Sikkim govt take ups highway blockade issue with WB, Centre

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Gangtok, Feb 26 (UNI) About 100 vehicles from Sikkim were allowed to proceed today to Siliguri along the NH 31 A, by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) picketeers as the indefinite Darjeeling hills bandh entered sixth day.

The picketeers allowed tourists and commuters having train or plane reservations, students and those sick to move along the highway, Sikkim's main arterial link with the rest of the country, said Sikkim police DIG (Range) Akshay Sachdeva.

Sikkim police and its West Bengal counterpart had held prolonged discussions with the GJM supporters to get relaxations for vehicles plying between Sikkim and Siliguri.

Hundreds of Sikkimese people were standard in Siliguri due to the bandh. Most of them were presently holed up in the premises of Sikkim transport department at Pradhan nagar.

The GJM supporters had set up blockades at Rangpo border, Rambi, Melli and Teesta along the NH 31 A, which falls under Kalimpong subdivision.

Apart from these relaxations, Sikkim remained isolated from the rest of the country for the second consecutive day due to the bandh.

The NH 31 A is the only connecting link of Sikkim with the rest of the country and almost 50 km of this highway passes through the strongholds of GJM before reaching Siliguri.

This has prompted the Sikkim government to take the matter with its West Bengal counterpart and the Centre.

''The Government of Sikkim is very much concerned and, therefore has taken up the matter with the Government of West Bengal and the Union Government for ensuring smooth movement of traffic and goods to and from Sikkim'', a Government communique said.

The state chief secretary was also meeting the Union cabinet secretary for uninterrupted flow of vehicular traffic along the highway, it added.

The GJM announced today that all vehicles will be exempted from the purview of bandh for 12 hours tomorrow. The GJM leader from Kalimpong, Kingpa Wang, told UNI that all vehicles will be allowed to move freely across Darjeeling hills including NH 31A from 6 am to 6 pm tomorrow.


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