Manipur still suffering from after affects of blockade

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Imphal, July 9 (ANI): The recent 68-day long economic blockade by Naga groups has badly affected Manipur. Though the blockade has been lifted, the problems.

Transporters, who have been complaining of being harassed by militant groups on NH-39, are hesitant to normalise their services.

These transporters want an assurance that they would not be illegally taxed by Naga militant groups before they start plying again on the NH-39.

National Highway - 39 is the lifeline of Manipur. Two months of blockade by Naga groups affected normal life in Manipur.

Central paramilitary forces have been deployed to provide security cover to the vehicles on NH-30.

The CRPF and ITBP personnels escort goods-laden vehicles safely to Manipur.

"Security forces are escorting us and we have not yet faced any difficulty. We were regularly driving on the highway and let's see what happens in the future," said Pankaj, a Manipur bound truck driver.

Nagaland too has suffered because of the blockade which has affected around 15 kilometres from Dimapur is Jarnaphani, once the hub of truckers.

Now, no vehicles stop here and the local restaurant owners, both Nagas and Manipuris, have suffered huge losses.

"Our business is badly affected due to Manipur bound trucks not entering Nagaland. Now, all eateries along the highway (39) are facing the same problem. We can't survive for long as if this continues. Our children are also suffering due to reduced income.

The trucks that ply on NH-39 are being escorted by security forces and they don't stop here," said Opendra, a Dhaba owner at Jarnaphani, Nagaland

Imphal is suffering from shortage of essential commodities. The vehicles bringing them through NH-53 get bogged down because of regular landslides.

Meanwhile long queues can be seen at petrol pumps and grocery shops. The prices have skyrocketed too.

"The economic blockade has caused us a lot of suffering. There is no alternative available for LPG gas, or petrol in the market. In far-flung areas, people are finding it difficult to get food items," said Tharosangbi Devi, a vendor.

Economists believe the blockade of Manipur has resulted in a loss to the tune of Rs. 4 crore per day.

The monetary loss can be calculated, but the misery caused to the people is incalculable.

"All the private and government schools stopped functioning during the blockade. It is not only the money but the human loss is also very large. This is very dangerous, if it prolongs for more than 2-3 months. We might see a generation gap in education, human capital formation and human resource development," said N Mohendro Singh, Economist, Manipur.

Frequent shutdowns and blockades in Manipur during 2004-07 led to a loss of approximately Rs. 1,319 crores.

In this period, there were about 234 days of blockades besides 110 days of shutdowns in the State. (ANI)

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