Damaged highway: Shortage of essential items cripples Tripura

Agartala, July 19 (IANS) The supply of essentials and fuel continues to be hit badly in Tripura for more than one-and-a half months now even as the state government sought the Centre’s intervention to restore National Highway-8 which has been badly damaged.

The NH-8 has turned into a muddy field at Lowerpoah in south Assam adjoining northern Tripura, thereby cutting off Tripura from the rest of the country.

On Monday, Tripura Chief Secretary Yashpal Singh had visited the affected site along with MPs and officials from the state. The Chief Secretary walked several kilometres into Assam and talked to the officials of the private road construction company.

“I have also talked to the Secretary of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Assam Chief Secretary. I requested them to restore the road,” Singh told IANS over phone on Tuesday.

Tripura Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bhanulal Saha said the state government has suggested that essential items be transported to Tripura through Bangladesh.

“The Food Corporation of India and the Indian Oil Corporation officials assured us that they have taken steps to transport food grains, petrol and diesel through Bangladesh. For this, the Guwahati-Dawki-Dharmanagar route and Bangladesh’s Ashuganj river port would be used,” Saha told reporters on Tuesday.

“If the central and Assam governments would have taken steps earlier to repair NH-8, then Tripura would not have suffered. The Centre should be much more responsible for easing the sufferings of the northeastern states which are affected due to lack of proper surface connectivity,” Saha said.

He said top officials of the National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation, and PWD departments of Tripura and Assam recently visited the affected site but it did not yield any result.

“Some trucks and fuel tankers passed through the damaged areas but this was nothing compared to the massive problem,” the minister said.

Tripura PWD Minister Badal Choudhury also spoke with his Assam counterpart Parimal Suklabaidya and sought his intervention to overcome the crisis.

Following the shortage caused by the disruption of both rail and road traffic, prices of essential commodities have increased in Tripura.

Over 1,000 tankers carrying fuel from Guwahati are stuck in Assam’s Karimganj district, adjoining northern Tripura.

The situation worsened as the train services between Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and southern Assam and the rest of India became irregular for more then two months due to damage to the railway tracks in Dima Hasao district of Assam.

“We are trying to restore the train services within a week. Our workers and engineers are working round the clock to restore the rail services,” Northeast Frontier Railways Chief Administrative Officer Ajit Pandit told IANS.

The restoration of the rail services was a great relief for southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and parts of Manipur which are linked to the railway network of India through the NFR line.

However, regular services of goods and passenger trains have not yet started.

Northeast Frontier Railways Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said a new 300-metre track was laid to divert the route slightly at the affected spot in Migrendisa in Dima Hasao district of southern Assam.

“After running goods train on the route for a few weeks, we will decide on resuming normal passenger train service,” he told IANS over phone.

–IANS

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