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Economic blockade continues

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51 trucks with perishable goods enter Dimapur with police escort

DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 1: Even as the truckers and transport unions intensified the indefinite economic blockade on Nagaland, they allowed trucks carrying perishable goods to enter Dimapur on Thursday.
The truckers said that they felt that trucks carrying perishable items like fish, eggs, potatoes, onions, etc., have been stranded for last 3 days and the items have started to decay, so they decided to let those trucks go to Nagaland only today but their blockade will continue.
President of Lahorijan and Khatkhati Truckers Welfare Society, Khehuli Kibami said, “We are not going to lift the blockade.” She said 5 unions have started the economic blockade and had given very short notice of 3 days only to launch the blockade.
“Since vehicles have started coming from far off places with perishable items like eggs, fish, tomato, potatoes, etc, whatever is being used in our kitchens, we have allowed them to go to Dimapur today,” she said.
She also stated that the Nagaland Government has said it would provide police escort to the transport vehicles but our demand is to stop extortion. She said the unions want the Nagaland Police to stop extortion and illegal collection at the check gates.
“Already certain items in the trucks are getting damaged, which is a loss and if we pay taxes upon that it will be a loss to the transporters,” she said.
President of Dimapur Truck Drivers Union, L Ghoshito Chopi stressed that the culprit(s) involved in the killing of truck driver Jiten Gogoi should be caught and compensation should be given to his family.
He said the economic blockade has been launched for the public. However, he said today the 5 unions decided to send trucks carrying perishable items to Dimapur. “But it is only for today,” he said adding, “We are going to continue with the blockade till justice is delivered to Jiten Gogoi.”
Another member of a truckers’ union said that although trucks with perishable items were allowed to go to Dimapur, the unions made it a point that other than perishable goods, nothing is transported to Dimapur.
He also demanded that illegal taxation should be stopped at check gates. “From Assam to Manipur, there should be no taxation,” he stressed.
Sources from Karbi Anglong informed that more than 200 vehicles are still stranded at various locations, while some vehicles with perishable goods have entered Nagaland, others returned after learning that the economic blockade will continue.
Meanwhile, a joint meeting of the Dimapur district administration, Dimapur Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) and transport unions have decided to approach their Assam counterpart to call off the agitation.
Commissioner of Police Dimapur, Rothihu Tetseo, IPS informed that 27 trucks bound for Manipur and 24 trucks bound for Dimapur carrying perishable goods reached Newfield Check Gate from Lahorijan with Nagaland Police escort. Manipur bound trucks will be escorted till Peducha and handed over to Kohima team, he stated.
While the economic blockade has not affected Dimapur markets much in the last 2 days, sources from Dimapur’s civic body informed that there is enough stock of essential commodities.
However, there still is apprehension amongst the public that if the blockade continues indefinitely there would be scarcity of essential items and a sudden price rise.
It may be mentioned that the Dimapur Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) held a meeting with Dimapur-based transport unions on Wednesday and expressed that at this juncture when the public and business persons have incurred heavy losses during the lockdown in the past 6 months, they cannot afford another bandh or agitation.
The meeting had urged the Nagaland Government to take up the issue with the Assam counterpart and exert strong pressure as the agitation has impacted the smooth flow of supplies.
The DCCI also had appealed to the Commissioner of Police, Dimapur, to communicate with the Assam Police for provision of police escort and safe passage to trucks and transporters crossing the inter-state border.
(Page News Service)