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Manipur highway on Modi govt agenda

Imphal, June 13: Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari has assured the Manipur unit of the BJP that development of the 122km Imphal-Jiribam highway, the second lifeline of Manipur, would be included in the 100-day agenda of the Narendra Modi government.

Modi, during his address at an election rally held in Imphal in February, had promised to develop the highway — which connects Imphal and Cachar of Assam — on a priority basis if the BJP came to power in Delhi.

“The road transport minister assured us yesterday at his office to include it in the 100-day agenda. We pressed for the inclusion of development of the Imphal-Jiribam highway in the agenda of the Centre. The minister assured us that he would make all possible efforts to include the road development work in the agenda,” Laimayum Basanta Sharma, general secretary in-charge of media affairs, said over phone from Delhi today.

Modi had asked his cabinet colleagues to set a 100-day agenda with focus on efficient governance, delivery and implementation of programmes.

A team of leaders of the Manipur unit of the BJP have been camping in Delhi to meet Union ministers and senior party leaders to highlight the issues of Manipur and also matters concerning the state organisation.

A delegation of Basanta Sharma, state leader Yanglet Haokip and former Northeast in-charge Chandrashekhar Rao met Gadkari yesterday and raised the issue of the Imphal-Jiribam highway.

Basanta Sharma said the issue of improving the Imphal-Jiribam highway (National Highway 37) was included in the BJP Manipur unit’s election manifesto and accordingly party president Thounaojam Chaoba Singh, in a representation, had urged him to take up the highway project on a priority basis.

A three-member Manipur BJP team is camping in Delhi seeking an appointment with Modi. Once it is confirmed, Chaoba Singh, who is in Imphal, would rush to Delhi to meet Modi to highlight again important issues of Manipur, including the highway.

Manipur has only two supply routes. The other supply route is Imphal-Dimapur highway (NH 2), the main supply route as it is shorter and road condition is better.

Manipur always faces scarcity of essential commodities whenever there is an economic blockade on the two national highways, mostly by Naga organisations, to highlight their grievances.

There were times when the Centre had to air-drop medicines and essential items during prolonged blockades.

Supply trucks prefer the Imphal-Jiribam highway because of a lower risk factor, fewer incidents of extortion and it is easier for the government to control the road. However, they are shunning this because of the “horrible” road condition.

The Border Roads Task Force has been maintaining the road.

and the Okram Ibobi Singh government has not been successful in making it an all-weather road.