IMPHAL, Oct 9 – The economic blockade by Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDCC) entered the 70th day today, becoming in the process the longest ever blockade imposed on road links to Manipur till date.The blockade began from July 31 midnight after SHDCC choked the National Highway 39 and 53 – Manipur’s lifelines that meet in capital Imphal from two different directions after cutting through hills inhabited by various tribes. The SHDCC demands creation of Sadar Hills district while the Naga group-United Naga Council(UNC), protesting the creation of the district with Naga inhabited area,called a counter blockade on the above highways and NH 150 from August 21.
In 2005, the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur, had staged an economic blockade against the decision of the State to declare June 18 as ‘Integrity Day’. The economic blockade, which started from June 19 to August 11 that year, had lasted for 52 days.
Again, last year, another economic blockade was called by the Naga bodies against the government’s decision to prevent the entry of NSCN(IM) general secretary Th Muivah into Manipur. The blockade broke the previous record by 16 days. It lasted for 68 days from April 11 to June 18.
Interestingly, though the blockade called by SHDDC and the counter blockade by the UNC have entered 70 and 49 days respectively on Sunday, there is no sign of any negotiation among the two sides, nor any sign of action from the part of the government to solve the problem. Hence the blockade is likely to continue, forcing many to face the hardship in the State.
The State’s Economics and Statistics Department records published in the local media here estimated that the State has lost more than Rs 250 crore during the last 64 days of the blockade.