Railway works trigger mudslides, many affected

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IMPHAL, Jun 20: Villagers of Maranching, Nungtek, Ranghung, Awangkhul and nearby villages have been affected due to railway track construction work since 2009 and they are facing scarcity of drinking water. Paddy fields and cash crops remain unproductive and useless.
Today, a team comprising of North East Frontier Railway Chief Engineer-VII (Construction) A Saibaba, Zonal Railway User Consultative Committee North East Frontier Railway, Ministry of Railways, GoI member Ch Hemchand Roy, former MLA Khangthonang Pamei, Oinam Jotin, social worker and media persons went to the affected villages and interacted with the villagers.
Deikho, a villager of Maranching said that, since the construction started in 2009, residues discharged from the construction sites have been polluting the nearby paddy fields besides causing mudslides and water scarcity. After drinking water from the nearby stream and river, many cattle died since the residues contain poisonous chemicals.
He said that earth and mud brought down by rain from the dumping sites have covered vast areas of paddy fields which left farmers with no fields for paddy cultivation for the last six years.
Regarding this, villagers approached the NF Railway officials in the area and the State Govt through the district administration but there has been no response till today. Further Deikho said that many of the villagers have not got compensation for lands acquired on both sides of the railway tracks and the approach road.
Forceson Khumba, a villager of Karuangmuan demanded that the name of the Jiribam-Tupul sub-station should be Jiribam-Maranching and Jiribam-Noney sub-station should be named Jiribam-Nungtek sub-station. No part of Tupul and Noney is related and the authority concerned should initiate due procedures to change the names as soon as possible.
The authority concerned should take proper measures to build boundary pillars and specify the exact areas covered by the railway track. The authority should also look into the matter and provide potable water to the affected villagers.
He also demanded payment of due compensation for affected paddy fields and cash crops and construction of new water drainage system for irrigation and other purposes.
A villager of Rangkhung said that 40 families of the village were affected by the dumping of mud/earth and landslides which were caused by the railway track construction work directly or indirectly.
Ch Hemchand Roy said that he would submit a report on the impacts of the railway track construction work for proper rehabilitation, redressal and adequate compensation at the 92nd Zonal Railway Users’ Consultative Committee meeting to be held on June 23 at Luitgarh Railway Officers’ Club, Maligoan, Guwahati.
North East Frontier Railway Chief Engineer-VII (Construction) A Saibaba said that, he will look in the matter after inspecting and identify the affected location and take care of the issues in the interest of the villagers to provide protection and safeguards.
He said that the NF authority has been constructing the railway track section by section. Hence setting a target deadline to complete the entire railway project is difficult at the moment. Six tall bridges are technically challenging but technical solutions are being developed as demanded by the situation. As Manipur falls under a highly active seismic zone, Geotechnical Mapping would be done to identify the rocks and soil types so as to prevent or mitigate exigencies as much as possible and ensure smooth construction with special focus on safety of passengers. Geotechnical Mapping would provide holistic solution in the long term basis as construction of the railway tracks has to deal with steep gradient and underground tunnels. The highest bridge is under construction near Noney with the height of the pillar rising up to 141 meters. The construction of bridge has been completed by almost 60 per cent Jiribam-Dholakhal section is planned to be completed by October this year, Saibaba said
Further he said that Jiribam-Imphal railway is a National Project and there would be no limitation of funds and inputs. However, frequent bandhs and blockades have been delaying the project because the necessary machinery and construction materials could not be procured in time.

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