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CRPF to clear Manipur blockade
Imphal, Jun 17 (PTI/ IANS):
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Published on 18 Jun. 2010 12:51 AM IST
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Over 80 CRPF personnel today reached Manipur to clear the two-month-old economic blockade by Naga students on two national highways in the state which has led to a critical shortage of essential supplies.
The contingent of 88 CRPF personnel arrived at CRPF headquarters Langjing from Delhi, official sources said. The deployment of central forces on the National Highway 39 and 53, which are considered the lifelines of Manipur, was decided at a meeting held between Union Home Secretary G K Pillai, Manipur chief secretary and two additional chief secretaries of Nagaland at Delhi on June 16.
Prices of essential commodities have sky rocketed due to the blockade by All Naga Students Union Manipur (ANSAM) which has affected both the valley and the hills.
The blockade was called by ANSAM to protest against the holding of elections to autonomous district councils in the hills, and had intensified after Manipur government opposed the visit of NSCN-IM general secretary, Th Muivah to his ancestral village, Somdal early last month.
In Kohima, Nagaland chief minister, Neiphiu Rio said his government would provide security on the state’s sector of the NH-39 if truckers felt insecure in running their vehicles even after the ‘temporary suspension’ of the economic blockade by the NSF.
Maintaining that truckers should have faith in his government, Rio told newsmen at the Dimapur airport after arriving from Delhi that the police have been providing security escort even during normal times.
If the truckers felt that security should be increased, the state government was ready to do so, he said.
Manipur -bound trucks
A convoy of about 100 trucks carrying essentials will roll into Manipur Saturday, where a road blockade has cut off food and medical supplies for more than two months, officials Thursday said.
“We expect the first convoy with food, medicines and fuel to arrive in Manipur by Saturday evening if everything goes according to plans,” Manipur government spokesman and senior minister N. Biren Singh told IANS.
The trucks would be escorted by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF) along the two national highways 39 and 53 linking Manipur with the rest of India.
“Some 20 companies of paramilitary forces would be deployed for escorting the convoys into Manipur,” the minister said.
“We are hopeful of the siege coming to an end by Saturday unless something untoward happens,” the minister said.
The blockade began April 11 and has led to severe shortages of food and medical supplies, leading to soaring prices.
With food stocks and hospital supplies running low, residents, medical staff and businesses were waiting impatiently for the vital supply routes to reopen and for trade to resume.
“We are waiting anxiously for food to come in soon as prices of all essentials have shot up at least 10-15 times,” said housewife Anuradha Devi in the Manipur capital Imphal.

 
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