GANGTOK, 26 NOVEMBER 2017: Despite being a tiny state with a population of around 6 lakh, Sikkim has a staggering number of registered vehicles – 53,636. Registration of vehicles has almost doubled in the Himalyan state in the past five years – from 30,093 at the end of 2011-12 to 53,636 till January this year, state transport department officials said.
Sikkim has four districts and a total population of 6,10,577, according to 2011 Census.
East District, where more than one-third of the states population lives, alone accounts for 37,250 registered vehicles.
State capital Gangtok is in East district that has a population of 2,83,583.
East is followed by South district with the number registered vehicle being 8,056, West district (5,534) and North district (2,796), the officials said.
The transport department, however, does not see anything unusual in the spurt in registration of vehicles.
“One must understand that tourism and industrial sectors have grown significantly in Sikkim and that required additional vehicles to cater to its needs,” Principal Secretary (Transport) SBS Bhaduria told PTI.
Referring to the absence of rail and air connectivity in the border state, he said public and private transport system cater to 90 per cent transportation of goods and people in and out of Sikkim.
Transport sector is also the biggest generator of employment in Sikkim, he said.
To a question about possible increase in air pollution because of the spurt in number of vehicles, Bhaduria said all precautions are being taken by his department to prevent vehicular pollution.
Besides these registered ones, the state has a few thousand unregistered ones and those of the Army and the Border Road Organisation (BRO), department officials said.