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Chidambaram Shows Determination To Improve Second Life Line Of The State, PC Deadline For Projects

A stretch of NH-53, which is the norm rather than the exception, does not give much hope.

IMPHAL, Dec 21: Making his intention to take NH-53 to a higher grade, somewhere near the position to be called a National Highway, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today convened a meeting at New Delhi to get things moving.

A confident DG of the BRO, during the meeting, claimed that NH-53 will be motorable by February next year, while other features such as black topping will take some more time.

Speaking to The Sangai Express an official source from Delhi said that the Union Home Minister chaired the meeting which was attended among others by Chief Minister O Ibobi and the DG of the BRO.

Top ranking Government officials including the Union Home Secretary, Petroleum Secretary, CMD of IOC, Secretary of Civil Aviation, CMD of Air India, Secretary of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Chairman of the Railway Board, Additional Secretary of the Defense Ministry, DG of the CRPF were the others who represented the Centre at the meeting.

Other than the Chief Minister, the team from the State Government consisted of the Chief Secretary, DGP, Home Commissioner, CAFPD Commissioner, Chief Engineer of the State PWD and Director of the Finance Cell.

With the BRO giving the assurance that NH-53 would be made motorable by the end of February next year, the State Government will chip in and post an officer from the PWD, holding a post equivalent to that of an AE or EE as the Nodal officer.

The BRO on the other hand has committed itself to appoint an officer not below the rank of an SE to monitor the progress of the work.

The February 2011 deadline set by the BRO is to make the National Highway motorable in all seasons, while other upgradation works, such as black topping, installing highway lights etc will finish by 2013.

To make up for the poor fuel holding capacity here, which is only for 6/7 days, the IOC has assured that it would look into the necessary points and urged for the speedy completion of the Rail Fed Oil Depot coming up at Malom.

The CRPF has also assured, during the meeting, that until the State Govt can manage the Highways, it would continue to provide security escorts to FCI trucks carrying rice and oil tankers.

The Food Corporation of India has also committed itself to increase the storing capacity of ten metric tonne at one time here in its godown to 20,000 metric tonne by next year. To facilitate smooth transportation of rice, the State Govt will requisition the service of 350 trucks and the State police will extend security cover.

The Jiri-Imphal rail line also came up for discussion at the meeting with the stress laid on the speedy completion of the work and 2014 set as the target to complete the process of laying rail line from Jiribam to Tupul.

In order to work out a way in which heavy machinery can be brought in to Imphal, a meeting will be held on December 29 between the BRO and Railway Board. At the moment, the heavy machinery cannot be brought to Imphal. As part of the plan to extend night landing facilities to Tulihal airport, it was decided to upgrade the watch tower for planes to land till 7 pm from the present 4 pm. To meet the need of the burgeoning passengers, Air India has agreed to increase the number of flights by January 15 next year.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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PC Deadline For Projects

NEW DELHI, Dec. 21: Home minister P. Chidambaram today set deadlines for long-pending infrastructure projects in Manipur during a meeting with chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

There was enough reason for Chidambaram to step in as it was the ministry of home affairs that had moved the cabinet to sanction Rs 392 crores to repair the dilapidated National Highway 53 (Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar) as an alternative to NH 39 (Imphal-Dimapur) that was frequently hit by blockades, choking supply of essentials to the land-locked state. The fresh deadline for completing the long-pending project is 2013.

The respective ministries have been informed of the decisions on which the Manipur government is expected to coordinate.

Another project is the Jiribam-Imphal railway line, which was scheduled to be finished by 2012 but is now unlikely to be completed before 2016. The Jiribam-Tupul railway track, that was to be completed by 2012, will be finished in 2014 while the other stretch will take another two years.

Sources said the state government was not able to surmount the hurdles of law and order and land acquisition in time, resulting in the delay.

Chidambaram also asked the Ibobi Singh government to monitor supply of essentials to the state. Imphal valley is still reeling from the recent blockades on its arteries that hit supply of goods, especially food grains and petroleum products.

‘We have rice stocks for just one day although supplies reach every day,’ a source said.

NH 53 has become important for Manipur as dependability on NH 39 has been shaky since early this year. Blockades have been put up on the road to protest against holding of autonomous council polls in the hill districts, firing at Mao gate and the state government’s refusal to allow NSCN (Isak-Muivah) leader Thuingaleng Muivah to visit his ancestral home in Manipur. Subsequently, repairs on NH 53 were stepped up.

Truckers have also refused to ply on NH 39 in protest against extortion by militant groups. Government sources, however, said this was an excuse by vested interests to jack up transport rates.

‘Extortion is not a new thing. By saying this, truckers are finding it convenient to increase their rates,’ an official said.

*Reported by Nishit Dholabhai.

(Courtesy: Telegraph India)

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