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regular-article-logo Friday, 14 June 2024

Bengal: Centre to take over NH10 stretch, the lifeline of Sikkim and Kalimpong

Raju Bista, the BJP MP of Darjeeling who met Gadkari on Friday, said the minister had passed the instruction for better maintenance of the highway

Our Correspondent Siliguri Published 16.12.23, 08:07 AM
Vehicles line up on NH10. 

Vehicles line up on NH10.  File picture

Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari instructed the National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited on Thursday to take over from Bengal a 54km stretch of NH10 — the lifeline of Sikkim and Kalimpong.

Now, the stretch is with the public works department of the state.

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Raju Bista, the BJP MP of Darjeeling who met Gadkari on Friday, said the minister had passed the instruction for better maintenance of the highway.

“I had requested the Union minister to hand over the entire portion of NH10 to the NHIDCL. He instructed officials of his ministry on Thursday to initiate the process of taking over the stretch of NH10 from the Bengal PWD and handing it over to the NHIDCL without any further delay,” said Bista.

In Bengal, the highway runs along a hilly stretch of around 54km, connecting Sevoke with Rangpo, the town in Sikkim located at the interstate border. The highway then meanders towards Gangtok, the Sikkim capital. Near Teesta Bazar, it also passes through the outskirts of Kalimpong town.

The NHIDCL, which functions under Gadkari’s ministry, and the BRO which is a wing of the Union defence ministry, are building a parallel road (NH717A) to Sikkim from the Dooars.

“A number of stretches of the alternative highway are ready but it would take some more time to complete. That is why NH10 continues to remain the principal highway that connects the Himalayan state on the India-China border,” said a senior official of the Sikkim government.

After the October 4 flash flood in the Teesta, traffic movement along NH10 had come to a halt because the river had swept away several stretches. Bista alleged lack of repairs since then.

Vedabrata Dutta, the spokesperson of the Darjeeling (plains) district Trinamul, said: “The state PWD has been maintaining the stretch even during monsoons when landslides are frequent on the route. They did their best to reopen the highway after the massive disaster. Even then, the MP is raising questions on the state PWD, which has executed several important road projects across the state."

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