8th convoy of petroleum supplies enters blockade-hit Manipur

New Delhi, Dec 26 (IANS) The latest convoy carrying supplies of petroleum products to Manipur, which is currently in the grip of an economic blockade, has crossed the state’s borders and is on its way to capital city Imphal, the Union Petroleum Ministry said on Monday.

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan held a review here of the stock position in Manipur, an official statement here said.

“In view of the economic blockade imposed by United Naga Council (UNC) on vehicles going to Manipur from 1.11.2016, supplies of POL (petroleum, oil, lubricant) products have been severely constrained,” it said.

“Last convoy, which entered Manipur via Jiribum border on 25th December early morning, is now reaching Imphal. Currently, oil marketing companies (OMCs) are moving supplies under heavy security protection via alternate route NH-35 (via Jiribum) after shifting supply base to Guwahati, from normal base at Tinsukia.” it added.

So far, the OMCs “have moved eight convoys to Manipur, which consisted of 975 TTs (tanker trucks),” the ministry said.

“Loaded TTs for the next convoy have already been lined up at Jiribum (Assam-Manipur border),” it added.

A Naga-led economic blockade that has lasted more than 50 days and caused ethnic clashes, has disrupted life in Manipur. Prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed as a result with a litre of petrol selling at more than Rs 300 and an LPG cylinder at about Rs 3,000.

The Manipur-based United Naga Council (UNC) had imposed a road blockade since November 1, to protest the state government’s unilateral decision to create new districts out of Naga-inhabited territories.

The Congress-led Manipur government had decided to create seven new districts, including Jiribam district out of Imphal East and Sadar Hills district out of Senapati district, that was hugely protested by Naga rights groups.

The blockade of the National Highway (NH-2) has disrupted the supply of essentials — food grain and fuel — to Manipur.

Supplies of essentials are being maintained through alternative highways linking Assam to Manipur.