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The Sikkim government has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Centre and West Bengal that the national highway 10, which connects the state with the rest of the country, be protected and uninterrupted vehicular movement be ensured in the wake of ongoing agitation for separate Gorkhaland. National Highway number 10, also referred to as lifeline of the hill state, connects it to Siliguri and any blockade or interruption on the highway leads to severe scarcity of goods and stalls passengers' movement. The plea, filed by Sikkim Chief Secretary A K Srivastav, Lok Sabha MP P D Rai and Rajya Sabha lawmaker Hissey Lachungpa, has sought a direction to Central ministries of Home Affairs, Roads, Transport and Highway and West Bengal government that the national highway "is kept free" for vehicular movement. The state government has said the safety of passengers, goods and vehicles be also ensured besides the uninterrupted traffic on the stretch. The plea, likely to be heard tomorrow, has referred to the recent incidents of violence on June 8 against Sikkim- bound vehicles on the national highway during the ongoing Gorkhaland agitations. Sikkim-bound vehicles have been targeted during the protests in and around Siliguri from the last week of June after the state government expressed support for the Gorkhaland movement. Sikkim has been alleging that miscreants are not allowing essential commodities and fuel to be loaded in trucks at New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri and even the West Bengal police was not taking action. The situation along the national highway in West Bengal has been "worsening" with each passing day and despite assurances by West Bengal government, incidents of violence and loot of Sikkim-bound vehicles has become a regular affair, officials said. According to Sikkim police, 20 trucks ferrying supplies to Sikkim from Siliguri were vandalised and looted and their drivers assaulted. Truck drivers and transporters in Sikkim said they have decided not to ply vehicles if security is not provided.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)