At least five persons died on the spot and one was seriously wounded when a truck they were travelling in plunged into a deep gorge near Jiribam in Imphal East along National Highway 53 on Friday night.

Eyewitnesses said a few other bodies were lying scattered.

Central team in Imphal

to study shortages

A high-level Union Home Ministry team arrived here on Saturday for a spot study of shortage of the essential commodities in Manipur, even after the suspension of a 68-day blockade imposed on the State by Naga tribal bodies. The team, headed by A.E. Ahmed, Border Affairs Management Secretary, held a meeting with Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, some senior Ministers, the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police.

Of the two lifelines of the landlocked State, drivers are boycotting National Highway 39, which passes through Nagaland, demanding compensation for the torching of 14 trucks during the blockade and a commitment to check extortion of illegal taxes from Manipur vehicles.

National Highway 53 is in a horrible condition, and hence trucks and buses cannot ply on it.

Hence the shortage of essential commodities Oil pumps are still closed.

Fuel, including cooking gas, is available only in black market.