IMPHAL: The newly installed iron bridge across Irang River collapsed on Saturday, one week after the old bridge had snapped and one day before the chief minister had hoped it would become operational and restore connection along the normal route of national highway 37. The picture of the two bridges dipping into the river next to each other was a sight of major disappointment and provoking serious questions whether it is not about time to furnish a technologically advanced bridge with more sturdier built along the main life line of the state.
Reports stated that the new Irang Bridge at Taubam village under Noney district which was undergoing reconstruction collapsed at around 11.15 AM on Wednesday but fortunately there was no report of casualty this time. Unlike today, the driver of an ill-fated tipper had died in the mishap last time after the vehicle plunged into the river as it falls apart and apparently drowned. The bridge was being constructed by National Highway and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) and 52 Engineer Regiment of the Indian army.
As per the source, the reconstruction of the bridge was going on in a steady pace under the initiative of NHIDCL Executive Director of the project Colonel Rajeev Sood who was making all efforts to expedite the reconstruction work and restore the passage of the bridge.
It may be mentioned that the breaking down of the bridge had attracted the attention of political leaders. Inner Manipur MP Dr. RK.Rajan was there on November 6, 2020 at the reconstruction site when Col. Rajeev gave an assurance that the reinstalling activity of the bridge will be completed by November 13, 2020. The same assurance was given to Minister Awangbow Newmai during his visit on November 9, 2020.
Awangbow Newmai informed that the Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on November 8 has spoken to the Union Minister of Transport and appealed for the early restoration of the Irang Bailey Bridge and also the CM had demanded for construction of RCC Bridge over the Irang River. Forest Minister also stated that as per the information given by the CM although sanction has been given for the construction of RCC Bridge, there is delay due to the non-availability of bidders after the tender process.
The raw materials of the bailey bridge near Tengnoupal were dismantled and transported toward Irang through Bishnupur-Khoupum via Rengpang road for being used as components in the installation of the new bridge.
The original bridge caved in on the previous Sunday morning when a 10-Tyre Tipper Truck which was transporting sand was moving across it. The vehicle fell into the current and the driver was carried away though the handyman was immediately rescued.
Due to the inaccessibility of the bridge many vehicle carrying goods and passengers were stranded on the road on both sides of the river. After getting information of the bridge collapse the All Manipur Road Transport (AMRT) and Driver Motor Workers Union (DMWU) had blocked the road and the concerned department of the State oversees ways to repair the bridge. The movement of vehicles on the routes was diverted eventually.