Published on : Monday, December 6, 2021
India’s northeast region is the 6th most quake-prone belt in the world, the soil of the young Himalayan region is fragile and due to the heavy monsoon, the working season is very less. However, despite these challenges the world’s tallest railway bridge is being built in Manipur’s Noney mountainous valley as part of the 111 km-long Jiribam-Imphal new railway line.
The giant bridge is being constructed since 2015 in Tamenglong district in western Manipur at a cost of Rs 3.74 billion as an essential part of the Rs 143.2 billion broad gauge railway lines that would connect the Manipur capital Imphal by December 2023.
The Manipur railway projects’ Chief Engineer Sandeep Sharma said that the northeast region is the 6th most quake-prone belt in the world, the soil of the young Himalayan region is weak and due to the heavy monsoon for a longer period, working season is very less in the hilly region.
“Despite numerous odds, challenges and problems of transportation of the construction material, around 60 per cent work on the oversized bridge has been completed and the entire work would be finished in August next year,” Sharma told IANS over phone.
He said considering the geographical condition and the quake threat, the structure of the bridge has been designed accordingly and expertise from various international consultants and IITs in India, including IIT Kharagpur, has been obtained. Various expert committees have also been formed for guidance.
The chief engineer said that the 111 km-long Jiribam-Imphal railway line will reduce travel time from the existing 10-12 hours to 2.5 hours.
After the completion of the railway line (Jiribam-Imphal) by 2023, Manipur capital Imphal would be the fourth capital city in the mountainous northeastern region to be connected after Assam’s main city of Guwahati (adjoining capital Dispur), Tripura capital Agartala and Arunachal Pradesh’s Naharlagun (adjacent to capital city Itanagar).
The North-East Frontier Railways (NFR) is laying tracks to connect the capital cities of two more north-eastern states — Mizoram and Nagaland.
There is no precise plan of the NFR when Meghalaya capital Shillong and Sikkim capital Gangtok would come on the railway network as railway construction work has not started in the two north-eastern states.
NFR Chief Public Relations Officer Guneet Kaur said that the NFR (Construction) organisation will build eight new station buildings, 11 major bridges, 134 minor bridges, four road overbridges, 12 road under-bridges and a record length of over 71,066 metre of tunnelling.
The timely completion of this project is very crucial for further extending rail connectivity to Myanmar in the future, in keeping with the “Act East Policy” of the Indian government, the official said.