Hills shutdown hits Sikkim hard | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Hills shutdown hits Sikkim hard

kolkata Updated: Aug 07, 2013 13:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Sikkim continued to suffer from the effects of the indefinite shutdown across Darjeeling Hills for the fourth straight day on Tuesday.

Already crippled by the ongoing agitation for Gorkhaland, the landlocked Himalayan state has been further impacted by the curbson the movement of vehicles on National Highway 31A, deemed a critical road lick between Sikkim and Siliguri.

With state police and central paramilitary forces currently manning the stretch to ward off likely trouble, the movement of vehicles has been reduced to a trickle.

With scores of trucks ferrying key supplies stranded on the route in the light of the continuing shutdown, prices of essential commodities in the neighbouring state have already begun trending northward.

The Sikkim government is tracking the developments closely, said sources.

Even as the Sikkim police sent out an advisory, asking motorists to stay off the National Highway 31A, around 90 vehicles, including buses, trucks and tankers, managed to reach their respective destinations in the neighbouring state, defying the curbs.

Bandh supporters reportedly torched three Sikkim bound vehicles on NH-31A, prompting th e advisory from the neighbouring state.

The highway passes through the Kalimpong sub division in Darjeeling district, which is part of the proposed Gorkhaland state, and runs into serious problems in the event of a shutdown in the Hills.

Though the Sikkim government has allowed limited traffic, especially state-run Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) buses and trucks under heavy police protection, the shutdown has hit supplies in a state with very low domestic production.

All supplies from Siliguri are routed through the NH-31A and the movement has now been hit hard by vandalism over the course of the Gorkhaland stir.

Fearing trouble, private taxis have gone off the road and the SNT bus operators too are handing out tickets a day in advance, leading to long queues outside counters.

Many have already been forced to push back or cancel train and flight bookings in the light of the prevailing uncertainty in the region.