Manipur faces food crisis as Nagas start blockade
The northeastern state of Manipur is staring at an acute scarcity of essentials and fuel with tribal Naga groups enforcing a 25-day economic blockade and accusing New Delhi of failing to meet their grievances.
Imphal: The northeastern state of Manipur is staring at an acute scarcity of essentials and fuel with tribal Naga groups enforcing a 25-day economic blockade and accusing New Delhi of failing to meet their grievances.
"Manipur would soon witness serious food crisis, coupled with scarcity of fuel and medicines, with trucks carrying supplies refusing to come to Manipur for fear of attacks," U Singh, a trader in Imphal dealing with essentials, said on Thursday.
Several Naga tribal groups have blocked highways into the state, which borders Myanmar, to protest New Delhi`s failure to meet their demand for demilitarising the Naga-dominated areas of Manipur.
The 25-day blockade that began on Tuesday and is spearheaded by the United Naga Council (UNC) is once again expected to lead to severe shortages of food and medical supplies as well as cause soaring prices.
"New Delhi had backtracked on our demands to withdraw security forces from the hill districts (dominated by Nagas), besides failing to book the culprits involved in killing two of our protesters on May 6," a UNC leader said.
The blockade on National Highway 39 has already led to trucks carrying essentials being stopped in Nagaland -- all vehicles entering Manipur need to traverse through Nagaland.
Landlocked Manipur depends on supplies from outside the region and trucks from the rest of India carry essentials to the state passing through Nagaland.
"This time we shall see to it that supplies of essentials are not stopped. We are already taking the blockade seriously with New Delhi," a Manipur government spokesperson said.
The immediate provocation for the fresh spell of blockade comes after Home Minister P. Chidambaram told parliament that demands for Greater Nagaland by slicing off parts of Manipur, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh, cannot be conceded.
A 68-day blockade on the National Highway 39 by various Naga groups ended June 18 after New Delhi intervened and cleared the agitation by using the military.
The two-month blockade of main roads had led to severe shortages of food and medical supplies and soaring prices of all commodities.