Delhi may discuss blockade with SPF
Source: The Sangai Express

New Delhi, August 06: The Centre is likely to do some tough talking with Manipur Government over the continued economic blockade of National Highway 39 by a Naga outfit even as essential commodities to the State have been airlifted by Indian Airlines and Indian Air Force.

Highly-placed sources said Home Secretary VK Duggal is expected to visit the State next week and express Centre�s concerns over the continued blockade by All Naga Students Association of Manipur (ANSAM) since June 20.The sources said Duggal has also called Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur next week to review the situation arising out of the blockade.

The Centre has received a report from State Governor SS Sidhu in which he had made a veiled attack on the decision of the State Government to declare June 18 as a State holiday to mark �Integration Day� and remarked that �the crisis could have been avoided�.

The Ibobi Singh Government had declared the day as a State holiday last year in memory of 14 people who were killed in �integrity agitation� of June 2001 in Imphal.

Joint Secretary in Union Home Ministry Rajeev Agarwal today told reporters that the State Government was already holding talks with the agitating students and �if necessary, the Centre will also hold talks�.

He said while the NH-39 continued to be blocked, the Centre, with the help of Border Roads Organisation, had opened NH-53 to facilitate essential commodities like petrol, gas and medicine to reach Manipur.

Agarwal said more than 1000 truck carrying petroleum products and food grains have reached Manipur through National Highway-53.Asked whether there was some shortage of essential drugs, he said �the State has informed us that while there was no short supply of generic drugs, there was a scarcity of branded drugs, which have been now airlifted through Indian Airlines�.

The Joint Secretary, while admitting of short supplies of some essential commodities, said �there is no report of human misery�.

He said the Centre was also keenly monitoring the talks between the ANSAM and the State Government and was also hopeful that some solution would emerge soon.

Agarwal said three air sorties had been made by Indian Air Force from Guwahati to Imphal today with 45 tonnes of essential items.