The All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) has given the final go ahead for an indefinite blockade from Sunday morning. The ATSUM leaders seem to be encouraged by the way many tribal NGOs and smaller students' groups have extended untrammeled support to the agitation.

ATSUM has been demanding various welfare schemes for the tribals, saying the government has been neglecting the tribals in the state. However government sources told The Hindu that there is no question of neglecting the tribals in matters of developmental works, appointments and promotions.

The government invited the leaders of the tribal students to discuss it. However ATSUM spurned it saying that the hour for such negotiations had passed. There has been no positive response from the government and under the circumstances it is meaningless to hold talks now.

While the government is hopeful of finding out a solution even at this late hour all sections of people have braced for a protracted economic blockade which will hit them below the belt. For the last four days oil pumps in the state have been shut down and the owners say that stock has run out.

Most of the high demand consumer items including baby food have vanished from the market. Prices of fish, meat, eggs and green vegetables have registered stiff rise.

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