Imphal, the Manipur state capital, on Saturday moved one step closer to seeing a railway train chugging into the historic city with Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu laying the foundation stone for the proposed Imphal railway station there.
Speaking on the occasion, Prabhu said that connectivity was the prime driver of development and the railway ministry would not spare any resources for bringing in speedy development of rail connectivity in the Northeastern region.
“Indian Railways have taken a holistic approach towards development and the 111-km long new broad gauge railway line from Jiribam to Imphal. This will not only connect Imphal to the rest of the country but also open up new vistas for economic development of the region,” he said.
Prabhu also announced commencement of work on Tunnel No 12 in the Jiribam-Imphal section and said the tunnel would not just connect two parts of Manipur by rail but would also be a symbolic representation of the state getting connected to the Indian mainland. Tunnel No 12 incidentally will be the longest tunnel in the entire Indian Railway network and have a distance of 11.55 km. That apart, the Jiribam-Imphal section will also have the world’s tallest railway bridge over the Iring river. With a pier height of 141 metres, it will be almost equal to two Qutub Minars stacked over each other.
He also said that the rich cultural heritage of Manipur would find due importance in the proposed Imphal Station with the design incorporating various architectural elements of the Kangla Fort Gate and the Shri Govindji Temple – two historical monuments of Manipur.
The 111-km Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal broad gauge railway project, which was taken up in 2008, was soon declared a National Project because of its strategic importance. The 12.5-km Jiribam to Dholakhal section was already completed and commissioned for freight train in March 2016. Of the 37 tunnels in the 84-km Jiribam-Tupul section, 25 have been already completed and the works on the rest are also progressing well, a railway official in Guwahati said.