NAMSAI, Jan 24: People in Namsai district are bearing the brunt of the economic blockade imposed by the All Moran Students’ Union (AMSU) and the AMSU-Lekang Regional Committee (AMSU-LRC) in the eastern belt of Arunachal Pradesh and Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts in Assam since 20 January.
Locals informed that kerosene was selling for Rs 80-85 per litre while petrol was selling for nearly Rs 100 per litre in the black markets. With low supply, the prices of other essential goods have also seen a slight increase, they said.
In a letter to the Namsai deputy commissioner, All Tai Khampti Singpho Students’ Union (ATKSSU) president Kohana Chowpoo said the economic blockade “grossly deprived the general public from availing their daily essential commodities and basic needs.”
Since the movement is headed by the AMSU, the economic blockade has been imposed from 20 January to 20 February in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Assam. Makum (in Tinsukia) serves as the central entry point to most eastern districts of Arunachal, and trucks carrying goods are now taking bypass roads to reach their destinations.
AMSU-LRC general secretary Manoj Moran informed that they have currently put a halt only on vehicles carrying coal and wood, and on oil tankers.
“Trucks carrying other goods have been allowed to move beyond the Dirak entry gate,” he informed.
He said they do not intend to stretch the blockade for too long but are yet to receive an update from the Arunachal Pradesh government regarding the joint high power committee meeting held on Wednesday.
At the time of filing of this report, Moran informed that delegations of the AMSU and the AMSU-LRC were meeting with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and the administrations of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts on Thursday evening, and that their further course of action would be decided after the meeting.
Sources in Namsai informed that some trucks managed to move beyond the Dirak gate on Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, the ATKSSU has also asked the Namsai DC to take urgent and effective measures to ensure peace and tranquility in the area.
Terming the economic blockade “illegal,” the All Lower Dibang Valley District Border Students’ Union said the blockade was “hampering the local indigenous life in Lower Dibang Valley district as they share border with Assam.”
In a press release, the union condemned the statements of Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein on granting PRCs to non-APSTs of Namsai and Changlang districts as a “new year gift.”
Citing the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873, it said “the non-APSTs settled in different districts of the state cannot be treated as permanent residents as they are only ordinary residents of Arunachal Pradesh.”