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Panic over essential items as key NE rail link remains snapped</p><p>National

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Guwahati/Agartala/Aizawl, May 18 (Ajit Weekly News) Apprehension on availability of essentials, transport fuel and vegetables grips the people of certain parts of the northeastern region as the solitary railway line through Assam’s Dima Hasao district connecting Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and southern Assam remained snapped for the last five days following heavy landslides triggered by incessant rains.

Authorities in Tripura, Mizoram and southern Assam, however, said that there are sufficient stocks of essentials and transport fuel, and if any one or any trader tries to do illegal hoarding or increase the prices, the government would take action against them.

The pre-monsoon flood situation in Assam further deteriorated on Wednesday with 4,03,352 people in 1,089 villages under 26 districts across the state remained affected.

Officials of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said that one person died in western Assam’s Udalguri district during the past 24 hours taking the death toll rose to nine in the ongoing pre-monsoon floods and landslides in Assam.

The officials said that due to the floods, 1,676 houses have been either partially and fully damaged in 1,089 villages in 26 districts.

Over 39,558 people have taken shelter in 89 relief camps.

The worst-affected districts include Cachar, Dima Hasao, Hojai, Nagaon, Charaideo, Darrang, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Bajali, Baksa, Biswanath and Lakhimpur.

The situation in the hill section of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) at Halflong and nearby areas in Dima Hasao district remained critical on Wednesday as rain continued to batter the mountainous region, affecting the Lumding-Badarpur single line railway route.

“Out of the 56 affected locations, in around 12 locations restoration work have been completed but the work in major affected areas yet to start due to the inclement weather,” an official told Ajit Weekly News over phone from the NFR headquarters in Maligaon.

NFR officials said that uninterrupted rains coupled with the difficult terrain severely affected the restoration and repair work, which might take several weeks.

The Lumding-Badarpur section in Assam is the only rail route to connect Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and the southern part of Assam with the rest of the country.

This rail link has been cut off since May 14.Tripura Food and Civil Supplies Department Director Tapan Kumar Das said that though there are enough stocks of transport fuel, providing petrol in limited quantities has been started from Tuesday.

“Essentials, transport fuel and other basic items would be transported by road via Assam and Meghalaya. We are in touch with the Assam and Meghalaya governments,” Das told Ajit Weekly News.

In Silchar, BJP’s Lok Sabha Member Rajdeep Roy, MLA Dipayan Chakraborty and Cachar District Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli in a joint media briefing urged the people not to panic as the administration is striving its best to ensure supply of essentials and fuels.

They informed that all concerned departments are working round-the-clock so that the flood situation can be tackled well.

Meanwhile, in view of the disruptions of the railway lines, the fares of different flights operated between Mizoram, Tripura and southern Assam increased to at least triple times from the normal rate of fare severely affecting the people bound for Kolkata, Delhi and other cities in India by air.

–Ajit Weekly News

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