Mizoram faces shortage of medicines, writes to Centre on ‘economic blockade’

Mizoram health minister R Lalthangliana has claimed that the state is facing severe crisis of medicines, including life-saving and COVID-19 related drugs, due to the “economic blockade” on the National Highway 306.

The minister, in separate letters to the prime minister, Union home and health ministers on August 3, urged them to intervene at the earliest. He said that the hilly state has been facing acute crisis of vital medicines.

Lalthangliana said that following the border dispute and clash on July 26, the Assam government on July 29 summoned all the transporters (in Guwahati) who have been operating between the two states to stop transporting any goods into Mizoram due to “security concerns”.

“This resulted in a complete halt of any type of goods coming to the state, including basic medicines, life-saving medicines and COVID-19 medicines as well. Even oxygen cylinders, oxygen plant materials, and COVID-19 test kits have been blocked,” the Mizoram minister alleged.

He added that never before in the history of this country has anyone resorted to such a “draconian and inhumane act” to their fellow citizens.

“The basic fundamental right to life as guaranteed by the Indian constitution which includes the right to basic healthcare and medicines have been denied by the belligerent activities of the Assam government,” Lalthangliana alleged.

He said that despite having endured this problem for almost a week, there has been no response from the central government.

“As true citizens of the country, we are entitled to amicable and positive response and intervention from the central government at this critical time. Every citizen of this country has the right to medical care and medicines and denial of this right is contrary to the basic laws of this country. No citizen of Mizoram should lose his or her life because of the non-availability of medicines which are man-made as is being done by the Assam government,” the minister added.

Mizoram chief secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo said that the state government had taken up the issue of “economic blockade” with the Union home ministry.

“We have understood that the MHA would be able to convince the Assam government to lift the blockade in southern Assam. Mizoram’s 95 per cent supplies come through the National Highway 306, which is the lifeline for our state,” he told the media. In a letter to Union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, home secretary Pi Lalbiaksangi also requested that the Centre may intervene and instruct the Assam government to take necessary action for the immediate removal of the blockade.

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