IMPHAL -- The economic blockade of Manipur imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) will be lifted from midnight of 19 March, it was announced in Imphal.
This followed an agreement reached during talks involving the Naga group and representatives of the central and Manipur governments where the Manipur government assured UNC that it would hold consultations with all stakeholders to redress its grievances. The blockade was imposed on 1 November, 2016 as a protest against the government's decision to create two new districts and has been causing widespread shortages in Manipur.
The Manipur govt has also agreed to release the arrested UNC leaders without any conditions and cases against leaders related to the economic blockade will be closed.
It was also agreed that the central govt, the govt of Manipur and the UNC leaders would again meet within a month.
The United Naga Council to lift economic blockade in Manipur after 139 days. Govt to release Naga leaders pic.twitter.com/n8Fl3qVQo0— Indrani Basu (@IndraniBasu88) March 19, 2017
In its maiden cabinet meeting on 18 March, the BJP-led coalition government in Manipur decided to take steps to end the indefinite economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council and convened the tripartite meeting.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in Imphal during an election meeting that the blockade would be lifted within 48 hours of the formation of a BJP government in Manipur.
The UNC imposed the blockade on two national highways, NH 2 and NH 37, in protest against the government's plan to create two districts. However, later the government went on to create seven new districts, saying it was necessary from administrative point of view.
The UNC, Tangkhul Naga Long and other Naga bodies have been saying that the creation of seven districts comprising the "land of the Nagas left by our forefathers" is unacceptable.
The Congress government had insisted on holding talks either in Imphal or Delhi, but the present coalition government has agreed to hold talks in Senapati district, where the head office of UNC is located.
Although truckloads of consumer items and fuel are being brought under escort twice a week, these are not sufficient. Due to lack of adequate consumer items, prices have soared and the items are available mostly in black market.
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