The problem arising from the Naga blockade has deepened with transporters and bus operators of Manipur refusing to resume service on the highways unless they are recompensed for the losses they have suffered.
Further, they want an assurance that no “illegal taxes” will be levied.
This, when Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai held a meeting with the chief secretaries of Manipur and Nagaland on Wednesday and said that the first convoy of goods would move towards Manipur capital Imphal on Saturday.
“We will not ply our vehicles on National Highway 39 until we’re compensated for our losses (due to frequent blockades) by the Centre and the Nagaland government besides (getting) the assurance that no illegal taxes will be levied in future,” said Ng Haridas, general secretary of the Transporters & Drivers Council of Manipur, an apex body of transporters.
On May 4, miscreants burnt seven trucks in the Nagaland sector of National Highway 39.
Echoing a similar sentiment, All Manipur Inter-State Bus Association President Budha Luwang said: “We will not resume our service on NH 39 unless the authorities assure that there will be no more blockades on this route.”
Operators say every truck passing the Nagaland-Manipur sector of NH 39 was required to deposit at least Rs 20,000 annually with underground groups, apart from “godown taxes” and “daily trip taxes” on items they transported from places such as Dimapur (in Nagaland), sources said.
Besides, each truck had to give not less than Rs 100 at every security point along the route, sources said.
On average, 275 goods-laden trucks roll into Manipur daily.