In November, 2004, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation of the project which will connect Manipur's Jiribam sub-division bordering Assam and Tupul in Manipur's Tamenglong district.
Later, the project was extended to Imphal. The government might further extend the rail line up to the border town of Moreh to connect the region with Myanmar and other Southeast Asian countries.
If the mode of the current funding level continues, the completion target (from Tupul to Imphal new line section) may have to be extended up to March, 2021, a source said on Monday.
A parliamentary committee, comprising 12 MPs, is currently visiting Imphal to obtain a detailed report on planning, implementation and performance of the project. The initial target to complete the project from Jiribam to Tupul was March 2010, a Manipur government source added. The overall progress of work till August, 2013 is about 50 per cent, he added.
One of the key factors behind the delay is its resurvey of the alignment for the proposed line to avoid submergence owing to the proposed Tipaimukh hydro-electric project, a source said.
Other reasons for the delay are security issues of the survey teams, difficult terrains, land acquisition, militancy, frequent bandhs, ban on railway project work and poor connectivity of NH-37 (Jiribam-Imphal route), the source added. The parliamentary team has been told that construction work in the first 12 km section from Jiribam to Dholakhal has been completed and an engine test run was done in March, 2012.
Due to weight restrictions, heavy machinery like shotcrete machines, weighing up to 35 tonnes, cannot be transported in a single piece, the official said, while emphasizing the need to strengthen the two bailey suspension bridges along the deplorable road.
Before wrapping up its two-day Manipur visit on Monday afternoon, the parliamentary team, led by Francisco Sardinha, also convened a separate meeting with officials of the textile ministry for promotion of the industry in the state.