Demanding release of adequate funds under the MGNREGA scheme to all the 16 districts of the state, the All Manipur Tribals Development Grievances Forum (AMTDGF) on Wednesday called for an indefinite economic blockade on two vital National Highways, which are life lines of Manipur, from Thursday onwards.
National Highway-2 (Dimapur-Imphal) and National Highway-37 (Jiribam-Imphal) connect Manipur with the rest of the country by road through Nagaland and Assam.
AMTDGF President Hesho Lorho and General Secretary Gangonglung Khumba said in a joint statement that the state government’s “adamant stand” of not releasing sufficient funds to all the districts led to a serious economic crisis among the people living in the interior and tribal dominated areas of Manipur.
The tribal forum urged people, truck and transport associations and civil society groups to cooperate with AMTDGF to make its agitation successful.
It also cautioned the people to remain alert of “vested organisations masquerading as service messengers of tribals and trying to mislead and confuse the people of the state through social media”.
“The forum had submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on October 10 demanding the release of adequate funds sanctioned under MGNREGA by the Union Rural Development Ministry.
“On October 10, the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department of the state government released only a meagre amount to 16 districts of Manipur under MGNREGA,” the AMTDGF statement claimed.
Various other local organisations have extended their support to the AMTDGF’s economic blockade on the two vital National Highways.
State government officials refused to make any comments on the AMTDGF’s claims about release of MGNREGA funds.