IMPHAL September 20: A total of 68 All Manipur Students’ Union volunteers were released after a brief detention by a team of the Imphal city police after they were found conducting drives against the selling of essential commodities at high prices at Thangal Bazar and Paona bazaar Masjid road this morning.
Meanwhile, the students’ union condemed the detention of its volunteers by the police and held a press conference at it’s headquarters this afternoon.
Condemning the act of the police, Dipanjit Ningthoujam, general secretary AMSU stated that the student volunteers were only checking the illegal and artificial increases in prices of essential commodities because of manipulation by various businessmen taking advantage of the prolonged economic blockade imposed on the lifelines of the state.
He further mentioned that the drive against price hike in various shops located in Khwairamband bazaar was conducted in the interest of the general public who have been suffering due to the scarcities of essential items in the state because of the prolonged economic blockade imposed by the two separate bodies of different communities on the Sadar Hills issue.
He also mentioned that, fixation of new prices of different essential commodities for the Khwairamband bazaar by a newly formed Imphal Bazar Business Community is questionable as there is no provision for authorization to fix prices by this new community without official authorization from the state Consumer Affairs’ Food and Public Distribution, and AMSU will never allow selling of essential commodities at the price fixed by the Imphal Bazar Business Community.
He further urged the department concerned to look into the issue at the earliest possible.
Further raising numerous queries on the present imbroglio in the state, he questioned why the government has remained silent besides allowing the blockade supporters to run free.
It also questioned why people residing along the highways have been allowed to call blockades on the highways at will without a care of others.
He further queried why the business community residing at the two main bazaars has been allowed to fix prices for the essential commodities at their own sweet will even as the people of the state are reeling under acute shortage of essential commodities.
Further questioning the stoic silence maintained by the government, he stated that there are daily reports of transporters bringing in essential commodities into the state however the prices have only skyrocketed despite the claims of the transporters.
“Considering the grievances and acute danger faced by the transporters during economic blockades along the highways”, he added, “the government should considered for the promulgation of a highway protection force along the highways at the earliest.”
The general secretary further stated his suspicion of non local shop owners shifting goods which were tucked off at their godowns to the private residences of their salesmen on receiving information of certain drives against illegal price hike of essential commodities.
Calling upon the general public to cooperate with AMSU in its drive, he further mentioned that the AMSU will start another drive from Wednesday against such pilling up of essential commodities by the shop owners at the residences of their salesmen.
He has further urged upon the people of the state that the time has come for the people to stand up unitedly against such illegal practices and save the state from such corrupt practices. He also added that even though the prices may come down during the drive of the student body, it will increased again once the drives are stop and as such the people should stand up for themselves.
Reacting sharply against the recent announcement of state Consumer Club Imphal that, it is not responsible to check the price hike in the state, the AMSU spokesman said that if that is so than there is no need for the having the consumer club in the state.