The West Bengal government has cancelled a transport agreement with Sikkim that had been on hold for over a decade. Officials said that the two states had signed the agreement in 2007 to allow free movement of tourist and commercial vehicles. As per the agreement, vehicles from Sikkim could enter anywhere in Bengal, while those from the state could only enter three Sikkim towns — Gangtok in East, Pelling in West and Namchi in South, they said.
“Any agreement is reciprocal in nature. The agreement was on hold for several years. Finally, it was not renewed in January this year,” Adhikari told The Indian Express. “When two states have entered into an agreement, the conditions should be same for both the sides. It was an old issue (going on) for more than 10 years. They were not considering our request and vehicles from Bengal were not allowed to move freely (in Sikkim). Hence, the agreement was cancelled,” Adhikari added.
There were reports suggesting that the move was the fallout of a strained relationship between the two states following pro-Gorkhaland agitations in Darjeeling last year. Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling had extended support for a separate Gorkhaland state.
Officials, however, denied this. “This is all rubbish. The cancellation of the agreement was a formality. It was an old pending issue,” said an official.