Chidambaram to visit blockade-hit Manipur

October 29th, 2011 - 3:11 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Imphal, Oct 29 (IANS) Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram will visit Manipur, where an economic blockade to press for a separate district has resulted in soaring prices of various commodities. The blockade continued for the 90th day Saturday, officials said.

Chidambaram will visit the state Nov 2-3. “He is expected to visit some districts to attend a few government functions, including inauguration of administrative buildings at Senapati district headquarters in northern Manipur,” a state home department official said.

However, the official refused to give details whether Chidambaram would talk to the agitators who have been blocking the two arterial national highways in northern Manipur since Aug 1.

The activists of Sadar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC) began the indefinite road blockade on NH 53 and NH 39 that link the northeastern state with the rest of the country via Nagaland and Assam.

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 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 blockade has led to an unprecedented crisis of essential commodities, including medicines. Prices have shot up three to four times of all basic items,” the official admitted.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the home minister two times during the past three months and discussed the blockade impasse.

“The state government repeatedly asked the agitators to withdraw the blockade and talk to the government to resolve their demands. But the SHDDC refused to call off the blockade, reiterating their demand that the district should be created first,” the official added.

The main opposition parties like the Manipur People’s Party (MPP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party have been demanding president’s rule in the state to normalise the situation.

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