Rabi Takhellambam The Construction work of the 84 km Jiribam –Tupul Broad gauge railway Project has faced lots of hurdles in the past one year due to a host of reasons. More than 30 militant groups are active in the Broad Gauge Project area, while economic blockades and bandhs are common in Manipur. The NH-37 which connects Imphal with Silchar is in bad shape and it has affected the transportation of materials and machinery. Source in the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) said that work is in progress in 60 Locations, 25 rocket boomers, 10 hydraulic rotary ring, 20 Concrete pumps, 25 batching plants, 30 dozers and 28 vibro-compactors are being used to complete the project within the stipulated date. Around 5000 workers have been engaged in the project, the anticipated cost of which is Rs.4,599 crores and the permissible speed along the route will be 100 kmph. Source said that 66 percent of the total works of the 84km long Jiribam-Tupul railway project was completed by August last year and it has made more progress by the end of October this year. With a view to provide greater connectivity to the hilly terrain of Manipur by an alternative and reliable transportation system and to bring about accelerated economic development and inclusive growth, the former Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone of the 111km long Jiribam-Tupul- Imphal railway project in 2004. The planned railway line from Jiribam to Imphal will link the capital with the rest of India through Silchar, Haflong, Lamding and Guwahati in Assam. Bridge No.164 with a pier height of 141 metre will be the world’s highest girder bridge. Highest existing currently, the Mala Rijeka Viaduct in Montenegro, is 139 metre high. According to the NFR, 2212 metres of the 4409 metre tunnel number-12 and 172 metres of the 4900 metre tunnel number-3 have been completed. There are a total of 34 numbers of tunnels, two major bridges and 112 minor bridges along Jiribam-Tupul rout. There are four tall bridges heights of which are respectively 70 metre, 98 metre, 120 metre and 141 metre. The railways hope to connect all the eight states in india’s Northeast by 2020. As per the plans of the NFR ,the broad-gauge train will reach Tupul in Manipur by March-2017, Aizawl by March-2018, Imphal by March-2019 and Shillong and Rangpo (near Gangtok) in Sikkim by March-2020.