Landslide cleared, traffic restored along NH-53
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 21, 2010: Large chunks of landslide debris which have been blocking movement of vehicles along NH-53 near Tupul have been cleared by BRO and Works Department using excavators and bulldozers.

Subsequently, vehicles which have been stranded at these points have started resuming their journey towards Imphal.

However, students from Jiribam who were to appear for the MBBS/BDS entrance exam conducted yesterday could not make it due to the landslide.

Due to huge landslides about one kilometre away from Tupul, a large convoy of trucks and buses which left Jiribam for Imphal on June 17 with security escorts were stranded there since June 18. Many other vehicles heading for Jiribam and Silchar were also stranded on the opposite side of the landslide.

Speaking to media persons who went up to Tupul, security personnel who were escorting the convoy from Jiribam said that some candidates of the MBBS/BDS entrance exam coming from Jiribam could not appear in the entrance exam as their vehicles were also halted due to landslides.

All efforts to enable the aspiring medical students attend the entrance test proved futile, they said.

Most of the passengers who were stranded due to the landslides boarded passenger vans (Winger) till Keithelmanbi at Rs 200 per passenger after crossing the landslide spot on foot.

For security personnel escorting the convoy, messages have been dispatched to send ration items.

One excavator operator who was engaged in clearing the landslide debris said that they reached the spot from Imphal on June 10.

Heavy machineries put to service to clear the landslide along NH-53

Since then, they have been clearing landslides and other obstacles on different points.

Two excavators and two dozers of Works Department and another BRO dozer are being engaged in clearing the highway.

Even as the highway clearing work has been continuing all these days, chunks of loose earth and mud have been continuously sliding down the hill slopes along with rain water, thereby seriously impeding vehicular movement along the highway.

Vehicles stranded due to the landslide have lined up till Noney.

Most of these trucks were carrying potato and onion.

As they have been stranded for several days, large quantities of their loads started rotting.

After a great struggle, removal of landslide debris was completed at around 3 pm today, after which some vehicles resumed their journey towards Imphal.

However, many transporters are apprehensive that the highway would revert to the same impassable condition if there is any heavy rainfall.

The convoy comprising of 403 vehicles excluding security escorts which left Jiribam on June 17 for Imphal included 30 bullet tankers, 19 oil tankers and 58 fertilizer laden trucks.

Works Minister K Ranjit said that he and State Planning Board Deputy Chairman Bijoy Koijam would personally take two heavy excavators to NH-53. Informing that landslide prone areas have been identified, Ranjit said that improvement work on these areas would begin from July 1 so that vehicular traffic along the highway.

On the other hand, with the stated objective of ensuring uninterrupted traffic along NH-53 and to develop the highway as per requirements, nine dozers and 17 excavators (JCB) have been pressed into service on Imphal-Jiribam highway.

Further, three dozers, two excavators, 15 tippers loaded with stone chips and another two trucks loaded with timber for repairing bridges were sent to NH-53 today.

However, the vehicles and machinery could not proceed beyond Tupul due to a landslide there.

More dozers would be sent tomorrow.

This would take the total number of dozers engaged in NH-53 work to 13, informed a PWD official.

Adequate number of machinery would be pressed into service to make the road fully motorable within a week.

At present, one AE and an SO are stationed at Tupul, added the official.