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Manipur blockade hurts champion boxer


Meenakshi Upreti,CNN-IBN
Oct 02, 2011 at 04:35pm IST

New Delhi: The two month old Manipur economic blockade is hurting and world boxing champion MC Mary Kom has not been spared either.

With gas cylinders costing anywhere between 1800 to 2000 rupees, India's foremost sporting hero is keeping the kitchen fire burning using firewood.

Mary Kom, who runs a box academy, says the blockade will hurt her preparations for the Olympics as well.

"We are not getting cooking gas. Hence, we are cooking on firewood. Vegetable, rice, dal everything is very scarce and expensive. My students understand our condition and are saying that they want to go back home. I don't know whether the govt has taken a note of what is happening here. In these conditions, I cannot prepare for the upcoming 2012 Olympics," she said.

The blockade that began on July 31, when the Sadar Hills Committee spearheaded by the Kuki tribe, choked National Highways 39 and 53 to press for their demand of creating a separate district.

At the Mary Kom household, the empty gas cylinders have lined up and getting a new one is either too expensive or simply impossible.

"We are suffering because of blockade. I don't know how we will survive in Manipur. It is very difficult to manage things here. I am running an Academy of 25 to 30 boxers," Mary Kom said.

For the last two months, the state government has held five meetings with no breakthrough.

Meanwhile, queues for a litre of petrol are growing longer and longer and prices of essential commodities are at least three times high. Potato costs Rs 45 per kg while Dal is touching Rs 80 per kg.

"The prices of commodities like onion, garlic are very high," Mary Kom's husband said.

Even as many are now demanding that the Centre intervene to break the crisis, Manipur is hoping Mary Kom's voice may help bridge the divide.

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