JIRIBAM, January 20: The general public of Jiribam continues to wait for the construction of the Manipur Gate (Manipur Sanathong) at the Jiribam-Assam border along the National Highway no 53 for which a foundation stone was laid on December 20, 1999 by the then state Chief Minister (L) W Nipamacha.
In the failure of the concerned authorities to complete the gate even after a decade of its foundation stone being laid, several shops have cropped up around the identified area, creating apprehension amongst the people if the project will ever be completed.
The importance of the gate lies in that it will let any outsiders coming along the highway understand that they have reached Manipur, however since the construction on the gate is yet to be started, it is still a distant dream.
Some sections of the public express the view that the government has failed to understand the importance of a Manipur gate at Jiribam considering that the NH acts as an important lifeline of the state which has only been strengthened after the Transporters’ and Drivers’ Council had announced earlier that the council will start plying along the NH due to the prevailing law and order situation in the state.
A reliable source has informed that a tender for the construction of the gate was announced by the PWD in 2006-07 following which, a work order was issued in the name of a contractor identified as Okram Megha. However an unofficial source has informed that according to the official schedule of 2005-06, the estimated cost of the gate was stated to be approx. Rs 33 lakh and considering the ever increasing prices of commodities, the work has been stalled.
In the meantime, there are also unofficial reports that work on the gate could be started in case the estimated cost could be increased to Rs 60-70 lakhs in the 2009 office schedule.
Meanwhile, others have opined that it is impossible to start the construction work after issuing a new office schedule to increase the estimated cost considering the ever increasing cost of commodities. They have continued that the government will now consider the project only after the locals and the concerned department pressurize for it.
When asked about his opinion on the issue, a local said, Jiribam is an important part of Manipur as it lies in the boundary with other states and that the beautification of Jiribam will only mean a better image of the state. He continued that the construction of the gate which was initiated by the then state Chief Minister (L) W Nipamacha which had given great hopes to the people of Jiribam only remains a distant dream now.