Imphal, March 20 (IANS) Stranded trucks and oil tankers started arriving in Imphal on Monday after an ongoing economic blockade by Naga groups was lifted.
The blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) since November 1 was lifted from Sunday midnight.
The trucks and tankers moved into Imphal along National Highways No.2 and No.37 without any armed escorts.
O. Ramesh, a trucker, told IANS that he was stranded for over 10 days at Jiribam, adjoining Assam.
“Officials select trucks for proceeding towards Imphal on the basis of the goods they are transporting. I was not allowed to move since the iron rods in my truck were not a top priority.”
Newly elected Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh hailed the withdrawal of the blockade. “We are happy that the economic blockade is lifted. It was one of the pre-poll pledges of the Bharatiya Janata Party. We hope that there will be no more blockade in the state.”
Former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh also welcome the blockade lifting.
“We welcome the decision. There will be no more sufferings of the people. It was an assurance to the people by Prime Minister Narenddra Modi.”
The decision was taken following an agreement reached during a tripartite talk on Sunday involving two UNC constituents — All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM) and Naga Women Union (NWU) — and representatives of the central and Manipur governments.
The blockade was imposed on November 1 in protest the creation of seven new districts by the former Manipur government.
The Nagas maintain that the “lands of the Nagas” left by their forefathers cannot be taken away in this manner.
Manipur had been reeling under acute shortage of all essential commodities, including fuel, due to the blockade. Hardly 300 trucks and oil tankers could transport essential commodities twice a week, which proved to be the proverbial drop in the ocean.
The BJP had assured the people that if it formed the government, the blockade would be lifted within 48 hours.