TODAY -

Jiri-Tupul-Imphal rail & bullet train

Free Thinker *



Now, I am more interested in the loan part more than the speed of the Bullet train. Hurray! it is only 0.1% interest on 88000 crore, that too to be paid back in 50 years.

Here in the middle of Imphal city the interest rate per month is 5% on loan with security like gold or land-pata or pension paper etc; without security it goes up to 10% and beyond . If Abe sab gives a loan of only 1000 core at the same interest rate and term as he has given to Modiji I will become a crore pati in no time.

No doubt Gujaratis have great bargaining power (Gandhiji with Britishers). Moreover in lending-borrowing business we all know the borrower is the King (e.g., Kingfisher).

The Bullet train which is to run in between Ahmedabad and Mumbai was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi with his Japanese friend PM Abe and it may be seen as an opportunity for us also. Shinkansen Locomtive (Japanese) says they will complete this project by 2023. Modiji insists it must be completed by 2022 to mark the 75th year of Independence. Both( Modiji & Abeji) express their desire to have the first ride of this Bullet train. So be it.

But our Jiribam ĖTupul rail line which was initiated in 2004 is still under construction. The construction actually started in 2007 .It was given the understanding that by 2009 it will be completed; the dead line for completion was further extended to 2011.

Then the completion promise was renewed saying that it will be done by 2014 . Around this time the proposal to extend the line up to Imphal was agreed upon. Now the completion of this Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal project is projected at 2018.

Since we are getting free loan (almost free) from Japan for 50 years, we can further bargain for another small loan for extending this Imphal line up to Mandalay (Myanmar) via Moreh. We donít need 100 billion for this project. Even a quarter of it will do the needful. We donít mind this project to be completed in another 20 years. But we wish this project is also completed by 2022 and Modiji & Abeji both enjoy a ride here too. This is my wishful thinking.

Modiji and Abeji during their submit meeting signed 14/15 pacts. The most interesting pact or the most relevant pact for us was the one which dealt with connectivity. The India Japan Act East Forum will work on the enhancement of connectivity and promotion of development projects in northeastern region of India. Equally important pact was the one which talked about the Northeast Road Network Improvement Projects.

Many years back we heard a news that the Japanese were ready to build a Charitable Hospital somewhere in Imphal near the hill log where there was fierce battle between the British army and Japanese army. We dint know whether there was such a proposal or not. But it was not a bad idea. Still the same may be pursued by the Indo Japanese Friendship Association along with the Look East Forum.

Many people have died in Manipur without seeing a train even after 70 years of independence . Train had arrived at the border of Manipur at Jiribam in the 80ís; but it never entered the Manipur Valley. Both my grandfather and maternal grandfather died without seeing a real train.

Luckily my grand mom went to Vrindavan by train in the 80ís . She went by bus upto Dhimapur (Nagaland) and then took a meter- gauge- train up to Guwahati (Assam) and from there she went to Agra/Mathura/Vrindavan(UP) by broad gauge train . She was lucky as she could see a train and travel by it before she passed away. However there are lacs of poor people who have not seen a train in their lives except in TVs or movies or in picture, forget about boarding it.

A few days back Modiji went to Myanmar for strengthening the bilateral ties between our two neighboring countries. That was a good will visit and it virtually improved our diplomatic relation. Burmese are more than willing to do business with us more than anyone else in the neighborhood.

Now, if we can extend our Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal line upto Mandalay (Myanmar) via Moreh (with interest free loan from Japan) it will be a great boon for both the countries in terms of trade, tourism and people to people contact. Japan will certainly help us; they have a soft corner for the Manipuris because of Netaji and INA connection.

All those working for ACT EAST POLICY may kindly act together in this direction. Japan will certainly oblige us more than before because of China and North Korea.

Someone once sang and I quote, ďAll I want is everything, am I asking too much?Ē


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on September 25, 2017.


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