Guwahati: The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on Tuesday airlifted fuel tankers to Imphal. The tankers were transported with the help of the Indian Air Force from Guwahati. Manipur is still reeling under economic distress as the blockade imposed by the United Naga Council is on its 84th day.
Manipur goes to polls on March 4 and 8 and sources said that the IOC, thus, has been asked to keep stocks of fuel ready for the same.
“Six diesel tankers were airlifted to Imphal. The Indian Air Force has been kept on standby for further such sorties,” said defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Suneet Newton.
Earlier this week, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had chaired a high-level meeting and held discussions with Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to take stock of the situation in Manipur, where the UNC-imposed economic blockade has crippled transportation of essential items through National Highway-2 (via Dimapur) and NH-37 (via Jiribam).
After IOC tankers, escorted by security forces, were fired upon by suspected Naga militants last week, sources said the Union Home Ministry received direct clearance from the Prime Minister’s Office to request the Air Force’s help in airlifting oil to Imphal.
The mission was kept highly secretive for security reasons and more tankers have been kept ready at IOC’s fueling terminal on the outskirts of Guwahati, the sources added. “Indian Oil Corporation airlifted 96,000 litres of diesel to Manipur to mitigate the impact of the fuel crisis. We would continue the process later this week,” said Indian Oil’s Executive Director (North East) Dipankar Ray.
The UNC called for an economic blockade in Manipur after the state government decided to bifurcate Naga dominated areas and create seven new districts.
“Around 100 trucks containing petroleum products to be sent on Tuesday to Imphal”, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on. Govt is closely monitoring situation,there won’t be any problem in supply chain of petroleum products and further inconvenience, he added.