Imphal: Manipuris will heave a sigh of relief on Tuesday when a highway blockade that has caused a dearth of many essential items for almost four months will be lifted, ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Dec 3 visit.
Fruits and vegetables, cooking gas, petrol and even medicines have been in short supply since national highways 39 and 53-the economic lifelines of the state-became fatalities of a political row over the demand to change the Sadar Hills area into a district.
The Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC), which wants the Kuki tribe-dominated area to become a separate district, blocked the two highways on July 31 to press its demand.
Three weeks later, the United Naga Council (UNC), which resists the demand, began a counter-blockade of the highways.
The SHDDC lifted its blockade on the 92nd day after the state government agreed to create a separate district. The UNC has now conceded as well.
“We have decided to temporarily lift the blockade on two national highways from 6 am on Tuesday,” UNC President Loli Adani said at a public meeting in the Naga-dominated Tamenglong district of Manipur.
The group said that it was withdrawing the blockade giving due to observe to the assurance given by P Chidambaram (Union home minister) on November 22.
Last week, Chidambaram had a plea to the UNC to lift the blockade after a meeting in New Delhi. He had also certain the group that the state government won’t be allowed to take an independent decision on the issue without consulting the Nagas.
However, the UNC warned that it would resume the blockade if authorities failed to translate the assurance into action.