Mizoram Health Minister R Lalthangliana on Monday wrote to the Centre alleging that a blockade on vehicles imposed by Assam has led to shortages of medical supplies, including Covid-19 test kits and oxygen cylinders, PTI reported. He said that the blockade was imposed after the border skirmish between the two states on July 26.
In his letter addressed to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Lalthangliana urged the Centre to intervene and lift the alleged blockade imposed by Assam.
A Mizoram police officer posted in Vairengte town told PTI that no vehicle has entered the state from Assam since July 26. The town of Vairengte, on the National Highway 306, connects Mizoram to the rest of the country and most supplies come to the state through this route, according to the news agency.
“I have come to learn with dismay that essential medical supplies including Covid-19 test kits are blocked from entering our state due to the imposition of blockade in the Barak Valley region,” Lalthangliana, said in the letter. “This has severely affected the availability of medicines required by patients who are now in critical conditions and by those severely affected with Covid-19.”
Tensions escalated along the Assam-Mizoram border on July 26 after reports of firing and clashes between the police of the two states emerged. The states share a 164.6-km-long border, which has long been a cause of dispute.
During the clashes, five Assam Police officers died. The Mizoram government claimed that around 200 Assam Police personnel had crossed a duty post manned by the Central Reserve Police Force and state police in Vairengte town in Kolasib district.
The alleged blockade noted by Lalthangliana was imposed in the Barak Valley soon after the border clashes, according to PTI. The Barak Valley comprises of the three Assam districts of Hailakandi, Karimganj and Cachar.
The blockade has since been lifted but truck drivers afraid of possible violence have opted to either park their vehicles near the border in Dholai town of Assam’s Cachar district or to circumvent the troubled boundary by taking a longer route through Tripura, according to PTI.
The 164.6-km-long border between the two states has long been a cause of dispute. Three districts in the south of Assam – Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj – share the border with Mizoram’s Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts.
The states have sparred over it, sometimes violently. Several rounds of dialogue since 1994 have failed to resolve the disagreement.
Following the recent clashes, the two states, at a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Wednesday, agreed to the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces in the areas prone to conflict along the state border and National Highway 306. Both the states also decided to withdraw all their police officers from the disputed site where the clashes occurred.