Priority to be laid on bridges for NH-53 development
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 23: With the Centre releasing the first installment of funds for the development of NH-53, the 36 BRTF, which has its headquarters at Silchar will stress on strengthening and building the bailey bridges at Makru and Barak to carry 24 tonne weight vehicles.

Speaking to The Sangai Express the Commandant of 36 BRTF said that the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has recently released an amount of Rs 17.78 crores for the development of NH-53.The first priority will be the repairing and development of Makru and Barak bridges, said the Commandant and added that in the second phase the task of black topping the road will be taken up.

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways agreed to release the sum of Rs 17.78 crores after Chief Secretary Jarnail Singh met officials of the Ministry at New Delhi on September 14.With the Centre sanctioning the first phase of the funds, construction work of the highway will be intensified from October, said a reliable source.

The BRTF authority had earlier approached the Centre to sanction Rs 22 crores to develop the road from Barak upto Silchar, but the Centre decided to concentrate on the Manipur stretch first and sanctioned Rs 17.78 crores to develop the stretch between Barak and Jiribam.

The amount released is the first phase.

The BRTF has set its eyes on completing the strengthening exercise of the two bridges by November this year.

The target is set to strengthen the bridges so that it can carry vehicles weighing up to 24 tonnes.

The next task is to black top the road from Barak upto Uchathon, said the source adding that March next year is the target set for the black topping work to finalise.

Funds will not be a problem, said the source and added that the Centre is ready to sanction the next installment as and when it is required.

The Chief Security was also assured that security too will not be a problem as adequate troops will be deployed to sanitise the highway to make it secure and help the development work progress unhindered, added the source.

Towards this end the authority has identified 17 sites for CRPF camps to come up on the highway.

A sum of Rs 14 lakhs has been earmarked for the construction of each camp, said a source and added that 20 Coys of CRPF will be deployed along the route.

The construction work of some of the camps have been finalised, added the source.

Even as the BRTF has set its eyes on first strengthening the bridges along the Barak to Jiribam stretch, a number of Jiribam bound vehicles from Imphal were stranded near Ragaolung village as a bridge there has developed some snags.

Repairing work of the bridge is on at a full pace but it is most likely that the vehicles will be stranded over night at the spot.

Meanwhile a meeting was held at the Kali Mandap at Kalinagar at Jiribam today evening to discuss the development of NH-53.The meeting decided that the Highway Development Council along with the public will approach the authority concerned to speed up the developmental work of NH-53.Representatives of different organisations who had gone to Jiribam along with the Highway Development Council from Imphal as well as representatives of different communities and social organisations of Jiribam took part in the meeting.

The meeting also decided to welcome any individual or any social organisation which wish to join the Highway Development Council.

Addressing the meeting, the chairperson of the Jiribam Municipal Council H Brojen said that it is a good sign that the attention of the people has been drawn towards the development of NH-53.Brojen further said that it would be appropriate to study how much money has been pumped in for the development work as well as to see whether the work is in sync with the amount released.

It is also important to make all understand of the need to develop the said route, he added.

A number of speaker said that since Jiribam has been cut off from mainland Manipur, this had led a large number of people to wonder whether Jiribam is a part of Manipur or not.

Members of the Highway Development Council made it clear that their mission is not only to develop the road but also to ensure that the living conditions of the people living along the highway is improved.