GUWAHATI: The people in Manipur have suffered in the past due to the blockades enforced by tribal outfits such as the United Naga Council (UNC). Now, nature is making their lives difficult.The land-locked state has been cut off from rest of the country after the Barak Bridge on National Highway 37 partially collapsed on Monday morning in the torrential rains that have wreaked havoc in the Northeast. The rains have caused floods and landslides particularly in Manipur, Assam, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
Defence sources said the bridge collapsed when a goods-laden truck was passing through it. “A portion of the bridge had collapsed when a goods-laden truck was crossing it. There was no casualty in the incident,” the sources said, adding that it would take two to three days to repair the bridge. This has left around 200 goods-laden trucks coming from Jiribam town to Imphal stranded. Repairing works are being carried out on war-footing, an official said.
The NH 2, which enters Manipur via Nagaland, has also been cut off due to massive landslides at Viswema near the Nagaland capital of Kohima last week. A stretch of the road, measuring about 150 meters, was washed away by the landslides. Officials in Nagaland said it would take some days to build an alternative road.
The National Highways 2 and 37 are the lifelines of Manipur.
Goods-laden vehicles travelling to Manipur from Assam and elsewhere in the country use NH 2 as it is the shorter route. The NH 102, which enters Manipur from southern Assam, is not only much longer but also infested with insurgency. The road is also in a deplorable condition.
The rains this year inundated large swathes of Manipur’s Imphal Valley affecting thousands of people. Manipur has often been on the edge due to road blockades called by tribal organisations, mostly of the Nagas. An economic blockade, enforced by Naga organisation UNC in December last year, had continued for over 100 days.