Sikkim CM calls for laying a new national highway



Gangtok: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on Thursday requested the Centre to sanction a new national highway from West Bengal to Sikkim to improve the hill state's road network.

Speaking at the National Development Council (NDC) meeting at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, Chamling called for building a 120-km long new national highway from Sevoke in West Bengal to state capital Gangtok to bolster transport network and trigger balanced regional development of the state, official sources said here.

Chamling said since Sikkim is solely dependent on NH 31A and its state highways, another highway was needed to interlink growth centres, meet social needs of the people and boost up tourism and economic activities.

Chamling demanded the widening of existing national highway and construction of two lanes from the upcoming greenfield airport at Pakyong to Gangtok.

He said that with tourism and hospitality sectors emerging as fastest growing industry in the state, Sikkim needed to sustain that momentum.

"Our state aims to attract 50 lakh tourist annually by the year 2017 through well-executed tourism strategy, better planning, aggressive publicity and strengthening of tourism infrastructure in the state," he said.

Chamling requested the Centre to release the remaining fund of Rs 720 crore from Prime Minister's package of Rs 1000 crore sanctioned as one time relief package for reconstruction and rehabilitation for earth quake victims.

He said the state has so far received Rs 280 crore and urged to release the rest at the earliest.

PTI