The highway that was damaged in a landslide in 2011 is yet to be repaired.
The railways had restored a 65m stretch on NH55 in 2014 to lay toy train tracks that had also been damaged in the slide. After the repairs, vehicles started plying over the train lines to take the highway, which the railways had objected to as it was damaging the tracks.
“It has been decided that light vehicles that carry tourists would be allowed on the 65m stretch at Tindharia. Around 40 trucks that ferry supplies would also be allowed. The administration will issue permits to the trucks,” Ahluwalia, the Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs, said.
“Trucks will not be allowed on the stretch from 10pm to 5am,” he said. “We also spoke to officials of the PWD about repair and reconstruction of the damaged stretch of the highway. They have informed us that the tender process has been initiated and it will take two years to finish the work.”
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway tracks run parallel to the highway and cross the road in some places.
With the highway shut after the landslide, trucks had to take the Rohini Road to go to Gayabari, Mahanadi and other places between Tindharia and Kurseong.
But in July this year, Rohini Road was also closed after a portion of land subsided in Sirubari area. In August, the Darjeeling Truck Drivers’ Association went on a strike demanding that their vehicles be allowed on NH55.
On August 21, the railways had agreed to allow trucks to move over the DHR tracks on an interim basis and had demanded that regulations be imposed on vehicle movement on the stretch.
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