Transportation of sugar, rice and wheat to Manipur from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godown at Dimapur in Nagaland has been stopped from March 31 onwards in view of the extortion bid for Rs. 50 lakh by the rebels of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), which is a signatory to the ceasefire with the Union government.

As a result, these essential items are in short supply in Manipur and local market prices have been hiked. This was disclosed by Yumkham Erabot, State Food and Civil Supplies Minister. He further said that though the extortion letter was given to the FCI officials at Dimapur, the armed National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Kaplang) rebels who are making their presence felt here had prevented the transporters from lifting the goods from the godown for delivering to the Food and Civil Supplies godown in Imphal. The Nagaland police have not come to the rescue of the transporters now stranded along the national highway.

A high-level meeting was held on Saturday in Imphal to take stock of the situation. Later a letter was sent to the Union Home Secretary G.K.Pillai to examine it in the joint monitoring cell of the cease fire since this kind of extortion is in flagrant violation of the ground rules of the cease fire. Mr. Erabot expressed the view that the Union government shall take a serious view of the infraction by the signatory to the cease fire.

Meanwhile the transporters told journalists that the FCI had refused to pay illegal taxes to the rebels and as a result they were made the punching kit.