TODAY -

NEC sanctions fund for Tongjei Maril
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 01, 2013: Of the Rs 147 Crore sanctioned under the Prime Minister's package, the North Eastern Council (NEC) has sanctioned Rs 10 crore for developing the historic Old Cachar road locally known as Tongjei Maril connecting Imphal and Assam's Cachar district, a development to deal with the frequent economic blockades along the existing key supply routes of the State.

Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam, who was instrumental in pursuing the Centre to revive the age old route, said development will come forth once it is opened.

Tongjei Maril was the only route linking Manipur with the outside world during ancient times before the existing NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur route) and NH-37 (Imphal-Silchar route) were constructed.

Manipur kings, noblemen, royal family members, traders and pilgrims had either walked or moved on horseback along Tongjei Maril which passes through Bishnupur and Tamenglong districts.

Covering only 97 kms, Tongjei Maril is much shorter than Imphal-Silchar and Imphal-Dimapur highways.

It was abandoned after the two highways were constructed by the British when they entered Manipur.

With various tribal civil organisations resorting to frequent imposition of economic blockade on the existing highways resulting in shortage of essential goods, the State Government had been urging the Centre to revive the less problematic and economically viable Tongjei Maril as the altenative key supply route.

"We have a historic attachment with Tongjei Maril, our ancient supply line.

Owing to its economic feasibility and the only passage to beat the frequent road blocks and economic blockades imposed on the existing two National Highways, I have been urging the Centre to develop this route for the last many years," Gaikhangam said at a media conference here on Friday evening.

"It is a dream come true as the NEC has sanctioned Rs 10 crore as the first phase for developing Tongjei Maril.

I also take this as my lifetime achievement," Gaikhangam, who also holds the Home portfolio, said.

The amount will be utilized for developing the 92-km Bishnupur to Rangpang stretch of the route, he said and added that process for constructing the abandoned track has been started, including floating the tender.

In December last year the Bishnupur-based Cachar Road Educational and Sporting Association (Cresa) had threatened to block Tongjei Maril indefinitely if the State Government failed to assure them that the ancient route would be repaired.

The Old Cachar road has been neglected by the successive Governments since it was blacktopped in 1968 and few pot holes were filled once in a while as a result of which heaps of dust pile up on its whole stretch during winter and a slushy tracks develop in monsoon, a leader of the pressure group said.


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