Jiribam: At least seven workers M/s Coastal Projects Limited – a company engaged in laying of Jiribam-Tupul Railway Line in Manipur’s Tamenglong district were injured, two of them seriously, when an explosive meant to dynamite rocks went off inside a workers’ camp Sunday.
The country-made dynamite kept at the camp exploded around 6:10 a.m. when workers were preparing to leave for work, reports said. The workers are engaged in tunneling of tunnel no. 8 portal P-1 of the Jiribam-Imphal railway line at Kambiron under Nungba police station.
All the seven injured workers were shifted to a hospital in Silchar, Assam after being administered first-aid by a Northern Frontier Railways (NFR) medical officer. The condition of two of the injured was stated to be critical.
This is the second time that such an incident has taken place at the site of the Jiribam-Tupul railway line. On September 29, a country-made bomb exploded there, leaving at least four workers wounded. However, officials of the company engaged in the tunneling work told the police that the bomb was planted by suspected militants that day.
Coastal Project Limited is engaged in construction of tunnels as part of the railway project and it is currently engaged in construction of tunnel no 4 near Kambiron.
Just beside the work site, labourers of the company have a camp.
It was inside the camp that a deafening blast took place at around 6.30.The blast left two labourers with critical injuries while five others sustained minor injuries.
While the other victims were given first aid at Jiribam CHC, Md Azaduddin (31) so /o Md Abdul Hamid of Karimganj, Assam and Md Sajul Islam (23) s/o Riyajul Islam of Rongpur Part 4, Silchar who sustained critical injuries were referred to Silchar Medical College .
According to one of the victims, a similar blast took place about 12 days ago although there were no casualties.
Citing the repeated bomb attacks within the labourers’ camp, he decried that there is no security arrangement for the company.
He said that all the labourers are afraid to work there any longer.
There have been instances where hill based UG groups demanded money from companies engaged in the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway project besides taking labourers hostage for ransom.
This year itself, four labourers of Coastal Project Limited were taken hostage by a Kuki UG group for several days and the labourers were released in Barak area along NH 37 only after paying ransom money.
Following the incident, many labourers left the railway work and went away.
Most of them have not returned till date.
With the strength of labourers thus reduced, it has become a major factor for delaying the project.
On the other hand, hill based civil organisations have been disrupting the railway work every now and then while pursuing any of their demands from the Government, said the injured victim.
Talking about State security provided to com- panies engaged in the railway project, one company official expressed dissatisfaction with the present security arrangement.
The camp where the labourers have been staying is not given any security cover.
Any UG group can sneak in any time and go away unharmed after doing whatever they wish.
The companies do not feel secure on account of Mani- pur’s weak internal security arrangement.
Because of all these disturbances, the completion target has been repeatedly extended.
Completion target for the railway project according to the latest extension is 2016 .
There would be 34 tunnels in the Jiribam-Imphal railway line but only four tunnels have been constructed so far.
Moreover, Jiribam-Imphal railway would have the largest number of bridges in the country including seven major bridges, 107 medium or small bridges and three over-bridges, said the official.