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Lamka-Aizawl bus service plan evaporates

 Concerns over ethnic bonds behind, according to Mizoram minister

Mizoram Transport Minister T J Lalnuntluanga

Aizawl: The highly anticipated Mizoram State Transport bus service connecting the Mizoram capital with Manipur’s second town Lamka (Churachandpur) has encountered a setback, failing to materialise as planned
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Mizoram’s Transport Minister, T.J. Lalnuntluanga, has shared his perspective that the Manipur government appears to harbor reservations about executing the proposal at the eleventh hour.
In a conversation with Zoram Chronicle on Saturday, Lalnuntluanga revealed that certain individuals within the Manipur government sought to obstruct and even prevent the realisation of the proposed bus service. Their concerns seemed to centre around the apprehension that this initiative could further solidify the ethnic bond between the closely related Mizo communities in Mizoram and the adjacent hill regions of Manipur, he said.
During the initial stages, the Manipur government exhibited enthusiasm for the proposed bus service. Notably, some officials even suggested the establishment of an MST bus service between Aizawl and Imphal, the Minister added.
“While our optimism rested on the anticipation of swift approval from the Manipur state government, the expected clearance faced unexpected delays, exacerbated by the ongoing ethnic turmoil in our neighboring state,” remarked the Minister.
He voiced his suspicion that even prior to the eruption of ethnic clashes on May 3, the Manipur government might have held reservations about the strengthening bond between the people of Mizoram and the Mizo ethnic tribes residing in the hill areas. These reservations could lead to political demands by the Manipur Kuki-Zomi-Hmar community for a separate administration within Mizoram.
This potential demand mirrors actions taken by the tribal community in Manipur’s hill areas, where the eruption of ethnic strife prompted a geographical and demographic division between the inhabitants of the Imphal valley and the hill area of southern Manipur adjoining Mizoram.
In the aftermath of the violence, the tribal Kuki-Zomi-Hmar community is now advocating for autonomous administration separate from Manipur, as the conflict claimed numerous lives on both sides.
Churachandpur, originally called as Lamka to its first inhabitans, the Zo ethnic tribes, is Manipur’s second-largest town after the state capital Imphal. The town is predominantly inhabited by the Zo people, who share a strong ethnic affinity with the Mizos.

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