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Manipur truckers unwilling to ply through Nagaland

By Sobhapati Samom

IMPHAL, June 19 � Despite Centre�s effort to ensure free movement along the National Highways connecting the State by June 19, frequent road blockades, reports of harassment and various forms of alleged taxes imposed against the Manipur transporters have prompted them to use the 220 km Jiribam-Imphal sector of NH 53 as an alternative to the Dimapur-Imphal sector of NH 39.

Meanwhile, unknown persons damaged three trucks carrying essential items including fertilizer for entering Manipur via Nagaland sector of National Highway 39 this morning.

Even after the All Naga Students Association Manipur suspended the economic blockade on the National Highways connecting Manipur �temporarily� from June 18 evening, the Transporters & Drivers Council (TDC) of Manipur, an apex body of transporters has reaffirmed their stand that they would not ply their vehicles on NH 39 connecting the two States until they were compensated for losses suffered by the Centre and Nagaland Government besides giving assurance that no illegal taxes will be levied in future. On May 4, seven trucks were burnt in Nagaland by unknown miscreants.

Representatives of the All Manipur Inter-State Bus Association also held a similar view. �We will not resume our services on NH 39 unless the authorities assures us of no more blockade on this route�, Budha Luwang, President of the Association said.

Considering frequent blockades and various forms of taxes, the truckers are also willing to use NH 53. Some of the transporters even wanted to have godowns of essential items at Jiribam-Silchar sector.

According to reliable sources, each truck passing through Dimapur-Imphal sector of NH 39 has been paying a �huge amount� of money to the �underground groups� operating along the route for every trip. On an average 250-300 goods laden truck enters rolls into Manipur daily.

Considering all such factors even the Manipur Government is eyeing at NH 53. Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh who chaired a Cabinet meeting on June 15 had resolved to urge Centre to hand over maintenance of the Jiribam-Imphal sector of the NH 53 to State PWD. Two units of Border Road Task Force under Border Road Organisation were presently engaged in the maintenance works of the route.

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