Completion of the railway project in Manipur has been delayed because of prolonged economic blockades, stated Vijaya Kanth, Finance Secretary of the Railway Board.
Vijaya Kanth stated this while replying to a query on the the first day of the two-day National Editors’ Conference which began at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. Finance Minister P Chidambaram, speaking at the same conference stated that the completion target for Jiri-Tupul line has been deferred to 2016, which is an extension of two years from the deadline set earlier. Subsequently, the target for Tupul-Imphal has been deferred to 2018.
Supplementing further, the Chairman of the Railway Board, Vinay Mittal though not committing to a date of completion, said that work is progressing smoothly and funds for the year 2013-2014 have already been sanctioned.
The target for completion of the project, initially envisaged to connect Manipur with a rail line till Tupul which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, has been extended time and again.
On being enquired about the repeated deferment, Viay Kanth stated, “Though there are various reasons behind this delay, the most important is the last economic blockade”.
He stated that owing to economic blockades, manpower and required materials could not be brought to the project site which resulted in loss of precious time.
Vijay Kanth also informed that the work is being monitored closely and a trial run from Jiribam to Dholakhal has already been carried out.
Of the 35 tunnels which are to be constructed between Tupul to Imphal, work on 20 have been already completed and that final location survey of this stretch is going on, informed the Railway Board Chairman, Vinay Mittal.
The estimated cost of Jiri-Tupul line is Rs 4442 crores and its total length is 86 Kms.
The total length of Jiri-Imphal railway line would be 111 Kms when completed and it has been already declared a National Project. Ministry of Minority Affairs K Rahman Khan was also present at the inaugural session of the National Editors’ Conference