Gangtok, Aug. 9: The Sikkim government has increased the frequency of vehicles going from Gangtok to Siliguri from two times a day to three.
The vehicles will now be escorted three times a day from the Rangpo checkpost by Bengal police.
Earlier the vehicles were taken in a convoy by the Bengal police twice a day at 9am and 1pm. The new time which has been added is 3pm .
“Looking at the increasing number of vehicles everyday, a new timing was decided in consultation with the Bengal government. The Bengal police is finding it difficult escorting and manning so many vehicles along the national highway,” said the superintendent of police (Gangtok) Manoj Tewari.
According to district magistrate A.K. Singh, 308 vehicles left Rangpo checkpost this morning.
The checkpost is 35km from Gangtok and is the entrance to Sikkim from Bengal.
“The same public transport which ferries passengers to Siliguri brings people back to Sikkim. So we can’t give the exact timing of the departure from Siliguri. It depends on how fast the vehicle reaches there,” said a senior official of Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT).
The official said more than 125 SNT buses, tankers and trucks are running in one shift to Siliguri from different parts of Sikkim.
“The booking counters both in Gangtok and Siliguri are getting flooded by passengers every day. SNT is working tirelessly to ferry the passengers,” said N.D. Rai, the general manager of SNT.
According to a source, an SNT driver was manhandled by a jawan of the Rapid Action Force (of West Bengal police) at Rambi under Kalimpong subdivision today for allegedly breaking a car convoy.
There was a blockade on NH31A for half an hour after the incident around 11am today.
“There was information that an SNT driver was slapped by the RAF personal for not following the convoy. We (the Sikkim administration) are in regular touch with our counterpart in Darjeeling and the matter has been brought to their notice,” said Singh.