Rain, landslides disrupt road, rail traffic in north-east

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Agartala/Silchar, May 21 (IANS) Road and rail traffic was disrupted in southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and western Manipur by incessant rain and landslides, officials said here on Saturday.

Tripura has been cut off from the rest of the country since Friday as its lifeline — National Highway-8 (NH-8) — was badly damaged in adjoining southern Assam.

A Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) official said in Silchar: “Due to torrential rain during the past several days, coupled with heavy landslides, rail services have been disrupted in southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and western Manipur.”

He said that railway workers were working round-the-clock to clear the rubble in many places in Assam’s Dima Hasao district.

“Huge mudslides together with boulders covering a large portion of the tracks at Fidhing and other places are being cleared.”

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The official however could not give the time by when the rail tracks will be cleared as the rain continued on Saturday as well.

NFR chief public relations officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said four major trains running between Guwahati and Silchar, including Silchar-Sealdah Kanchanjunga Express and the Silchar-New Delhi via Guwahati Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express, were cancelled till the tracks were cleared.

The railway lines and the national highways, considered the lifelines for the region, from Guwahati pass through southern Assam to connect landlocked Tripura’s capital Agartala, Mizoram and western Manipur with the rest of India.

These states are heavily dependent on the railways for the supply of food grain, fertilisers, petroleum products, construction material and other commodities.

Huge landslides had blocked the railway tracks on April 27 and rail traffic could be restored only on May 6. Rail services were again disrupted on May 13.

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The 585-km NH-8 is the only road link between Tripura and the rest of the country via Assam and Meghalaya.

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

According to Tripura government officials, national highway-8 is badly damaged and consequently hundreds of oil tankers, goods-laden trucks and other vehicles have been stranded in Lower Powa areas in southern Assam.



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