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13 Feb 2017

Promise to airlift fuel to Manipur

Khelen Thokchom, TT, Imphal, Feb. 12: Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar today announced that the Centre would start airlifting fuel in the next few days if the ongoing economic blockade continues.
"If the economic blockade continues for the next few days, the Centre will airlift fuel to ease the situation in the state," Javadekar said today, addressing an election rally for BJP candidate Okram Joy Singh in Langthabal constituency in Imphal West.
Manipur will go to the polls in two phases, on March 4 and 8.
The state is reeling under an acute shortage of essential commodities because of an indefinite economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) along National Highway 2 (Imphal-Dimapur road) and National Highway 37 (Imphal-Jiribam route) against the creation of new districts.
Though the state government is bringing in supply trucks twice a week with security escorts along the Imphal-Jiribam highway, normal supply cannot be restored.
The dilapidated condition of the highway is hampering efforts to increase transport frequency, government officials said.
Javadekar, however, accused the state government of failing to restore supply though the Centre had provided enough central para-military forces.
His announcement of airlifting fuel came a day after the Manipur Congress Legislator Party (CLP) yesterday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the UNC an unlawful outfit.
Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, who presided over the meeting, yesterday wrote to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with a resolution taken by the CLP seeking a ban on the outfit.
Addressing an election rally for Congress candidate R.K. Imo Singh in Sagolband today, Ibobi Singh rubbished the claim by the UNC that the Naga-inhabited areas are "ancestral land" of the Nagas.
The UNC is opposed to the creation of new districts because it divided Naga villages.
"We are fed up with the UNC's claim that Naga settlements are their 'ancestral land'. Manipur belongs to all communities. No one, including the NSCN (I-M), UNC and the Centre, can break Manipur," Ibobi Singh said.
The UNC today said the CLP's plea to ban it as unlawful has "demonstrated" that the CLP is "communal".
"The recommendation once again demonstrates that the CLP is communal and exclusive in spite of claiming to be running the government for the entire state," UNC general secretary S. Milan said in a statement this evening.
The release asked if the UNC was unlawful, why did the state government attend the tripartite talks with the UNC and the Centre on February 3 in New Delhi, during which March 25 had been fixed for the next round of talks.
"Ibobi Singh and the CLP decide to draw lines across the tribal lands on the pretext of administrative convenience, dividing people, alienating people from their lands, affecting relationships, affecting situations and opportunities of the land owners," the release said.
Addressing the Congress rally, deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, who is also the home minister, charged that the BJP had a tacit understanding with the NSCN (I-M). "We will welcome any agreement between the Centre and NSCN (I-M). However, we will not accept any move to disintegrate Manipur," he said.

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