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`First convoy of trucks to ply to Manipur on Sat`

The government today said it is committed to ensure free movement of traffic through the highways connecting Manipur and the first convoy of trucks will ply on Saturday.



New Delhi: The government today said it
is committed to ensure free movement of traffic through the
highways connecting Manipur and the first convoy of trucks
will ply on Saturday.

"The first convoy of goods for Manipur, as informed by
the state government, is expected to move to Imphal on
Saturday," the Home Ministry said in a statement after Home
Secretary G K Pillai held a meeting with top officials of
Nagaland and Manipur governments.

The Ministry said the central government was committed
to keep open the NH 39 and NH 53 -- the life line of Manipur
which were blocked by agitating Naga groups for over two
months.

"The permanent arrangement of National Highway
Protection Force for protecting and keeping open NH-39 would
also be put in place," the statement said.

The personnel of the force would be drawn from
paramilitary forces.

Pillai discussed with Manipur Chief Secretary D S
Poonia and additional chief secretaries of Nagaland A Jamir
and Toshi Aier issues relating to movement of vehicles through
NH-39 and NH-53.

"There is no blockade in Nagaland. Road is open and
the problem is only in Naga areas in Manipur where the Naga
students of Manipur have blocked it. We are trying to use
good offices of Naga Students Federation and Naga Hoho to
persuade All Naga Students Association of Manipur (ANSAM) to
withdraw the blockade," Jamir told reporters after the
meeting.

The Ministry statement said the meeting took note of
fact that the NSF had withdrawn the economic blockade in
Nagaland from 6 pm yesterday.

"It also took note of the Guwahati High Court`s order
to the Central government and the state governments of
Nagaland and Manipur that NH-39 and NH-53 be kept free from
all obstructions. All sides reiterated the importance of
keeping the national highways open for movement of goods and
people," it said.

The economic blockade has pushed Manipur on the verge
of a breakdown with stocks of all essentials commodities,
including baby food and life saving drugs, almost drying up.

ANSAM had launched the blockade in April to protest the
holding of elections to six autonomous district councils in
the Hills which, it alleged, were given not enough power to
carry out development work.

The blockade of National Highway 39 (Imphal-Dimapur)
and 53 (Imphal-Silchar), passing through Nagaland and
connecting Manipur, was intensified after Manipur refused
entry to NSCN-IM general secretary T Muivah on May 3 to visit
his ancestral home there.

PTI

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