Agartala, July 16 (IANS) The Tripura government on Sunday held an inconclusive meeting with the leaders of the IPFT, who rejected a plea to call-off the week-old blockade of the state’s key national highway and the lone railway line over their demand for a separate state.
The seven-day-old blockade has led to serious shortage of essential items, including food grains.
Responding to the state government’s call for talks to end the impasse, a nine-member Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura delegation, led by party chief Narenda Chandra Debbarma, took part in the meeting with top Tripura officials at the state secretariat here.
The state government was represented by Chief Secretary Sanjeev Ranjan and Director General of Police Akhil Kumar Shukla.
“We have told the officials that we would not withdraw the blockade until the central government gave us a concrete assurance about our separate state demand,” Debbarma later told reporters.
He said: “Our party General Secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia and youth wing President Dhananjoy Tripura are now camping in New Delhi. They will meet Union Minister of State Kiren Rijiju on Monday. We would decide the future course of action after their meeting.”
Debbarma said that the state government should also communicate its decision to the central government about IPFT’s statehood demand.
The indefinite blockade, since July 10, has caused a crisis in supply of essentials, food grains, fuel, basic goods and other items in the markets of the north-eastern state.
The IPFT has been agitating since 2009 for a separate state carved out by upgrading the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas.
The politically important TTAADC constitutes two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 sq.km. area, which has 12,16,465 (mostly tribals) of the state’s 37 lakh population.
Meanwhile, President of another tribal party Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura — and former extremist leader — Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl said Tripura is the “Twipraland” and tribals have been living here for decades and there is no need to split the state.
“To protect the interest of the tribals, TTAADC can be made more powerful with increase in financial support, promulgation of inner line permit for outsiders, more land rights to the tribals and all-round development of the council areas,” Hrangkhawl added.