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24 Jun 2017

Protests halt Sikkim buses at SNT office SIliguri

AVIJIT SINHA, TT, Siliguri, June 23: Simultaneous demonstrations by taxi drivers, youths and tour operators hampered bus services from the terminus of the Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) here for around three hours today, leaving over 1,000 passengers stranded.
Around 400 drivers of Bengal-registered cars travelling between Siliguri and Sikkim held a demonstration, saying their vehicles were being attacked on the highway to Sikkim by bandh supporters.
"Even though NH10 - the sole highway that connects Sikkim with rest of the country - is open, vehicles having Bengal registration number are being stopped and ransacked, and drivers were being intimidated by the bandh supporters. But vehicles bearing Sikkim registration number are plying along the route," a driver said.
Everyday, around 1,500 light vehicles of Bengal registration go to Sikkim.
As the drivers went on protesting, a group of youths assembled at the terminus and shouted slogans against Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling and Morcha chief Bimal Gurung. Yesterday, Chamling had sent a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, calling for the creation of Gorkhaland.
The youths left after some time.
Then, stakeholders of tourism industry, like hoteliers and tour operators, reached the terminus for a demonstration. They were protesting a notice put up at the terminus that read: "Tourists are requested not to visit Sikkim until further order."
"There is no strike in Sikkim and the highway is open. How can then the Sikkim government issue such a notice? It will have serious consequences," a tour operator said.
The demonstration was lifted around 3pm after SNT officials promised that the Sikkim government would try for free movement of all vehicles along NH10.
The officials didn't make any promise on the notice.
Asked about the notice, H. L. Lamichaney, the additional general manager (operations) of the SNT, said: "There is shortage of vehicles in Sikkim due to the agitation and tourists said they were facing problems. That is why the transport department issued the advisory."
Partha letter
Today, education minister Partha Chatterjee sent a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, condemning Chamling's support for Gorkhaland.
(Source & Courtesy: https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170624/jsp/bengal/story_158499.jsp)

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