NEW DELHI, Oct 31 – Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today appealed to the agitating groups in Manipur to withdraw their over three-month-old blockade of national highways and assured action on the report of the District Reorganisation Commission (DRC).
“My appeal to all groups, especially the Kuki groups and other groups agitating for a separate district to be curved out of Jiribam, that they should suspend their agitation and allow the DRC to look into the matter and give its report,” he told reporters here.
Chidambaram assured all groups that the Central Government would certainly urge the Manipur Government to act on the report of the DRC, once it is made available.
The Union Home Minister said the blockade on National Highway 37 has entered the 92nd day today and Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh has appointed the DRC and has requested both Kukis, who want a separate district for Sadar Hills, and the Meiti groups, who want a separate district out of Jiribam, that they should wait for the DRC’s report.
Chidambaram said both sides were unwilling to budge from their positions and despite the blockade, the Government of Manipur with the assistance of the Centre, has been able to ply on an average 1,100 trucks with supplies every week to Manipur.
“So, supplies are available in the valley except that prices are high... The peculiar feature of this blockade is although the valley, specially Imphal is affected, there are no protests in Imphal as such,” he said.
Chidambaram said people understood that these were two different groups agitating on an issue that has been pending many, many years and suddenly upped the ante.
The Chief Minister has done the best possible thing under the circumstances mainly to appoint a DRC and its report is expected in next few months, he said.
The Sadar Hills District Demand Committee launched the economic blockade on Imphal-Dimapur-Guwahati National Highway and the Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar since August 1 demanding conversion of the Kuki-majority Sadar Hills area in Naga-majority Senapati district into a full-fledged district.
On the other hand, United Naga Committee, opposing the Kukis’ demand for granting district status to Sadar Hills, launched a counter-economic blockade on the same two national highways on August 21. – PTI