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West Bengal buses to ply in Hills

india Updated: Aug 13, 2013 12:31 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri
Hindustan Times
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The state government is planning to bring normalcy in the Hills with buses of North Bengal State Transport Corporation to begin plying from Tuesday.

The food minister and home secretary would reach Siliguri on the same day.

North Bengal development minister Goutam Deb led a rally to oppose the ongoing indefinite bandh. Around 500 people participated with almost half belonging to the Adivasi community.

Trinamool leaders and supporters from Siliguri also walked with Deb.

The rally on the 10th day of the GJM’s indefinite bandh was the first move by the state to mobilise support in the hills against the bandh.

Deb, who walked almost 2 km, said the rally sent a clear message that the state government is always there to mitigate the hardship of the people.

Deb said the state government would start distributing essential commodities from Tuesday.

Deb said, “The ongoing bandh has been called on the whims of a few people.”

Panighata, which falls in the foothills, has always remained in the news for political reasons.

A small market that caters to the tea gardens located across the Balasan River has witnessed political troubles in the past.

Falling under Mirik police station, the GNLF movement for Gorkhaland had taken momentum from here.

The first person to die in the Gorkhaland protest, Nima Theeng, fell to police bullets on May 11 1986. The area also witnessed clashes between the GJM and the GNLF supporters.

Locals here have been in the past supporters of Gorkhaland.

As the minister was leading the anti-bandh rally, two children playing outside their homes shouted, “Jai Gorkha, Jai Gorkhaland.”

However, many workers of the tea garden are opposing the bandh.

Manita Tamang, Kalpana Mangar, Maiya Chettri and Laxmi Chettri, all workers of Panighata Tea Estate who joined the rally, said the bandh has hit them badly. “We only oppose the bandh,” said middleaged Manita Tamang.