Eight companies of the CRPF, including one comprising women, have arrived here to help Manipur tackle the crisis stemming from the blockade enforced by Naga outfits.

This follows the announcement by Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai that the two inter-State highways, which are the lifelines of Manipur, would be re-opened with the help of the Central forces. The CRPF personnel will escort vehicles carrying essentials on these highways.

The Centre had assured the State that 20 companies would be despatched to escort goods trucks, passenger buses and other vehicles plying on Highways 39 and 53.

Four CRPF companies that had been airlifted were deployed in Senapati district, the stronghold of the All-Naga Students' Association Manipur and the United Naga Council, which have been imposing the blockade on Manipur since April 11.

Though the Naga Students' Federation (NSF), in response to calls by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram, had temporarily suspended the blockade — it had imposed on Manipur from May 3 — from Tuesday morning, no vehicle had been allowed on Highway 39 that passes through Nagaland.

Over 400 trucks and oil tankers reached Imphal on Friday from Assam escorted by the Manipur Rifles troopers.

However, oil pumps remained closed. Prices of available items have soared.

Sushanta Talukdar reports from Guwahati:

The All-Naga Students' Association Manipur (ANSAM) on Friday temporarily suspended its economic blockade of NH 39 and 53.

The decision was announced through a joint statement of the Naga outfits.

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