Manipur blockade by Kukis and Nagas demanding new districts

An indefinite road blockade on National Highway (NH) 53 and NH 39 that link the northeastern state with the rest of the country blockade began Aug . They are demanding that the Sadar Hills sub-division in the Naga-dominated Senapati district in northern Manipur be upgraded as a full-fledged district. The blockade was called by Kuki community led Sadar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC) in demand that the Sadar Hills sub-division in the Naga-dominated Senapati district in northern Manipur be upgraded as a full-fledged district. The United Naga Council, the apex body of Nagas in Manipur, has also been organising a counter-road blockade in all Naga-inhabited areas in northern Manipur, demanding that these areas should not be carved out without their consent. The people of the state continue to suffer in this tussle.

 Home Minister P. Chidambaram has appealed to groups demanding a separate district in Manipur to suspend their 92-day-old economic blockade, which has led to prices of various commodities sky-rocketing in the north-eastern state. Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and Governor Gurbachan Jagat have also repeatedly urged the agitators to withdraw the blockade. 

Seriously ill patients have been turned away from Manipur hospital because of lack of life saving drugs and oxygen cylinders. Manipur does not have a medical gas plant of its own and relies on the nearby state of Assam. As a result of the stir, the price of oxygen cylinder has therefore gone up – by four-five times. The price of fuel and household commodities have also shot up. Although there is a general scarcity of goods, most of the things are available at higher prices. Officially, Petrol will be available from 7 am and from midnight people start queuing up their vehicles outside the fuel station. Next morning the fuel will not be available after about two hours. However the fuel will be available in the market but at a higher price. It means that the black marketers are getting their supply and exploiting the people. while in other states, the price of petrol is around Rs67 a litre, in Manipur it is being sold at around Rs200 in the black market. An LPG cylinder can cost anywhere between Rs1,800-2,000. Then again, a kilo of potatoes will cost around Rs40-50 and onions at Rs60-70. Many people have stopped using gas cylinders and are using home grown vegetables and fish from the local pond.