Demonetisation Cripples Imphal: Newspapers Stop Publication, Residents Left With No Options
GUWAHATI: Life in Imphal and other parts in Manipur is getting worse day by day. In addition to the 17-day long economic blockade that hit people hard, the recent demonetization has almost paralyzed the region.
If petrol is selling at Rs 350 a litre, people are forced to buy LPG cylinders at Rs 3000 in black. This is life in Imphal on Thursday evening.
On top of that, the All Manipur Newspaper Publishers’ Association (AMNPA) and All Manipur Newspaper Sales and Distributors' Association (AMNSDA) have decided to stop publishing newsprints from Thursday due to lack of cash. So, from Friday, there will be no newspapers on the stands. This is Imphal post demonetisation.
“We are going to die like this. We are in an extreme situation. We are scared of the future our kids. If Manipur remains like this, what we will do,” a frustrated Raees Ahmed, a local of Imphal, told The Citizen after buying two litres of petrol at Rs 350 per litre for his vehicle.
United Naga Council (UNC) has imposed the economic blockade on two National Highways of Manipur. The UNC has been agitating against the government decision to create Sadar Hills and Jiribam into full fledged districts, claiming it would bifurcate ancestral lands of Nagas in Manipur.
Though the leaders of UNC had a meeting with the central government on November 15, it failed to yield any results. Following this, the UNC leaders vowed to continue their agitation.
Given all of the above, at the end of the day, the sufferers are the common people.
Due to the lack of fuel, even the school vans have also stopped ferrying students.
“The exams are approaching later this month. We are at a loss what to do. If the economic blockade has made our lives miserable, the demonetization has left us with no option. Who will compensate the losses of our children? Neither the state government nor the central government is bothered with our problems. I haven’t heard similar kind of things happening in any other states in the country. This is a tragedy for a democratic country,” said Nando Singh, a local.
Several organizations including Irom Sharmila’s newly-floated political party People's Resurgence and Judicial Assurance (PRJA) have urged the UNC to lift the ban on humanitarian grounds. However, the situation has not improved.
Though several trucks with essential commodities have arrived, Imphal is under tight security covers, and the limited amenities are far short of what’s needed given the crisis confronting the masses.
The cash crunch has affected all forms of economic and social activity. ANI reported from Imphal that AMNPA and AMNSDA unanimously decided to stop the publication of newspapers across the state from Thursday. In a joint statement, the associations said the decision to stop publication of newspapers is an after effect of the demonetization of 500 and 1,000 rupee currencies.
The statement further said that the non-availability of adequate legal tender notes has prevented regular circulation of newspapers.
The report further said that the inability of newspaper distributors to pay newspaper offices and the latter's refusal to receive these notes has compelled this action.
Around 20 vernacular and English newspapers are published from Imphal everyday.
On top of that, with lack of sufficient supply of new notes, people are facing a lot of trouble. Meanwhile, a section has taken advantage of this and exchanging the notes with a commission of 10 percent has begun.