Central team arrives in State
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 31 2010: The 14-member Central team which arrived here today in the backdrop of shortage of essential commodities has reportedly proposed resumption of transport service along the Imphal-Dimapur section of National highway-39 along with provision of 15 companies of central para-military forces.

An informed source said members of the Central Government team headed by Joint Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs AE Ahmed held a joint meeting with the Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh and representatives of Transporters and Drivers' Council (TDC) at the CM's Conference hall.

among other important issues deliberated during the meeting, the Central team proposed to the TDC representatives to ply vehicles on NH-39 for the time bring in order to overcome shortage of essential commodities.

Members of the Central team on their arrival at Tulihal Airport.

However, TDC members declined the proposal as they stuck to their earlier demands for full-proof security coverage, compensation of vehicles damaged while plying along NH-39 etc.

Nevertheless, the Central team persisted with their proposal to resume service for atleast a fortnight to ensure adequate stock of essential items with an assurance to provide 15 additional company of security forces on top of the 17 companies already made available to the State Government.

The Central team also reasoned that resumption of service along the NH-39 with adequate security cover is to facilitate expeditious and smooth road development/repairing works along the Imphal-Jiribam section of NH-53 .

Even though the TDC did not yield to the persuasion it is informed that the transport operators' conveyed to the Central team to discuss the matter by convening a general body meeting of TDC at the earliest.

The source further revealed that collection of illegal tax by armed outfits particularly the NSCN (IM) from vehicles plying along NH-39 and violent attacks against trucks and drivers on this route, including many drivers losing their lives were highlighted to the Central team.

Later in the evening, the Central team met IOC officials at the Chingmeirong office of the latter during which the focus was on depleted stock of petrol/diesel and petroleum products and ways to redress the situation.

The Central team is in the State to take first hand account of the prevailing situation in Manipur.

The team also included, Joint Secretary (MHA/North east in-charge) Naveen Verma, DoNER Joint Secretary Dr JP Sharma, CMD of Food Corporation of India Siraj Hussain, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Dr RS Shukla, FCI Executive Director Dr Amar Singh, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Apurbachandra, Director of the PMO Darbindra Sandhu and top officers of Railway Ministry.

The shortage of essential commodities in Manipur in the aftermath of the 68-day economic blockade of the Naga students and the subsequent Manipur transpoters' body boycotting of the National Highway-39 have given immense hardship to the people of Manipur as essential commodities are very scarce.

Those items available are too high a price for the common man to afford.

The fuel scarcity has been the main problem in the state.

In a two-day visit to the state, the officials said that they are here to sort out the problem.

Soon after their arrival, the Central team enclosed themselves with chief minister O Ibobi Singh for almost four hours discussing the prevailing situation of the state.

The meeting was also participated by the state chief secretary, cabinet ministers, top officials of state force and the Army.

The Central team also met the Governor today.

Talking to some media persons at Imphal airport on their arrival, members of the Central team said that they were here to sort out the problem of the scarcity of essential commodities.

The Central team will meet different sections of the people here as part of gathering the first hand knowledge of the situation.

The issue of frequent bandhs in the state and frequent calling of blockades on the national highways leading to Manipur will also be discussed with the state government officials on Sunday, according to sources.

The team will then give certain directives to the authorities concerned so that the improvement works along the NH-53 is accelerated, the sources added.