IMPHAL, Jun 9: The 10-day long economic blockade imposed by the JAC Against Anti-Tribal Bills and Outer Manipur Tribal Forum (OMTF) on National Highways passing through the State has triggered panic buying of fuel among the people here. People along with their vehicles were seen forming long queues at filling stations today since morning. Some people were also seen hoarding fuel. As economic blockades along the National Highways is not new here, people today resorted to panic buying and hoarding of fuel as they prepare to face the ten-day long blockade. In the past, there were instances of people buying a litre of petrol at the inflated price of as high as Rs 150.
It may be mentioned that the State has witnessed a number of economic blockades called by different ethnic groups, CSOs, UG groups etc since a long time. Some blockades have lasted even upto three months. Energy stations like NRL Mantripukhri witnessed a large number of light motor vehicles including mopeds lined up till Manipur Diesel and PCTC one of the prominent energy stations of Imphal also witnessed a sharp rise in the number of consumers for today. A worker at PCTC expressed that such panic buying system is connected to past experience. People tend to buy petrol and diesel exceeding their needs which can be very harmful, he added. Another consumer stated that the economic blockade should not be used to place a demand. Though it may be a democratic form of placing a demand it has always been unwarranted. Mention may be made that the price of petrol is Rs 63.59 per litre and Rs 52.34 per litre for diesel. Black marketers in and around many energy stations in the State capital used to sell a litre of petrol at Rs 80 during such periods.
The economic blockade begins from this midnight. The decision to launch the agitation was taken on June 7 in a joint meeting of Joint Action Committee Against Anti-Tribal Bills (JAC) with the Outer Manipur Tribals’ Forum (OMTF), a tribal apex body of the Hmar Inpui, Mizo People Convention, Thadou Inpi, United Naga Council and Zomi Council. The JAC said that the agitation was imposed in protest against the ‘prolonged ill treatment of the tribal people’ that has recently been highlighted through the three ‘anti-tribal Bills’ passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly on August 31, 2015.