State Govt to study impact of bandhs
Cong, MPP go hammer and tongs at each other

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 31: Acting on the directive of the Supreme Court against frequent calling of bandh, blockade and general strike, the State Government has entrusted its Economics and Statistics Department to study the impact of such agitations on the socio-economic life of the people in the last three years so that necessary action can be taken up to curb the debilitating trend.

According to an official source, taking serious note of the impact of frequent bandh, blockade and general strike called by each and every sundry organisations on the economic growth of the State, Chief Secretary Jarnail Singh had recently made the Home Department prepare a report in this connection and the same has been submitted to the Government.

Subsequently, the Chief Secretary has directed the Department of Economics and Statistics to prepare another report to find out scientifically how far bandh and blockade, directly or indirectly affect the economic growth of the State during the last three years.

After analysing the findings of the report of the Department of Economics and Statistics which is expected to be ready by January, 2007, the State Government will take up necessary action to put a curb on the prevailing bandh culture, the source disclosed.

It may be noted that the Supreme Court had ruled sometime earlier that imposition of bandh and blockade and causing inconveniences to the general public is against the law and the rights of the people.

The apex Court had also observed that action could be initiated against those who sponsor such bandh or blockade for the losses suffered.

The State Government has decided to take up action against frequent calling of bandh and blockade in accordance with the ruling of the Supreme Court.

According to the report prepared by the Home Department, during 2004-05, 176 days were lost under the imposition of economic blockade along the three National Highways passing through the State (NH-39, NH-53, NH-150) while in 2005-2006 the number of such days was pegged at 140. The report further pointed out that from April 2006 to December 28 of the current financial year, the National Highways were under the spell of economic blockades for 139 days.

The total number of State-wide bandhs called during 2004-05 is 8 and 10 during 2005-06.While in the current fiscal year, in all 29 State wide bandhs have been called till December 28. Over and above the State-wide bandhs, the current fiscal year have also recorded the highest number of bandhs at district level including hill districts and other partial bandhs over one demand or the other.

48 partial bandhs have been recorded till December 28 of the current financial year as against 35 in 2004-05 and 45 in 2005-06. With numerous burning issues still plaguing the State, it is very likely that the culture of calling bandh at the drop of a hat would linger on atleast for sometime.