Curfew lifted from Imphal, market plan scrapped

Imphal, Jan 25 (IANS) An indefinite curfew clamped in some parts of Manipur’s capital city Imphal since Friday evening was lifted on Sunday night, and the government scrapped plans to set up a temporary market on a busy street.

The step followed withdrawal of agitations by Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Khumukcham Joykishan and 30 civil organisations. They had planned a 24-hour public curfew in the town to protest construction of temporary market along the busy Thangal street.

Following the agitations and clashes that led to the curfew, the Manipur government backed out of its plan to construct the temporary market since the original women’s market was damaged in a recent earthquake.

Construction work instead was launched on Monday morning at two places on the eastern side of the Imphal town to provide sitting arrangements to 800 women vendors.

Making the announcement on Sunday night, government spokesperson Moirangthem Okendra said the construction work will be completed in 15 days.

However, the displaced women vendors have announced they would forcibly occupy the damaged market complexes from the first week of February if the government failed to arrange alternative site for them by this month-end.

Welcoming the government decision to shift the venue of the temporary market complex elsewhere from the the busy Thangal street, BJP leader Joykishan said he and other civil organisations will extend cooperation.

BJP’s state unit president Thounaojam Chaoba said: “The government should call an all-political parties meeting to discuss the issue. The matter cannot be solved by arresting one MLA or thousands of people.”

Okendra, however, said it is not desirable to have such a meeting.

“The political parties could lend their support while demanding more funds for relief and rehabilitation,” he added.

Meanwhile, hundreds of displaced women vendors continue to sell the consumer items by the roadside. This has caused resentment among the street vendors.

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