Tripura and Mizoram have approached the External Affairs Ministry to bring essential supplies and transport fuels via Bangladesh as the rail links have been cut off for the past nine days.
The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has cancelled all goods and passenger trains till June following unprecedented landslides triggered by uninterrupted rains in Assam's Dima Hasao district. NFR's Lumding-Badarpur single line railway route via Dima Hasao mountainous district connects Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and the southern part of Assam with the rest of the country.
According to NFR's Chief Public Relations Officer, Sabyasachi De, in the hill section under Lumding Division, all trains were cancelled till June or until restoration of railway lines, which were disrupted due to the heavy rains and landslides on May 14.
Tripura Food and Civil Supplies Department Director Tapan Kumar Das said that the state government has already approached the External Affairs Ministry to take up the matter with Bangladesh government to bring essentials and transport fuels including petrol to meet the requirement of the state.
"We can ferry essentials and transport fuels using the Dawki (in West Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya) -- Bangladesh-Kailashahar (northern Tripura) route. Few years back also the essentials and fuels were transported through the same route," Das told IANS on Sunday.
The official said that there are stocks of fuels and essentials in the state now but as the railway authorities have cancelled trains for a longer period, we have taken alternative arrangements to meet the requirement.
"Efforts are on to transport essentials, transport fuels and other basic items by road via Assam and Meghalaya. We are in touch with the Assam and Meghalaya governments. But these supplies are not adequate for the longer period," Das said.
In Aizawl, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs minister K. Lalrinliana said that the state government is considering the possibility of bringing in essential commodities via Bangladesh. "We have sought the approval of the External Affairs Ministry for transportation of essential goods through Bangladesh," the minister said.
The Indian Air Force helicopters are carrying essentials and fuels from Guwahati to rain and landslides hit Dima Hasao district. The situation in the hill section of the NFR in Dima Hasao district remained serious on Sunday as rain continued to batter the area.
"Out of 56 affected locations and some less affected locations, restoration work has been completed but the work in major affected areas is yet to start due to the inclement weather," an NFR official told IANS from the NFR headquarters in Maligaon.
The official said that the railway engineers and workers are working on war footing round-the-clock to restore the vital railway lines to reinstate the rail link with Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and southern Assam.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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