Schools get 12-hrs to move students in the Darjeeling hills
Police patrol during the indefinite strike in Darjeeling. Boarding schools are facing a harrowing time due to the shutdown. PIC/AFP
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) offered a 12-hour "window" on June 23 to the schools in the Darjeeling hills to evacuate their students safely to Siliguri and Rongpo.
"The central committee of our party has decided to offer a 12-hour window, from 6 AM to 6 PM on June 23, to the schools in the hills to evacuate their students.
"The students will be allowed to go to Siliguri and Rongpo only in school buses. The indefinite shutdown will continue. Only the students will be allowed to leave safely," senior GJM leader Binay Tamang told reporters here.
He said barring school buses, no other vehicle would be allowed to leave the hills during the 12-hour "window".
An indefinite bandh was called in the hills by GJM on June 15. With supplies running out and the vacations to start shortly, the boarding schools of Darjeeling are facing a harrowing time due to the shutdown.
Darjeeling is home to some of the oldest and renowned boarding schools in the country, but with the GJM-sponsored indefinite shutdown over the demand of a separate Gorkhaland entering its seventh day yesterday, the school authorities are at their wits' end as regards how to send the students home once the vacation starts next week.
The indefinite shutdown has hit hard the famed tea industry with the premium quality 'second flush' tea leaves going waste causing heavy losses to the garden owners and putting at stake the livelihood of more than two lakh tea workers. Darjeeling is home to 87 tea gardens and the ongoing shutdown has pushed them to the brink. The tea garden owners feel that they will be losing 45 per cent of their yearly revenue.
15 June When the GJM called for the indefinite bandh
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