Looking forward to RCC bridges
Connecting via Jiri
Turning the verbal assurances to solid, substantive RCC bridges and a few months hence, this may just about become a reality if reports coming in that construction work of Makru and Barak bridges may be completed by April this year is anything to go by. More than more four years it has taken to come to this point from the time the foundation stones of the two RCC bridges were laid by Union Minister for Roads and Highways Nitin Gadkari back in 2016 and this should be noted. Not the first time that NH-37 or Imphal-Jiribam Highway has made it to the news, but what is significant to note is the fact that this time it appears to be for the right reason. The catch however is whether the tentative deadline of April can be met or not, else it will again be making news for all the wrong reasons. Back on November 1, 2020, the same stretch of highway made it to the news when the bailey bridge put up over Irang bridge snapped and took down a sand laden truck along with the driver, killing him in the process. This was not all, for remember the same bridge made it to the news again when a replacement bailey bridge installed over Irang river also snapped, a few days after its intallation. It was only after a long time that a replacement bridge which did not break down was installed over the said river and this should reflect the reality of how a highway, deemed to be the second lifeline of a State is dotted with bailey bridges, which are nothing more than temporary arrangements, used primarily during war times to facilitate movement of troops and goods in rugged regions like India’s North East.
Not the first time that the Imphal-Jiribam Highway is in the news but significant to note that this time it is not for any reason connected to any sort of disturbance on the Imphal-Dimapur line. It is also important for all to come to the point that upgrading Imphal-Jiribam Highway should not necessarily be seen as demanding another route to choke off the free flow of goods and people along Imphal-Dimapur Highway. For a landlocked State like Manipur, it is only right that all options are studied to increase as many routes as possible with the outside world. This should be the guiding principle. Develop Imphal-Jiribam line not inspite of Imphal-Dimapur line but to connect Manipur with the rest of the world with as many route as possible. This should be the principle under which the Imphal-Jiribam Highway should be upgraded and maintained. This is where it becomes important for all concerned to come to the point that Engineers and workers who are engaged in constructing the highway stretch, maintaining it and upgrading it do not come under unnecessary pressures. Let the Government too put on its best foot forward and ensure that the ultimate objective of upgrading the Imphal-Jiribam stretch to the level of a National Highway will be for the benefits of all and not to take political mileage out of it. For too long, Imphal-Jiribam Highway has been existing under the tag of the ‘other’ highway and it comes into the focus of the Government and the people only when there is trouble on the Imphal-Dimapur route.