Union Minister of State for Railways and Textiles Darshana Jardosh on Thursday announced that the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has started installing advance warning systems for disasters such as landslides in all trains and railway stations in Manipur for the safety of passengers and officials.
The development comes a month after the massive landslide tragedy that took place at Makhuam also called Marangching in Noney district, that claimed 61 lives.
The Union minister was speaking to the media on various ongoing projects taken up by the ministries of Railways and Textiles in Manipur at Hotel Imphal in Imphal East.
She said that the NFR is planning to develop picnic spots and lodgings at all stations and other selected destinations along the railway routes in Manipur to boost tourism alongside connectivity as the railway reaches Manipur. She exuded confidence that the development of such tourist spots will attract tourists as well as filmmakers.
The proposed tourist spots may be upgraded to the level of film locations as India being one of the highest film production countries, she added.
Fifty per cent of the Imphal-Jiribam railway project has been completed and the long coach passenger service to Khongsang will be operational by September, she said.
“The double engine government is committed to give world class railway services to Manipur,” she said.
Elaborating on the safety measures, NFR general manager Anshul Gupta who accompanied the minister said the NRF has mapped all the weak point ranges along the railway routes and installed advance warning systems.
The warning alert will be received by train drivers, authorities and rest houses for any possible disaster, she said. Efficiency testing is underway and it will be functional within three months, he added.
Gupta further said regarding the boosting of tourism alongside railway connectivity that a low budget guest house for tourists will be installed on the first floor of every railway station in Manipur.
Picnic spots for both tourists and locals will be installed near some specific bridges and tunnels alongside the railway tracks and near stations having impressive landscapes, he added.
He mentioned that NFR has identified some specific bridges and tunnels for the spot and the idea has been shared with Chief Minister N Biren by the NRF team. He also mentioned that the NFR will be signing a MoU soon with the state government.
Concerning the proposed Moreh-Imphal railway service, he said a survey is in progress and final location assessments will be completed by January 2023. Based on the sanction, the project is estimated to be completed by 2025-2026, he added.
The landslide tragedy of Makhuam/Marangching was due to the topography of the region, tempered by heavy rainfall and earthquakes, he said.
The NFR is now intervening in its ongoing works with geo-textile technology to prevent landslides and soil erosion from taking place.
The Union minister also informed that the country has the potential of becoming the second largest producer of silk after Japan if the sericulture sector of Manipur is improved through modernisation, training and encouraging the farmers.
She acknowledged that there are three GI tag textile products in Manipur, and stressed the need to emphasis on those products for better export as GI tag products have high demands in outside states and overseas.
She highlighted the proposed Craft Handloom Village at Moirang in Bishnupur district which is to be constructed at the budget of Rs 30 crore. She further informed that the ministry had already allocated Rs 9 crore for the project.