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Aizawl, September 25 – In a significant development, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has announced the launch of a helicopter service connecting Manipur’s Churachandpur to Mualpui Helipad in Aizawl, Mizoram. This service, scheduled to commence operations on September 27, 2023, is part of the government’s Helicopter Service Scheme and aims to provide a safe and efficient mode of transportation for residents affected by the ongoing ethnic conflict in the region.
Addressing Travel Restrictions Amid Conflict
The launch of the helicopter service comes as a much-needed relief for the people who have been severely impacted by the ethnic conflict that erupted in Manipur earlier this year. Travel restrictions and fear of violence had paralyzed road travel within the state, making it difficult for residents to move freely.
Approved Inter-State Routes
In August, the Union government approved two inter-State helicopter routes specifically designed to assist individuals affected by the ethnic conflict in Manipur, which began on May 3. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) communicated its decision to the State government on August 11. The approved routes include:
- Churachandpur to Aizawl in Mizoram: This route connects Churachandpur in Manipur to Aizawl in Mizoram, offering a vital lifeline for residents who have faced travel restrictions and challenges due to the conflict.
- Kangpokpi/Senapati to Dimapur in Nagaland: The second route links Kangpokpi/Senapati in Manipur to Dimapur in Nagaland, further facilitating the movement of people affected by the ethnic tensions.
Ethnic Conflict Impact
The ethnic conflict in Manipur compelled various communities, including the Kuki-Hmar-Zomi-Mizo and Meitei people, to relocate from their settlements. The Kuki-Hmar-Zomi-Mizo communities, which had settled in the Imphal Valley, were forced to return to their respective hill districts, while the Meitei people settled in the hill districts moved back to the Valley area. This internal displacement and fear of violence within the state created a pressing need for alternative transportation methods, with the helicopter service emerging as a critical lifeline for those affected.
Enhancing Mobility and Connectivity
The introduction of the helicopter service is expected to enhance mobility and connectivity for residents of Manipur, allowing them to traverse areas that were previously difficult to access. The service is a testament to the government’s commitment to addressing the challenges faced by communities caught in the crossfire of ethnic conflicts.
As the service becomes operational, it is anticipated to bring much-needed relief to the people of Manipur, promoting safer and more efficient travel options while contributing to the region’s overall stability and recovery efforts amid ethnic tensions.