The Centre’s seeming acquiescence on the Telangana agitation seems to have provided a shot in the arm to those battling for a separate Gorkhaland. And the worst fallout of the constant blockades by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha of the NH 31 has been in Sikkim that is crucially dependant on the highway for commerce and tourism.
Speaking to HT, Sikkim’s Chief Minister Pawan Chamling says the state has suffered losses of over Rs 2,000 crore ever since the agitation began.
“We are surrounded by countries like Nepal which are unstable and the northeastern states, which are riddled with insurgency. If I can’t keep my economy going thanks to these blockades, how long can I ensure that people... don’t get affected by the culture of violence?” he asks.
Sikkim is a leading producer of floriculture and a magnet for tourism in the troubled region. After the recent Gorkha
agitation began, hotel bookings have decreased by 80 per cent. Perishables like flowers have rotted, causing huge losses to entrepreneurs.
Chamling has pleaded with both the home minister and the prime minister to step in since the West Bengal government’s writ does not seem to run in Darjeeling, the hub of the agitation.
“My opponents will take this opportunity to fan the flames of discontent if something is not done to restore my state’s lifeline,” he laments.