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Bengal Blocks NH-10, Cuts Supply Chain to Sikkim: CM Chamling to Rajnath

Singh took the decision after talking to Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling regarding the security situation in Sikkim and neighbouring areas in West Bengal.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:July 9, 2017, 10:20 PM IST
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Bengal Blocks NH-10, Cuts Supply Chain to Sikkim: CM Chamling to Rajnath
File photo of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
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Kolkata: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday asked home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi to coordinate with West Bengal government to ensure the safety, security and smooth traffic on NH-10 so that essential goods could reach Sikkim immediately.

Singh took the decision after talking to Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling regarding the security situation in Sikkim and neighbouring areas in West Bengal.

In a telephonic conversation, Pawan Kumar Chamling apprised Union Home Minister of an acute shortage of supplies to Sikkim, especially essential commodities such as medicines, baby milk powder, vegetables and petrol/diesel due to the closure of the national highway, the critical road link to Sikkim.

“The Home Minister assured him of the safety and security of NH 10, and the centre will provide all kinds of assistance to save people of the state from any misery,” a statement issued by the MHA read.

“The West Bengal government is being requested to ensure that the road link to Sikkim remains open.”

On July 6, Chamling expressed serious concerns, saying the state had lost nearly Rs 60,000 crore due to regular unrests in West Bengal over the last 30 years.

“I am in contact with the central government over the blocking of Sikkim-bound vehicles at Siliguri. I have made up my mind to take this matter to the Supreme Court,” he had said.

Chamling - while reminding that Sikkim is sandwiched between China and West Bengal – said, “The National Highway 10 is the lifeline of Sikkim, but it has always been a concern for Sikkim because of agitations and political turmoil in Bengal. This is not new. This has been happening for the last 30 years.”

Addressing a public meet at Namchi in Sikkim, he had said, “Essential commodities could not reach Sikkim from various parts of India via Bengal due to agitations. Our people are being harassed in Siliguri, our goods are being stopped. The development of our state has been affected badly in the last three decades. Tourism sector also suffered a lot due to agitations in Bengal for Gorkhaland. Most of the hotels are empty and vehicles are lying idle in Sikkim as there are no tourists.”

In 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd state of India. The NH 10 connects it with the rest of India, and it passes through the troubled areas of Darjeeling and Kalimpong hills, presently tensed due to the indefinite bandh called by the GJM on June 15.
| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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