CORRESPONDENT THOUBAL, 7th May:
A bailey bridge over Manipur river which serves as an important link between Bishnupur and Kakching districts collapsed causing severe inconvenience to people on both sides of the river.
Sources informed that the already weakened bridge locally known as Wangoo Thongjao collapsed as a truck loaded with sand was trying to cross it at about 10 pm Sunday.
Driver of the truck namely Chongtham Shyamsunder Meitei of Keirenbikhok Awang Leikai, Thoubal escaped unhurt after brief struggle under water.
Shyamsunder informed this correspondent that the truck loaded with sand was coming from Moreh and the bridge collapsed when the truck reached the middle part of the bridge.
Recounting his brief ordeal under water, Shyamsunder said that he had to struggle for some minutes to get out of the submerged truck as it was raining heavily and nobody was nearby.
The ill-fated truck (10-wheel) which is still under water belongs to one Abechoudori of Uttar Pradesh but presently residing at Moreh.
Following collapse of the bridge, road communication between Bishnupur district and Kakching district in Wangoo area has been completely cut off and many students of the area are unable to go to schools.
Meanwhile, local organisations and people have urged authority concerned to pay immediate attention and construct a new bridge at the earliest.
Sugnu MLA Kangujam Ranjit Singh along with officials of state PWD also inspected the collapsed bridge Monday morning.
According to MLA Ranjit, the bridge was the only communication link between people of Sugnu and Kumbi assembly constituency of Bishnupur district. The bridge also served as an important passage for people of Kakching, Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts.
The bailey bridge spanning around 190 feet was constructed in 2013 as a replacement of an earlier RCC bridge at the same site.
On the other-hand, a 34-year-old man, who has been swept away by the strong current of Arong river in Thoubal district at about 12 noon Monday, remains untraceable.
The man identified as Asem Theibi, son of Khomei of Thoubal Athokpam Heikreng Makhong was swept away by the strong current of Arong river while trying to cross the river at Half Dam. He was returning from his wife’s ancestral home at Khangabok when the incident occurred.
Personnel of State Disaster Response Force along with expert swimmers searched for Theibi’s body till 5pm but could not be located.