POLITICS

This Is Why Sikkim Is Planning To Sue West Bengal For ₹60,000 Crores

The fight isn't ending soon.

07/07/2017 4:10 PM IST | Updated 07/07/2017 4:13 PM IST
Reuters/Canva

Sikkim is very upset with the Bengal government. And is now considering suing the state at the Supreme Court for ₹60,000 crore.

Why? Because the Sikkim government estimates that over the last 32 years, the state has lost around ₹60,000 crores due to the agitation in the neighbouring state for a separate Gorkhaland.

Pawan Chamling, the chief minister of Sikkim has said that the case against West Bengal will be filed at the Supreme Court.

"The people of Sikkim did not merge the state with the Indian union to become a sandwich between China and Bengal," Chamling was quoted as saying.

The statement came at a time when Sikkim-bound trucks ferrying ration and other goods have been attacked in Siliguri, prompting the vehicle operators to go on a strike. Meanwhile, the state is also in the middle of a stand-off between Indian troops and the Chinese army over the construction of a road.

An angry Chamling said that Sikkim merged with India to show their desh bhakti (patriotism), and not to be sandwiched between China and Bengal.

Sikkim, which merged with India in 1975, has been repeatedly affected by the Gorkhaland movement since 1986. There's a major reason for this. It's the National Highway 10 that connects Sikkim to the rest of the country and passes through Darjeeling and Kalimpong. In fact, for the last three decades, any strife in Darjeeling has almost always affected the Himalayan state, notes The Telegraph.

The hill state is dependent on Siliguri for supply of essential commodities and fuel, which are carried along this national highway that passes through Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts. The strikes have led to a shutdown, and in turn, Sikkim has been suffering.

Talking about the unrest in the border near Nathu La pass, the CM said, "They are not allowing rice to be brought here. Don't we have the right to live in this country as Indians?"

Weeks ago Chamling had extended support to the struggle for a separate state of Gorkhaland. He wrote a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, requesting him to form Gorkhaland. Trouble started right after. Trinamool Congress supporters protested in Siliguri and stopped vehicles from going to Sikkim. They were protesting against Chamling's letter.

Sikkim and Bengal have been at loggerheads since that letter. A day after Chamling sent the letter to Rajnath Singh, the Mamata Banerjee government shot off a letter to the Union home minister condemning the move.

The education minister and Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee wrote the letter to the Centre pointing out that the Sikkim chief minister has no business interfering in the matters of West Bengal.

"In the letter Partha Chaterjee pointed out that the action of Sikkim chief minister is against the federal structure of the country, where a particular state government cannot interfere in the internal matters of another state," a state cabinet member told Hindustan Times.

It doesn't look like the fight between the two states is going to end anytime soon.

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