Assam-Mizo Blockade Lifts Partially, Locals Want Lasting Solution

It is imperative for the two states to find a permanent solution to the problem.

My Report
3 min read

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Video Producer: Aastha Gulati

The 12-day blockade caused by the longstanding inter-state boundary conflict between Mizoram and Assam finally ended on 9 November, after talks with the central government and Ministry of Home Affairs.

The blockade, which came at a time when Aizawl was already under total lockdown, led to several problems for locals in the city – a scarcity of essentials and consequent price hike being the primary. It was the people who had to face the brunt of this stand-off. Luckily, after deliberation, some movement has resumed. News channels were abuzz on the morning of 10 November, reporting that 21 trucks carrying essential goods, as well as some other transportation, was proceeding towards Aizawl with police escort.

While this news is welcome, it does not mean that locals’ woes have ended.

National Highway 306 is the lifeline of Mizoram. On 28 October, when agitators demanded the withdrawal of security forces from the border by calling for an indefinite blockade, none of us had estimated the level of difficulty we’d have to face. Stock of essential commodities like crude oil, tomato, onion and even eggs has been exhausted.

“It has been a while since we have had potatoes. Tomatoes are also very expensive, so we are buying vegetables that cost less and are managing somehow.”
Esther, Local

Worry about further price hikes looms large in the capital city. As a lot of products are fast-moving, there is a scarcity of products required to meet our daily needs.

“Mustard used to cost maybe Rs 30 or 40, but it has risen to Rs 120 or even Rs 150. The prices of potatoes has shot up to Rs 100 per kilo.”
Natalia, Local

This price hike can also be attributed to alternate routes and ways to get essential commodities. On 6 November, K Lalrinliana, the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister told this reporter that the government was exploring alternative plans to bring in the trucks through other state borders. On the same day, three oil tankers arrived in Aizawl after taking a route through Churachandpur in Manipur.


Permanent Solution Required

Taking stock of the supplies, he had said the state government has enough rice to last for at least 3-4 months. However, other essential commodities were running out fast. This will hopefully change now that some trucks have been allowed to pass.

However, since Mizoram had been in a two week lockdown, and will soon observe ‘No Tolerance Fortnight’ to curb new coronavirus cases, the concern now is that citizens will rush to the stores to buy otherwise low stocks.

It is imperative for the two states to find a permanent solution and also release other trucks stranded on the border, else there will be further shortage.

Secondly, apart from the border dispute, there is very little discourse about its impact on the people. I feel the national media should also talk about this. Most importantly, if this dispute does not have a lasting solution, the future of the residents of Mizoram will be gloomy, because we have festivals in the coming months, and it will create more problems than there are now.

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