Raju Thatal’s appointment in Chalak Board shows SKM rewards those who assault people: SDF Transport Front

GANGTOK,: The SDF Transport Front on Saturday strongly condemned the appointment of Raju Thatal as a vice-chairman of the State government-constituted All Sikkim Chalak Welfare Board.

Addressing a media conference here, the SDF Transport Front executives said: “Entire Sikkim saw how Raju Thatal viciously attacked Keshav Sapkota (JAC general secretary) in broad daylight at Singtam. It seems that Raju has been rewarded for his violence by being appointed as the board’s vice-chairman. We condemn his appointment and do not accept the board due to his inclusion. He should be removed from his post”.

SDF Transport executives Surya Rai, Ongyal Tamang, DB Pradhan, Arjun Thapa and others were speaking at the press meet.

JAC general secretary Keshav Sapokta had been viciously attacked by a mob at Sirwani bridge, Singtam during a JAC rally on April 8, earlier this year.

“The All Sikkim Chalak Welfare Board is not an independent board as only the SKM workers have been appointed. There are SKM workers like Raju Thatal, everyone has seen what he has done. What message would the youth get after people like him are appointed in such posts? The youth would understand that to get posts, one should batter, throw stones and oppress people. There are other drivers in the SKM party who are respected for their social work but they do not get posts. Only those people who unleash violence are getting posts in SKM government,” said the SDF Transport Front executives.

They maintained that the SKM government has failed to address the poor road conditions in Sikkim.

“The biggest grievance of the drivers is the woeful road conditions as it directly affects their livelihood. Our income would have been much better if the roads in Sikkim were good. Good roads would have been an inclusive development benefiting all the drivers and not those few who are getting vehicles from the government,” said the group.

The SDF Transport Front demanded that the new Central Motor Vehicle Act should be withdrawn from Sikkim as hefty fines are charged for traffic rules violations along with increased taxes. The taxi and commercial vehicle drivers are the worst-affected, we demand that previous rules should be restored where the fines were considerably less, they said.

“Another issue is the harassment and extortion done to Sikkim-registered taxis in West Bengal. Drivers from Sikkim are facing severe problems while going to Siliguri and other parts of Bengal to pick up passengers and tourists. The Sikkim government should take up this issue through a government-to-government talk with the West Bengal government. The harassment of Sikkim drivers in Bengal is becoming chronic,” said the SDF Transport Front.

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