NH 31A open for Sikkim traffic, out of bandh purview: GJM
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 13, 2011, 21:05
Gangtok: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Sunday said the National Highway 31A, which passes through Darjeeling Hills district, has been exempted for the Sikkim traffic from the indefinite shutdown in the hills as a convoy of 94 vehicles left Rangpo for Siliguri during the day.

Claiming the GJM had never extended the bandh to the highway to begin with, GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri told reporters here that the NH 31A was open for Sikkim traffic and out of the purview of the Darjeeling bandh underway in the neighbouring state.

To reports that vehicles coming in from Darjeeling district to Sikkim on February 8 were pasted with posters that the bandh had been extended to Sikkim traffic and GJM picketers at Rangpo turning back all vehicles except SNT buses and trucks on February 9, Giri claimed its cadre had not indulged in any act of arson on the highway.

He, instead, accused the West Bengal government of trying to foment tension in the hills.

Supply of essential commodities started drying up in markets here with West Bengal police escorted convoys leaving from Rangpo to Siliguri only once a day.

Official sources said for the last few days GJM picketers had only allowed Sikkim National Transport (SNT) vehicles to pass on the highway and private vehicles and taxis were plying at their own risk.

The Sikkim Hotels and Restaurant Association [SHRA] has urged the people of Darjeeling Hills and GJM leaders there to allow unhindered vehicular movement to Sikkim on NH 31A as it was lifeline of the landlocked state.

The SHRA expressed its gratitude towards the people of Darjeeling for allowing at least SNT vehicles to ply on the highway during the bandh and condemned the killing of three GJM supporters in the police firing at Sikchu on February 8.

SHRA President Bhanu Pratap Rasaily said that tourism was the only sector in Sikkim in which local people were engaged in gainful employment. This sector, he said, had been hit due to the current spate of bandhs and travel uncertainty.

Giri is in Gangtok to attend the first general meeting of the GJM in Sikkim that held today.


First Published: Sunday, February 13, 2011, 21:05

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