Citing security reasons, truck drivers, who are stranded near Kohima due to a landslip, refused to take the Jessami-Ukhrul detour to reach Imphal

Drivers of Manipur bound trucks and buses have refused to take the Jessami-Ukhrul detour citing security reasons as there will be no armed escorts. A few hundreds of vehicles have been stranded near Kohima, capital of Nagaland due a landslip along Highway 2 on July 13.

The drivers who had been asked to proceed towards Jessami told The Hindu that militants are ruling the roost along this mountain road. There had been frequent reports of abductions of drivers, torching of trucks and other forms of harassments in the region. Trucks, inter-State buses and private vehicles ply along the two Highways 2 and 37, the lifelines of Manipur only when there are armed security guards.

The drivers now stranded in Nagaland are told to proceed to Jessami in Manipur, east of Kohima and pass through Ukhrul district to reach Imphal. Apart from the absence of security guards along the cavalcade of trucks and buses, Ukhrul district has been under siege as the students and NGOs had declared a public curfew demanding the transfer of the collector.

Border Roads Task Force officials said that the landslip cannot be repaired. Instead another bypass has to be constructed by cutting the nearby mountains. Officials added that the legal process for land acquisition and compensation and construction works shall take months to complete.

Meanwhile prices of consumer items in Manipur have increased since most of essentials had vanished from the market. Fuel and consumer items cannot be brought via Highway 37 because of the poor condition of the 222-km long road.

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