Finally, we hear some good news from Imphal after all the ‘Muviah homecoming’ and protests that followed. The main supply route, NH-53, the Jiribam-Imphal Highway was blocked from several days and supplies of essential commodities were forcefully stranded by the protesters. People had no option, either too pay too heavy price or just go ahead without the essential commodities like salt, onions and petrol etc.
CAF & PD Minister Yumkham Erabot showed some heart and brought at least 200 trucks to Imphal which were stuck on NH 53. His courage was applauded by the population as he didn’t even care for special protection rather went ahead with a handful bodyguards along with a team of Assam Rifles’ jawans and BSF personnel.
Now let’s see a a project report** which reveals that bandhs, which stops all kinds of economic transactions along with other movement cost a loss of Rs. 12.55 billion (between June 1997 and May 1998 in Assam only) at a tune of Rs. 447.9 million per day. 73 bandhs were called by these organisations (as well as political parties). These bandhs range from 12 to 48 hours (mot common is 12 hours bandh called 36 times).
Though an old data, but it will convince you that what will be the loss in 2010! And this is only one part of the loss which can be mathematically calculated. What about the inconvenience caused to the people of these areas? You have the money but you can’t buy a thing because it is not there nor you can procure it! The child can’t go to the school; you can’t commute because you have no petrol…
The problem is not only of some Muivah but problem is in the psyche of the government, most importantly the centre. Despite several requests and reminders from CM Okram Ibobi Singh to the centre, Manmohan Singh’s government allowed NSCN (IM) general secretary Th Muivah to enter Manipur (which he woke up to remember after 40 years that it was his motherland!). At one hand centre is not hanging Afzal Guru because it may cause unrest in Kashmeer and then it allows this kind of act on the pretext of freedom of movement which has already taken some lives and continues to disrupt normal life of the whole population!
This is a slap on the face of people of North East as a whole where despite it’s sensitivity and reoccurring violence on several issues, centre dared to say yes to Muivah entry. One can’t surely say Erabot’s dare is a heroic act or a political stunt but as someone remarked, we need these kinds of MLAs which could stop these incidents from happening.
The centre should scratch its head and have to seriously think what is it doing? You fail to tackle Naxal violence, you fail to tackle price rise, you can’t check militancy… then what is the reason of your existence? That too in areas where it is your government! Are you too dumb to understand a simple point that death of any individual is a reason good enough to ponder even for a thief let alone citizens who pay tax and are the contributors of your economic boom?
I have many questions to ask! I don’t belong to Northeast but I belong to India and certainly understand the politics of it to some extent. I can feel what it is not to be able to go to your school, college, shops, playgrounds…
It frustrates individuals and as an outcome people move out of their states with a heavy heart because no one leaves the motherland in happiness. Scarcity and projected opportunities force them out! Even Muivah saw an opportunity for a greater Nagaland and is trying to return!
**North Eastern Development Finance Corporation, A Project Report on Bandhs in Assam. Guwahati: NEDF, 1999.