Leader Writer: Hrishikesh Angomcha
The people of Manipur have been enduring the adversities caused by the armed conflict, communal clash, economic blockade etc. without much complaint. The people have exhibited high degree of endurance over these years. No people in any part of this country may have such endurance. The situation of Manipur is such that the people experience the adversities periodically and hence they tend to endure in all possible ways they can without a thought for permanent solution. No one would bother again once the issues get over temporarily. All issues will remain dormant until someone ignites the fire for some reason or the other. The people would become more concerned once the fire is lit up. They would endure the heat until the fire fades out and goes back to its dormant state again.
It has become quite periodic for the people of Manipur to face the problems of economic blockade and subsequent abnormal price hike of essential commodities. Some hill-based organizations of the state have been using the National Highways as a tool to draw the attention of the government for quite a long time. Whenever there is a problem or any grievance against the government, economic blockades are imposed on the National Highways by these organizations. This mode of agitation seems to be quite effective and so it has been practiced time and again in this landlocked state. The common people may be suffering but some sections of people benefit a lot out of this economic blockade. Moreover, the people of the state are courageous enough to endure all the pangs of economic blockade. They dare to stay overnight in long queues in front of oil pumps just to procure few litres of petrol. They do not hesitate even to purchase the day-to-day much needed items at double the actual price.
They are experiencing such situation for at least two months every year. Such degree of endurance of the Manipuri people is quite commendable but it would not bring about permanent solution to these issues. It seems there is no scarcity of essential commodities in the state as all commodities can be procured from any place but at the high price. Taking the advantage of economic blockade the prices are fixed at the will of the traders thereby affecting the common people. Hundreds of loaded oil tankers and other trucks carrying essential goods are arriving every now and then but the problem of extreme price hike can not be eased. The state government has had several deliberations on ways to counter the economic blockade but so far no concrete action has been taken up to address the blockade issue. On the other hand, some students’ bodies are conducting regular drives to check price hike in major stores of the state, but the outcome of such drive is yet to be fruitful.
The present issues of the state can never come to a conclusion without active participation of the people. The periodic issue of economic blockade and insurgency related violence in the state will never cease unless the people vows to resolve the issues rather than enduring the adversities from time to time. The time has come for the people to work together for resolving the myriad issues of the state. People must endure the adversities to boost their moral and physical strength rather than to escape from the situation. The state will surely see some changes when people break the endurance and rise up to bring long term solution to the issues of the state. The people need to have broader outlook and shed off own vested interests to bring real changes to the society.