IMPHAL, October 9: The economic blockade imposed by the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee along both the national highways in the state entered into its 69th day today smashing the existing record of the longest economic blockade in the state.
However, there is no one to cheer the record making as the entire 25 lakh people living in Manipur including those imposing the blockade continue to suffer under the impact of lack of free flow of supply of essential commodities.
People are standing in long queues before fuel pumps for a few litres of petrol and diesel. Those who could not spend hours standing in the queues are buying petrol at Rs.100 per litre in the black market. One cylinder of cooking gas is sold at Rs. 1000 or above.
Even as the state government under the Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution is trying to control the spiraling price hike by creating a price list, the price control is not largely effective. However, the effort to some extent has eased the miseries of the people.
Ranjit, an employee working in a private sector NGO, said “The price of onion had sky rocketed to Rs 80 per Kg, potatoes around Rs 60 per kg, now the rate has decreased considerably however some of the shopkeepers are not sticking to the price list”.
Now potato cost Rs 25 against the Rs 15 per kg as set by the government while onion over Rs 30 against the Rs 25 in some shops, he said.
“I feel the government is not sincere enough in responding to such an alarming issue, this is not the first time the people have experience this, still the government wasn’t prepared and we have to suffer again, and unfortunately we are going for the worst as the blockade is heading for longer than the rest”, said Vikram a government employee.
The Ibobi led government has not made any attempt to reopen the blockade along the Imphal-Dimapur highway, the main supply route. Instead it constituted a committee to look into the boundaries of the proposed district.
The committee has held public hearings to listen to claims and counter claims of interested parties, but its report is yet to be submitted. The SHDDC has strongly opposed the re-orgniastion committee demand Sadar Hills as it has been drafted by the then government while the Naga are strictly against bifurcation of its land in creating Sadar Hills district.
Ibobi Singh had promised the demand committee a government decision on the district creation after getting a report from the committee.
Apart from the Sadar Hills blockade, the United Naga Council (UNC) also imposed a counter blockade on the same routes since August 21 midnight to oppose inclusion of Naga villages incase the Sadar Hills district is created.