Meghalaya landslide snaps surface link with Tripura

Agartala: The surface link between Tripura and the rest of the country snapped on Thursday following massive landslides triggered by heavy rains on NH-6, the key highway linking the state, at Lumshong area of Meghalaya, a government official said.

The train service in Tripura has been disrupted for the past one month due to heavy rains. NH-6 connects Tripura through the Karimganj-Sabroom NH-8, and the landslide has brought all vehicular movement through Assam-Agartala road to a standstill.

“Due to massive landslides on NH-6 at Lumshong in East Jaintia Hills, the road connectivity of the state has been snapped. It means Tripura is cut off from the rest of the country via rail and road,” state principal secretary L H Darlong said.

Restoration work at Lumshong is yet to begin due to the incessant heavy rain and it is uncertain when vehicular traffic on the highway will resume, he said.

Officials of the food and civil supplies department said that if the road connectivity is restored within a few days, there would be no major impact on essential supplies in the state. If the traffic remains disrupted in the long term, however, a crisis of essentials will hit the state markets, he said.

“The present stock of food grains is enough for this month. Earlier, a large quantity of rice and other essential grains was transported through the railways. But in the absence of railway services, we are largely dependent on roadways. And the supply chain needs to remain unaffected when we have only one route operational,” Saradindu Chowdhury, secretary to the Food and Civil Supplies department, Tripura, said.

Darlong said Chief Minister Manik Saha has urged Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia for additional flights to and from Tripura. Besides, the state has sought Director General of Civil Aviation’s help in fixing the air fair in the three important routes of Agartala-Kolkata, Agartala-Delhi and Agartala-Guwahati.

Shyamali Travel of Bangladesh, which operates the Agratala-Kolkata via Dhaka bus service, has also been requested to increase its frequency.

“We have already requested Shyamali travel for at least two buses from both ends daily since Dhaka has already approved the service,” he said.

The state government is considering providing financial help to students and patients who require flight facility. The government has also asked Indian Oil Corporation and Food Corporation of India to bring fuel and essential items through Bangladesh in case of any emergency.

“As of now, the state has rice stock for 37 days, pulses for 39 days, LPG for 27 days, petrol for nine days and diesel for five days,” Chowdhury said.

Railway services were snapped after heavy rains triggered landslides and inundated Haflong railway station earlier in May and repair work is still on.

Also read: Meghalaya landslide: Crisis of essentials in Tripura, Mizoram next?

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