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Protest plan at NHAI office

Siliguri, Sept. 23: North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb will organise a demonstration in front of the National Highways Authority of India office on Sevoke Road on Friday demanding immediate repairs on NH31D.

“The chief minister had expressed anguish over the pathetic condition of NH31D in July. Two months have passed but the NHAI is yet to start proper repairs on the road that connects Siliguri with Cooch Behar via Jalpaiguri and leads to the Northeast,” Deb said.

“Our workers have submitted memorandums to the NHAI officials and demonstrated in front of their office demanding immediate repairs of the road but no major development has been sighted so far. Accidents are regular on the highway and transporters are not running their vehicles. Now that the NHAI is still sitting idle, we find no other option but to launch a dharna and insist that the repairs start on an urgent basis,” Deb said.

Political observers said now that the Congress and Trinamul are not in alliance at the state and the Centre, both parties will keep mounting pressure on each other over local and regional issues.

“Particularly in north Bengal, where the Congress still has some strongholds, it will keep raising issues such as the AIIMS-like hospital. Trinamul on the other hand will raise issues associated with the Centre, like repairing NH31D, to drive home the point that the Congress has failed to address issues in north Bengal,” said an observer.

An official of the NHAI said: “Repair work on the highway has started and it would be completed before the Durga Puja.”