IMPHAL, Jan 17: Acting on a PIL filed by one RK Joysana and moved by a group of Advocates namely I Lalitkumar, HS Paonam, BP Sahu, Kh Mani and A Romenkumar, a three-member Division Bench of the High Court of Manipur directed the State Government and other concerned authorities to convene a meeting of the Combined Headquarters (CHqs) immediate and take concrete decision so as to ensure smooth flow of goods carriages/traffic over both the National Highways or to get the economic blockade lifted.
After an interim order directing the Government to deploy adequate strength of State as well as Central security forces to ensure unhindered movement of goods carriers on National Highways connecting Manipur with other parts of the country was issued earlier, the High Court took up the PIL yesterday.
Highlighting the steps taken up by the State Government to lift the economic blockade imposed by the UNC, the Advocate General put a brief write-up before the Court.
The write-up stated that 21 companies of security forces which had earlier been deployed before for providing securities to the railways, vital installations and also for maintenance of law and order are now being used to escort the goods laden vehicles.
Since it is inadequate to handle the economic blockade, a fresh requisition was submitted by the State Government to the Central Government whereby 38 companies of CAPF were provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
However, the deployment of 38 companies was proving to be inadequate and the Police Department has made a request to the State Government to approach the Centre for additional 22 companies of CAPF.
It was also submitted that the State Government has been able to restore smooth movement of goods carriers over Imphal-Jirbam highway but problems relating to movement of goods carriages over Imphal-Mao highway are still there.
Even though transporters are quite wary about their safety during movement on National Highways, the State Government is quite serious to see that the economic blockade is lifted or there is smooth movement of goods carriages even on Imphal-Mao highway as early as possible, the AG submitted.
However, ASG S Rupachandra, appearing for the Union of India submitted that the State Government was provided 40 companies of security forces in addition to the 135 companies of paramilitary forces already deployed in the State.
Referring to a letter sent by the MHA Joint Secretary (North East) to the Chief Secretary of Manipur earlier, the ASG submitted that out of the 40 coys of Central armed police forces, the State Government has not been able to deploy 16 coys of it over NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur highway).
After hearing both the AG and the ASG, the High Court instructed the authorities concerned to convene a meeting of the CHQs immediately with the Chief Minister in the chair so as to take some concrete decisions, identify troubled areas along NH 2 and deploy army/Central forces at these areas.
The Court listed the matter for the next round of hearing on January 20. The High Court further asked the authorities concerned to produce minutes of the proceedings of the CHQs meeting in a sealed cover.
Source: The Sangai Express