A highway blockade imposed by several NGOs, student bodies and women’s groups in Kolasib district of Mizoram since Tuesday demanding revocation of transfer of the district’s lone surgeon has caused severe shortage of essential commodities in Aizawl and other parts of the hill state.
While the state health department issued an order on May 18 transferring Dr Zothansanga Zadeng, the lone surgeon in the Kolasib district hospital to the Serchhip district hospital, the district units of Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) and Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) have called an indefinite blockade of NH54 to press the authorities to revoke that order.
While NH54 is the lone highway that connects the hill state to the outside world also serves as the only supply line of Mizoram, Kolasib is the northernmost district through which the hill state is connected to Assam and the rest of India. With the blockade bringing all vehicular movement to and fro Mizoram to a standstill since Tuesday, the state is already beginning to face shortage of essential commodities including petroleum products.
“A large number of trucks, tankers and other commercial vehicles have been stranded on both ends of the National Highway, bringing supply of essential commodities to a standstill for the past four days. The government is trying to convince the agitators to call off the strike,” Kolasib SP C Lalzahngova told The Indian Express over the telephone on Friday.
Sangliana, president of the district unit of MZP – the state’s apex student body – on the other hand said the NGOs were compelled to call a highway blockade when they failed to get any response from the state government after the transfer order of the lone surgeon of the district was out. “We have called the blockade only after giving the government a lot of time to revoke the transfer order,” Sangliana said.
The student body had first called a two-day strike on June 1 and 2 to press for its demand. “When the government refused to respond, we formed a Joint Action Committee with other organizations and NGOs on board to call a highway blockade,” Sangliana said.
In Aizawl, the state government issued an order to all filling stations to ration oil sales and prohibited purchase of petrol with containers. Local reports said there were long queues of vehicles at various filling stations in Aizawl as vehicle owners and drivers feared fuel shortage if the blockade continued for long.
On Wednesday, local MLA Zoram Sangliana held a meeting with leaders of the Joint Action Committee, but failed to convince them to withdraw the highway blockade. State health minister Lal Thanzara was not available for comments.