Traffic resumes on National Highways
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, September 19, 2010: After over six months, trucks and buses started moving freely on NH-39 and NH-53 from today even though the ban on playing onNH-39 imposed by the Transporters' and Drivers' Council (TDC) is yet to be lifted.

Police said trucks and other vehicles have started moving without security escorts after the temporary lifting of the economic blockade by the United Naga Council (UNC) today.

More than 80 freight trucks reached Imphal without security escort today on the highway.

A number of empty trucks and inter-state buses also crossed Mao gate for their onward journey adding that no untoward incidents were reported in their movement.

Normal traffic was disrupted since April 11 of this year when the UNC and ANSAM imposed an economic blockade on the national highways in Manipur pressing the state government to review the holding of elections of the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in the hill areas of the state.

The economic blockade coupled with the state government's ban on the entry of NSCN (IM) general secretary, Th Muivah in May worsened the situation when, Naga Students Federation (NSF) banned Manipur vehicles passing through Nagaland territory.

On August 4, the blockade was imposed after the end of a crippling 68-day economic blockade of NH-39 and NH-53, called by the All Naga Students Association, Manipur.

It was called in protest against holding of the elections to the autonomous district councils in the hills.

The UNC imposed the economic blockade alleging that the Central government was not addressing their demands.

Among others, the UNC is demanding lifting of Section 144 CrPC withdrawal of state forces from Naga inhabited areas of Manipur and declaration of �null and void� of ADCs election held in May and June in the hill areas.

They also boycotted the state government's invitation for talks saying they had severed political ties with the state government and pressed upon the Centre for an alternative arrangement for the Naga areas in the state.

Despite the blockade, vehicles laden with essential items escorted by security forces plied on the two national highways.

Scarcity of essential commodities, particularly petroleum products are still affecting the state.

With the lifting of the economic blockade, police and security forces permitted free movement of vehicles.

During the blockade more than 11 freight trucks were set on fire by blockade supporters apart from smashing windshields of more than a hundred trucks moving with security escort.

This is above the 12 Manipur bound trucks set on fire in Nagaland during the ban on Manipur trucks by NSF.

Even though, the blockade has been suspended �temporarily�, the Transporters and Drivers Council (TDC) have not lifted its restriction on state vehicles in using NH-39 demanding compensations to the trucks damaged in Nagaland during the NSF ban.

We not lifting the restrictions, and freight trucks, oil tankers, gas bullet tankers and others should immediately stop using the route to ferry goods, a statement of TDC warned saying that they wanted peace, not violence.

If vehicles continue to travel on this route defying the restrictions, they might be compelled to resort to violent activities and vehicles may be burnt like those damaged in Nagaland, the TDC cautioned adding that any untoward incident to the trucks will not be the responsibility of the TDC.