Gaikhangam denounces blockade culture
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, November 20 2016:
Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam has come down heavily on the agitating United Naga Council (UNC) for protracting the ongoing economic blockade chocking both the National Highways linking land-locked Manipur with other States, saying people here have suffered appalling hardship due to the relentless stir.
Speaking to media on the sidelines of a function held at Congress Bhavan, Gaikhangam claimed that the ongoing blockade enforced by UNC is being backed by a militant outfit, but he did not name the group directly.
"Attention of the Centre's interlocutor for Naga peace talks has been drawn by the State Government over the blockade issue," Gaikhangam said.
"The continuing stir may stall the Naga peace talks and that may also prompt the Centre to withdraw it," Gaikhangam, who is also the Home Minister, warned.
The Manipur Deputy CM insisted that the UNC blockade is "undemocratic" and expressed displeasure on the current dismal situation created by the stir that began from October 30 midnight along Imphal-Dimapur highway and Imphal-Jiribam highway through which transportation of consumer goods for the State is carried out.
The Naga apex body in Manipur called the blockade stir to bar the Government from converting Sadar Hills of Senapati district and Jiribam subdivision of Imphal East into full-fledged districts.
Gaikhangam said UNC is showing no mercy by prolonging the blockade that has caused a lot of suffering to the people.
He appealed for immediate withdrawal of the stir.
He informed that Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh left Imphal for New Delhi yesterday to apprise the Centre of the situation.
Gaikhangam also informed that the Chief Minister would hold talks with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the National capital over the blockade issue.
"It's time for the Centre to take appropriate action.
The Government of India should not sit back and remain idle at this crucial hour," he urged.
A six-member team of UNC recently held talks with officials of Union Home Ministry in New Delhi at the invitation of the latter over the blockade issue, but the talks failed to make any headway.
The Naga organization since then intensified the stir.
Detailing the current transportation of essential items through Imphal-Jiribam highway, Gaikhangam said trucks are plying along the highway under heavy security arrangements to fetch consumer goods including petroleum products from Assam.
He said security arrangements are being reviewed on daily basis to facilitate regular transshipment of goods.
On the Imphal-bound loaded-trucks currently stranded at Mao of Senapati district near Nagaland border since the blockade started, he informed that these trucks would be brought back soon.
The Deputy CM then hit out at the NDA Government for the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes from November 8 midnight, a step that has aggravated the situation in Manipur now facing price hike and acute shortage of consumer items.