The Centre has rushed additional 4,000 paramilitary personnel to Manipur in its efforts to reopen a national highway which has been blocked for nearly two months by a Naga group.
With this, the total number of central security personnel deployed in the sensitive northeastern state for assisting the local administration for maintaining law and order has gone up to 17,500.
“Our top priority is now to reopen the National Highway-2 connecting Manipur (to Nagaland). While the other highway (NH-37) is reopened, we want to reopen the NH-2 too as early as possible,” a senior Home Ministry official said.
The security personnel were sent to the northeastern state keeping in view the security situation in the wake of violence following the economic blockade imposed by the Union Naga Council (UNC) on the National Highways since November 1.
The UNC has imposed the economic blockade on NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH 37 (Imphal-Jiribam) that serve as lifelines for the landlocked Manipur.
In a stern message, the Centre had on Friday told the Manipur government that it can’t escape responsibility for the “humanitarian crisis” arising out of the 52-day economic blockade by a Naga group and must work to end it, while making it clear that nobody will be allowed to take political advantage out of it.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who was on a day-long visit to Congress-ruled Manipur as a central emissary, said it is completely unacceptable to have such kinds of blockades in which thousands are suffering and both the central and Manipur governments will work together to end it.
“The state government has not been able to end the blockade. It must end as soon as possible as law and order is the responsibility of the state government. Nobody will be allowed to take political advantage out of a humanitarian crisis where common people are suffering,” he had said.
8th convoy of petroleum supplies enters Manipur
The latest convoy carrying supplies of petroleum products to Manipur, which is currently in the grip of an economic blockade, has crossed the state’s borders and is on its way to capital city Imphal, the Union Petroleum Ministry said on Monday. Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan held a review here of the stock position in Manipur, an official statement here said.
“In view of the economic blockade imposed by United Naga Council (UNC) on vehicles going to Manipur from 1.11.2016, supplies of POL (petroleum, oil, lubricant) products have been severely constrained,” it said. “Last convoy, which entered Manipur via Jiribum border on 25th December early morning, is now reaching Imphal. Currently, oil marketing companies (OMCs) are moving supplies under heavy security protection via alternate route NH-35 (via Jiribum) after shifting supply base to Guwahati, from normal base at Tinsukia.” it added.
So far, the OMCs “have moved eight convoys to Manipur, which consisted of 975 TTs (tanker trucks),” the ministry said.
“Loaded TTs for the next convoy have already been lined up at Jiribum (Assam-Manipur border),” it added.
A Naga-led economic blockade that has lasted more than 50 days and caused ethnic clashes, has disrupted life in Manipur. Prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed as a result with a litre of petrol selling at more than Rs 300 and an LPG cylinder at about Rs 3,000.