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Meghalaya blockade cuts off parts of northeast
Meghalaya blockade cuts off parts of northeast

Agartala, Sep 24 (IANS) The northeastern states of Tripura and Mizoram, and southern Assam remained cut off from the rest of India following a blockade of the National Highway (NH) 44 in Meghalaya, official said here Wednesday.

The Movement for Indigenous People's Rights and Livelihood, a non-governmental organisation in Meghalaya, has called for an indefinite "economic blockade" from Sep 23 against a ban imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on unscientific coal and sand mining in the state.

The NH 44 from Guwahati passes through Meghalaya connecting southern Assam, land-locked Tripura and Mizoram with the rest of India.

"Thousands of southern Assam, Tripura and Mizoram bound goods-laden trucks, passenger buses, small cars and other vehicles have been stranded in different places of NH 44 in Meghalaya. The agitators attacked and damaged some vehicles Tuesday and Wednesday," a Tripura transport department official said.

"We have approached the Meghalaya government to intervene into the matter and restore the normal movement of vehicles through the NH 44. The NH 44 blockade would further affect the scarcity of essentials and food grain in Tripura, Mizoram and southern Assam due to monsoon related transportation difficulties."

The official said that after torrential rain during the past three days huge landslides on the NH 44 at Tansen (50 km south of Shillong) in Meghalaya also blocked the movement of vehicles through the highway.

Following a public interest litigation filed by an NGO of Meghalaya, the National Green Tribunal in April imposed a ban on unscientific coal and sand mining in the northeastern state.

The NH 44 blockade was launched just days before train services in Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram and four districts of southern Assam would be stopped for gauge conversion by the Northeast Frontier Railway. 

Tripura Transport Minister Manik Dey said this would further affect the movement of food grain from different parts of the country to Tripura, Mizoram, southern Assam and parts of Manipur.

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