Darjeeling: A meeting has been scheduled between the Chief Ministers of West Bengal and Sikkim on Friday at Uttarkanya, the mini-Secretariat in Jalpaiguri.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while addressing the gathering at the closing ceremony of the Hill Business Summit in Darjeeling on Wednesday, stated "I will be meeting the Chief Minister of Sikkim on Friday at Uttarkanya. We will discuss peace, prosperity and development of this region and how we can work together for the betterment of the country."
Interestingly, the meeting is set to be held amidst souring of relations between the two neighbouring states. The dip in relations had started since Sikkim's support to the Gorkhaland agitation in June last year.
Along with stoking the Gorkhaland fire, the Bengal government had also accused Sikkim of funding and harboring absconding GJM leader Bimal Gurung, who is wanted in numerous police cases in West Bengal.
Recently, the Bengal government had cancelled a transport agreement between the two states, that allowed the free movement of commercial vehicles between them.
West Bengal Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari alleged that Sikkim has failed to uphold the agreement. "While Sikkim commercially has free access to the roads of Bengal, there are numerous restrictions on commercial vehicles from Bengal in Sikkim," stated Adhikari.
Since the squashing of the agreement by Bengal, rampant checks are being conducted to ensure that Sikkim's commercial vehicles do not enter Bengal without valid permits. This has caused a lot of discomfort to the land-locked Himalayan state.
Political pundits opine that the Friday meet is aimed at thawing the ongoing tension between the two neighbours and put relations back on track.