IMPHAL, Sept 18 � Despite an appeal from the State Government, the United Naga Council (UNC) of Manipur has announced to intensify its ongoing agitation into an �Indefinite Blockade� from today.
�As there is no tangible response from the Government of India on our prolonged grievances, the UNC is constrained to intensify its ongoing agitation into an Indefinite Economic Blockade on NH-39, NH 53 & NH 150 with effect from 6 am today, to attain our demand of alternative arrangement,� UNC�s publicity wing said in a release.
The UNC had been extending its blockade on Imphal-Dimapur (NH 39) and Imphal-Silchar (NH 53) Highways since August 5, despite the appeals by Central and State Governments to call it off in the public interest.
The UNC release alleged, �This drastic decision was necessitated by the unmistakable fact that it has become impossible for the Nagas to protect their right to life, land, time honoured institutions, customary practices and values under the administration of the dominant and communal government of Manipur�.
Earlier, Manipur Chief Secretary DS Poonia had said the blockade was uncalled for since the government is always open to dialogue�.
Steps were being taken to ensure uninterrupted supply of essentials by deploying Central forces in Naga-dominated Senapati district.
NH 39 is the better-maintained and shorter of the two routes, but the former passes through Nagaland before entering Manipur while NH 53 snakes through a longer stretch. But it is in a pathetic condition � landslide-prone and has several temporary bridges that cannot withstand the weight of goods-laden trucks.
Manipur truckers have continued to avoid NH 39 citing extortion by militants and other organisations. This is the first time that the UNC is including NH 150 under the purview of the blockade. Earlier, it was confined to NH 39 and NH 53.