Sukna-Tindharia-Kurseong stretch of NH 55 to become operational after 6 yrs
Darjeeling: The year 2018 is all set to bring joy among the families living on the Sukna - Tindharia - Kurseong stretch of National Highway 55. This part of the national highway will become operational from Monday after more than 6 years.
The private bus service from Siliguri to Darjeeling along this route will also become operational from January 1, 2018.
Landslides had washed away a 500m stretch at Paglajhora below Kurseong town on June 16, 2010. Following this, 150m of the highway was washed away in another landslide at Tindharia on September 28, 2011.
With this part of the NH55 shut down, an alternative route from Siliguri to Kurseong through Rohini has been operational.
However, the Siliguri - Darjeeling private bus service had come to a grinding halt since then, alternative routes not being viable for this service.
The livelihood of hundreds of families running small businesses like eateries on the NH55 from the Sukna to Kurseong stretch had all closed down. Public transport along this stretch was hardly available, adding to the woes.
"We have plans to run 12 buses from Siliguri to Darjeeling and back along the NH55 via Tindharia from January 1. This service had been halted in 2010 following the landslide at Paglajhora. Now that the repairs have been done, we plan to resume the service," stated Prakash Bantawa, General Secretary, Parvatiya Bus Karmachari Sangathan.
Bantawa stated that the service will not only help the local residents but will come in handy for the tourists also. "While the smaller taxis charge Rs 150, we will be charging Rs 100 to go from Darjeeling to Siliguri," added Bantawa.
The North Bengal State Transport Corporation has plans to operate 8 more buses from Siliguri to the Hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
"There are around 20 buses running to the Hills. Some buses were damaged during the agitation. 8 more buses will be incorporated into the fleet to the Hills," stated Mihir Goswami, Chairman, NBSTC.