Over 300 goods trucks arrive
CM lauds frazzled drivers, security forces
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, May 22 2010: Most of the 306 goods carrier vehicles which left Jiribam yesterday under security escorts have arrived in Imphal this evening.

Meanwhile, the state Chief Minister, O Ibobi has said that the State Cabinet will decide whether it is time to convene a special session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly to discuss the situation prevailing in the state due to the NSCN-IM leader Th Muivah's proposed visit to Manipur and the indefinite economic blockade called by ANSAM.

Addressing a press conference held this evening at the conference hall of the Chief Minister's secretariat, Chief Minister O Ibobi said that most of the goods trucks which left Jiribam yesterday under security escorts have arrived here safely.

This was made possible by the help of security forces following repeated discussions held with DGP, Manipur, Y Joykumar, GOC of 57 Mtn Divn, Maj Gen DS Hooda, IG AR (South), Maj Gen CA Krishnan and IGs of CRPF and BSF.

The Chief Minister thanked the frazzled drivers of the goods vehicles who were stranded in Assam and Jiribam for a long time and had faced a lot of difficulties in trying to bring the essential commodities for the people of Manipur.

He also expressed his thanks to the security personnel of Manipur Police, Army, Assam Rifles, BSF and CRPF who took responsibilities in their own ways to see that the vehicles reached Imphal safely.

Chief Minister Ibobi told the media-persons that the Government took a decision to send the goods trucks on NH-53 on May 15.Earlier also, the Government had considered sending the trucks on the same highway.

However, since the supporters of economic blockade had piled up boulders atop the hills along the highway in order to attack the vehicles, area domination was necessary.

While taking up security measures for the area domination, a few days' time had to be taken.

After that, on May 19, the trucks and oil tankers from Imphal were send on NH-53 along additional forces.

Regarding the policy of the government to send vehicles on Guite road, the Chief Minister said that the government is also aware that the Guite road in its present condition can not be appropriately used.

However, in order to show the groups, which frequently indulge in imposing economic blockade, that there is another alternative road, the trucks were sent on Guite road.

A number of trucks plied this road and returned with goods.

Ibobi said, Guite road is much longer than any other road.

National Highway 39 is the most suitable road for the state.

The next is NH-53 .

The government did not make it a priority to bring essential commodities along the second lifeline NH-53 because the government did not want to see further confrontation and casualty on the side of the protesters.

An armed militant group used the innocent civilians as human shield and forced them to block the highway.

When the security forces try to clear the road, they might use force and unwanted incidents may happen like that of Mao.

The government did not want to see such unpleasant situation again, the Chief Minister said.

As regards non-improvement of NH-53, the Chief Minister said, at least 12 bridges along Imphal-Jiribam road would be under water once the Tipaimukh Multipurpose Project is constructed.

Because of this, the BRTF is conducting re-alignment of the highway.

The Central government has stopped sanctioning funds for improvement of the existing bridges.

But due to the current disturbances, the government has sanctioned some crores of rupees for improvement of the existing bridges and constructing new ones so that they could be used for a few years.

Ibobi further said that the Centre does not want to see the peace talk with the NSCN-IM to break down and also knows the sentiments of the people of Manipur.

That's why, the Centre in consultation with the state government has made arrangements to airlift the essential commodities and the fuel to Manipur.

It is not that these items being airlifted would be sufficient for the state.

But then at least certain commodities are available.

The government knows that this arrangement can not be a long lasting policy.

On a question about Minister Y Irabot's visit to Jiribam without the Chief Minister's permission, Ibobi replied that there is no restriction for any one whether Minister or not to go to Jiribam or any other place.

The general order is meant for taking extra precautionary measures to ensure safety to a VIP during his visit.

However, though there is no restriction to a Minister's free movement, if any danger happens, the Government will get the criticisms.

On another question regarding Minister Irabot being considered as the "hero of Manipur" by a section of the people for leading the goods trucks to Imphal from Jiribam, the Chief Minister replied that what a Government does is the collective responsibilities of all the Ministers.

A Chief Minister can not simply take a unilateral decision and act according to his whims.

Likewise, it would not be right on the part of any Minister to act as he wishes, Ibobi said.

Regarding the failed attampt to destroy the Kangpokpi bridge by blasting a bomb, Chief Minister Ibobi affirmed that the man, who got himself killed when the bomb he was trying to fix to the underneath of the bridge, exploded had joined NSCN-IM a few years back.

The government has appropriate information about that, he said.

He reiterated that the government would not allow Muivah to enter Manipur either by helicopter or by road.