NEPO appeals for immediate lifting of economic blockade
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Guwahati, May 20 2010: Demanding the immediate re-opening of the National Highway 39 in Manipur, the North East Peoples' Organisation (NEPO) said that the people in Manipur are getting restive these days due to shortage of essential commodities.

The NEPO warned that this difficult situation in Manipur can explode any time with unforeseen problems.

The NEPO in collaboration with civil society organizations based in Guwahati held a press conference today at Guwahati Press Club, Ambari, Guwahati in connection with the ongoing enforced blockade in Manipur.

NEPO president, Dr N Mohilal, Montu Ahanthem, K.Chingkham, LC Meenabanta on behalf of NEPO Central committee, Y.Dhanakumar Singh, President of Greater Guwahati Manipuri Association, Jiten Kumar, Advisor of United Manipuri Association Assam were present at the press conference.

Dr N Mohilal, president NEPO addressing press conference in Guwahati

Talking to media persons at Guwahati Press Club in Guwahati this afternoon, NEPO president Dr N Mohilal demanded that the Central government should intervene immediately so that the blockade along the NH-39 is lifted.

Dr Mohilal also said that ever since the supply of essential commodities through the NH-39 had stopped, the availability of the goods in Manipur has become very scarce and due to this reason, the people are now frustrated and restive.

He said that the situation may turn into ugly situation which will be catastrophic.

Dr Mohilal also said that the supply through National Highway-53 is very slow since the condition of that highway is in deplorable shape.

He said that many suspension bridges along the NH-53 are very old and weak, and because of that it is very difficult for the heavy vehicles to pass through.

Meanwhile, NEPO spokesman Montu Ahanthem blasted New Delhi for allegedly taking unilateral decision over NSCN-IM leader Thuingaleng Muivah's visit to Manipur.

Montu Ahanthem said that the government of India should have consulted the state government of Manipur in this regard.

"The people of Manipur are now suspicious over Th Muivah's visit to Manipur.

They are of the feeling that there is a hidden agenda of New Delhi and the NSCN-IM in connection with the visit," said Montu Ahanthem.

Meanwhile, a press release issued by K Chingkham of NEPO from Guwahati today stated that the people of Manipur welcome the ongoing peace talk between the GOI and the NSCN(IM) but advertently or inadvertently, the public order and right to life of the people have been threatened off and on by the said parties of the peace talk.

"This had been proved by the recent crisis prevailing in Manipur, with the decision of the Hon'ble Union Home Minister to allow Mr.Th Muivah, the General Secretary of NSCN(IM) to visit his birthplace, Somdal in Ukhrul district of Manipur without consulting the state Government.

The people of Manipur and the present Government in Manipur totally opposed the declared visit, as suspicion lies in the proposed visit.

The fact that NSCN(IM) claims the district of Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong and Chandel of Manipur and a few areas of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in its political map of 'Nagalim', is a clear reason for suspecting the intended trip.

People are asking the reason why the visit was planned after a long span of 23 years and after nearly 15 years of peace talks with the center.

People of Manipur are behind the Manipur Government's decision to allow Muivah to visit Somdal if he drops the demand for a division of Manipur.

As a result of the crisis arising due to the banning of Th.Muivah's entry in Manipur, a complete blockade of the life line of Manipur prevails.

This has been continuing for more then 40 days.

Mountainous Manipur depends on supply from outside, trucks carrying essential items and other goods use the NH39 passing through Nagaland.

Two other National Highways 53 passing through Silchar and NH150 passing through Mizoram are much longer and the roads are severely damaged.

This has made NH39 a favoured road.

The NSF of Nagaland and so called Naga groups of Manipur had put up blockades on NH39 and NH53.Manipur is reeling under unprecedented crisis of all essentials, life saving drugs, foodstuffs, fuels etc.

since May 6, 2010.Apart from several problems seven trucks with goods had been torched and two others had been pushed in deep gorges and many were looted during the crisis.

One insurgent bomber also died on 17th May when he tried to blow up Kangpokpi bridge on NH39.On May 6, two supporters of Muivah died at the boarder town of Mao in Manipur.

NEPO expressed its sadness in the incidence and loss of life, which could have been avoided.

Thereafter, prices of essential commodities have shot up to such a level that ordinary people are not in the capacity to get them.

Though the Government is trying to airlift life saving drugs and open up NH-150, yet without a drastic step to improve the food and medicine supply, the situation may pass to something that cannot be controlled.

Different Manipuri communities both inside Manipur and outside are demonstrating.

In Assam rallies had been organized and All Assam Manipuri Students' Union has given a dateline of 24 hours for the end of the blockade.

If these blockade continue different unforeseen problems may arise.

It is high time for the center to immediately intervene in a positive attitude.

NEPO appeals through your esteem media to different communities in Manipur, Assam and Nagaland to observe the highest tolerance and go for a peaceful means of solving the crisis as god loving people.

We appeal for immediate lifting of the road blockade in Nagaland," the press release stated.