Plains strike to cut supply

The Telegraph

Siliguri, July 31: On Thursday and Friday, when the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha plans to lift the general strike for 48 hours, two outfits in Siliguri have called a strike in the plains.

The strike will not have a direct impact on the hills, but supplies of food items and other essentials that go to the hills from the plains may be hit.

When people in the hills would want to replenish their food stock, the plains strike, called by the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee and the Rashtriya Shiv Sena, may be a spoiler if trucks with goods are unable to go up from the plains.

Today, hundreds of trucks have gathered at wholesale vegetable and fish markets at Champasari in Siliguri, loading goods for supply to markets in the hills.

The inflow of trucks increased since mid-day after the call for the Thursday-Friday strike in the plains. Both the plains outfits are anti-Morcha.

The Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee has some following in Siliguri and the surrounding areas, the Rashtriya Shiv Sena is little known.

“In protest of the indefinite strike called in the hills by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha from August 3, we have called a 48-hour strike in and around Siliguri from tomorrow. This strike has been called to prevent supply of essential commodities to the hills,” said Amiya Koar, a spokesperson of Rashtriya Shiv Sena.

“We have also urged the business community and the people in general to stop supply of commodities to the hills during these two days. The transporters have also been asked not to ply vehicles to the hills on these two days. From tomorrow, we will also launch demonstrations in locations such as Darjeeling More to prevent traffic movement between hills and plains,” she added.

A transporter said: “Our trucks will wait in places such as Sukna and Salugara (places in the plains close to the hills) tonight. Tomorrow early morning, the trucks will leave for the hills.”

Trinamul leaders, when asked about the 48-hour strike called in retaliation to Morcha’s strike, have criticised it.

“Calling a strike to counter another is not the solution….The administration and police would take steps in case any bandh supporter forcibly tries to implement the strike,” minister Gautam Deb said.

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