Gorkhatimes

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Sikkim gets a six-day respite

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 20, 2009

RANGPO/GANGTOK, 19 JULY: The east district administration has lifted the restriction in rationing of auto fuels that was effected during the bandh in the Darjeeling Hills that left National Highway 31A blocked for five days. The five days’ relaxation starting from 18 July to 23 July for vehicles bearing Sikkim registration plates, has brought a sigh of relief for the people of the landlocked state. The highway that traverses through Darjeeling Hills was closed since 13 July due to an indefinite bandh called by the GJMM.
Mr D Anandan, collector, east district, said that the window period is being utilised to maintain the depleted stock of essential commodities. He further informed that the controlled supply of petroleum products would again come into force if the bandh resumed after 23 July. Each vehicle is entitled to 5 litres petrol or 10 litres diesel for a day under the rationing.
According to Mr LM Pradhan, general manager, Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT), a total of 37 trucks, 19 tankers and 14 buses ferried stranded passengers and essential commodities between Siliguri and Sikkim on Saturday.
“As 10 buses already booked on Friday could accommodate passengers with valid air and rail tickets only, four buses were added to beat the rush” he said. More than 300 passengers en-route to Sikkim, were stranded at the SNT Siliguri terminus. It is also reported that nine SNT trucks have been deployed on Army duty. On Saturday, in an attempt to ensure that only Sikkim vehicles entered the West Bengal side of the Rangpo border, Gorkha Land Personnel (GLP) volunteers were seen busy checking number plates. According to Mr RB Gurung, the GLP in-charge at Rangpo, the exemption for vehicles bearing Sikkim registered number plates would continue till the morning of 23 July. It has also been reported that the GLP has been picketing the border in shifts throughout the bandh period. Mrs Kazim Tshering Bhutia, president of Kalimpong branch committee, Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha, informed that the women’s wing has been co-ordinating with the GLP to avert any hiccups at the border.
The breather has also been extended for vehicular movement in Darjeeling Hills on 20 July. Mr Sunil Pradhan, president of Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha, Kalimpong branch committee, said, “The 12-hour exemption would be limited to vehicles only”.

Source: The Statesman

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