Traffic resumes on Sikkim highway
Gangtok,May 16: Two companies of CRPF were re-deployed today on NH31A even as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha tried to enforce its 48-hour bandh for the second day today.
The comeback of the paramilitary force follows yesterday’s violence in which 10 Sikkim-bound vehicles were damaged by alleged Morcha supporters on the highway, the Himalayan state’s only road link to the rest of the country. The shutdown is part of the Morcha tactics to pile pressure on the government to include the Terai and some parts of the Dooars in the proposed interim set-up for the hills.
Gangtok police said the first batch of vehicles along with 10 Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) buses were allowed to proceed to Siliguri from Rangpo with police escort at 10am. Two Bengal police vehicles with armed men in khaki led and brought in the rear of the convoy.
This morning, two of the three companies of CRPF moved into two camps — at Reang on NH31A and at Pintail Village in Siliguri — vacated only about 20 days back. Later, they hit the road on patrol duty.
K.L. Tamta, the inspector-general of police, north Bengal, said: “Two companies have been deployed in Kalimpong and Rambhi and another one is posted at Pintail Village off NH55. They have been requisitioned to maintain law and order along the highway.”
Sikkim governor Balmiki Prasad Singh who was speaking at the 35th State Day celebration at Chintan Bhavan in Gangtok said the “frequent trouble in the neighbouring region” often hindered movement of passengers and goods along NH31A for days together.