Authorities working to restore Railway services in the North East

Rain, landslides disrupts railway services in northeast India

Agartala: Torrential rains and heavy landslides badly disrupted rail services in southern Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Mizoram in the recent past, officials said on Tuesday.  ”Railway workers have been working round-the-clock to clear the debris in many places in southern Assam’s Dima Hasao district.

The huge mudslides together with stones covering a large portion of railway tracks at Fidhing and other places are being cleared,” a Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) official said.  He said it would take another three or four days to clear the debris and make way for trains.

“We are expecting to restore rail services in the region by the end of this week,” he said.  NFR officials and engineers accompanied by district administration officials camped at the spot, 300 km south of Guwahati, to supervise the clearance work.

Due to heavy rains, huge landslides occurred in the Lumding-Badarpur hill section in southern Assam on Monday night

NFR chief public relations officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said four major trains running between Guwahati and Silchar, including the Silchar-Sealdah Kanchanjunga Express and the Silchar-New Delhi via Guwahati Poorvattar Sampark Kranti Express, were cancelled until the removal of mudslides.

Authorities are working on a war-footing to restore rail traffic that has remained disrupted for nearly a month in southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and western Manipur due to incessant rain and subsequent landslides.

Tripura Bharatiya Janata Party President Biplab Deb said on Friday that Assam Public Works Department (Roads and Highways) Minister Parimal Shuklabaidya too had assured him of all steps to help restore road traffic in the region at the earliest, disrupted due to damage to National Highway-8.

The railway line and national highways pass through southern Assam to connect Tripura, Mizoram and western Manipur with the rest of India to supply foodgrains, fertilisers, petroleum products, construction material and other essential commodities.

Tripura is the worst affected as the 585-km National Highway 8 — its only connection with the rest of India through Assam and Meghalaya — was severely damaged in adjoining southern Assam.

About a 20-km stretch between Lower Powa in Assam and Churaibari in northern Tripura has turned into a slushy field after the downpour.

According to Tripura government officials, due to the damage to National Highway-8, hundreds of oil tankers, goods-laden trucks and other vehicles have been stranded in Lower Powa area in southern Assam.

Disruption in rail and road traffic has led to prices of essential commodities soaring in the region.

“We are trying to restore the rail line within a week. Our workers and engineers are working round-the-clock to restore rail service,” Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Chief Administrative Officer Ajit Pandit told over phone.

He said :”We have roped in engineers from Austria as well as other parts of India to use their expertise at the trouble spots. We are using all options to open the vital railway route soon.”

After removal of debris and repair of railway tracks, goods trains from Guwahati to Tripura, Mizoram and southern Assam were operated in the past two days on an experimental basis though conditions were still not conducive for running passenger trains on the route.

“Clearing huge mudslides apart from boulders from a large portion of the tracks at Fidhing and 11 other places in Dima Hasao district (in Assam) is a huge task,” Pandit added.

Huge landslides damaged railway tracks first on April 27.

Rail traffic was restored on May 6, only to be disrupted again from May 13 in Assam’s Dima Hasao district.

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