Bharat bandh brings normal life to grinding halt in state

IMPHAL10th Sep: The countrywide Bharat Bandh called by opposition political organisations, including the Congress and Left parties against the surging prices of petroleum products in the country severely affected normal life in the state too. No school, college, fuel pump and market opened during the bandh which came into effect from Sunday midnight till 7pm Monday while passenger transporters including inter-state and inter district bus services remained off the road though some private vehicles could be seen moving.

Bandh supporters blockaded roads at Sekmai bazar point of NH-2, Moirang and also at various places in Bishnupur, Imphal East and Imphal West districts. No untoward incident, however, has been reported during the bandh.

Though security teams were seen deployed at strategic locations to check bandh-related unwanted incidents and dilute impact of the protest, suspected bandh supporters, as usual burnt used tyres on the roads to discourage vehicular movement.

At Sangakpham crossing, protesters holding placards denouncing rising fuel prices laid siege on the NH-2 around 8.30 am, consequently forcing motorists to take alternative routes through the residential areas.

After nearly half an hour of traffic snarl on both directions of the protest zone and the handful of police personnel deployed in the area left to helplessly watch the situation, additional police teams arrived which led to an agreement to allow vehicles pass through one side of the highway.

A similar scene was re-enacted at Khoyathong traffic point as some bandh supporters burnt tyres and restricted vehicular movement for a while. With the deployment of additional security teams, the protesters relented and limited their activities to cautioning the motorists against repetitive defiance of the bandh call.

Near New Lambulane Tribal Market, women vendors and local women folk staged protest demonstration to decry failure of the BJP government to bring down prices of essential commodities, petroleum products in particular. The protest was held under the aegis of Wangkhei Block Congress Committee.

Committee secretary Boyes Kom accused the Narendra Modi-led Central government of pursuing anti-people policies. All commercial vehicles were off the road, men and women came out at several places to burn tyres and block all kinds of vehicular movements. ,There were sporadic instance of heated face offs between police and the Congress members at several places.

People coming from other parts of the country were stranded along the highways since the buses could not enter the city. Many trucks bringing fuel and essential commodities were also stranded. According to our correspondents, bandh supporters blocked roads to enforce the agitation at Kakching, Bishnupur and Tengnoupal districts. The bandh impacted normal chores at various pockets of Kakching district as shops downed shutters and vehicles stayed off the road.

While government offices recorded thin attendance and educational institutions were shut for the day, the normally busy markets such as Kakching, Kakching Lamkhai, Pallel, Wabagai, Kakching Khunou, Waikhong and Sugnu were bereft of any significant trade activities.

Reports were received that members of Kakching District Youth Congress Committee and Kakching Block Congress Committee fanned out through the district to ensure effective enforcement of the bandh.

Enforcing the bandh, volunteers of Moreh Block Congress Committee resorted to road blockade at Chikim village point of the Imphal-Moreh road. To avoid facing undesired consequences, transport operators stayed put at Moreh town and at a safe distance from Chikim village during the bandh period but started to move to their respective destination after the agitation ceased.

Moreh BCC president Thongkhulun Baite iterated that the bandh was called to protest anti-people policies of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. The Bharat bandh also affected normal life in Bishnupur district on Monday. The bandh supporters blocked the Tidim road at Nachou Panthong, Bishnupur, Joypur Khunou, Nambol Thongkha, etc., by burning tyres.

Various block level leaders of Oinam A/C came out and supported the bandh at Oinam Bazar. Speaking to media persons, ex-MLA I Ibohalbi contended that since 2014, prices of petrol and diesel have been increasing day by day. However, the prices could be brought down if central excise duty, state value added tax and GST are applied properly, he added. During the bandh, Nambol, Bishnuupur, Ningthoukhong, Moirang, Kumbi and Kwakta bazars wore deserted look. Most of the passenger vehicles also stayed off the road.

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