Apex court asks West Bengal to open highway to Sikkim

June 27th, 2008 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the West Bengal government on a plea to ensure free traffic on the highway to Sikkim that has been blocked by agitators demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland. While issuing notice to the West Bengal government, a bench of Justices Aftab Alam and G.S. Singhvi adjourned the hearing on the plea to July 3, observing that the agitation for the Gorkhaland had been suspended till July 6.

The bench said it would examine the matter July 3 in thepresence of the West Bengal government’s counsel to ensure that the state government does the needful to ensure free vehicular traffic on National Highway (NH) 31A that connects Sikkim to the rest of the country.

The two lawsuits, including one filed by the Sikkim government, has sought the apex court’s direction to the central and the West Bengal governments to ensure free movement of traffic on the highway from Sikkim to Siliguri.

The other lawsuit had been filed by advocate O.P. Bhandari.

NH 31A has been blocked since June 14 by the agitators demanding a separate state Gorkhaland in West Bengal’s Darjeeling Hills.

According to the petitions, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) sponsored shutdown had brought traffic on the entire stretch of NH 31A to a grinding halt.

The lawsuits pointed out that NH 31A was the only national highway connecting Sikkim with the rest of the country and the people of Sikkim and thousands of tourists were stranded due to the blockade.

The blockade has led to scarcity of essential commodities and medicines in the northeastern state.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |