Imphal: The Sadar Hills District Demand
Committee (SHDDC), spearheading economic blockade on Manipur
portion of two national Highways since August 1, have
announced plans of intensifying the blockades after failure of
talks with the Manipur government.
The SHDDC would intensify the ongoing economic blockades
on National Highway 39 (Imphal-Dimapur-Guwahati) and NH 53
(Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar), a committee spokesman said.
Talks between Manipur government and the SHDDC over
conversion of Sadar Hills area in Senapati district into a
full-fledged revenue district failed.
The government did not agree to their demand because it
had set up a district reorganisation committee headed by Chief
Secretary DS Poonia to study the boundaries of all the
districts, official sources said.
While the government wanted the SHDDC to wait for six
months to discuss the issue, the committee wanted immediate
conversion of Sadar Hills into a full-fledged revenue district
during the talks held at Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh`s
While SHDDC had launched the economic blockades on Manipur
portions of the two highways since August 1 last, the United
Naga Council (UNC) opposing the SHDDC demand launched economic
blockades on the same national highways since August 21 last.
The SHDDC spokesman said the government was "buying time"
to delay their demand because the next Manipur Assembly
elections are due in February next year.
According to the sources, Kuki-majority Sadar Hills area
in Naga-majority Senapati district is a problem because in
early 1990s over 1000 persons were killed in ethnic clashes
between Nagas and Kukis as Nagas wanted to drive out Kukis
from Naga-settled areas of all the hill districts.
Because of the economic blockades, prices of essential
items have gone up with petrol selling at Rs 120 per litre in
the black market, cooking gas (LPG) per cylinder at Rs 1650
and diesel at Rs 75 per litre.
Prices of other essential commodities have also gone up.
The sources said efforts were being made to bring all
items from outside the state with security escort.
So far four persons, including a driver have died in
blockade-related incidents and 7 trucks have been set ablaze.