Silchar: The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has decided to construct a diversion at Maigrendisa in Dima Hasao district to reconnect Silchar with Lumding.
The move comes after the NFR failed to repair the tracks damaged owing to incessant rain and landslides in front of tunnel 8 at Maigrendisa despite repeated attempts for more than a month.
Chief engineer of NFR (construction) Rajendra Jinger told that they had started work on a diversion line, which will be 220-metres long. “All our attempts to repair the tracks on the old alignment went in vain because of swelling of soil. We are now constructing a diversion line, 10m away from the existing line,” he said.
Passenger train service along the route has been abandoned since May 16 after the tracks got damaged because of landslides. The route was thrown open for goods train on June 7 but stopped five days later after the bulging of tracks.
Sources said the NFR faced a tough time repairing the damaged 140m-long tracks at Maigrendisa.
“There were many occasions when the track was laid but within a few hours, we noticed parts of it were bulging. Moreover, it has been raining heavily for the past month. The rainfall in the hills crossed 300mm in three days, the highest in the past decade,” Jinger said.
He said the alignment of the diversion route would be a curvature one unlike the existing straight one.
Sources said the hillocks on either side of the tracks at Maigrendisa comprise a layer of black soil, which was unable to discharge water following the rain and later it led to landslide.
The diversion was undertaken following the advice of an Austrian expert Florian Krenn, who visited the site a few days back and submitted a report to the NFR.
Krenn is associated with Geo Consult, a private and independent engineering consultant providing various services in engineering on a global scale.
Asked about the probable date for completion of the work, Jinger said, “Work is going on in full swing. For the last two days, there has been no rain and the progress is impressive. If the weather supports us, we are likely to complete the diversion by July 7 or 8.”
After repeated failures to resolve the issue, NFR officials and workers also offered prayers to “Nag Mata” at Maigrendisa on June 13.
Asked if soil testing was not conducted before construction of the Silchar-Lumding broad-gauge project, Jinger said, “Everything was done according to rules. Soil was also tested. If the nature changes or reveals its fury, no one can do anything. We are making our best efforts to open the line as soon as possible,” he added.
On the other hand, different Dima Hasao organisations have demanded commencement of the services along the Silchar-Haflong route owing to the poor condition of roads.