A military plane landed at the Tulihal airport here on Monday morning with 700 cartons of life-saving drugs from Guwahati.

Life-saving drugs and many essential items became scarce in Manipur following a 41-day economic blockade imposed by Naga tribal students along two major highways. Routine surgeries were suspended in government and private hospitals due to lack of medical gas.

Official sources said another plane was ready to airlift medical gas and other hospital materials.

The postal department is charging Rs.13 a kg of cargo. Officials said priority would be given to hospital materials.

A government spokesman said several passenger buses and loaded trucks would reach Imphal shortly.

The vehicles, which were stranded at Jiribam near Assam as a result of the blockade, were taking a long detour via Silchar in Assam and Aizawl in Mizoram to reach Manipur's Churachandpur district.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister Yumkham Erabot said there were no essential commodities and only enough petrol to last for three days and diesel for five days.

The Students' Federation of India (Manipur branch) and the Pangal (Muslim) Students' Union have urged the Centre to spell out a clear-cut policy vis-à-vis the illegal protracted economic blockade.

Reports said one litre of petrol was available on the black market at Rs.170 and one LPG cylinder at Rs.1,700.