Manipur: Jiribam-Imphal Railway Line Project Work On Fast Track
The Jiribam-Imphal railway project will reduce travel time from the current 10-12 hours to 2.5 hours.
The Union Minister of State for Railways Darshana Vikram Jardosh, on Wednesday (24 August) inspected the Imphal-Jiribam Railway project in Manipur and reviewed the progress of the under-construction project.
“Conducted site visit of India’s second longest tunnel on the Tupul-Imphal section railway line of Northeast Frontier Railway in Manipur. The upcoming Jiribam-Imphal New Railway Line project will bring more tourism and economic prosperity in the entire Northeast India,” Jardosh tweeted.
He added: “Very soon you will be able to enjoy your tail travel through the modern new station of Imphal.”
The broad-gauge railway line between Imphal and Jiribam is being built by the North East Frontier (NEF) Railway to improve connectivity in the remote, undulating region.
The 111-km-long Jiribam-Imphal rail link starts from existing Jiribam station of NEF Railway in Manipur and will connect the capital town Imphal of Manipur State with the country’s broad gauge network.
The Government of India included Jiribam-Imphal rail project in Budget 2003-04. The railway project was finally taken up in 2008 and was declared a 'National Project' owing to its importance.
The construction work was started in 2013 and is set to be completed by December next year.
Though the earlier plan was to construct up to Imphal, it will eventually be extended to Moreh, the trading centre located at the Manipur-Myanmar border.
This is part of the trans-Asian railway. The trans-Asian highway is already under construction. The border trade between India and Myanmar is legalised at Moreh.
The Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) is a United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) project to create an integrated freight railway network across Europe and Asia.
On Railway Map
The project is being built in three phases - the first from Jiribam to Vangaichungpao, the second from Vangaichungpao to Khongsang, and the third from Khongsang to Tupul.
The section from Jiribam to Vangaichungpao (12 km) was commissioned in March 2017 and work from Vangaichungpao to Tupul-Imphal (99 km) is under execution.
The hilly border state of Manipur went live on the country’s railway map when on 6 January 2022, a passenger train came from Silchar in Assam to the Vangaichungpao railway station in Manipur, which is 17 km from the Jiribam station along the Assam-Manipur border.
On 27 January, the first ever goods train reached Rani Gaidinliu station in Manipur’s Tamenglong district.
On 14 March this year, the first Train Engine without passenger compartments reached at Khongsang station in Manipur under this project.
The head engine covered 62 kilometres, travelled from Jiribam passing through Rani Gaidinliu and Thingou railway stations to reach Khongsang.
The Rs 14,000 crore project, has a total of 11 stations covering five districts of Manipur. There are 52 tunnels, as the Noney and Tamenglong districts through which the rail line will pass through are full of hills.
According to the progress report shared by Indian Railways, 89.2 per cent of work on the project is now complete.
Further, IR has finished the work on 48 out of 52 tunnels and construction of six out of 11 stations is also complete.
Of the 11 major bridges, substructure of seven and superstructure of five has been completed while 101 of 129 minor bridges are also ready.
A pier bridge standing at 141 meters is also being constructed near Khumji in Noney district as part of the project. Indian Railways has completed over 75 per cent work on Noney Bridge.
The bridge, being constructed across the Ijai river near Noney, has been described by experts as an engineering marvel.
Standing at 141 metres, it will be the tallest pier bridge in the world, surpassing the record currently held by the 139-metre Mala-Rijeka viaduct on Belgrade-Bar railway line in Montenegro in Europe.
According to the Railways, the connectivity to Imphal is part of the government’s move to connect all the capitals of North Eastern states by rail with the rest of the country.
This rail link is crucial as nearly 70 per cent of Manipur's population lives in Imphal. The line passing through difficult terrain will also become a new lifeline for Imphal, which is now primarily dependent on the road network for getting essential supplies.
The Jiribam-Imphal railway project will also reduce travel time from the current 10-12 hours to 2.5 hours.
“With the completion of the project, the 111-km distance will be covered in 2-2.5 hours. Presently, the distance between Jiribam-Imphal (NH-37) is 220 km, which took about 10-12 hours of travelling”, said Sandeep Sharma, Chief Engineer of the project.
The project is also strategically important for India. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 18 August said: “The project is important for meeting the strategic and socio-economic needs of the country.”
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