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Saturday, February 24, 2018
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Transport and Communication

Road & Railways | Inland Water Ways | Rail & Air Link | Communication

Road And Railways

Formidable terrain had been the major obstacle in road building in Mizoram.  During the expeditions into the hills, the British took with them a large number of work force mainly to clear the jungles, make earth cuts for the laden animals to proceed and for the entire column to move to the interior. Thus, bridle paths fit for loaded ponies came into existence. The main bridle paths connected Mizoram with Chittagong in the west, Cachar plains in the north and the chin hills in Burma in the east.  By 1935 the important bridle paths were : Demagiri (border of Chittagong Hill Tracts) - Lunglei (70 Km), Dwar band (cachar) - Aizawl (125 km), Aizawl - Falam (Burma) (165 Km) and Lunglei - Haka (Burma) (90 Km).  Inside Mizoram the bridle paths were : Sairang - Changsil (10 Km),  Aizawl - North vanlaiphai (128 Km),  Aizawl Lunglei (165 km), Aizawl Tipaimukh (115 Km) Lunglei Serkawar (108 km), Dokhma - Koladyne (50 km) Zawngling - Tongkolong (67 Km), Tuipang - Chakang (72 km) and Loch's  trace road (83 km).  These totaled 1,248 Km of bridle path in the Mizo Hills.In addition some unmetaled roads fit for animal drawn carts also came up. 

These were Aizawl - Sairang (22 Km) and town roads in Aizawl (10 Km), Lunglei (4 Km), Sairang (3 Km) and Demagiri (2 Km) making a total of 41 Km.

The bridle paths were mostly used for maintenance of supplies to the Assam Rifle Posts in the interior.  The connection with Falam and Haka in the chin hills enabled linkage with these two stations in Burma till move stable paths could be built in Burma connecting these two stations with the plains of Burma.

During the second world war (1939 -45) with the Japanese occupation of Burma, the strategic importance of the Mizo hills came into focus. A 190 Km jeepable road was constructed connecting Silchar and Aizawl.  In 1950, construction of the 205 Km Aizawl - Lunglei jeep road was completed.

After the Chinese invasion into Arunachal Pradesh in 1962, the Government accorded priority to strategic road building in the border areas of the north - east.  The Border Roads Task Force (BRTF) was deployed in Mizoram in 1963 and they started up-gradation of the Aizawl - Lunglei road to good black topped standard fit for heavy vehicles and cars. They later took up the Aizawl -Silchar road and other trunk roads in the state.  The PWD was strengthened to take up construction of subsidiary road.  Under the employment generation scheme about 700 Km of jeep able roads were constructed in the early 1970s connecting the remote villages with the nearest BRTF/PWD road. These roads were of much use to the villagers as essential commodities like rice and other food articles, could be sent to the interior in jeeps instead of depending on costly and uncertain airdropping  and head loads.

Even though number of roads have been constructed, the road position in the state is not up to the requirement.  The road density in Mizoram is 22 Km per 100 Sq Km as against the national average of 49 and average 39 in the other areas of the north - eastern region. By the end of the seventh plan 623 villages got road connection.  During the Eight plan this number have been increased to 746.

Inland Water Ways

There is a good scope for the development of inland water ways in Mizoram. Before partition of India in 1947 there was an excellent waterway between Chittagong in Bangladesh and Demagiri in Mizoram through the Karnafuli river.  With coming up of Kaptai dam on the Karnafuli in Bangladesh, a huge area around Demagiri has been submerged. This has created a good potential of inland water transport in the area. Another water way in the south was the Kolodyne.  

In the north, the most frequently used water way was the Tlawng by which the British used to move men and material from Silchar to Sairang, gateway to Aizawl. It was a journey of about seven days inward and three days outward.

There is a big scheme for development of water ways in Mizoram for having a dam on the Tlawng at Bairabi which will provide navigation from Bairabi to Lunglei, a distance of about 350 Km, in addition to a supply of 100 MW of hydel power. There is good possibility of inland water transport in the Tuichawng river near Chawngte and also on the Koladyne.

Rail and Air Link

Mizoram has limited scope of railways and air link because of the terrain.  The nearest railway is at Silchar and another railway is constructed between Silchar and Bairabi. There is very little scope of railways going further into the hills.  

Because of the steep hills there is hardly any suitable stretch of land available where long runways can be made. With a lot of effort a small airstrip for has been constructed at Tuirial.  A vayudoot service runs between Calcutta and Aizawl via Silchar.

Communication

During the expeditions and immediately thereafter the British constructed telegraphic lines for communication between the plains of Bengal and Assam to Demagiri, Lunglei and Aizawl and further to Falam and Haka in Burma.  They also used in the interiors, a system of Helio communication when from one village hill top another messages in Morse code would be transmitted through the reflection of sunlight by mirrors.  The British also set up a large number of post offices in the interior.

In 1960s there were only two manually operated battery system of telephones - one in Aizawl and the other in Lunglei.  Now automatic telephone exchanges has come up in several places in Mizoram. Aizawl, Lunglei, Champhai, Saiha, Kolasib, Sairang and Vairengle are some of them.

 

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