Agartala: Tripura was hit by a wave of panic buying as people rushed to stock up essential commodities as railway connectivity to the state was completely cut off due to the inclement weather conditions.
Since Wednesday morning, long queues were seen in front of petrol pumps across city areas and grocery markets witnessed more than usual crowd.
However, the state government has appealed to the people not to worry as sufficient stocks of essential items were available in local markets.
Principal Secretary Transport department LH Darlong and Secretary Food and Civil supplies department Saradindu Chowdhury said that steps are being taken to open alternative routes for bringing in goods to avert scarcity.
“There are two options we have right now. First, to use Chittagong port for transshipment of goods using Haldia in West Bengal. The goods unloaded in Chittagong port will be later carried to Akhaura via trucks. The other option is roadways, which also seems feasible right now as rains have stopped along the Meghalaya-Assam border,” said Darlong.
He also said adequate efforts were being made to ensure flights can be increased on Agartala-Delhi, Agartala-Kolkata and Agartala-Guwahati routes.
“Right now, there are 18 operational flights that land and take off every day. Since railway connectivity has been totally cut off, the only medium of transport left is airways. The CM has also taken up the issue with the ministry of civil aviation and hopefully a few flights will be introduced,” the minister added.
Meanwhile, all the stranded passengers of Humsafar express and Kanchanjunga express have been safely brought back to Agartala with the help of Railways. Passengers of three Agartala-bound trains that could not reach the final destination because of the extreme weather conditions have been shifted to Guwahati.
“The Assam Rifles have extended their support to make sure that children and elderly persons can reach their homes in time,” Darlong added.
On the fuel crisis, Darlong said, “We are in talks with Meghalaya government. They have informed us that road connectivity has been restored but it will take some time to become smooth like before.
“Over 50 oil tankers are in transit. At present, the average petrol demand is around 350 kilolitres while Diesel requirement is 220 kiloliters. Right now, oil containers from Silchar depot of Oil India have reached Tripura to mitigate the present crisis situation.”
Addressing the press conference, Secretary Food and Civil Supplies department Saradindu Chowdhury said, “We have stock for 42 days, the present wheat stock to continue for next 38 days and lentils stock is sufficient for 41 days. Goods like sugar, salt and Kerosine are available for 28, 33 and 10 days, respectively”.
The present Petrol and Diesel stocks are sufficient for eight and five days.
On the exorbitant rise of some selected commodities like potato and onion, Chowdhury said, “We don’t see any reason behind the price rise. The department has been closely monitoring the situation and food department officials are conducting enforcement drives in major markets.”
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