The United Naga Council has imposed yet another economic blockade along the national highways. This time the blockade is against the ‘lopsided’ decision of the state government to create Sardar Hills and Jiribam districts. Interestingly, the state government has not till date come out with any official statement regarding the creation of the district. Though the chief minister in his recent trip to Jiribam has categorically made it clear that the government is not in a hurry to declare Jiribam a full-fledged revenue district. It is certain, whether they like it or not, the people of Jiribam will have to wait for some more time. Also the election code of conduct is likely to be imposed soon as the Election Commission has already announced that the 11th state Assembly election is scheduled for February next year. The expressed worry of the UNC and other Naga organisations are based on information culled from their own ‘reliable’ sources. Their chief concern is that the proposed creation of Sardar Hill district will carve away the ‘ancestral’ land of the Nagas. It is therefore their stand that they will resist any attempt on the part of the government to carve away Naga ‘ancestral’ land to protect their identity, culture, history and tradition etc. Naga civil organisations in their recent official statements have been discreet to cite various memorandum of understanding (MoUs) signed between them and the state government. The MoUs as claimed by the Naga organisations promised to respect the sanctity of the Naga ‘ancestral’ land while creating Sardar Hill district. It has become a bone of contention between those groups demanding the creation of the same. Needless to say, IFP in this column have dwelt on length on this emotive issue. Yet, the drama in the valley that we have witnessed earlier during economic blockades is already in front of us now. The settings for the drama are provided by the same old UNC, and the actors are also the same.
The CAF & PD minister will appeal the people not to panic. He will also announce the stock position of fuel, LPG and other essential goods, assuring that not only his department, but the state government with all its machineries is prepared for ‘fighting the blockade’. This preparation is all about fighting the scarcity of essential commodities, as most of them come along the highways. Scarcity of vehicular fuel is something that hits the hardest on peoples’ psyche. Our dependency on fossil fuel is deep-seated; and this will remain so, until a viable substitute to fossil fuel is discovered or invented for mass consumption. However, it is important to note the kind of fuel scarcity dramas that are enacted round the year, whether there is blockade or not. Fuels are sold openly at the roadsides, where officials of IOC and CAF & PD passed through every day. These roadside vendors have not procured fuels from online shopping; they have obtained from oil pumps by paying extra money. Why are the authorities blind to such practices? One way of checking the fuel would be to enforce the outlets to digitally display the stock of fuels that they have in their storage tanks. We know there is bleak possibility of such a proposal turning into reality. For this is true that black marketers operate at different layers of power and influences. They can buy silence and make people blind, particularly of those people who can stop and reprimand them for their act. Moreover, scarcity dramas are also enacted by different players regarding essential commodities in the market other than the fuel. Just check the prices of commodities that are currently available in the market. Prices have shot up uncontrolled. With the state authorities doing little to check the price rise that are enacted by crooked business cartels, student bodies make it a point to intervene. And yet again, they will be discouraged by giving deceitful advice to concentrate only in their studies. Let it be known that such involvement of students in the affairs that are happening outside their classrooms have been necessitated by the ‘undoings’ of the authorities. One may denunciate UNC for chocking the highways, but criminality of those taking undue advantage out of the situation are no less than the former.
Leader Writer: Senate Kh.
Source: Imphal Free Press