Imphal: The Manipur government has announced the reopening of key highways, namely the Imphal – Kangpokpi – Mao highway and the Imphal-Bishnupur – Churachandpur highway, bolstered by the deployment of additional security forces. This decision aims to ensure public safety and the smooth flow of vehicular movement along these crucial routes.
The Home Department of the Manipur government issued a notice, informing the public about the operational status of the highways. The notice emphasised the deployment of extra security forces under the command of two high-ranking police officers to oversee the safety of commuters. Nishit Kumar Ujjwal, IPS, IGP (Zone-III), is assigned to the Imphal – Kangpokpi – Mao Highway, while K. Kabib, IPS, IGP (Zone – II/ Int/ NAB), takes charge of the Imphal – Bishnupur – Churachandpur Highway.
The convoy schedule for both highways has been outlined for efficient movement, with assembly points specified for trucks and vehicles. The Imphal – Kangpokpi – Mao Highway convoy starts at 9:00 AM onwards, both towards Mao and Imphal, with assembly points at BOC and Senapati HQ, respectively. Simultaneously, the Imphal – Bishnupur – Churachandpur Highway convoy follows the same schedule, assembling at Malom for movement towards Churachandpur and at Torbung for movement towards Imphal.
Effective December 23, 2023, this initiative aims to streamline traffic and enhance security for all residents utilising these highways. The Manipur government urges cooperation from the public in the interest of collective safety.
Tensions Rise As Tribal bodies Oppose Reopening
However, the decision to reopen the highways with increased security measures has met with opposition from tribal civil society bodies. Just two days before Christmas, tension escalates in Manipur’s Kangpokpi district following the state Home Department’s public notice.
The tribal civil society bodies express dissent over the deployment of additional forces, leading to a total shutdown in Kangpokpi District Headquarters. In response to the development, all shops in Kangpokpi town have closed, and restrictions on vehicular movement have been enforced.
As the state government takes steps to ensure the safe operation of highways, the conflicting viewpoints underscore the delicate balance between security measures and the concerns of local communities. The situation remains tense, and further developments are awaited as stakeholders navigate these complex dynamics.
Notably, these key highways connecting the state capital Imphal are mostly closed from the outbreak of unrest in the state since May 3, 2023.