Parts of NE remain isolated as submerged railway tracks disrupt connectivity

Guwahati/Agartala, May 30 (IANS) Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur along with southern Assam remained isolated for the third consecutive day on Thursday as most railway tracks remained waterlogged or damaged due to the landslides which were triggered by the incessant rains in the aftermath of Cyclone Remal, officials said.

A Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) official said that railway tracks were either inundated or the water is overflowing over the tracks due to incessant rains or have been damaged in at least ten places in the New Haflong-Bandarkhal section under the Lumding division in southern Assam’s Dima Hasao district, which is a connecting route to south Assam, Tripura, Manipur, and Mizoram.

“The water levels of all rivers including Barak, Madhura, and Jiri are flowing above the danger level in the region. Once the water level recedes, restoration work can be started.

“Currently intermittent heavy rain also badly hampered the work. However, our engineers and workers are working round-the-clock to restore rail services,” an NFR official told IANS.

India Meteorological Department said that the Southwest monsoon has advanced into most parts of the northeast region on Thursday, which was advanced by a week from its normal date.

The railway official said that with the onset of monsoon if the rain occurs in the coming days then it is uncertain about the resumption of railway services in the region.

The NFR had cancelled a large number of express, passenger and goods trains bound for south Assam, Tripura, Manipur, and Mizoram since Tuesday.

Tripura Food and Civil Supplies minister Sushanta Chowdhury on Thursday appealed to people “not to panic” and said the state has got sufficient food stocks and enough petrol, and diesel stocks to last another week.

Passenger and goods train services have been affected in the region since April 25 owing to heavy landslides causing damage to railway tracks in the Jatinga Lumpur-New Harangajao section under the Lumding division after heavy rains lashed the mountainous Dima Hasao district.

Considering the damaged railway tracks and weak soil in the region, the NFR recently operated a limited number of trains in the daytime on the hilly route, besides regulating long-distance, express and goods trains.

The disruptions in services caused a major shortage of transport fuel — petrol and diesel — and other essential goods in southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur.

Due to the heavy rain and landslides, highway connectivity was also affected in these states, which are heavily dependent on fuel, essential items, food grains and other commodities from the outside.

–IANS

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