Manipur highway blockade will be cleared soon: CM

Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh today voiced confidence that the 73-day-old blockade on two National Highways connecting the state would be cleared "as soon as possible".

delhi Updated: Oct 13, 2011 19:38 IST

Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh on Thursday voiced confidence that the 73-day-old blockade on two National Highways connecting the state would be cleared "as soon as possible".

"We are trying to resolve it (the blockade issue) as early as possible," Singh told reporters after a meeting with home minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi.

The chief minister said the District Reorganisation Committee, which was constituted to look into the demands of the agitators who are blocking NH 53 and 39, is expected to give its report at the earliest.

"I hope that they will submit the report before the Election Commission code of conduct comes," he said.

The economic blockade on the highways linking Manipur, where assembly elections are due early next year, entered the 73rd day on Thursday despite the Centre sending security forces to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities to the north eastern state.

Home ministry officials have expressed concern over the long blockade which is affecting normal life in Manipur, where prices of all goods have shot up to an unprecedented level.

The Sadar Hills District Demand Committee launched the economic blockade on Imphal-Dimapur-Guwahati NH 53 and the Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar NH 39 since August 1 demanding conversion of the Kuki-majority Sadar hills area in Naga-majority Senapati district into a full-fledged district.

United Naga Committee, opposing the Kukis' demand for granting district status to Sadar Hills, launched a counter-economic blockade on the same national highways on August 21.

Asked whether his government was ready to create new districts as demanded by some groups, the Manipur chief minister said, "Let the report come...but if necessary we will take action accordingly".

Singh dismissed the reports that there was crisis in essential commodities and their prices were going up.

"We are monitoring the price situation. All essential commodities are available at the market price," he said.

So far, more than six vehicles have been set afire by supporters of the blockade while at least four persons including a driver were killed in blockade-related incidents.

Manipur youth affairs and sports minister N Biren, also the government spokesman, has claimed that prices of essential commodities have come down since trucks were coming in with security escorts.

First Published: Oct 13, 2011 19:36 IST