Law to ban blockades, bandhs on the anvil: CM
Jiri line to be cleared within July, assures Ibobi, Opp grills Government on economic blockade

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 05: With the State reeling under another indefinite economic blockade, this time imposed by ANSAM, Chief Minister O Ibobi today informed the House that the Government has started studying the option of framing a law to ban such economic blockades as well as bandhs.

The Chief Minister gave this information when seven Opposition MLAs raised an adjournment motion to discuss the ANSAM sponsored economic blockade after question hour in the morning session of the House today.

However since the issue had already been discussed during a call attention motion, Speaker TN Haokip suggested that the issue be discussed in a short duration discussion and not as an adjournment motion to which the House agreed.

Taking the Government to task, the Opposition questioned why no action has been taken up to escort the goods laden trucks stranded at Assam on the Nagaland border even though the blockade has already entered the 16th day today.

Stating that imposing an economic blockade on NH-39 will hurt all the communities of Manipur, Chief Minister O Ibobi said that the time has come to check the legality of any blockades and bandhs called by any organisation over some issue in the State.

To frame a law to check such action, the Government has started taking the advice and inputs of legal experts, added Ibobi.

The members of ANSAM are also all Manipuris, noted the Chief Minister and added that to work out a long lasting solution, the Government had twice sent written intimations to the student body to come to the negotiating table.

Naga MLAs and Ministers will also be made a party to any negotiation with ANSAM, informed the Chief Minister.

Written messages have also been sent to the Governments of Assam and Nagaland as well as to the Centre to work out a solution to the matter at hand, Ibobi added.

The Government has also started work in right earnest to make NH-53 and NH-150 motorable to neutralise the numerous bandhs and blockades imposed on NH-39, said the Chief Minister and added that the BRTF has been instructed to finish repairing and building all the bridges on NH-53.There will be no dearth of funds for the NH-53 mission, asserted the Chief Minister and added that if needed, fund will be diverted from the Plan money to make this highway motorable.

Additional security force has also been pressed into service along NH-53 to provide the needed security, he added.

The Chief Minister also assured the House that there is no need to press the alarm button over the availability of essential items such as food grain, potatoes and chanas.

He also appealed to the traders not to hike the price of the essential items by taking advantage of the economic blockade and added that efforts are on to escort the goods laden trucks stranded at Khatkatti in Assam.

On the declaration of June 18 as a State holiday, the Chief Minister explained that the declaration was made keeping in mind the territorial integrity of Manipur and in good faith.

There is no question of declaring the holiday in favour of any one community.

It is unfortunate that ANSAM should misinterpret the issue and impose the economic blockade, noted the Chief Minister.

Taking the Government to task, MPP MLA O Joy said that prices of all essential commodities have sky rocketed and added that the price of a filled LPG cylinder is now Rs 700/800.There is acute shortage of fuel and surgical operations at the hospitals have stopped due to lack of oxygen, he added.

If the patience of the people, especially the valley people runs out, then Manipur will once again go up in flames, cautioned Joy and asked what steps the Govt has taken up.

FPM MLA M Nilachandra said the Government should not remain as mere silent spectators and try to find a solution at the earliest possible time.

Another Opposition MLA M Bhorot of the BJP said that the stand of the Government is not clear.

It was politically unwise to declare June 18 as a State holiday without taking the likely consequences into consideration, said the MLA and added that the decision may be reviewed.

The agitators too should review their decision to go on with the economic blockade.

M Ibohal also chipped in and said that the declaration of June 18 as a State holiday was a hasty decision taken without considering the reactions from different people.