IMPHAL, July 24: The state Works/ Transport Minister Kh Ratankumar today met with officials of the 15 Border Road Task Force and strongly requested them to expedite the works for the carving of the hills at Phesama for the construction of the National Highway.
Since a 110 meter long stretch of the Imphal Dimapur national highway ad sunk at Phesama on July 12, almost transportation of all commodities into the state had come to an abrupt stop, until a tankers and other trucks few stranded outside the state started moving towards Jiribam to enter the state through the NH 37.
The Minister visited the site today to see the work undertaken in the neighbouring Nagaland state accompanied by the Mao MLA Dikho, PWD Principal Secretary, National Highway Division II Additional Chief Engineer, Superintending Engineer and Executive Engineer.
A heavy contingent of the Nagaland Armed Police including several of its higher up officials had provided security to the area before the arrival of the Minister and his team and further accorded a warm welcome.
15 BRTF Commander Colonel Tejpal Singh and his team involved with the carving of the hill for the construction of a new highway stretch also warmly welcomed the Minister and his team.
The Minister also discussed the situation with the BRTF officials and other Nagaland government officials.
They elaborated that the Nagaland government is also worried with the present situation of the highway which has blocked all Manipur bound heavy vehicles to enter Manipur and that there is stern instruction from the Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio to expedite work and allow passage to the Manipur bound vehicles.
On hearing their side of the story, the state Minister informed that the blockage of the highway has resulted in the scarcity of essential commodities especially petroleum products. He had further said that the Union Minister of State (Defence) had also visited Imphal on the issue.
The Minister further appealed to continue the hill carving work even in the night so as to expedite the highway construction work.
15 BRTF Commander Tejpal Singh had also informed the Minister that carving out of 30 meters of the highway stretch is already completed.
He had also said that after the completion of the hill carving, there is a need to construct a culvert at the point where the carved out stretch will meet the Manipur side of the sunken highway.
He was also confident that in case the rains ceases, the whole work would be completed within 14 days and there is enough manpower and machinery to achieve the completion.
However, since light vehicles continue to pass along the Kohima Heritage complex road used as a by-pass, the carving of the hill cannot be continued without breaks, he had said before adding that owing to the proper support and help from the locals, the construction work could complete at the earliest.
Later on stating that the state Chief Minister had given him stern instruction to inspect the by-pass road from Mao to Kohima after passing through Kedima in Nagaland, the Minister also inspected the road.
The road is just 7km long starting from Pudunamei, however it is a single lane, steep and has many corners.
Meanwhile, when asked by the Transporters & Drivers’ Forum Manipur members and Engineers of the PWD who were also part of the team, he replied that loaded trucks above the weight of 10 tons cannot pass the by-pass road.
Some trucks loaded above 10 ton with chicken feeds and other commodities could be seen stranded along the road. The commodities were then shifted to Shaktiman trucks to lessen the weight of the trucks and pass along the by-pass road.
The Minister and his team was also urged to properly repair the road if the trucks carrying commodities for the state should come along the by-pass and not to allow trucks weighing above 10 ton to pass the road.