Barak Bridge repaired; MTOWA remains doubtful of NH 37 condition

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IMPHAL, September 9: Fifteen days after the Barak Bridge was first reported damaged, the Border Road Organisation has completed its repairing work and around 508 empty trucks crossed the bridge today, however, transporters are still wary of passing along a few more areas of the Imphal-Jiribam highway.

Speaking to media persons at their office, Manipur Truck Owners Welfare Association president H Ranjit said although repairing work of the Barak Bridge has been completed and empty trucks have already crossed it, a few places like the Makru area and the new Barak Bridge are still areas of concerns.

He said 508 empty trucks which include 381 trucks which will bring in essential commodities, 61 gas bullets, 51 oil tankers, 5 ATF and 10 NRL tankers crossed the bridge today with security escorts this morning around 10. Officials of the BRO accompanied by those of CRPF and the Manipur Police had also checked the vehicles after crossing the bridge he continued.

Ranjit however expressed concern over the condition of the Barak Bridge and said on closure inspection the steel alignment of the bridge is not straight which could weakened it.

He said they have also taken pictures of the steel alignment.

The road condition around Makru Brige is also pathetic and there is still about 2 feet deep mud and slime on the roads which might be a huge problem when the trucks return after picking up their loads he said.

The biggest concern is that at the moment there are atleast 236 loaded trucks including 25 gas bullets, 35 petroleum tankers and 176 trucks loaded with essential items waiting for security escort to return along the route to Imphal.

There is no saying what could be the fate of these trucks if they return along the route under these conditions he observed.

He continued the BRO is yet to fulfil the demand for provision of wheel guards on the Barak Bridge till today.

The BRO had been confined to the bridge for the past 15 days and have not turned their attention to the Makru area he complained.

At the same time, the BRO is checking whether the loaded trucks are within the prescribed weight limit while crossing the Barak Bridge and this could again delay the trucks in reaching Imphal he continued.

He further complained of the businessmen in Imphal of creating artificial scarcity of commodities and rising the prices.

He appealed to the government to instruct the BRO to complete fixing the wheel guards on the bridge and clearing the Makru area at the soonest before the loaded trucks return.

The BRO has claimed complete repairing of the Barak Bridge, but we are still not so sure he added.

The BRO`™s attitude, he said will not allow the loaded trucks to ferry along the highway.

He said the Imphal-Dimapur Highway is disturbed at most times and as such the Imphal-Jiribam highway is also an important route. The government is appealed not to consider the route only as a substitute he said.

He urged the government to make it an all-season road.

Citing that the checking of the loaded trucks at Barak Bridge is much of a disturbance, Ranjit said if the authorities really have to do the checking, then to conduct it at a more suitable place like Leingangpokpi or Jiribam so as not to delay the trucks.

The association has also threatened not to ply along the route if in case the BRO continue to conduct the check at Barak Bridge.

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