Mizoram-Assam border row: Movement of trucks yet to resume despite CS-level talks

Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana has said the state government will not withdraw its forces till normalcy returns.
Mizoram-Assam border row: Movement of trucks yet to resume despite CS-level talks

GUWAHATI/AIZAWL:

Despite chief secretary-level talks between Mizoram and Assam, trucks stranded along the inter-state border are yet to resume movement due to the continuing blockade of NH 306 by agitators in Assam's Cachar district, a Mizoram official said on Friday.

No truck has entered Mizoram from Assam till Friday night due to the road blockade, Kolasib Deputy Commissioner H Lalthlangliana told PTI.

Lalthlangliana said he tried to reach out to his Cachar counterpart over the matter but to no avail.

The agitators are blockading the highway, the lifeline of Mizoram, demanding that Mizoram withdraws its forces along the inter-state border, sources said.

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Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana has said the state government will not withdraw its forces till normalcy returns.

The road blockade has forced Mizoram to bring essential commodities, including LPG cylinders and oil, from neighbouring Tripura and Manipur.

Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister K Lalrinliana flagged off two trucks during the day to bring LPG cylinders from Manipur.

The department's Director Lalhriatzuali Ralte said efforts are on to bring oil and LPG from Tripura.

The Indian Oil Corporation Ltd is coordinating with the Mizoram government to bring oil from its depot in Tripura if the bridge at Kanhmun along the inter-state border is reinforced, she told PTI.

Five more oil tankers will be sent to Manipur on Saturday, the official said.

Around 60 trucks carrying cooking gas and oil have been stranded in Lailapur and Bhaga in Assam due to the road blockade, she said.

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Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla urged both sides to withdraw forces from the inter-state border, while chairing a meeting between Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna and his Mizoram counterpart Lalnunmawia Chuaungo on Thursday.

Krishna said he has instructed Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli to ensure that the blockade is lifted.

Chuaungo, however, said the few policemen deployed along the border will not be withdrawn till people on the other side of the border continued activities that could "harm public harmony and create panic", a statement said.

Krishna said Mizoram was not respecting the October 21 agreement between the two states, to which Chuaungo said the state administration has already withdrawn some of its forces.

Agitators have blockaded the highway since Wednesday, six days after truck movement along the inter-state border resumed on October 22 following a Centre-brokered dialogue between Assam and Mizoram on October 21.

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The highway was blockaded between October 16 and 21 after officials from Assam's Karimganj district allegedly destroyed a hut and some plantation in an area disputed between the two states.

A violent clash took place between people of the two states near border village Vairengte on October 17, in which several people were injured on both sides.

The situation was brought under control and normalcy restored after the October 21 talks.

However, it flared up again on Wednesday when officials from Assam were allegedly not allowed to enter a border area near Saihapui 'V' village.

Assam Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya visited four areas along the inter-state border during the day and assured them that the government is taking steps to resolve the dispute.

He visited Tulartal, Baghewala, Singua and Lailapur areas and assured the locals that the state government is with them and urged them not to panic, an official spokesperson said.

Suklabaidya also discussed the prevailing situation with senior police officers over the phone.

He also visited a newly established border outpost in Singua area, besides the Lailapur police outpost.

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