Apex court to hear plea for reopening road to Sikkim

June 26th, 2008 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court will Friday hear two lawsuits for reopening the sole highway linking Sikkim to the country’s mainland that has been blocked by agitators demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland. The two lawsuits, including the 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 National Highway (NH) 31A between Siliguri and Sikkim.

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

The NH 31A has been blocked since June 14 by the agitators demanding a separate state Gorkhaland by bifurcating West Bengal.

The two lawsuits will come up for hearing before a vacation bench of Justice Altmas Kabir and Justice G.S. Singhvi. The bench was slated to hear them Thursday, but could not take them up owing to paucity of time.

The two pleas said due to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM)-sponsored shutdown since June 14 the traffic on the entire stretch of NH 31A has come 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 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.

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