Manipur braces for economic blockade

Imphal Jan 30 (IANS) Manipur is bracing for a protracted economic blockade during which people may be deprived of consumer and other items.

Two tribal students’ organisations — the Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) and the All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM) — in a joint statement issued on Friday night announced a blockade would be imposed from February 1 midnight.

The blockade will cover National Highway 2 from Dimapur in Nagaland to border town Moreh, National Highway 37 from Jiribam bordering Assam to Imphal and National Highway 150 Jessami (Manipur) to Mizoram.

Trucks and other vehicles carrying goods will not be allowed to ply, Seiboi Haokip of the KSO and A.C. Thotsho of the ANSAM said as they sought regularisation of contractual teachers. “The contractual teachers should be regularised for ensuring quality education in the hill districts.”

These teachers were engaged from 2006. During a screening, 772 teachers were found eligible for regularisation. However, the government has not done anything to regularise their services so far.

The statement said the decision to impose the blockade was taken in view of the negligence of the government.

Several vehicles were damaged on the Jiriam-Imphal highway during the 72-hour blockade from January 26 midnight.

The blockade was called by four students’ organisations demanding upgradation of the Jiribam college to a full-fledged government college. No goods, including consumer items, can be brought through this highway.

Some vehicles which had plied were damaged by the student activists.

State Home Minister Gaikhangam has instructed police to arrange armed escorts for the trucks on the highway to ensure uninterrupted supply of consumer items.

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