Sukhia, 30th June: The road leading to the renowned tourist destinations of Sandakphu and Phalut in the picturesque Darjeeling Hills has been in a state of disrepair for several years. Despite numerous pleas to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and concerned authorities for its restoration, locals claim that their requests have fallen on deaf ears. In light of this, members of the Hamro Party from the Sukhia-Maney Bhanjyang constituency organized a unique protest today on the occasion of ‘Asaar Pandra’ (15th day of the month of Asaar). They planted paddy saplings along the Sukhia-Maney Bhanjyang road to draw attention to its deteriorated condition.
Asaar Pandra is a Nepali festival that celebrates the beginning of the rice cultivation season. On this day, farmers traditionally plant new seedlings in their paddy fields. Today’s protest saw the participation of Hamro Party’s General President, Deepen Rai, General Joint Secretary, Dawa Sherpa, and local villagers. Sherpa highlighted that the Sukhia-Maney Bhanjyang road serves as the gateway to the popular tourist destinations of Sandakphu and Phalut, attracting visitors from around the world. However, the road has been in a dismal state for several years, with significant potholes and water accumulation, which turns into ice during colder temperatures, posing risks to drivers and potentially leading to accidents.
Sherpa expressed disappointment that despite promises made during the previous GTA Assembly elections, the road has not been restored even after more than a year. He emphasized that the deteriorated road conditions are causing numerous hardships for local residents and visitors alike. Sandakphu and Phalut are globally recognized tourist attractions, but due to the road’s condition, tourists are hesitant to visit. Sherpa demanded immediate restoration of the road and revealed that paddy was planted as a symbolic gesture in collaboration with the villagers. Samashti President Deepen Rai urged the people not to relent, stating that they had stood up during previous elections and should continue to do so.