Manipur blockade:Petrol pumps go dry

Imphal: Petrol pumps in Manipur have gone dry with the punishing blockade of two national highways by the United Naga Council continuing since August 21. Manipur Government Spokesman N Biren Singh said all the petrol pumps in the state have gone dry except one. Only one petrol pump has stock but it will supply petrol and diesel only to school buses and school vans, official sources said.

The Imphal-Dimapur-Guwahati (NH-39) and the Imphal- Jiribam-Silchar (NH-53) have been blocked since August 21 by United Naga Council (UNC), which is opposed to the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee demand for creation of a full fledged revenue district of Sadar Hills to be carved out from Naga-majority Senapati district.

Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh had said at a public function on Sunday that he will do something about the blockade but did not elaborate. During his recent visit to the state, Home Minister P Chidambaram had appealed to the people to settle all disputes through dialogue.

Reports said that petrol was earlier sold in the blackmarket for Rs 200 per litre and LPG at Rs 1650 per cylinder but now it was not available even in the blackmarket. Prices of all essential commodities have gone up due to the blockade. However, government sources says some respite is on the way as an alternative route has been worked out for the supplies to come in.