Those responsible for NH-37 maintenance must clarify by Wednesday evening: TDC
The driver of the fallen truck in the Irang river remained missing and rescue operation continued on Tuesday.
As the Irang Bridge remained damaged and the rescue operation continued on Tuesday, the Transporters and Drivers Council (TDC) demanded clarification by Wednesday evening by those responsible for maintenance of the Imphal-Jiribam National Highway (NH-37) whether they can repair the bridge.
“It is not necessary to measure weight of goods truck; the bridges along the national highway must be constructed with the capacity to carry 36 metric tonnes. Government should give an appropriate response whether they can repair the bridge,” said TDC president H Ranjit while speaking to the media at his residence located at Kakwa, Imphal West Tuesday.
Ranjit stated that almost all the ministers and concerned authority rush to the spot for inspection whenever a bridge or roads are affected along the Imphal-Dimapur national highway. However, for NH-37 (Imphal-Jiribam) no ministers or concerned authority visit the spot even during when the Irang Bridge collapsed, he said.
“If the government failed to maintain NH-37 then transporters will stop their service along the national highway. There will be no disadvantage for the transporters but people of the state will suffer,” Ranjit said.
Recently, the transport department said that the reason for the collapse of the bailey bridge over Irang River is due to overloading of goods truck. The order directed DC Jiribam to get a weigh bridge at Jiribam and to make it mandatory for each loaded goods truck to measure weight. Pass for each loaded goods truck should be given after fulfilling the criteria, the government ordered.
It also directed superintendent of police Jiribam and Noney to apprehend transporters who violated the norms on restriction of maximum gross weight vehicle.
Ranjit further said that transporters are carrying goods under the guidelines of gazette notification issued by the Road and Transport Ministry. As per the norms of the ministry concerned, each bridges constructed along the national highway should have the capacity to bear 36 metric tonnes. The government order is not relevant, he stated.
The TDC director maintained that the government should increase the transportation charge if weight for loaded trucks is restricted.
While saying that transporters are importing essential commodities through the national highways for the welfare of the people, Ranjit reiterated that the government and authority concerned should clarify by Wednesday evening on repairing the bridge so that TDC could take necessary steps by constructing a diversion bridge for the time being.
Meanwhile, Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has registered a suo-moto case in connection with the collapse of Irang Bridge along Imphal-Jiribam National Highway wherein a driver who fell into the river is yet to be found and a handyman was rescued.
MHRC chairperson Khaidem Mani said that DGP, Manipur, works commissioner, chief engineer (works) have been directed for immediate inquiry into the accidents and submit their reports on or before November 13.
Meanwhile, the rescue operation at Irang river is still continuing as the driver of the truck which fell into the river when the bridge collapsed early Sunday remained untraced till Tuesday.
The rescue operation, which resumed at 8 am Tuesday is carried out by a joint team of personnel from the national and state disaster response force (NDRF-SDRF), Noney district police, CRPF stationed at Irang and locals.
Police sources said the rescue team on Tuesday evening managed to pull up the upper portion of the struck which was stuck with the broken bridge in the river, but they found the driver's cabin empty. Probably, the body was drowned downstream, they said.
Various machineries from the construction companies that are working along the national highway were engaged in the operation. The rescue team had pushed down the whole bridge into the river with the help of a proclaim (PC) and drop some boulders down to slow down the water current, the police sources added.