Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Yearning for home, scrambling for food

As the NSCN (I-M) leader Thuigaleng Muivah’s homecoming issue gathers storm amid the Naga Students Union’s month-long economic blockade, the crisis deepens in Manipur. Food and fuel is hard to find even at five times the actual cost, reports Brown Nongmaithem

Manipur has been in the throes of misery ever since the All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM) imposed economic blockade on NH-39 and NH-53 in April this year in protest against the holding of Autonomous District Council (ADC) elections in the five hill districts of Manipur. The ADC elections have not been conducted for more than 20 years.

The blockade, which has the support of the United Naga Council, was intensified after two students died and many were injured in the police crackdown on Thuigaleng Muivah’s supporters at Mao Gate on May 6—the day the NSCN (I-M) leader had planned to enter Manipur. The Ibobi Singh government does not want Muivah to enter Manipur because the Naga rebel leader wants parts of the state to be included in greater Nagaland.

Although Muivah says he just wants to visit his birthplace, Somdal, the Manipur government is not buying his argument fearing disturbing consequences the rebel leader’s visit may have. In a development, the Imphal bench of the Gauhati High Court has instructed the state police to arrest the leaders of the troubling student organisations. But the government does not look in a mood to use force.“We are trying to reopen the Imphal-Jiribam highway. Talks are on with people residing along the route. We don’t want to use force. There are things we do not want to disclose at this moment but we are confident that the highway will reopen and the crisis will be resolved very soon,” Manipur government spokesperson Biren Singh told reporters.

The month-long economic blockade has thrown life out of gear in Manipur. While essential food commodities are becoming scarce by the day, hospitals are running out of oxygen, fuel and life saving drugs. Fuel scarcity brought the functioning of Imphal bench of Gauhati High Court to a complete halt on Monday. According to people’s accounts, they have been getting petrol and kerosene for Rs 150-200 and Rs 60-70 per litre respectively. Cooking gas is selling for Rs 1000 per cylinder in the black market. Even the black markets have run out of supplies. Furious over the home department’s failure to provide mobile security escort for transportation of goods, state consumer affairs, food and public distribution minister Y.Erabot said that the matter would be taken up with the union home minister and relevant authorities at the centre. Even as the state cabinet took a decision to send trucks along NH-53 with security escort for ferrying essential commodities including petroleum product on May 10, 12 and 14, the plans were aborted without giving any reasons after all arrangements were made. Seven loaded truck have been burnt down by unknown armed persons in the wake of the unrest arising out of Muivah’s visit near Kohima in the Nagaland capital and many other important offices of government have been set ablaze in Manipur.
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Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2009

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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