Darjeeling Hills will see a 12-hour general strike on Thursday over the demand for reopening of Panighatta tea estate in Kurseong foothills, and against the distressed condition of other tea gardens in north Bengal.
The bandh has been convened by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) affiliated tea workers union, Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union (DTDPLU). The bandh would commence at 6 am and end at 6 pm in the evening.
All the sub-divisional and block units of the GJM in the Hills have extended open support to the bandh and their members are likely to hit the roads on Thursday to enforce the general strike. DTDPLU general secretary Suraj Subba said that they their volunteers would put up pickets at all important road junction in and to the Darjeeling Hills.
“It will be a total strike and no relaxation will be given to any sector. However, in case of tourists have a flight or train to catch, our volunteers will allow them to travel but only after verifying the genuineness of the need,” Subba said.
However, the strike would severely inconvenience the people and tourists alike as no public transport are likely to be available on Thursday.
The strike would also hit those travelling between Sikkim and Siliguri as the National Highway to Sikkim passes through Darjeeling Hills and there would be pickets by the bandh supporters.
Located about 26 km from Siliguri, Panighatta tea estate has been locked out for 63 days now and this has compelled the 1,200-odd workers to survive on penury.
Subba said that the relay fast would continue until Thursday. “We will review the situation after the strike tomorrow. If there comes no solution to the plight of tea workers, we shall take up a bigger movement,” he said.