With Territorial Army Security Cover, Manipur Rail Project Gathered Speed
President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday inaugurated the train between Tripura’s capital Agartala and Manipur’s Khongsang, a mountainous area where railway construction is a challenging task due to terrain and threats. from insurgents in the early stages of the project.
In addition to the railway engineers, project planners and many other officials, the Territorial Army (TA)’s contribution to securing the project helped accelerate the work.
The Territorial Army is a division of the regular army and its role is to free the regular army from static duties and help civilian authorities deal with natural disasters and maintain essential services. TA also supplies units to the regular army whenever needed.
The project to connect a major part of Manipur to the wide-gauge line faced many security problems in its early stages as insurgent groups carried out extortion, kidnapping and indiscriminate killings.
Paramilitary forces were then tasked with curbing the spiral of violence in the region. But increased violence and threats against engineers, officials and railway workers brought the project to a halt.
The railroads eventually reached the Ministry of Defense for a safe and secure environment, who eventually assigned the task to the Territorial Army.
The Center included the Jiribam-lmphal railway project in its 2003-2004 Budget. The project started in 2008 and was declared a “national project” due to its importance. Construction work began in 2013. Construction activities accelerated significantly following the deployment of the Territorial Army in 2019 to ensure the security of workers and infrastructure.
“Of them [the TA’s] A source told NDTV.
The source said: “Rail authorities have been extremely appreciative of the protective umbrella provided by the Territorial Army, without which the project would not have been able to see the dawn.
The 54km railway line is currently in operation passing through the picturesque Makru and Barak valleys before reaching Khongsang. It has 19 tunnels and nine main bridges, with a maximum height of 105 meters.
This section spans 300 km in seven hours from Agartala to Khongsang in Manipur, while it takes about 19 hours and about 600 km overland due to the mountainous terrain. The remaining 56 kilometers to Manipur’s capital, Imphal, are likely to be completed by December 2023.