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Extortion demand halts life in Manipur
Imphal, Jan.6 (ANI):
Published on 7 Jan. 2009 2:16 AM IST
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Following extortion demands, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) carriers recently stopped normal activities at the Sekmai Bottling Plant in Manipur for an indefinite period. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isac-Muivah) (NSCN IM) demanded a payment of annual godown tax of Rs.1.3 million from the AOC-run Sekmai Bottling Plant and LPG distributors. Protests against militants have become a regular feature in Manipur, as the affected people seek peace. Rejecting to respond to the huge monetary demands made by NSCN-IM militant outfit, workers engaged at the Sekmai Bottling (LPG) Plant and LPG distributors recently staged sit-in-protests at different places in the State. Workers have reacted strongly and appealed for a tension free work environment. They said that if the situation didn't improve it would have a bearing on the development and the growth of the State. "This is a huge amount and we cannot survive, if we pay. So we are sitting for this protest in Keishampat," said N. Subash Singh, LPG Distributor. "If such things continue, we will be forced to close down the service. We cannot go on like this. We will not be able to continue with our business. Even now there are some agencies who want to shut down," said H. Birendra Singh, LPG Distributor. Work at the bottling plant has been suspended and LPG distributors have stopped their work. When such service sectors are targeted, the common people are the worst sufferers. Disturbances caused by militants have badly affected life in the state and all that the people want is peace and normalcy in their lives. "If such demands continue, Manipur will go even backward. Right now, usage of gas has become very important and necessary, as everybody has stopped using firewood. So I request that such extortion demands from distributors be stopped," said Ng. Joy Singh, a consumer. Besides, the general customers are facing a tough time due to stoppage of LPG's supply. "It has become very difficult, as we use only gas. We don't know what to say also. It is a request that LPG gas be made available on time," said L. Soti Devi, another consumer. Following the demand by the militants, 20 bullet tankers were forced to return from Senapati district to Assam making the transporters stop the service indefinitely. The frequent extortion demands only indicate that militants do not care about the people in Manipur. They are not guided by any ideology. All that they are interested in is serving personal interests.

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