The Indian Air Force has airlifted 96,000 litres of fuel to Manipur since Sunday to circumvent the economic blockade in the state imposed by the United Naga Council, NDTV reported on Tuesday. While 32,000 litres of fuel provided by the Indian Oil Corporation was airlifted on Sunday, 64,000 litres were sent to the state on Tuesday.
Defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Suneet Newton said the IAF had also been kept on standby to conduct further sorties later this week. The Home Affairs Ministry received clearance for the operation from the Prime Minister’s Office following last week’s attack on IOC tankers by suspected Naga militants, according to the report.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said 100 trucks containing petroleum products will be sent to Imphal on Tuesday, ANI reported. The Centre is monitoring the situation, and the supply chain of fuel and fuel products to Manipur will not be disrupted, Pradhan said, adding that trucks had already been sent to the state capital from Guwahati.
Earlier this week, Pradhan had met Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh to take stock of the economic blockade, which has disrupted the transport of essential items to Manipur through national highways 2 and 37 and affected everyday life. The blockade was imposed by the Naga Council on November 1, 2016, to protest against the formation of seven new districts in the state.
On January 4, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh had dismissed a Home Ministry report that said the law-and-order situation in his state was “not conducive” to conduct Assembly elections. Polls for the state’s 69 Assembly seats will be held on March 4 and March 8.