Foolproof security for NH-53 mooted
Source: The Sangai Express

New Delhi, August 08: While not ruling out the possibility of intervening in the Manipur crises, the Centre today reviewed the law and order situation and maintenance of essential supplies to the State following the blockade of National Highway 39 by Naga students.

�I am going myself either this week or early next week to ascertain the situation in Manipur.

I will personally monitor what is the situation of essential supplies,� Home Secretary Vinod Kumar Duggal told reporters after chairing a high-level meeting in which Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police of Manipur, Nagaland and Assam participated.

Asked whether he would intervene in the talks process between the All Naga Students Association of Manipur (ANSAM) and the Manipur State, Duggal said �If I am required, I will�.

He said the essential supplies were being maintained in the State though the stocking of petroleum products and LPG was bare minimum.

Referring to the opening up of alternate National Highway 53 for continuous supply of commodities to Manipur, he said Army and other para-military officials had been asked to provide adequate security to Border Roads Organisation people for repairing the bridges on this highway.

NH-53 is dominated by insurgent outfits including NSCN (I-M), NSCN (K) and UNLF.

�The Highway is being opened after nearly seven to eight years and there will be some problems.

But all the problems will be overcome,� Duggal said.

Senior Army officials and personnel of BRO were also present at the meeting.

Our Staff Reporter adds from Imphal: Carrying forward the agenda of the State Government, the meeting convened by Union Home Secretary VK Duggal at New Delhi today stressed on the need to provide foolproof security on NH-53 and make it fit for traffic.

Chief Secretary Jarnail Singh and DGP AK Parashar took part in the deliberations held today.

The Chief Secretaries and DGPs of Assam and Nagaland, top officials of the CRPF, Assam Rifles, BSF and BRTF were present at the meeting.

Officials of the Indian Oil Corporation and Food Corporation of India were also present.

When The Sangai Express contacted DGP AK Parashar at New Delhi today, the senior police officer said that the meeting took note of the situation prevailing in the State and stressed on the need to speedily develop NH-53 as well as provide foolproof security.

Officials of State police, CRPF, Assam Rifles and BSF mooted the proposal of closer co-ordinations between the security agencies on the highways as well as to increase the frequency of ROP, said Parashar.

The officials of Indian Oil Corporation and Food Corporation of India were also instructed by the Home Ministry to make sure that fuel and food items are available to the people of Manipur.

The Centre also assured the State delegates that air lifting of food will be done as and when the State Government asks for such help.

The meeting also mooted the proposal to provide adequate security cover to the BRTF which has been entrusted with the task of developing NH-53.All maintenance work and developmental works along this route have been stopped for the last 7/8 years due to the uncertain law and order situation on NH-53.The BRTF had demanded adequate security.

At the moment, hectic developmental work is being taken up on NH-53 to make the bridges along this route strong enough to bear the weight of the loaded trucks.

Even as the meeting at Delhi mooted the idea of developing NH-53 and provide foolproof security to make it fit for vehicular movement, Governor SS Sidhu today left Imphal to oversee the works being taken up along this route.

The Governor will stay the night at Jiribam and come back to Imphal tomorrow by air.

A team of Ministers and MLAs led by Power Minister Gaikhangam also left Imphal to get a first hand account of the work progress along this highway today.