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Meghalaya staring at economic blockade from organisations in Assam

Special Correspondent GUWAHATI: 27 October 2020 15:28 IST
Updated: 27 October 2020 15:28 IST

COVID-19 restrictions have upset traders

After Nagaland and Mizoram, Meghalaya is staring at an economic blockade from organisations in Assam.

While conflicts of different kinds made truckers keep off the roads to Nagaland and Mizoram, the latest cause of friction is Meghalaya’s alleged obsession with COVID-19 restrictions that have denied entry to traders from Assam.

At least 40 organisations, including the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), All Rabha Students’ Union and All Bodo Students’ Union, have threatened to block all points of entry to western Meghalaya’s Garo Hills from October 29 if the Meghalaya government “does not get over its pandemic obsession”.

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These organisations questioned the logic behind the Meghalaya government’s decision to ban entry of Assam traders when people from Meghalaya have been trading in border areas of Assam.

“When the Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the States not to impose restrictions on trading and movement of people, there cannot be any logic behind the Meghalaya government’s decision to keep our people out,” a local AASU leader said.

Leaders of some of these organisations met the authorities of western Assam’s Goalpara district for resolving the issue.

“I had a meeting with my counterpart of North Garo Hills district (in Meghalaya, adjoining Goalpara). I have also written to the Meghalaya government and all the Garo Hills district heads. They are in discussion for possible relaxations,” said Varnali Deka, Goalapara’s Deputy Commissioner.

Officials in Meghalaya said a “mutually beneficial” decision would be taken soon.

Parts of Nagaland had suffered a temporary blockade when five truckers’ unions imposed an “indefinite economic blockade” on September 29. The blockade was to protest the killing of an Assam-based trucker in Nagaland’s Dimapur on September 22.

Truckers in Assam had also stopped plying to Mizoram following an inter-State boundary dispute that led to violence. The blockade was lifted on October 22.

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