At least 304 trucks carrying consumer items, construction materials, fuel and LPG cylinders arrived in Imphal on Saturday from Jiribam bordering Assam.
The loaded trucks had been stranded for over one month in view of the economic blockade launched by the All Naga Students' Association Manipur and the Naga Students' Federation, a Nagaland based organisation, opposing the autonomous district council elections and bar by the Manipur government to the proposed visit to Manipur by Thuingaleng Muivah, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) general secretary.
Food and Public Distribution Minister Yungkham Erabot came to Imphal from Jiribam along with the trucks.
On Friday, he left Imphal along with some journalists and just 10 IRB troopers assigned to him as house guards.
On his way to Jiribam, he briefly interacted with the drivers coming towards Imphal defying the government orders to come through the Guite road instead.
Mr. Erabot said that all these decades the highway 53 having a length of 220 km had been one of the lifelines. He said that the plan to use the 700 km Guite road was not practicable since additional transport expenses would be incurred.
Apart from being the road in bad condition, there were numerous hairpin bends making it very dangerous for the loaded trucks to negotiate in the mountain road.
Plea to vigilantes
Soon after arrival at Jiribam, Mr. Erabot, who was accorded a rousing welcome by the people, persuaded the women vigilantes not to obstruct the loading of the rice and other consumer items there. The women vigilantes have been launching a sit-in there to ensure that consumer goods were not lifted and transported to the tribal areas.
They have been forcibly disgorging the consumer items from the trucks meant for the tribal areas saying that since there was economic blockade all sections of people should feel the pinch.
Irrigation and Flood Control Minister N. Biren, PCC president Gaikhagam and some MLAs had visited Noney area in Tamenglong district.
Tribals not hostile
The tribals there were not hostile and did nothing to stop the trucks.