Friday, June 14, 2024

Manipur blockade lifted


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IMPHAL: The longest economic blockade in Manipur was called-off after 92 days on Tuesday after the state government gave a written assurance to upgrade Sadar Hills into a full fledged district.

The Sadar Hills District Demand Committee suspended the stir on reaching an agreement on Monday night after prolonged parleys with a governemnt team led by Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh.

The SHDDC has been demanding conversion of Kuki-majority Sadar Hills area in a Naga-majority Senapati district into a full fledged revenue district.

Chief Secretary D S Poonia and Chief Minister’s secretary Sumant Singh signed the agreement on behalf of the government, while Ngamkhohao Haokip and Tonghen Kipgen, president and general secretary of SHDDC signed on behalf of the agitators.

The government has agreed to withdraw all legal cases against SHDDC leaders and volunteers.

Government spokesperson N Biren said the Chief Minister was assisted by Deputy Speaker Th Lokeshore and Works Minister K Ranjit during the negotiations.

The decision comes a day after Union Home Minister P Chidambaram appealed to all the agitating groups to suspend their protest.

“My appeal to all groups, especially the Kuki groups and other groups agitating for a separate district to be curved out of Jiribam, that they should suspend their agitation and allow the DRC to look into the matter and give its report,” Mr Chidambaram told the media in New Delhi yesterday.

The blockade of two of the major national highways, Imphal-Dimapur-Guwahati and Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar since August 1 had crippled the economy of Manipur with prices of essential commodities shooting up. Petrol was sold at Rs 200 a litre, while a cooking gas cylinder cost Rs 2000.

However, free movements of trucks are not expected immediately as the counter blockade against the SHDDC’s demand by the United Naga Council since August 21 has not been called off yet. A committee set up by Manipur government is looking into the district re-organisation issue and as soon as the report is submitted, the final decision would be taken, government officials said. Sadar Hills will have six sub divisions after reorigination of the district. Kangpokpi will be bifurcated into Champhai and T Vaichong sub-divisions, while Saikul divided into Saikul and Island sub-divisions and Saitu-Gamphazol parted into Saitu-Gamphazol and Kangchup Geljang. All new sub divisions will be inaugurated this month. (UNI)


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