Along Interstate 10 in West Bengal, police escort Sikkim-registered vehicles.

GANGTOK: Prodded by a Supreme Court direction, West Bengal police have started providing security to Sikkim registered trucks from Siliguri along NH-10, the sole road connecting the hill state with the rest of the country.It is a major relief to truckers ferrying goods from Siliguri to Sikkim, as Sikkim registered vehicles have been ransacked and looted during protests in and around Siliguri since June end after the state government expressed support for the Gorkhaland movement in Darjeeling hills.All Sikkim Truck Drivers Association (ASTDA) president Mingma Sherpa said that West Bengal police started giving escorts from Monday till Tuesday noon, around 130 goods laden trucks reached Sikkim from Siliguri.The national highway, considered lifeline of the landlocked hill state, connects it to Siliguri and any blockade or interruption on it leads to severe scarcity of goods and stalls passengers’ movement.The Sikkim government had moved the Supreme Court on July 13 seeking a direction to the Centre and West Bengal government that NH-10, be protected and uninterrupted vehicular movement be ensured in the wake of ongoing agitation for separate Gorkhaland state.A Supreme Court bench had on July 14 asked the authorities to ensure smooth movement of traffic and safety and security of passengers travelling in vehicles on NH-10.The trucks laden with food items and vegetables were meant for all four districts of Sikkim, Sherpa said adding that normal movement of escorted trucks is expected to resume now along NH-10.

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