Darjeeling: Darjeeling and especially the travel trade industry heaved a sigh of relief with news of the trucks to resume ferrying of essential commodities from the plains to Darjeeling from Thursday spread.
Trucks had suspended operations since Monday after a driver was beaten up in Kurseong on May 11. "We had a meeting with police top brass. Our demand has been met. The assailants have been arrested. Following the meeting, we decided to start operating from Thursday," 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 kid.
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 the arrest of the assailants.
"Three persons have been arrested in connection with the incident," stated Dhananjoy Sarkar, OC, Traffic, Kurseong.
The truck strike had started casting a long shadow on the tourism industry, also affecting day to day life.
Petrol pumps in Kurseong and Darjeeling had downed shutters since Wednesday morning with petrol and diesel stocks having been exhausted.
"We had run out of diesel on Tuesday. Whatever diesel stocks we had was exhausted by Wednesday morning. We were compelled to down shutters. With the truck strike lifted, we are expecting petrol and diesel to arrive by Thursday noon, following which we will reopen," stated Hemant Agarwal, owner of petrol pumps. There are 6 pumps in Darjeeling and 2 in Kurseong. Stocks of all the pumps were exhausted on Wednesday.
"There were tourist vehicles that were refueling in Mirik while driving tourists to the popular lake destination in the Hills. There was no fuel available in Darjeeling or Kurseong," stated Pradeep Lama, General Secretary, Darjeeling Association of Travel Agents.
There were apprehensions that a long drawn truck strike would adversely affect the tourist season that has started picking up after the agitation and 104 days bands in 2017.