Key Manipur rail project nears completion under Gorkha Terriers' shield

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The tallest pier railway bridge of the world with a height of 141 meters is being constructed for the project

Noney (Manipur): The multi-tunnel Jiribam–Imphal railway project, which is one of the vital connectivity projects of the country with strategic military importance and passes through insurgency-hit areas in the North Eastern region, is nearing it's completion under the protection of the Territorial Army (TA), known as Terriers.

A recent journey through National Highway 37, the lifeline of Manipur, paved a way to witness the rapid progress at the ₹14,322 crore-project of the North East Frontier Railway (NFR) in the mountainous terrain and an undisputed role of the 107 TA (Infantry) battalion behind it.

According to NFR, the 110 km-long project has 52 tunnels out of which works for 48 have been completed. It also has around 11 major bridges. The substructure of 7 bridges and superstructure of 5 bridges have been completed while works of 110 out of 129 minor bridges also got over.

The tallest pier railway bridge of the world with a height of 141 meters is also being constructed for the project. It is set for completion. The route of the big ticket project, which is aimed to be completed by December, covers 11 railway stations out of which six have been built.

The location of the mega infrastructure project is however distinct from the security angle as it passes through districts like Tamenglong and Noney which continue to be under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act due to threat perceptions from militant outfits like NSCN (IM), infamous for abduction, extortion and subversive activities.

To tackle these challenges, the 11 Gorkha Rifles soldiers of the 107 TA (Infantry) battalion, popularly called Gorkha Terriers, are deployed at various sites of the project round the clock. Committed to their motto of Savdhani Va Shoorta (Vigilance and Valour), the TA troopers are seen carrying out patrolling through the tunnels and maintaining vigil from the hills to ensure safety to the on ground engineers and workers and pace in construction work.

The NFR said, "The Jiribam–Imphal new line railway project is one of the crucial connectivity projects for the North-eastern region that is at an advanced stage of completion. The works for this new line railway project, among other connectivity projects, is also going on in full swing to connect Imphal, the capital city of Manipur to the rest of the country."

It elaborated, "Out of 52 tunnels, tunnel no. 12 is the longest tunnel of this project. It is having total length 10.275 km including 529 metre RCC Ramp with a parallel safety tunnel of length 8.30 km. Tunnel no. 12 is passing through the most complex geological condition having a fragile soil type condition. Tunnelling work in this stretch is one of the most challenging jobs and N. F. Railway is putting their full effort by working 24X7 for the completion of work with all the challenges like heavy rainfall and other logistic hindrances."

The NFR added, "The vertical shaft construction technology has been adopted for the first time in N. F. Railway history, for these complex tunnelling works. Normally this technology is used only in the metro projects. Considering the complex geological condition of Imphal valley and to reduce the construction time of balance tunnelling stretch, vertical shafts are being constructed."

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