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Sikkim could finally be added to India’s rail map by 2022, 13 years after project began
New Delhi: The long-delayed project of rail connectivity to Sikkim is likely to be completed by the end of 2022, officials of the Northeast Frontier Railway have said.

The foundation stone for the rail network was laid in 2009 when Mamata Banerjee was the railways minister but little work had been done.


Sikkim is the only Northeastern state which is not connected to a rail network. NH10 is the only road that connects the state with the rest of the country.

The new rail line will be from Sevoke in West Bengal to Rangpo in Sikkim, a distance of 45 km. The tracks will cover 13 bridges and 14 tunnels, with stations in Rangpo, Ryang, Teestabazar and Melli. The rail project will cost Rs 1,339 crore, of which Rs 607 crore has already been sanctioned in the current fiscal.

The need for a railway line in Sikkim, which is situated near the India-China border, had gained momentum after the Doklam stand-off in 2017 and the recent clashes in Ladakh. Nathula in East Sikkim, which also borders China, is only 56 kilometres away from capital Gangtok.


Work on the broad-gauge railway line has been hit in the past few months owing to difficulties in transportation of labour and equipment due to the pandemic-induced lockdown.

Siliguri metropolitan police commissioner tests positive for Covid-19
SILIGURI: Siliguri metropolitan police commissioner Tripurari Atharv has tested positive for Covid-19.
He is currently in home isolation and his condition is stable.
In West Bengal, there are 25,486 coronavirus cases at present.
Indian on Sunday achieved a grim milestone after recording the highest single-day spike of 64,399 coronavirus cases, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
As many as 861 deaths were reported in the country in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative toll to 43,379.
With the new cases, the country's coronavirus count has reached 21,53,011 including 6,28,747 active cases and 14,80,885 cured/discharged/migrated.

Rs 54cr sanctioned to widen Eastern Bypass in Siliguri
Bengal tourism minister Gautam Deb said on Sunday that the state government had sanctioned funds to repair two major roads in Siliguri and finish the construction of another road through Baikunthapur forest.

“It has been decided to repair and widen Eastern Bypass that connects northeast of Siliguri with the southeast part. It is a 10km-long road and Rs 54 crore has been sanctioned for the project. Another 10km-long road that connects Gurungbusty with Milan More (a prominent arterial road in the northern part of the city) will be repaired and the state has allocated Rs 5 crores for it. Both the works will be carried out by the state public works department,” Deb told a news conference in his office at the Mainak Tourist Lodge Complex here.

He also said Rs 70 lakh had been sanctioned to finish the construction of a 12km-long road that would move through Baikunthapur forest, connecting the Bengal Safari Park and Bhorer Alo, the mega tourism hub developed by the state government at Gajoldoba near the Teesta Barrage Project. “The state forest department has been assigned with the project,” said the minister.

A government official said around 500 trees would be removed to widen the Eastern Bypass and the necessary approval had been given by the forest department.

Cured, man dies after testing positive again
A resident of Siliguri, who had reportedly recovered from Covid-19 earlier, has died after testing positive for the virus again. Family members said they were confused about the matter. The son of the deceased said the 66-yearold resident of Surjya Sen Colony under the NJP police station had been tested positive for Covid-19 on 28 July and admitted in the Desun Hospital at Kawakhali, while a test was conducted at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) on 25 July.

He had been released from hospital after testing negative on 2 August. His wife is undergoing treatment in Dr Chhang’s (Covid) Hospital at Matigara, while the son and his daughter-in-law had also tested positive, but later released from a ‘safe house.’

“Back home, we found that father had been suffering from breathing problems on 4 August. So he had been admitted in the critical care unit of the NBMCH the next day. We were shocked to know that his test report confirmed Covid-19 positive again. He was shifted to the dedicated hospital at Kawakhali again, but he could not make it and died last night,” the son of the deceased said.


According to him, they failed to understand whether he had been re-infected or had there been any mistake in any of the reports. He wondered whether the coronavirus could strike the same person twice, especially in such a short span of time. Health department officials said a few cases of recurrence of the coronavirus had been reported in north Bengal.

A senior health official said it will be too early to make any comment on the matter. “We will study the case first,” he said. Controversy over tests Controversy cropped up after some members of a voluntary organisation were found collecting their own nasal swab samples for rapid antigen tests at Matigara today. A section of health officials said that without dedicated health technicians, one should not collect the samples by themselves. Secretary of the Matigara Social Welfare Organisation Malay Bagchi said health workers of the local health centre had guided the members in collecting their swab samples.

“One of our executive body members has been tested positive through rapid antigen test. Accordingly, we had requested the Matigara block medical officer of health to hold similar tests for other members since we are involved in many social activities. The technicians demonstrated that members can collect their nasal swabs by themselves. Thirty eight members have undergone such tests today,” Mr Bagchi said.

Darjeeling district chief medical officer of health Dr Pralay Acharya, however, said no one could collect their own swab samples. Six die in Siliguri Six persons, who had tested positive for Covid-19 died in Siliguri in the past 24 hours. A 66-year-old resident of Surjya Sen Colony in Siliguri died at Desun Hospital last night, while a 52-yearold person from Malbazaar in Jalpaiguri also died there. A resident of Ward 5 in Siliguri died at the NBMCH today. She was eighty. A person from Islampur in North Dinajpur also died there. Another 65-year-old resident of Rabindra Sarani area also died today.

Tension ran high over the death of a resident of Birpara in Alipurduar district in a private nursing home in Siliguri today. The 55-yearold woman had tested positive at the nursing home. However, family members demanded the test be done again as she had earlier tested negative at the NBMCH. Meanwhile, 23 new cases in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation–16 in Darjeeling district and seven in Jalpaiguri district–have been detected in the past 24 hours.

Darjeeling officials, meanwhile, said 59 cases were detected in the district today, including the 16 in the SMC. “Twenty cases are from Naxalbari, four from Matigara, five from Darjeeling Municipality, two in Kharibari, one in Bijanbari, 10 in Kurseong and one in Mirik,” an official said, adding that 41 patients were also discharged, including those in home isolation.

Trafficked Kokrajhar minor girl rescued from Siliguri’s red-light area
 In a joint operation, Assam’s Kokrajhar police with the help of Siliguri police successfully rescued a trafficked 17 years old minor girl from Siliguri Khalpara Red-Light area.

Two persons including a woman were arrested in this connection.


According to police sources, the minor girl from Kokrajhar district was trafficked by one person identified as Jaharuding Sheikh alias Jibon Ali alias Raju Das on July 31 last and sold at Khalpara red-light area in Siliguri.

According to police sources, Jaharuddin Sheikh, who hails from  Karaipahar under Jogigopha police station in Bongaigaon district, made false promises of marriage to the victim girl and brought her to Siliguri and later sold her in the red light area.

Based on information, the police team carried out an operation and managed to rescue the minor on Wednesday.

The two accused identified as Jaharuding Sheikh and Salma Begum of Khalpara, Siliguri along with the minor girl were brought to Kokrajhar.


All Koch Rajbongsi Students’ Union (AKRSU) leader said the union demanded the accused person should be punished.

Naren Tamang (32), arrested for brutally killing a dog in Sikkim
 A 32-year-old man in Sikkim, a state that celebrates 'Kukur Tihar' (Dog Puja), was arrested by police on charges of brutally killing a dog leading to locals demanding for justice.

A complaint was filed by the owner of the dog and later by the People For Animals (PFA), Sikkim, following which the police took action against the man. However, he was later released on bail.


"We were informed about the incident by our local police who said that the owner wants to withdraw the complaint on pressure from family. We immediately lodged a complaint at police station in Gangtok," said Srijana Khaling, PFA member who filed an FIR along with Deepika Pradhan and Anu Thami. A case under IPC sections 428, 429, 201 has been registered against the man.

The accused identified as Naren Tamang, a contractual driver and resident of Rongyek in East Sikkim's Maney Dara village allegedly killed his cousin's pet dog on Monday, August 3, following a squabble between the two.

Tamang later tried to hide the evidence by throwing the dog's body off a cliff. With the help of police, the PFA team found the body of the dog in a jungle below the cliff. A post mortem was then conducted at Sarah hospital. He reportedly committed the crime in order to send a message across to his relatives as to how dangerous he can be.

"He did not just kill the dog but he also tried to hide evidence. The post mortem report left us numb. The man stabbed Bacha (the dog) on his head, mouth until his tongue was cut into pieces. Bacha struggled for his life, he cried for help but unfortunately only its lady owner was there, who was too scared to stop Tamang. Bacha at his half conscious state tried to run away but failed. The man again caught him and cut his ear and continuously hit him on his head. After that he dragged him and threw him off the cliff nearby his house," said Khaling.


Hailing the police for its prompt action, Khaling said, "We must mention Sikkim police that did a commendable job by arresting the culprit the same day around 10 pm, but we can't let him get away." Justice must be served, she added.

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