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Road blockade cripples normal life in Manipur
Published on 20 Apr. 2010 1:14 AM IST
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A blockade on two national highways by tribal groups has crippled life in Manipur as hundreds of trucks carrying essential commodities to the north-eastern state remain stranded, police said Monday.
The tribal organisations have put up the blockade along the Imphal-Dimapur and the Imphal-Jiribam national highways since Wednesday.
They have been protesting the state government’s decision to hold elections to the six Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) May 17 and May 24 on the basis of an amended act that governs the councils.
The tribals, mostly from Naga tribes, have been demanding more financial power for the ADCs. They have also called a two-day shutdown in the five hill districts surrounding Manipur from Monday midnight.
“Hundreds of trucks carrying essential commodities, coming from different parts of the country have been stranded at Manipur-Nagaland border due to the blockade by the tribals for the past six days,” a police officer told reporters in Imphal.
“Senior civil and police officers are holding talks with agitating tribals to withdraw the road blockade, but the agitators have remained adamant to continue their stir until their demand is met,” the officer said.
Senior officials and ministers refused to talk officially on the road blockade agitation.
Meanwhile, the 94-day-old strike by government employees has further affected life in the state.
The employees struck work Jan 16 demanding full implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. The Joint Administrative Council of Employees Organisations (JACEO), the apex body of the employees, has been spearheading the strike across the state.
The council has threatened to intensify the protest if the Manipur government remained silent on their demand to pay up the arrears of their salaries from Jan 1, 2006.
A senior official told IANS: “The chief minister (Okram Ibobi Singh) has formed a group of ministers (GoM) to hold talks with the leaders of the striking employees.”
The chief minister, who also holds the finance portfolio, has on several occasions appealed to the employees to end the strike. Singh has expressed his government’s inability to hike the salaries with retrospective effect due to paucity of funds.

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