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Manipur: Naga groups reject Biren Singh's appeal to end blockade

Imphal: The United Naga Council (UNC) has rejected Manipur's new Chief Minister N Biren Singh's appeal to end the economic blockade of the state.

During his election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had vowed to end the blockade within 48 hours if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took power in the state.

But the UNC made it clear that the blockade would continue until the government held talks with it over its demands.

Imphal: New Chief Minister of Manipur N Biren Singh after taking the oath of office during his swearing-in ceremony in Imphal on Wednesday. PTI

Chief Minister N Biren Singh. PTI

"The government has not invited us for talks on the issue. The economic blockade shall continue," a UNC leader said.

Biren Singh chaired a meeting of ministers and ruling coalition MLAs to take stock of the situation arising out of the economic blockade imposed from November 1 against the government move to create two new districts.

The then Congress government hit back by forming seven districts.

The blockade by Nagas of the two main highways that link Manipur with Assam, Nagaland and Myanmar have led to major shortages in the state, particularly in Imphal.

However, around 900 trucks carrying supplies are allowed to reach Manipur in a week. But residents say much of what they carry almost immediately reaches the black market.

Biren Singh will face a floor test on March 23 to prove his majority in the 60-member assembly.

A coalition ministry led by the BJP was sworn in on Wednesday. Two BJP MLAs, including Biren Singh, four of the National People's Party and one each of the LJP, Congress and the Naga People's Party took oath.

The Manipur chief minister can induct three more ministers. "My priority is to lift the blockade which has caused hardships to the people," he said.

Updated Date: Mar 16, 2017 17:18 PM

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