Erabot's determined trip on NH-53 'opens floodgate'
as more vehicles arrive to boost people's morale; No let up in attacks on vehicles, drivers hurt, trucks damaged

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, May 23 2010: Petroleum products such as petrol, diesel and cooking gas (LPG) would be made available to the consumers in a day or two, said Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Y Erabot.

An official source said that the Chief Minister will chair a meeting tomorrow at 10 am to work out the modalities of distributing the petroleum products to the people.

If a plan can be chalked out early tomorrow, then some petrol outlets may be opened in the evening, said the source adding that otherwise, petrol pumps and LPG cylinders will be distributed the next day (Tuesday.) On the other hand, 187 goods carriers reached Imphal this morning along NH-53 route out of which 20 vehicles were damaged in stone pelting along the highway.

The trucks which wewre damaged by blockade supporters while they were on their way to Imphal from Jiribam

Vehicles carrying petroleum products along with other items were also brought to Imphal yesterday with Erabot leading the convoy.

These vehicles were earlier stranded at Jiribam and different places of Assam for the last many weeks after the total blockade was enforced along the two National Highways that connect Manipur to other States of the country.

Talking to The Sangai Express, Erabot said that diesel and petrol tankers escorted back to Imphal last evening contained about 3 lakh litres and to ensure its availability to the public relevant process would begin tomorrow.

Similarly, official process has been initiated to distribute LPGs, maintained the Minister who had reached out to the stranded drivers near Jiribam with only a handful of security personnel who were detailed as sentry guards at his residence.

noting that some goods carriers coming towards Imphal today were attacked by miscreants suspected to be blockade supporters, Erabot expressed strong resentment that no security protection was extended to the transporters from the side of the Government inspite of being aware that trouble makers had tried to create problem yesterday also.

The vehicles that arrived today along the NH-53 today were actually part of the convoy that left Jiribam yesterday.

Minister Erabot reached out to the drivers at Keithelmanbi to assess damages caused to vehicles and injuries suffered by some drivers in stone pelting by blockade supporters.

In all 187 goods laden trucks arrived today on the same route where about 100 vehicles (not 200 as was reported) were brought under the guidance of the Minister.

It is informed that at around 5 am today at least 20 trucks were damaged when suspected blockade supporters pelted large stone from the hill tops of Noney and Langkhong village of Tamenglong district.

In the stone attack, one driver suffered head injuries and has been admitted to RIMS Hospital.

The injured driver is identified as Khumanthem Jiten (34) of Kanto village.

Jiten's assistant Nungleppam Tomba (20) also from Kanto drove the sugar loaded truck (MN01/5656) upto khumbong where one of the tyres got stuck in a dug-out (pipe line).

Moreover, about seven vehicle operators were assaulted by about 30 persons after whisking them away from the highway.

Some among the attackers held small arms, claimed a driver.

Even though the attackers left the place on spotting arrival of some security personnel, the men in uniform rather than assist the injured transport operators asked them to drive away from the place immediately, which they complied inspite of severe discomfort, the drivers maintained.

Erabot, who consoled the drivers at Keithelmanbi fumed that no concrete security measures had been initiated by authorities concerned inspite of noney area being a known trouble-spot.

A police source said the loaded trucks passed through noney section of the highway in between 2.30 am and 6 am.

Among the vehicles that crossed Keithelmanbi this morning, 31 are bullet tankers (LPG carriers), 32 fuel tankers, 35 loaded with grocery items, one rice load, 38 ferried cement and two brought iron rods.

Meanwhile, airlifting of food items from Guwahati is on with 49.55 metric of rice brought in an Airforce plane today.