UNC rejects CM's appeal to lift economic blockade in Manipur

economic blockade

Vehicles torched during the economic blockade in Manipur (Photo: AFP)

The United Naga Council (UNC) has on Thursday rejected the appeal of the newly appointed Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh to end the economic blockade in the state.

During the election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had vowed to end the blockade within 48 hours if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is voted to power in the state.

The UNC, however, said that the blockade would continue until the government held talks with it over its demands.

"The government has not invited us for talks on the issue. The economic blockade shall continue," a UNC leader said.

Singh chaired a meeting of ministers and ruling coalition MLAs to take stock of the situation arising out of the economic blockade imposed in the landlocked state since November 1, 2016 against the creation of seven new districts in October, 2016.

The UNC blockade had led to major shortages in the state, particularly in Imphal.

However, around 900 trucks carrying supplies are allowed to reach Manipur in a week. But residents say much of what they carry almost immediately reaches the black market.

The new CM Singh will face a floor test to prove his majority in the 60-member assembly on March 23.

A coalition ministry led by the BJP was sworn in on Wednesday. Two BJP MLAs, including Biren Singh, four of the National People's Party and one each of the LJP, Congress and the Naga People's Party took oath. 

"My priority is to lift the blockade which has caused hardships to the people," Singh said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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