BJP team moots PR, exposes IM's extortion along NH-39
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 02: The BJP Parliamentary team which was in Imphal on July 28 and 29 to study the situation in the State arising out of the economic blockade imposed by ANSAM has suggested the imposition of President's Rule in the State and thoroughly exposed the extortion racket of NSCN (IM) along NH-39.The BJP Parliamentary team comprised of Rajya Sabha MPs SS Ahluwalia and Kripal Parmar and Lok Sabha members Laxman Singh and Thawar Chand Gehlot.

The report compiled by the team after interacting with a cross section of people including the Governor, Chief Minister and Chief Secretary advocated the imposition of President's Rule in the State stating, �The present situation in Manipur is a clear manifestation of failure of the State in adhering to Article 355 of the Constitution of India and is a fit case for imposition of President's Rule under Article 356�.Divided into five sections, Overview, Prevailing situation, ANSAM agitation, Background and Conclusion-steps to be taken, the report submitted by the BJP team gave a comprehensive picture of the situation in the State ever since the economic blockade was imposed and exposed the extortion racket run by the NSCN (IM) along NH-39.The report also accused ANSAM of acting at the behest of the IM group.

The report will be introduced on the floor of Parliament for due consideration in the ongoing Monsoon session.

On the extortion racket of the NSCN (IM) and ANSAM on NH-39, the report said that about 8000 trucks loaded with essential items come to Manipur every month along NH-39.This works out to an average of 300/400 trucks every day along NH-39.Referring to reports submitted by the Transporters' Association of Manipur, the report said that each truck entering Manipur along NH-39 is forced to pay Rs 200 per trip besides Rs 5000 per month to be able to ply along the said route.

Trucks carrying cement and other building material are forced to pay Rs 5000 per truck per trip, the report said.

To counter the extortion racket, developing NH-53 is necessary, said the BJP team.

Since NH-53 is in a dilapidated state, the report suggested deployment of BRO with adequate men, material and equipment to strengthen the road and bridges along this route on a war footing.

The report also suggested the deployment of at least 5 additional CRPF battalions in Manipur to provide protection to the bridges along NH-53.The report also mentioned the dismantling of the Irang bridge by ANSAM (NSCN IM) and observed that though the bridge was supposed to be under the surveillance of the Assam Rifles, the prolonged act of dismembering the bridge with gas cutters went unnoticed.

The Indian Oil Corporation and Food Corporation of India should be instructed to mobilise stocks and maintain buffer stocks of petrol, diesel, LPG and food grains for distribution in Manipur to mitigate the scarcity caused by the blockade.

In order to meet the exigencies, the report also suggested that supplies be taken to Manipur by Army trucks.

Supplies can also be brought upto Jiribam railway station from Tinsukia through metre gauge.

Detailing the situation, the report said that ever since the ANSAM sponsored economic blockade was imposed, the people of Manipur have been held under duress and have been starved of all essential commodities such as LPG, petrol, kerosene and rice.

The blockade has also dealt a blow on the farmers as fertilisers are in short supply during this time of the year which is vital for paddy cultivation, said the report.

Without beating around the bush, the report said that ANSAM is a conduit of the NSCN (IM) and is being engaged by the armed group to create pressure on the Government on the eve of the expiry of the cease fire agreement which fell on July 31.This is also confirmed by the fact that no arrest of the unlawful agitators have been made nor any dialogue held with them to resolve the issue amicably either by the State of Central Government.

The report observed that 2005 is not the first year that June 18 was declared a holiday and added that even when the State observed August 4 as State integrity day since 1997, there were no protests from ANSAM.

However the report said that Chief Minister O Ibobi wittingly or unwittingly played a role in facilitating the agitation by declaring June 18 as a State holiday as early as June 4 this time.

Earlier, the norm followed was to announce the holiday only on June 17 and questioned the reason why the Chief Minister acted so hastily.

The decision was also not taken by the Cabinet and this was laid bare on the floor of the Assembly.

The early declaration of June 18 as a State holiday gave ample time to ANSAM to mobilise their networks in Manipur and at a various places in Nagaland along NH-39 to culminate in the present economic blockade, it added.

The report also gave a detailed background of the uprising of June 18 and the subsequent observations that followed in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.