Loaded trucks attacked for plying on NH-39
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 19 2010: Even as suspected members of transport bodies halted and damaged atleast three loaded vehicles for plying on the Imphal-dimapur section of National Highway-39 against the decision to skip this route local organisations have hailed resolution of vehicle operators to ply only on national highway no.53 .

The damaged vehicles were among five loaded with goods that proceeded from Dimapur today with one approval letter each issued by Dimapur Naga Students' Union (DNSU).

two loaded trucks managed to evade the offensive action of unidentified persons, who are suspected to be enforcing decision of the Transporters and Drivers' Council (TDC), manipur to never ply on the Imphal-Dimapur section of NH-39 .

(Left): intercepted fertilizers put on sale to Sekmai locals and the loaded vehicle attacked near khonghampat

Apparently taking advantage of suspension of economic blockade announced by naga organisations on both NH-39 and 53, the five vehicles carrying fertilizers and eatables arrived from Dimapur today but were stopped and attacked at sekmai and khonghampat areas at around noon today.

The damaged vehicles included two trucks bearing registration numbers AS01R/8191 and NL01A/9831 while one 407 Mini Tata carrying eatables had no number plate.

Three other trucks that escaped the attack are said to bear Regd Nos.AS01C/4152, AS15B/5643 and AS01Y/0142 .

According to operators of the damaged vehicles, the DNSU president issued line clearance 'permit' to each of the drivers after collecting a total of Rs 25,000 .

A copy of the DNSU letter received here said the vehicles carrying fertilizers were meant for farmers of Kalapahar, Senapati district with the document urging all concerned not to disturb or hinder movement of the vehicles till they reach the destination.

Describing as unfortunate the vehicle convoys' defiance of the TDC resolution, general secretary of the transport operators' conglomerate body Ng Haridas expressed surprise and apprehension that the economic blockade had been suspended after over 60 days without achieving any demands put up by of the blockade sponsors.

observing that decision to suddenly suspend the highway agitation might be to sustain the past practice of collection of illegal taxes along various points of NH-39, Haridas mockingly pleaded the naga bodies to intensify the blockade on NH-39 so as to ensure that the Council's decision to abandon Imphal-Dimapur section becomes effective.

Conveying that as the blockade had been suspended free movement of vehicles including goods carriers and passenger buses along the Imphal-jiribam route had been made possible, the Council functionary prevailed upon the Government of Manipur to ensure intense and efficient patrolling by security forces on NH-53 to enable transport operators serve the people without any apprehension.

A women activists interacting with newspersons at Sekmai also called upon transport operators to ply on the Imphal-Jiribam route as drivers had faced enough inconveniences while operating on the Imphal-Dimapur section of NH-39 .

She also claimed that timely intervention by the Sekmai womenfolk and volunteers of local youth clubs prevented the trucks from being set on fire.

Fertilizer loads seized at near Sekmai bazar were sold off to local farmers at the printed prices on the spot while contents of the vehicles damaged at khonghampat area have been taken into custody of the police.

meanwhile, Angtha Youth Sporting Club, Yairipok and Wangjing Hodamba Heitup Pokpi Women's Development Association have hailed decision of the TDC to skip NH-39 and ferry goods and passengers through NH-53 .

describing stand of Transporters and Drivers' Council, Manipur not to budge from its decision to never ply their vehicles along NH-39, the yairipok Club described the decision as long due and far-sighted and pledged its maximum cooperation and assistance.

Expressing desire that the Council do not retreat from its stand, the Club strongly advocated that development of the ImphalJiribam section of NH-53 should be accorded top priority by both the State Government and the people as heavy price had already been paid for relying on terrain of a hostile neighbourhood.

In recounting that many drivers have lost their lives even for minor accidents such a running over a chicken on the Imphal-Dimapur road, the Yairipok club also enlisted instances of a handful of individuals under the banner of an NGO or two with the backing of certain armed groups holding the masses hostage by chocking the lifeline.

If the need arises, AYSC is prepared for extending financial assistance as well as make physical contributions.

Secretary of the Wangjing body L Memma Devi noted that had Government of Nagaland or its citizens acknowledged hardships endured by the transporters decision the Council would not have opted for the Imphal-Jiribam route.

Expressing that it is now responsibility of the Government of Manipur to encourage vehicle operators ply along NH-53, the women's body also cautioned that resumption of service on the Imphal-Dimapur route would mean contributing to hardships of people of manipur for unlawful organisations have been collecting huge illegal taxes only to finance in the campaign for disintegration of Manipur and other north Eastern States.

In the meantime, about 500 vehicles, including passenger buses, loaded trucks and fuel/LPG carriers are said to be stuck as two places on the Imphal-Jiribam section of NH-53 .

These vehicles, reportedly left Jiribam for Imphal yesterday.

A Council member also informed that several passenger buses left Imphal along NH-53 this morning with price of a ticket hiked to Rs 800 against the earlier rate of Rs 600 when NH-39 route was taken to reach Guwahati.

It is also informed that the Council will convene a meeting of various transport bodies on June 21 to discuss on the mode of rationing of petrol-diesel which is having adverse effect on local transportation due to non-provision of essential fuel for extended period.

Our Jiribam correspondent Jacob Panmei has informed that about 300 fuel tankers and LPG carriers bound for Imphal are stranded at Shanti Khunou along NH-53 due to heavy landslide.

BRTF personnel in substantial numbers have been pressed into service to clear the debris at the earliest possible time, Jacob said while adding that some vehicles are also stuck at near Barak bridge of the highway.