Gorkhatimes

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‘Stock ration’ alert from Sikkim govt

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 15, 2009

Morcha supporters with party flags on NH31 that connects Bengal to the Northeast near Sevoke Bazaar on Tuesday.

Morcha supporters with party flags on NH31 that connects Bengal to the Northeast near Sevoke Bazaar on Tuesday.

Gangtok, July 14: People of Sikkim are bracing themselves for a long blockade — thanks to the indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the Darjeeling hills that will affect NH31A, the state’s only road link with the rest of the country.

Sikkim chief secretary N.D. Chingapa today issued a circular urging people to stock up essential commodities. The administration, he said, has decided to ration fuel and monitor the prices of other commodities.

The chief secretary has asked all officers using vehicles to avoid tours unless necessary and walk up to office if possible to save fuel.

Senior state officials have spoken to their Bengal counterparts to keep NH31A open. “But they (the Bengal officials) said they are likely to face several problems in trying to keep the highway open,” an official said.

Although a sizeable number of visitors are now in Sikkim ignoring the monsoon, tourism will be hit hard by the agitation.

Praful Kumar, an owner of a fishing trawler in Mumbai who arrived in Gangtok two days ago, plans to curtail his tour. “I brought my entire family to Sikkim but now I have to cut short my trip. Since we want to spend a few extra days, we will try to book tickets for the helicopter service operated by the government,” he said.

Police and the district administrations have asked the tour operators to ask visitors to leave early to avoid inconvenience.

“We have instructed all pumps to sell only five litres of petrol and 10 litres of diesel per vehicle per day,” D. Anandan, the district collector of East, told The Telegraph after a meeting with senior officials. “We have told the officials to be prepared to deal with short supplies of essential commodities, ration, petrol, diesel and LPG.” The food and civil supplies department has been asked to have a buffer stock ready to avert any crisis. The LPG dealers have been told to keep 1,000 extra cylinders. The LPG bottling plant at Bardang has an installed capacity of 8,000 cylinders which will be helpful during the agitation. Anandan has also asked the traders not to go for hoarding. “We will keep tabs on the prices as well,” he said.

According to a survey done by the government last year, Sikkim loses a daily revenue of Rs 7 crore during blockades.

Last year, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre, Sikkim and the Bengal governments to keep NH31A insulated against bandhs.

Source: The Telegraph

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