there was lot of resentment among the people.

Traders, students, office-goers and other groups areangry at the frequent disruption of life in the hillscomprising sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong andKurseong.

With the state board examinations slated to begin fromFebruary 28, the most worried lot are the students even thoughthe GJM leadership has exempted examinees from the purview ofthe general strike.

In view of the troubles the student might face, theGJM has given permission for bringing question papers fromSiliguri in the plains to schools in the hills, but the schoolauthorities were at a loss where to keep them as there were nosecurity staff available to guard them.

Also from next Monday, 500 students are to sit for theISC practical examination. Some of them said they did not knowhow they would reach the examination centres as no vehicle wasplying.

Service holder Roshan Pradhan said they were worriedabout the food stocks fast depleting in the hills. "The GJM''sannouncement of a four-hour recess day before yesterday washardly sufficient to stock food items," he said.

Perhaps sensing the resentment, GJM chief Bimal Gurunghad on Wednesday appealed to traders not to hoard essentialcommodities so that prices did not spiral out of control.

Owner of a sweet shop, Ajay Prasad, who lives in aremote hill area, said patients in remote areas had been putinto great hardship wondering how they would travel to thetown in the absence of vehicles.

Tourist Dheren Karki said he had been stranded atBijonbari ever since the indefinite strike began.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said when hisattention was drawn to people''s resentment yesterday, "For agreater cause, people have to make small sacrifices and thattheir goal would be realised soon."

Keeping in mind the people''s mood, a crucial meetingof the GJM later today would decide whether they wouldcontinue with the strike in view of the people''s growingdisaffection.

Unconfirmed sources here said that the GJM office atSipchu in Jalpaiguri district, the scene of Tuesday''s policefiring, had received a communication from the Centre asking itto try to reestablish peace in the hills and reconsider itsstand on an interim council for the hills.

Giri had yesterday said that they would settle fornothing less than a separate state of Gorkhaland unwilling totake part in tripartite talks on setting up an interim set-up.

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