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Commodities crisis | Curtail domestic consumption, advises Mizoram

Police personnel during a clash at Assam-Mizoram border at Lailapur in Cachar district, Monday, July 26, 2021. 6 police personnel died and many were injured.   | Photo Credit: -

The Mizoram government has advised its people to cut down on domestic consumption in anticipation of a commodities crisis because of a ‘blockade’ in Assam over the inter-State border row.

Locals in southern Assam’s Barak Valley have indefinitely blocked the roads leading to Mizoram following the July 26 border clash in which six Assam policemen and a civilian were gunned down allegedly by Mizoram police and armed civilians. Miscreants in Assam had also uprooted a section of the only railway track to Mizoram’s Bairabi.

Though Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga have sought to ease the tension along the 146.6km border through discussions, locals are reportedly preventing truckers to carry essentials on National Highway 306 to Mizoram.

“The blockade is on and the railway line is damaged. We anticipate difficulties in getting essential and non-essential commodities in the coming days. As such, we have requested the people of the State not to hoard essential items and curtail domestic consumption,” said Director of Mizoram’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, Ramdinliani.

The Department has issued an appeal that read: “If we curtail our consumption by a bit, there will be enough for all for a longer time.”

On August 2, Mizoram’s Home Secretary Vanlalngaihsaka wrote to the Assam government to enable the entry of vehicles, including trucks carrying essentials into Mizoram. These trucks are stranded at Lailapur in Assam’s Cachar district.

“We are trying to ensure the resumption of vehicular movement, but the public are reluctant to lift the blockade,” a Cachar district administration officer said.

Some Barak Valley groups have said the blockade would continue for at least 20 days unless the people who killed the Assam policemen are identified and booked.

Higher cost of transportation

The ongoing blockade has forced Mizoram to procure essentials either by flight or by road via Tripura’s North Tripura district bordering Barak Valley and Mamit district of Mizoram. On Monday, 3,711 kg of freight was airlifted from Cachar’s Silchar airport to Lengpui airport near Mizoram capital Aizawl.

The higher cost of transportation has increased the prices of commodities. Reportedly, potatoes are selling at ₹150-200 a kilo, mustard oil at ₹400 a litre and petrol at ₹300-450 per litre depending on the remoteness of a place.

“There has been some increase in the prices of commodities but these figures seem inflated. We will have to check if traders are charging so much in the black market,” Ms. Ramdinliani told The Hindu.

She said the prices of fuel will increase by 71 paise from the current ₹98.66 (petrol) and ₹88.97 (diesel) because oil tankers have been arranged from the IOC’s depot in North Tripura district headquarters Dharmanagar. Fuel went to Mizoram from the oil major’s Barak Valley depot before the blockade.

Tripura feeling the heat

Tripura has been feeling the heat for the ‘humanitarian’ gesture to Mizoram. Protesters in Barak Valley blocked the highway to Tripura for a few hours on Monday and Tuesday, relenting only after officials assured goods meant for the State would not be diverted.

But some North Tripura traders have been selling essential items to Mizoram at a premium, causing an artificial scarcity in their own backyard. “We seem to be caught in the fight between Assam and Mizoram, as prices of goods in North Tripura have doubled since July 26,” Panna Paul, a Dharmanagar resident said.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 8:12:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/commodities-crisis-curtail-domestic-consumption-advises-mizoram/article35701768.ece

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