MHA official assures Court to speed up NH-37 works

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IMPHAL, 22nd FEB: Presenting a brief account on deployment of central forces to sanitise the two national highways during the on-going economic blockade, Joint Secretary (North East) of Ministry of Home Affairs- Satyendra Garg, represented by the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) of India, submitted a compliance report before a full bench of High Court of Manipur on Wednesday.

The official report of the Joint Secretary, (NE) was tabled before the full bench comprising Chief Justice RR Prasad, Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Kh Nobin Singh during the hearing of a PIL, which was filed by practising lawyers of Manipur to highlight grievances faced by the common people owing to the protracted imposition of economic blockade by UNC.

As intimated by the Government of Manipur, the MHA had already provided 72 companies of central forces to facilitate free passage of vehicles along the two National Highways in Manipur sector, the ASG said. On being asked by the Full Bench, the ASG conceded that the Ministry is yet to decide on which company should be handed over the responsibility of repairing the NH-37 as process for construction/development works of the said stretch has already started after the National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited replaced the BRO.

The Ministry representative also assured that the Centre will do the needful for immediate start of major repair works along NH-37. He sought the permission of court to file separate affidavits incorporating the status of deployment of central forces in the state and steps to be taken up for repairing the worst affected parts of the highway.

On the other-hand, UNC president Gaidon Kamei and publicity secretary Shangkhel Stephen also deposed before the Full Bench on Wednesday as per directive issued to the state authorities for their appearance in persons. A former UNC vice president was also represented by his counsel during the hearing, while rest of the UNC office bearers who were summoned by the Full Bench did not show up for the hearing.

Consequently, the full bench advised the Advocate General to issue fresh summon for making the rest of the UNC office bearers appear before the court without fail by February 27. In another development, Advocate General Th Ibohal Singh in his submission mentioned that the state government has been able to bring in essential commodities, including PDS items and petroleum products, as per directive of the High Court.

He also conveyed that following firm directive of the state government, there has been open sale of petrol and diesel in almost all the 69 retail outlets in the state since February 19. These outlets have also been advised to display the quantum of fuel so as to make the public aware of the exact allocation, Ibohal said. He further informed that reports of survey on market prices of essential commodities conducted by the CAF & PD in Imphal town will be submitted to the Court on February 27.

Source: The People’s Chronicle

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