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Blockade worsens plight of common people in Manipur
Correspondent IMPHAL, JUN 8:
Published on 8 Jun. 2010 10:52 PM IST
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Government agencies, businessmen, militant outfits, transport operators etc. are seem to have not extending sincere efforts in relieving the hardships experienced by common people owing to the prolonged imposition of economic blockade in Manipur. At the start of the ferrying of goods on NH-53, collection of taxes by both police and suspected underground activists started at Jiribam adding another burden on the head of the truckers.
Some miscreants identified themselves to be activists of “U” started collecting money from the truckers on NH-53 at Jiribam. By “U”, the public said it was the UNLF but truckers could not confirm whether it was UNLF or other outfit.
Trucks stranded at Goladhon of Jiribam on the stretch of the NH-53 were asked to pay Rs 1000 each by youths who claimed themselves to be activists of “U”, said a driver among the stranded trucks.
“They appeared yesterday and insisted us to pay Rs 1000 and took away keys of the vehicle for those who refused to pay the money. They also asked us to deposit the money to the office of the Sales Tax office at Jiribam,” a driver disclosed.
Tension erupted among truckers as they were stranded for many days only to ferry the essential goods upto Imphal, he said.
Police also started collecting money from trucks at Jiribam at two points, one at the entry at the border gate between Assam and Manipur and another in front of the Jiribam police station on the side of NH-53.
Earlier, they used to levy Rs 50 at the check post as entry fee but with the increase of trucks crossing the gate, they hiked the amount to Rs 200 per truck.
Assam police at its border at Jirighat also followed suit and hiked the amount. When drivers enquired about the hike, they were reportedly told that if Manipur can hike the amount, so can they.
On the other hand, the freight charges of goods per truck from Silchar to Imphal have also sky rocketed to Rs 55,000 per load at present. The freight is triple times compared to that of freight charge from Dimapur to Imphal on NH-39..
The freight charges of goods have been hiked owing to the demands of freight trucks and with the increase of arrival of Imphal bound goods consignments from other places, truckers said.
Interestingly, the fare for ferrying fertilizers, the most demanded item in Manipur was also hiked up many-fold. According to the drivers, the freight charge from Guwahati to Imphal has crossed above Rs 1 lakh.
In the meantime, some businessmen are allegedly trying to ferrying other goods like cement and iron even though state authorities have asked to escort only the trucks with essential commodities like grocery items, fertilizers, petroleum product careers.

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