As much as 90 per cent of work of the Jiribam-Imphal new railway line have been completed and Manipur capital is expected to come onto the Indian Railways network by December 2023, making it the fourth capital city in the northeastern region to have a rail link, officials said on Tuesday.

Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Chief Public Relations Officer Sabyasachi De told IANS that the Rs 14,322 crore, 110-km-long Jiribam-Imphal railway line is targeted to be completed by December 2023.

He said that the construction of the project involves multiple tunnels and bridges in tough terrain. Out of 52 tunnels, tunnel no 12, passing through the most complex geological condition having fragile soil type condition, is the longest tunnel of this project with total length of 10.275 km including a 529 metre RCC Ramp with a parallel safety tunnel of length 8.30 km.

The vertical shaft construction technology has been adopted for the first time in the history of NFR for these complex tunnelling works. Normally this technology is used only in the metro rail projects.

The CPRO said that Indian Railways is significantly contributing towards transformation of the northeastern states by executing several new railway projects. The Jiribam-Imphal new line railway project is one of the crucial connectivity projects for the region that is at an advanced stage of completion, he said. De said that the tallest pier railway bridge of the world with a height of 141 metres is also being constructed in this project and nearing completion.

After completion of the under-construction railway project, the present road journey time of about 10 hours to reach Imphal from Jiribam will be reduced to 2.5 hours. The railway project after completion would facilitate the receiving of essential commodities faster by the state and help the state local producers to export their products outside the state quicker.

Assam's main city of Guwahati (adjoining capital Dispur), Tripura capital Agartala and Arunachal Pradesh's Naharlagun (adjacent to capital city Itanagar) are already on the railway network.