Even as NH-37 (Imphal-Jiribam) section has been virtually opened, NH-2 (Imphal-Mao section) is yet to be opened allegedly owing to shortage of security personnel to escort the vehicles.
To counter the blockade and open the two main highways, Manipur government had requested the Centre to provide 60 companies of Central CPMF to protect the two national highways that connect the state with the rest of the country.
However, the Centre sent only 50 companies for utilizing in the protection of the two lifelines of the state even as the state needs to utilize 30 companies each to open the two main national highways. The alleged shortage of security forces to escort good ferry trucks on NH-2 was amidst the report of Centre providing adequate Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) to the state for opening the highways.
A highly reliable source in the Manipur government said that only 29 companies (around 2900 security personnel) CPMF had reported to the state and 21 companies are being utilized in the escort of trucks along the NH-37. The source said that Centre has dispatched 59 companies including 21 companies of CRPF, 27 companies of BSF, two companies of ITBP and nine companies of SSB of CPMF to the state during December month.
However, duration for deployment of 59 companies had ended on January 6 last but the deployment period was extended till January 16 as informed by the Union ministry of home affairs to state chief secretary, home secretary and DGP through a written communiqué.
The source said that 21 companies of CPMF, which are already in the state and 29 additional companies have reported to the state government so far. Nine companies of CPMF are yet to report to the state government. Of the 29 additional companies, 16 companies of BSF/SSB are being deployed along the NH 37 (Imphal-Jiri) and providing protection to goods trucks.
The remaining 13 companies are being utilized in providing security along the NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur section). However, the existing security personnel are not enough to ensure foolproof security to truckers while moving on the stretch of the highway. Above the recently sent CPMF, a total of 49 companies of CRPF and BSF are stationing in the state and engaging in the protection of important installations and offices like Raj Bhawan, state assembly, Loktak Hydro Electric Project, Maphou Dam, Railway project and others.
As such, in order to open the NH-2, the state government needs 22 more companies of CPMF as state authority estimated 30 companies of CPMF to assist the state security force to open the highway.
State home department had brought up the matter of non-reporting of nine companies of CPMF to the state government till date and the state government is awaiting the response from the MHA.
Normal movement of goods loaded trucks on NH-37 and NH-2, the lifelines of people of Manipur have been remaining disturbed for the last more than two months owing to an indefinite economic blockade call being given by the United Naga Council since November 1 last year.