Over 400 goods trucks arrive
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, June 21 2010: Over 403 freight trucks and passenger buses, stranded along NH 53 for the last few days due to landslides at various places, reached Imphal today.

The work for clearance of the mud at the landslide affected areas was completed today.

Out of the vehicles, which arrived here, were 30 bullet tankers (bulk LPG carriers), 19 oil tankers and 58 fertilizer-laden trucks apart from passenger buses.

The vehicles had left Jiribam for Imphal on June 17 last but got stranded at various places between Noney and Tupul due to the landslides.

Bull Dozer at work to clear the ankle-deep layers of mud from NH 53 at Tupul

As many as 470 freight trucks had headed for Imphal with security escort on that day.

But due to the landslides at various places on the stretch of the highway, the vehicles remained stranded for the last four days.

The clearance works, particularly at Tupul took long time to complete as large volume of earth slid down there, reports said.

Labourers of the BRTF and state PWD completed the clearance works by around 4.45 pm today, sources said adding that JCBs and bull dozers were put into service round the clock in clearing the sliding earth from the hill slopes.

When a team of reporters from Imphal visited the landslide affected areas today, labourers were found tirelessly engaged in the clearance work using JCBs and Bull Dozers.

Two Bull Dozers sent by PWD from Imphal were found in an unusable condition due to mechanical defects.

Some private JCBs which were there for their private works were also found pressed into service to help the authorities in clearing the road as soon as possible.

On the way, many empty trucks heading for Jiribam from Imphal were also found stranded at Keithelmanbi and nearby areas.

They were stopped by police and security forces as the vehicles would not be able to cross the landslide areas.

State security forces such as IRB personnel, police commandos and Manipur Rifles personnel who had been detailed there for protecting the vehicles travelling on NH 53 were found performing their duties in protecting the truckers stranded there.

Workers and officials at the spot said that actually the clearance work was completed this morning, but after two vehicles crossed, mud started sliding down again that blocked the road compelling the labourers to work all over again to clear the mud.

Whether the landslide would occur again or not could not be ascertained but reports said that over 500 freight trucks are on the way to Imphal from Jiribam.

They are likely to reach the landslide area, Tupul by this late evening.

Security forces expected the vehicles to cross Tupul by tonight if no problems in crossing the stretch occur.

Meanwhile, many passengers travelling in buses who were stranded at the landslide areas tracked all the way from Tupul to Keithelmanbi on foot in order to catch buses and other available vehicles to reach Imphal.