Saturday, April 30, 2011


GANGTOK, 29 April: The Sikkim Nationalised Transport [SNT] has finalized plans to introduce buses services from Rangpo to Kakarivitta, Nepal, from Rangpo to Kolkata, Rangpo to Jaigaon, the border with Bhutan and Rangpo to Bodhgaya,Jharkhand in the coming days.
“We want to increase our mileage and want to keep up with being the best transport service providers in the region. We want to make Rangpo our base and augment our fleet on a war footing,” informed chief engineer cum general manager, SNT Division, ND Rai while speaking to local media.
He added that SNT will also be initiating a new direct bus service from Gangtok to Kalimpong after the elections in West Bengal and also add 6 new buses for the “Gangtok- Darshan” circuit which will prove helpful to the tourists.

In addition, the SNT, in collaboration with the Department of Tourism, will also add direct deluxe bus services to tourist destinations in North Sikkim like Lachung and Lachen for the convenience of tourists during peak tourist season.

Keeping pace with the modernized mode of transportation, SNT has now increased its fleet of service buses to 107 which includes 2 air-conditioned, another 2 super-deluxe and 25 semi-deluxe buses under the JNNURM scheme which is being used basically for the urban populace. The SNT deploys the maximum number of buses from the North-East wing of the SNT division with 75 buses reaching out to the remotest of areas in these districts. Similarly, the South-West wing has a fleet of 27 buses followed by another 12 buses from the special Rangpo wing.
“We will also upgrade the existing fleet of buses to raise the comfort standards to be provided to the locals”, added the GM.
Another area where the SNT provides its services is to the Indian Army and GREF personnel for which 6 semi-deluxe buses are provided every-day on a regular basis. Similarly, SNT also provides the defense forces with transport trucks, oil tankers and load carriers. The SNT has through this service increased revenue by 12 % during this year’s tender process as compared to the prevailing rate of the previous year. The Indian Army is so appreciative of the services being provided by the SNT that it has proposed that new air-conditioned deluxe buses with additional comforts even for officers be added to the fleet provided to them. It is also informed that the army, keeping in view SNT’s efficient services which ply to inhospitable border areas like Zuluk and Zema, has also decided to pay the SNT revenue for two-way transportation [unlike earlier when the SNT was paid revenue for only one-way].
“We have systemized our way of functioning and considerably enhanced the quality of our services. We have backed our services by keeping reserve trucks and buses for the army if there is any breakdown along the difficult routes,” explained Mr. Rai.
Another area where the SNT, GM states that the division shall look into is the overloading of trucks that ply along NH-31A. With no weigh-bridges either at Rangpo or Melli check-posts, the chances of transporters to produce ‘forged and duplicate’ weigh-bills are significant . Thus to curb this illegal practice, the SNT will install weigh-bridges at both the border check-posts soon.
“We want to act as watch-dogs to discourage overloading which is also why our highways are crumbling away. We will ensure that the load which we define is followed by all transporters,” informed Mr. Rai.
Before concluding his conversation with NOW!, the general manager cum chief engineer, SNT informed about the new scheme which the transport division had initiated for the local unemployed youth of the state.
While mentioning that power project developers in Sikkim were using transporters from outside the state to act as load carriers for them, he explained that this was proving to be a big loss for the local transporters here as they were not being able to meet the required demand for transport vehicles.
According to him, his office had decided to purchase 60 new trucks under the Chief Minister’s Swarozgar Yojana for which the state government had also sanctioned 25 percent of the margin money, that the SNT was signing a tripartite agreement on 30 April, Saturday with the state government and the financers. The trucks will be given to beneficiaries who shall be paying the subsidized loan EMI for a certain period under the supervision of the SNT, after-which the trucks shall be owned by the beneficiaries themselves.
‘We are buying the trucks at one go and propose to take the number up-to a hundred trucks. We want our trucks to meet the demand of the power developers and generate income for our people. The first phase of the deal is over and now the implementation part remains. We will be monitoring the beneficiaries very closely and the trucks shall be under GPS surveillance”, informed Mr. Rai.

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