The blockade of two crucial highways by tribes in the northeastern state of Manipur entered its 61st day on Thursday, making prices of essential items shoot through the roof.
The blockade began on July 31, when the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee, spearheaded by the Kuki tribe, choked National Highways 39 and 53 to press for their demand of creating a separate Sadar Hills district.
These two highways that cut through the hills, which are the traditional habitat of various tribes, mainly Nagas, connect Manipur's capital Imphal with the rest of the Northeast.
The Naga group, United Naga Council, is against the creation of a separate Sadar Hills district in areas they inhabit, and they retaliated by imposing a counter-blockade of the two highways on August 21.
Neither group has relented since - and Imphal city is paying the price, sandwiched between the two groups' demand.
"I don't know who these blockades cater to. What I want is to buy my daily quota of rice at an affordable price, and not pay Rs 70 a kg for a variety of rice that otherwise costs Rs 20," said Rose Shimray, a homemaker in Ukhrul, headquarters of one of the remotest districts of Manipur.
According to Abdul Haque, leader of All Manipur Students' Union, an LPG cylinder is selling at Rs 1,600-Rs 2,000, petrol at Rs 120-Rs 140 a litre and diesel at Rs 70-Rs 80 a litre.
And that is not all.
Potatoes, which cost Rs 20 a kg, are being sold at Rs 50-Rs 60 a kg, and tomatoes, which cost Rs 40 a kg, are now being sold for Rs 100 a kg. Even a 50-paisa matchbox is being sold for Rs 3.
The Manipur government has set up mobile stalls at 10 locations in Imphal to improve the supply of essential items.