In a major development in the Transport sector in hills, the long standing problem that existed
over plying of vehicles in the hilly parts of Bengal and Sikkim is going to be resolved with an agreement between the two states.
In 2007, the two states had entered into an agreement to settle the particular points in each state till where cars from the other state can ply. The agreement was in effect till August 30.
CM Mamata Banerjee had given to the Sikkim government last year to renew the agreement.
However, no initiative was then taken by the Sikkim government. But their vehicles continued plying in Bengal. Since there was no agreement, it resulted to certain legal troubles and the tour operators from Bengal has also approached the Mamata Banerjee government to inform that their vehicles were not allowed after a certain point in Sikkim.
Thus it had resulted to an odd situation for the Transport sector in the particular parts of the hills causing a bit of harassment to tourists. Finally, the meeting was held on Wednesday at the state Transport department’s office at EM Bypass regarding reciprocal transport agreement between the states. Alapan Bandyopadhyay, principal secretary of Transport department of Bengal and Transport secretary of Sikkim attended the meeting along with other officers.
As per the new agreement, contract carriages from Bengal will be allowed to go to three towns in Sikkim – Gangtok, Namchi and Peiling - while contract carriages from Sikkim will be allowed up to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Siliguri in Bengal. Moreover, number of permits for medium-sized goods carriage has been increased by 600 for both the states and permits for oil tankers have been increased by 15 per cent.
At the same time, six new bus routes have been added to the existing ones for better facility to tourists. The newly added bus routes include Siliguri to Gangtok, Alipurduar to Gangtok, Siliguri to Namchi, Siliguri to Gyalsingh, Siliguri to Mangan and Cooch Behar to Gangtok.