IMPHAL, Aug 11 - The 48-hour general strike called by the All Tribal Students� Union (ATSUM) from August 9 midnight to August 11 midnight hit normal life in most hill areas of the State on Saturday.
Transport services from the State capital to the hill district headquarters remained suspended for the second day, while business establishments and educational institutions were closed in most district headquarters. Traffic on the two national highways was also affected.
The ATSUM has been demanding restoration of normalcy at the Manipur University in the interest of students. Its leaders warned of launching various agitation programmes if the ongoing crisis at the university was not resolved soon.
Academic activities at the Manipur University have been adversely affected since May 30 after the Manipur University Students� Union launched an indefinite strike, demanding the ouster of Vice Chancellor Prof AP Pandey over allegations of financial and administrative irregularities. The Manipur University Teachers� Association and the Manipur University Staff Association are supporting the agitation.
Agar plantation drive: As part of the ongoing mass agar plantation drive launched in the State by the Forest Department, an agar plantation programme was held on the theme, �Plant for your future�, at Green Park, Mangra Ching, Sangaithel, on Saturday. It was jointly organised by the Socio Economic and Environment Development Society, the Editors� Guild Manipur (EGM) and the Directorate of Environment, Government of Manipur.
Speaking on the occasion, Forest and Environment Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar expressed the hope that the agar plantation programme would help the cause of environment protection.
Stating that the agar plantation drive has been launched in the State following an MoU signed with the Government of Laos during the Manipur Sangai Festival in 2017, Shyamkumar said Manipur is the most suitable State in the country for agar plantation. Informing that the trees would be protected by the local residents and land owners, the minister said necessary assistance and maintenance funds would be provided by the Government of Laos. Income will flow after six to seven years, he said.
Sapam Ranjan Singh, Chairman of the State Tourism Corporation, said that Manipur needs to tap its massive potential.
Khogendro Khomdram, president of EGM, said the agar plantation programme has been organised with an aim to contribute to environmental protection.