This crucial initiative was undertaken by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) in collaboration with the state department of transportation, with the goal of addressing the shortage of essential items caused by the current Law and order situation in Manipur.
Freight trains were carrying basic goods to support the violence-hit northeastern state.
“Delighted to witness the momentous arrival of the inaugural freight train at Khongsang railway station today,” Manipur Prime Minister N Biren Singh tweeted.
This development heralds a plethora of opportunities for the people of Manipur, promising expedited transportation of goods and commodities, he said.
“Smooth logistics will undoubtedly catalyze industrial growth, increase trade and ultimately improve overall quality of life. Grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his pivotal role in advancing the state’s economic prospects through this monumental initiative,” the CM said.
Khongsang station was commissioned in 2022 as part of the Jiribam-Imphal New Line project. However, the line’s operations were suspended due to the outbreak of ethnic violence in Manipur on May 3.
During his visit to Manipur on June 1, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that a temporary railway station would be operational in Khongsang within a few days. The purpose was to facilitate the movement of people and the transport of goods.
NFR PR Director Sabyasachi De said, “A Marketing Inspector has been specially appointed in Imphal to help Manipur-based merchants book goods through the railways. The Marketing Inspector will be available 24 hours for any inquiries from the merchants.”
All Manipur-based merchants had the opportunity to book commodities at Khongsang station every day from 6 am to 4 pm. Also, under special consideration for the state, reservation of wagons in parts for Manipur was allowed. As a result, staples like onions from Maharashtra, potatoes from West Bengal, and FMCG products from Assam were already reserved for the state.
The initiatives taken by NFR are expected to be of great help to the people of Manipur during this difficult time, given the current situation resulting from the ethnic clashes that started on May 3. The clashes broke out after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ in the hilly districts, which was organized to protest the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Manipur’s population is made up of about 53 percent Meitei, who reside mainly in the Imphal Valley, and about 40 percent tribes, including Nagas and Kukis, who live in the hilly districts. Demography plays a crucial role in the complexities of the region.
(With contributions from PTI)