Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 30 July announced the commencement of works of the longest tunnel in the Indian Railway – on the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal new broad gauge railway line in Manipur.
The 111-km-long line comprises 37 tunnels and the tunnel no 12 will be the longest in the Indian Railway at 11.55 km. Besides the longest tunnel in Indian Railway, the stretch also has another striking feature – the tallest bridge in the world, being constructed over Iring river with a pier height of 141 metres, almost equal to two Qutub Minar stacked over each other.
Prabhu made the announcement for commencement of work on the tunnel while speaking at a function to lay the foundation stone of the proposed railway station at Yurembam village,13 kms away from Imphal.
“Connectivity is the prime driver of development and the Railway Ministry would not spare any resources for bringing in speedy development of rail connectivity in the 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,” said Prabhu in his address on the occasion.
Announcing the commencement of the works for the Tunel No. 12, Prabhu said the tunnel would not only connect two parts of Manipur by rail but it would also be a symbolic representation of the state getting connected to the Indian mainland.
The 111-km-long Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal new broad gauge railway project was taken up in 2008 and was soon declared as a National Project. While the works for 12.5-km-long Jiribam to Dholakhal section has been completed and commissioned for freight train in March 2016, construction of 25 out of the total 37 tunnels on the 84 kms Jiribam-Tupul section have been completed April this year. The works for the rest are also progressing well.
Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, while expressing his satisfaction and happiness for Indian Railway’s initiatives for bringing in better connectivity to the region, requested the central government to consider extending the railway line to Moreh from Imphal.