2 weeks after clash, goods vehicles back on Assam-Mizoram highway

After the withdrawal of “economic blockade”, hundreds of Mizoram-bound goods vehicles, stranded since the July 26 clash, were moving normally on National Highway 306 on Sunday, ensuring supply of essentials, transport fuels, and vital medicines to the border state, officials said.

Police and district administration officials in Mizoram’s Kolasib, which borders Assam’s Cachar, said that till Sunday evening, over a hundred loaded goods trucks and other vehicles entered the state from Assam.

There are no obstacles and problems faced by the drivers and their assistants in plying their vehicles, Kolasib police chief Vanlalfaka Ralte told the media.

Mizoram Police remains on alert to facilitate the smooth movement of all types of goods and passenger vehicles all along to Aizawl, he added.

Officials said that on the instructions of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, state Urban Development Minister Ashok Singhal and Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya, accompanied by Cachar’s Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police, held talks with all stakeholders at Lailapur, the entry point to Mizoram, since late Saturday.

“With the two ministers’ persuasion, movement of vehicles began since Saturday night. Most stranded vehicles went to Mizoram on Sunday. There are no problems on the Assam side. We would provide all help and security to the drivers and others, if necessary,” Cachar Superintendent of Police Ramandeep Kaur told IANS over phone.

Due to the “economic blockade” on NH-306, the life line of Mizoram, supply of essential commodities, transport fuels and medicines was acutely hit since the July 26 bloodiest border clash that left six Assam Police personnel dead and 100 others including civilians of the two states injured.

However, several local organisations, civil society groups, and traders’ bodies including the Barak Democratic Front, Youth Against Social Evils and Barak Upatyaka Banga Sahitya Sammelan, protesting against the “forceful withdrawal of economic blockade against Mizoram”, separately told the media that the Assam government had “surrendered” to the Mizoram government despite six state policemen being killed.

Mizoram Health Minister R. Lalthangliana said in Aizawl that besides the essential commodities and transport fuels, Mizoram has been facing a severe crisis of vital medicines during the past two weeks due to the “economic blockade”.

“Covid patients are dying for want of medicines. Seriously ill patients are in dire need of life-saving drugs…” he said in a video message.

Assam and Mizoram held a crucial ministerial level meeting on August 5 in Aizawl where they decided to maintain peace along their border, and agreed that they would not send their respective forces and officials to the troubled areas.

A joint statement, issued after the meeting, said that both state governments also welcomed and agreed to take forward the initiatives taken by the Union Home Ministry and their Chief Ministers to remove tension prevailing on the inter-state border and to find lasting solutions to the disputes through discussions.

Home Minister Lalchamliana, Revenue Minister Lalruatkima, and Home Secretary Vanlalngaihsaka represented Mizoram and Border Protection and Development and Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, Singhal, and state Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Border Protection and Development, G.D. Tripathi comprised the Assam delegation.

After the meeting, the Assam government on August 6 withdrew its advisories and other circulars to facilitate return of normalcy along the inter-state border. Soon after the July 26 violence, it had asked its residents not to visit Mizoram and those staying in the neighbouring state to maintain utmost caution.