The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu today laid the foundation stone of station building at Tupul, announced commencement of work at second portal of Tunnel No. 12 and laid foundation stone of the Safety Tunnel for Tunnel No. 12 – the longest tunnel in the Jiribam – Tupul – Imphal section at a glittering function held at the 1st Manipur Rifles Parade Ground at Imphal.
Laying the foundation stones, Prabhu said, Indian Railways are dedicated for providing connectivity for the north eastern states. He said, the region has tremendous potential for tourism development and Indian Railways Tourism and Catering Corporation has been working on developing railway tourism packages in the region. He said, development of a region could not take place without investment. Therefore, Indian Railway has decided to invest more than eight lakh fifty thousand crore rupees during 2014-19 in infrastructure projects to act as catalyst for development. He also said that development should not be at the cost of environment. Therefore, Indian Railway is bringing in green technology like electric locomotives so that the environment can be protected.
The function was attended by Honourable Governor of Manipur, Dr. Najma A. Heptulla, Chief Minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh, Deputy Chief Minister of Manipur Gaikhangam, Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain, Transport & Education Minister of Manipur Kh. Ratan Kumar Singh, Members of Lok Sabha Thanso Baite and Dr. Thokchom Meinya, Manipur MLAs R. K. Imo Singh, Kh. Devendro Singh and Wangkheimayam Brajabidhu Singh, General Manager of N. F. Railway Chahatey Ram, General Manager of N. F. Railway (Construction) H. K. Jaggi other senior railway and Manipur Government officials, host of invited guests and public.
Speaking in the function the Governor of Manipur, Dr. Najma A. Heptulla lauded the efforts of the railways in taking up the daunting task of bringing in the BG railway line through the difficult hilly terrain from Jiribam at 31 metres above mean sea level to Imphal at 788 metres from mean sea level. She expressed hope that Manipur will become an important hub in rail connectivity with South-east Asia.
While praising the Railway Minister for his initiatives in development of rail network in the northeast, the Chief Minister, Okram Ibobi Singh expressed hope that the project of connecting Maniupur’s capital would be completed before the scheduled time-frame as the project was being executed in a fast pace.
Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said that for the first time in India, a safety tunnel for the safe evacuation of people during any emergency at the Tunnel No. 12 is being constructed. He said, the Jiribam – Tupul – Imphal railway line is significant as the section will have the tallest bridge in the world and the longest railway tunnel in India. Completion of the project will expose the rich culture of Manipur to the world, he said.
Tunnel No. 12: The Tunnel no.12 is the longest railway tunnel in India on the Jiribam–Tupul–Imphal new broad gauge railway line. It will be 11.55 km long, more than the famous Pir Panjal tunnel on the Banihal-Qazigund line. The 111km long Jiribam–Tupul–Imphal new broad gauge railway project was taken up in 2008 and was declared a National Project owing to its importance. On this stretch, the 12.5 km Jiribam to Dholakhal section has been completed and commissioned for freight train in March 2016. For the 84 km Jiribam–Tupul section, 29 out of 37 tunnels have been completed by October end this year.
The Tunnel No 12 of the Tupul – Imphal section lies in the two districts of Manipur viz, Senapati and Imphal West Districts, and is situated in the western part of the Imphal Valley. This tunnel lies in between Haochong –Imphal Block section. The approximate cost for construction of this tunnel would be Rs930 Crs.
Safety Tunnel: for the safe evacuation of people during any emergency at the Tunnel No. 12, a parallel Safety Tunnel of 9.35km length is being constructed as per International Technical Specification. The main tunnel and parallel safety tunnel will be connected through Cross passages at every 500m. The approximate cost for construction of the Safety Tunnel is Rs 368 Crs.