Landslides block access to parts of Northeast

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The single line railway route, which links these states to the rest of the country, also remained cut off for the last 38 days….reports Asian Lite News

The National Highway-6, which connects Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and the southern part of Assam with the rest of the country continues to be cut off for the fourth consecutive day on Sunday due to landslides triggered by incessant rains. The single line railway route, which links these states to the rest of the country, also remained cut off for the last 38 days.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma along with Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui accompanied by district administration officials, PWD Engineers and NHAI officials on Sunday inspected the damaged portion of the NH-6 at Lum Shnong in East Jaintia Hills.

An official of the Meghalaya government said that an alternative route has been identified in Lum Shnong, which has been thrown open only for light motor vehicles. The Chief Minister interacted with truck drivers, who have been stranded in the area and assured them that the administration will extend all possible support.

Sangma said that efforts are on to restore the road link in the next 48 to 72 hours, subject to weather conditions. He said that due to continuous rains the restoration work is being hampered but administration is working to ensure that the road communication is restored.

“All efforts are being made to restore the entire damaged portion of the road to ensure accessibility. However, there is a huge challenge, as the rains are continuing. It is only when the rain abates and the flow of water is diverted, the affected area can be restored,” the Chief Minister told the media.

At Lum Shnong, waters from the hills have been gushing through the road, which has damaged the vital National Highway and is affecting the restoration work. According to the official, over 1,000 goods-laden trucks are stranded along both sides of the road, from Assam to Meghalaya.

Sangma said that the state government has sought Rs 300 crore from the Union Home Ministry to undertake the restoration work. “The rain has been unprecedented, breaking records of the past 40 years in some areas. Apart from damage to the highways, important road links in rural areas, bridges have been washed away. It’s financial implication will be very high impacting livelihood of the people. Damage to livestock, farming activities across the State is another concern,” the Chief Minister said.

He said that the state government would take some time to assess the extent of damages, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been apprised of the situation. The damage to NH-6 has caused huge inconvenience to people of Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and the southern part of Assam affecting ferrying of essentials, foodgrains, transport fuels besides passengers.

Meanwhile, the situation in the hill section of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) in Dima Hasao district of Assam since May 14 remained critical as inclement weather continued to batter the area, affecting the Lumding-Badarpur single line railway route that 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 Lumding Division, train services have been cancelled till June end. He said that breaches had occurred at more than 61 locations in this section, resulting in disruption of the rail communication to Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and parts of Assam. Restoration works at 46 locations have already been completed and work at other 15 critical locations is going on in full vigour.

The NFR is targeting speedy restoration work in the entire hill section with an aim to restart services by July 10, the CPRO said.

Even in such bad weather, thousands of workers and hundreds of machines are working day and night under the supervision of Railway officials, De said, adding that the entire stretch from Badarpur to Jatinga Lumpur has already been restored.

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