Manipur blockade lifted, pact with Kukis

Imphal: One of the two outfits behind the crippling 93-day economic blockade on two national highways in Manipur lifted it at midnight after the state government`s assurance to it that district status will be accorded to Sadar Hills.

Official sources said today that the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC), which had launched economic blockade on two national highways — Imphal-Dimapur-Guwahati (NH 39) and Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar (NH53)-to press their demand for conversion of Kuki-majority Sadar Hills area in Naga-majority Senapati district called off the economic blockade after talks with the government.

However, the blockade by the United Naga Council (UNC) on the two highways opposing the demand of the SHDC was still continuing, sources said.

Representatives of the SHDDC and the government held discussions over the issue last night, the sources said adding the government had agreed to grant district status to Sadar hills area after receiving the report of the District Reorganisation Committee headed by Chief Secretary D S Poonia. Sources said the committee would study the boundaries of all the districts in the state before taking any decision on Sadar Hills issue.

While SHDDC had launched economic blockade on portions of the two highways since August 1, the United Naga Council(UNC) had launched a stir demanding that they should be consulted before the government took any decision on the matter, also launched economic blockade on the same highways since August 21.

Reports from Senapati district said civil organisations have appealed to the UNC to call off the economic blockade since the SHDDC lifted the economic blockade but there was so far no response from the UNC.
Official sources said more than 400 trucks bringing in essential items from outside the state used to ply everyday but during the economic blockade only 300 to 400 trucks plied once or twice in a week with security escort.