Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blocked highways - Manipur required Angioplasty and bypass surgeries

Manipur - Road connections to rest of India
This North-Eastern state is connected to rest of India mainly through two highways - NH 39 (connecting Manipur to Dimapur, Nagaland) and NH 53 (connecting Manipur to Silchar, Assam). Apart from this Manipur has an airport in capital Imphal - Tulihal Airport, Changangei. In short, all essential items have to come to the state through these three routes. Transporting commodities through air is costly, Manipur is no exemption; so remaining routes are two national highways.

In such a situation, what will happen to the state if someone blocked these arteries to protest? Considering large number of ethnic groups with conflicting demands, this is not a rare scenario. Any blockade on these highways will severely affect the people. Unfortunately, many times in the past various groups blocked these roads to register their protest or to show strength.

38 hour blockade by ‘All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM)’ started from Saturday midnight is the latest in the series. Their demand is to establish a "State commission for the Scheduled Tribes in the hill areas for holding the Teacher Eligibility Test in the hill stations and other academic facilities". Fortunately, this blockade was for 38 hours. Last time it ran in to many weeks. Tomorrow, some other group will find some other reason to block these highways. Whoever doing this, in whatever name, people of Manipur are going to suffer.

In a democratic nation, citizens have full right to raise their demands and to protest. However, if it is through cutting the supply lines to a state, then both central and state governments should take serious actions - both talks as well as strict measures on ground. At the same time, government should speed up the projects to connect NE states to mainland India through Bangladesh and to Bay of Bengal through Myanmar (Burma). This will help the land locked states to get supplies from other places we well.


PS: According to one report, "providing armed escort, police brought 33 trucks and 12 buses here from Mao where the vehicles were stranded."

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