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National Highway-37 connecting Imphal-Jiribam road remains cut-off after a bridge over Irang river at Taubam village in Manipur collapsed on Monday morning around 7:25 am.
According to eyewitnesses, the bridge broke down while a 10-wheeler truck was crossing the bridge. The truck, along with the two occupants -- driver and the handyman, fell into the river.
The nearby villagers of Taubam and the CRPF personnel rushed to the spot. However, they could only rescue the handyman while the driver could not be traced till the filing of this report.
According to the sources, the truck belongs to a private company that deals in the Railway’s construction works and was carrying Dimapur’s sand towards Jiri side.
The All Manipur Road Transport Drivers and Motor Workers Union on October 19 blamed the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) for the deplorable conditions of the bridge.
The union has rejected the allegations made by one Krishna of BIPL who said that frequent break down of Makru, Barak and Irang bridges was because of overloaded trucks plying on Imphal-Jiribam highway (NH 37).
The union also stated that Border Road Organisation (BRO) and NHIDCL have been delaying the construction of new Barak, Makru, and Irang bridges "deliberately" with an ulterior motive to turn these projects into their ‘gold mine’.
BPIL and NHIDCL are more interested in earning more profit through revision of the projects’ rates by keeping the projects incomplete beyond the specified completion periods. "They cannot blame transporters for the breakdown of the three bridges," it stated.
The Union contended that the transporters do not load their trucks beyond the permissible limits. The frequent breakdown of bridges along NH-37 is due to the authorities’ failure to maintain them properly and complete the construction of new RCC bridges on time.
Meanwhile, a search operation is being carried out to trace the missing driver.