CM looks for shortest route to Jiri
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 05: In view of the frequent bandhs and blockades along National Highway 39 and despite the ongoing efforts to develop National Highways 53 and 150, the State Government is seriously looking into the possibility of opening up a shortest possible alternative route to connect Imphal and Jiribam without passing through any of the neighbouring States, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh disclosed today.

Speaking at the �Acquaintance Meet� organised by the All Manipur Working Journalists� Union (AMWJU) at Manipur Press Club here today, Ibobi noted that National Highway 39 is the main lifeline of Manipur but it has become a tool in the hands of some who wantonly resort to imposition of bandhs and blockades on the route to press their demands.

Stating that the outcome of the preliminary round of talks held with ANSAM was positive, the Chief Minister, who was the chief guest of the function, said that even if ANSAM lifts the economic blockade, there is no guarantee that other organisations will not misuse this highway to pursue their demands.

Moreover, any sort of disruption along National Highway 39 even inside Nagaland has a direct impact on the people of Manipur, he said, adding the present ongoing economic blockade of ANSAM has opened the eyes and ears of the Government as well.

In view of this, apart from developing the two existing National Highways 53 and 150, the Government is seriously thinking of opening up another National Highway, which will provide the shortest possible link to Jiribam without passing any other States.

The preparation for conducting the survey of the new route, which will pass through Churachandpur district, is over, he informed.

The Chief Minister strongly felt that once the proposed railway line from Jiribam to Imphal via Tupul materialises the problem of communication and transport will be solved for once and all.

The Government is keeping the target of completing the railway project within 2010, he said.

Sharing his �personal opinion� on the present situation of Manipur, Ibobi said that it is very sensitive and less said the better.

There could be nothing more better than to listen to what the people are saying and then take up action accordingly, he said.

However, he appreciated the patience and resilience of the people in the face of provocations from various quarters and upholding the spirit of brotherhood and peaceful co-existence.

He also admitted that the present economic blockade of Imphal On the controversy over fixing 10 tonne as the maximum load to be carried by the trucks while crossing over the bridges located along the National Highway 53, Chief Minister said this arrangement would remain only for a week during which the bridges and the road would be strengthened.

The Government would also compensate for the loss suffered by the transporters during this period, he assured.

Taking serious note of the demands put forward by AMWJU for development of Manipur Press Club and welfare of the journalist community in the State, the Chief Minister assured that his Government would take up all necessary measures to implement the demands like setting up a housing colony for the journalists, a press academy and organising press tour, which, he said, are genuine ones.

Works Minister Th Debendra and newly elected AMWJU president Bijoy Kakchingtabam graced the occasion as guest of honour and president respectively.

In this address, Debendra lauded the role being played by the media and specially the newspapers in disseminating information to the people.

Bijoy Kakchingtabam highlighted the constraints under which the journalists have to perform their duties in a conflicting situation like Manipur.