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Introduction:  The Barak River is the biggest and longest river in the State of Manipur with a total length of approximately 300 km. It also covers two neighbouring states of Assam & Mizoram. In Manipur, from where the river originates its course somewhere in Senapati District & runs towards North- West direction through hilly areas & dense forests and primarily cannot contribute much to the socio- economic development.


2. Inhabitants Villages: There are over 100 villages located on/along the banks of the Barak River and another 50 villages on the hinterland within 1 to 2 km distance. The total population is approximately 14 to 15 thousands all comprising of Scheduled Tribes (SC). Besides, the river also covers Assam & Mizoram and directly populated with roughly 4000 and 2000 inhabitants.


3. Economic Status:   On account of the inaccessibility of the villages located along the river bank, the area is much underdeveloped and economic conditions of the villages are deplorable. The land/surface communication is poor and almost non-existence. The only alternate way for socio-economic development of the areas lies in the development of Inland Waterway of the Barak River with proper utilization and up-gradation of the existing water ways/routes.


4. Connectivity between Tipaimukh & Jiribam: Tipaimukh which is the most important sub-divisional head quarter falling along the river course of Barak may be connected with Jiribam, having the facility of  Rail Head connecting with Silchar, the 2nd largest city of Assam which is also the last point of East Golden Corridor of National Highway Project. The proposal of Inland Water Transport Project connecting Tipaimukh with Jiribam shall be instrumental in promotion of quantum jump to the development of the area and the State as a whole. Further, the proposed development of Inland Water Transport System along the Barak river needs enhancement of requisite infrastructure as well as construction of accessible roads of the peripheral villages which is one of the priority sectors in North East Region.


5. Activities of Barak River Valley Development Board: The Barak River Development Board is implementing Watershed Development Project in Shifting Cultivation Area (W.D.P.S.C.A) as a Project implementing Agency of Horticulture and Soil Conservation Department, Govt. of Manipur. The nature of works are land development, horticulture, crop plantation, a-forestation, water source development for checking soil erosion  and  land degradation process for sustainable cultivation of the watershed areas.


6. Hydro-graphic Survey: The Hydro-graphic survey in the stretch between Tipaimukh- Jiribam via  Lakhipur along Barak River was done between 10th -14th March’ 2011 by a team of Larson & Toubro, Chennai as assigned by the IWAI under the security coverage  provided by the DGP, Manipur.


7. Present Status: The downstream of Barak River reach from Tipaimukh(Manipur) to Karimganj(Assam) has already been considered  for DPR study by IWAI. The Barak River  reach in the  upstream  of Tipaimukh upto NH/53 ( now renamed as NH/37) crossing at Nungba (60km)  has also potential  to develop river navigation  in Manipur.  The river is navigable round the year with 10 tons vessel during lean period and 50 tons vessels during flood period.


8. Remarks: The above status report is published in July’ 2011 in the Final Report on Identification of Potential Waterways in North East India conducted by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) through RITES ( concerned copy along with Report on Loktak Lake enclosed  as Annexure –A or reference).


9.   Visit of Shri. A.N. Misra, Dy. G.M./Ports & Waterways, RTES Ltd, Gurgaon, NCR of Delhi in the State of Manipur: Shri Misra as deputed by the IWAI has visited the State of Manipur during the period from 27th -30th June’ 2011 for identification, investigation and exploration of various aspects with feasibility study of potentials of major rivers of the State including Loktak Lake & Barak River for  introduction of Inland Water Transport System.  During his official visit, joint team of Transport Department  & LDA, Manipur led by the undersigned who worked as i/c Director (Transport) during the time  has visited Loktak Lake,  Imphal River basins  and also Barak River  with specific points at Nungba (121 km) and Barak Bridge (145 km). Shri Mishra reviewed the progress of works implemented under the Loktak Inland Water Transport Project – I & he also identified potentials of Loktak Lake for further development of Inland Waterway System and explored opening of various Inland Waterway routes in consultation with LDA, Manipur which may be taken up as Loktak Inland Water Transport Project – II under the CSS funding once the proposal/DPR is approved by the IWAI, Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India. His findings of Loktak Lake and Barak river were reflected in the Final Report on Identification of Potential Waterways in North East India conducted by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) through RITES published in July, 2011.


10. Meeting of Inland Waterway Transport Wing, Govt. of Manipur: A copy of minute records of the first meeting of Inland Water Transport Wing, Govt. of Manipur held on  28-06-2011 under the chairmanship of the then Director (Transport) is enclosed as Annexure-B for reference.


11. Meeting on identification of potential Inland Waterways in North East region held on 25-11-2011 at Pandu Port (on board MV Manaj Khetra), Guwahati under the Chairmanship of IWAI, Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India: The undersigned on the capacity of Director (Transport) cum Chairman (Inland Waterway Transport Wing), Govt. of Manipur attended the above meeting for finalisation of study reports conducted/submitted by the RITES on identification of potential waterways in North East India which was published in July, 2011 by the IWAI and consideration of projects on priority for the year 2012-13.


12. Feedbacks on prioritization of waterway project for the State of Manipur submitted to the IWAI, Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India: The Directorate of Transport letter No. DT/1/IWT/2011 dated 23-05-2012 addressed to the Director (P & C), IWAI, Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India, H.O-A-13, Sector-I, Noida (UP)-201301 dated 23-05-2012 is enclosed as Annexure-C for reference.