United efforts lead to opening up of NH55 for traffic after a gap of 6 years

In what can be termed as a historic and symbolic victory of unity, the Railways have agreed to allow trucks to ply along NH55 from Tuesday, after a gap of six years. The agitation for opening up of the NH 55 led by Darjeeling Truck Drivers Association, saw widespread support from local people, political parties and individuals.

Yesterday a high level meeting was organized between the Truck Drivers, representatives of Railways, National Highway, GTA, District Administration in the presence of Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia, and three hill MLAs Amar Singh Rai, Dr Rohit Sharma and Sarita Rai. The meeting which ran for over 6 hours was attended by all the top leaders from our hills including GTA Chief Bimal Gurung, GJM Sabhasads Roshan Giri, Binoy Tamang, Jyoti Rai, Prabha Chettri and Pemba Bhutia (Ola), 3 MLAs and MP.
After numerous rounds of talks and discussions, finally the Railway authorities agreed to permit trucks to ply on NH 55 with conditions.
1. The trucks will only ply from 6am to 6pm.
2. Trucks will not carry a load of more than six tonnes.
3. PWD and National Highway authority will fortify the section of road below Tindhare workshop by building check rail, walls and black top the section using metal and tar.
After the closure of Rohini Road on July 26 this year, the truck drivers decided to take NH55 through a 10-meter stretch that the railway had constructed for toy trains from August 16. However, the railways stopped movement of vehicles from the next day fearing that it would weaken the stretch. Members of the Darjeeling Truck Drivers' Association and the local people refused to budge from their stand and more than 100 trucks are currently parked along the highway.

Today a team of specialists will visit Tindhare and inspect on the necessary up-gradation that need to be undertaken. Traffic is expected to be normalized from tomorrow onward. Corresponding with TheDC, DTDA President Mr. Hari Prasad Pradhan said, "on behalf of our organization we thank all the local people who supported our struggles, MP SS Ahluwalia who worked so hard to get the road opened, he has earned our respect, and GTA Chief Bimal Gurung, MLAs Ms. Sarita Rai, Mr. Amar Rai, Dr. Rohit Sharma and GJM Sabhasads Roshan Giri, Binoy Tamang, Jyoti Rai, Prabha Chettri and Pemba Bhutia (Ola) who relentlessly argued our case with the railway officials and helped in opening up of NH 55 after 6 years."
He added, "We also thank District Administration in particular DM Darjeeling Shri Anurag Srivastava (IAS) and Darjeeling SP Shri. Amit J. Javalgi (IPS) handled our struggle exceptionally well and prepared a conducive atmosphere for talks to take place, we also thank Kurseong SDO, SDPO and IC along with DHR officials and NH officials for understanding our plight and for for allowing the opening up of the road. CPRM, TMC and Ghoom Khasmal Samaj will always have our gratitude for extending moral support to our cause. In unity lies strength, that was proven today." On behalf of TheDC team we THANK DTDA for taking up the cause and locals from Chunbhatti, Rongtong, Tindhare, Ghayabari and Mahanadi for their support. DHR Officials for assisting the locals and all our elected representatives for taking up an exceptionally difficult cause and turning it into a success.

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