Imphal: Unidentified gunmen have again attacked oil tankers and assaulted drivers along National Highway 37, the Imphal-Jiri road in Manipur. In response to the incident, the All Manipur Petroleum Products Transporters Association (AMPPTA) and All Manipur Petroleum Products Drivers Association (AMPPDA) initiated a steering wheel down strike until adequate security is provided to oil tankers. Additionally, they decided to close the Malom Oil Depot and all oil pumps until negotiations are conducted to address the matter.
According to L Somendro, president of AMPPTA, the incident occurred on Monday evening as 169 oil tankers were traveling towards Imphal along National Highway 37. Around 8:30 pm, unidentified assailants fired bullets at two of the oil tankers with registration numbers AS01-GC-3847 and AS25-BC-5299 in the Nungba area. He expressed frustration that despite repeated requests, the government has not provided adequate escort for vehicles along the national highway, and incidents like extortion by unknown miscreants are becoming increasingly common. Somendro noted that miscreants have raised their extortion demands from Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,500 per vehicle.
Speaking to the media at Keithelmanbi today, Mukta Nongbri, secretary of AMPPDA, emphasized that they have repeatedly sought assistance from the Manipur chief secretary to provide security for drivers who are risking their lives to transport goods along the national highways. He condemned the assault on drivers and questioned who would take responsibility if any untoward incidents occurred to them.