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Manipur Govt urges UNC to lift economic blockade
Correspondent
 IMPHAL, Feb 8 - In the wake of ongoing indefinite economic blockade which entered 100 days on Wednesday, Manipur Government has appealed to the United Naga Council (UNC) “to reconsider their decision and withdraw the economic blockade immediately”.

State Chief Secretary O Nabakishore of Manipur made the appeal on behalf of the State government through a press statement on Tuesday night.

Manipur have been reeling under indefinite economic blockade on its National Highways since November 1 midnight, forcing the general public to face scarcity of essential items. The blockade was called by the UNC in protest against the government’s move to declare Sadar Hills and Jiribam into full fledged districts.

The UNC in its presidential council meeting held at Senapati town in Manipur on Tuesday to consider the three-party talks involving Centre, State and the UNC in New Delhi on February 3, decided to continue their agitation until the State government withdraws the decision to declare seven new districts in the state.

Reacting to the UNC’s decision, the statement said the State government has taken initiatives to address the demands of the UNC and lifting of economic blockade.

Accordingly the State government participated in the ‘tripartite talks’, convened and chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in New Delhi wherein the UNC has presented the demands, including the issue relating to creation of new districts in Manipur. After due deliberations, the representatives of State and central governments have suggested to take up the issue of new districts in the next tripartite meeting for administrative reasons, which was accepted by UNC, it said.

The issue of lifting of economic blockade was also discussed at length and the UNC proposed for unconditional release of their leaders who are arrested.

Thereafter an agreement was signed by representatives of MHA, State government and UNC, wherein it was agreed upon to discuss the issue relating to new districts in the next tripartite meeting.

“The UNC agreed to consider lifting of the economic blockade after due discussion in their meeting on February 3 and the State government also agreed to facilitate release of the leaders of the UNC who are arrested,” said the statement.

“Unfortunately, the UNC in its press statement on February 7 mentioned that they decided to continue the economic blockade without respecting the agreement signed in the tripartite meeting held on February 3,” the statement added.

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