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Residents elated after Manipur blockade ends

Imphal, Wed, 30 Nov 2011 ANI

Imphal, Nov 30 (ANI): Residents have expressed relief and joy over the lifting of an economic blockade on Tuesday that had affected life in Manipur for 120 days.


The economic blockade was called by the United Naga Council (UNC) outfit, which resulted in normal life of the state going out of gear for about four months.


Residents were literally forced to look for ways to survive for two months economic embargo imposed by regional outfits, demanding the creation of a separate district in the state.


Seeking to ratchet up pressure on the government to accept their demands, a regional tribal outfit, Sadar Hill District Demand Committee (SHDDC), blocked the two main highways connecting the remote area with the rest of the nation since August 1.


The blockade was lifted up by the UNC ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi's visit to the state on December 3.


"It has been four months of the blockade. We faced a lot of hardships due to this. Now we are all happy that the blockade has been lifted. There had been a shortage of commodities and now their prices will also come down. Now everything will be available. All the people are happy and this will be a good for the business," said Hemchandra Singh, a shopkeeper in Imphal.


State government was criticized for not doing enough to resolve the impasse.


"The people have faced such hardships for such a long time, that too during the peace times and not in war times. This is unprecedented. Nowhere in any place of the world have we heard of any such things. Continuously for almost 120 days there was uninterrupted blockade. It is something very strange. I think this should not be repeated if there is a government at all," said Mahamandin, a resident.


Over the past three months, food and fuel prices have witnessed a sharp increase, almost skyrocketing while hoarders indulging in black-market trade practices are reaping it rich.


According to certain media reports, petrol is being sold at rupees 120 per litre while cooking gas cylinders are being sold with an exorbitant price tag of rupees 1200.


Leaders of SHDDC have vowed to continue their agitation for the creation of a separate Sadar Hills District until the government caves in to their demands.


Several organisations have opposed the creation of the new district as it includes some ethnic Naga-settled areas. (ANI)


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