Fuel supply runs dry in Hills as truckers refuse to ply
Darjeeling: An assault on a truck driver has sparked protests from the Darjeeling Truck Drivers' Association, followed by a truck bandh. Trucks have not been plying, creating major inconvenience, especially at the time of tourist onrush.
Essential commodities are brought to the Hills from the plains of Siliguri. The truck strike has already started creating problems in the process.
Petrol pumps were nearly dry in the Hills on Tuesday, with fresh stocks not arriving. "Our diesel stock has already been exhausted. The petrol stock will also finish soon, with the panic buying," stated Hemant Agarwal, owner of a petrol pump.
There are 6 petrol pumps in Darjeeling and 2 in Kurseong. "The tourist industry will be adversely affected owing to this. Last year also, tourists had stayed away owing to the agitation and 104 day bandh. Just when things are becoming normal and tourists are returning, this problem has cropped up. If fuel stocks run out, resulting in vehicles coming to a standstill and LPG does not arrive, how will we cater to the tourists? We are dependent on water tankers as well," stated a hotelier.
"We have not called for a bandh but the drivers have decided not to ply as we are not secure. Drivers are being beaten up. We want the assailants of driver Amit Tamang to be arrested immediately. Our security has to be assured. We will be meeting on Wednesday to decide on our future course of action," stated Rajen Chettri, General Secretary of the Darjeeling Truck Drivers' Association.
On May 11, driver Amit Tamang was allegedly beaten up, following an accident involving a child. Both the sides have lodged FIRs at the Kurseong police station.
The Drivers' Association had taken out a protest rally in Kurseong on Monday, demanding arrest of the assailants.