July 19, 2016 8:01:48 pm
Tired of pleading with the Centre and the Assam government for repair of just a 5-km stretch of National Highway 8 on the Assam border for the past several months, the Tripura has now asked the Centre to arrange supply of food grains and petroleum products through Bangladesh. The food grains stock meanwhile is fast depleting in the state.
Revealing this in Agartala on Tuesday, Tripura food and civil supply minister Bhanulal Saha said the state’s stock of food grains was fast dwindling because a large number of trucks transporting those items have remained stuck in Karimganj district in Assam. With at least two more months of rains are still left, Tripura is faced with serious problems.
“Officials of FCI and IOCL have assured us that they would take steps to transport food grains, petrol and diesel through Bangladesh. While food grains can be brought from Kolkata through the Ashuganj port in Bangladesh, IOCL is exploring the possibility of using the Guwahati-Dawki-Dharmanagar route,” Saha said on Tuesday. Tripura had transported 35,000 tons of food grains through Bangladesh when the railways had gone for a six-month mega-block of the Lumding-Badarpur gauge conversion in 2014.
Blaming both Centre and the Assam government, Saha said both were to be blamed for poor maintenance of NH-8, the lone lifeline of Tripura. “Our state is suffering for no fault of ours. Had the Centre and Assam government taken timely steps, things would not have turned so bad,” minister Saha told newsmen in Agartala.
The lone railway link from Guwahati to Tripura has also become unpredictable due to frequent landslides in the newly-laid Lumding-Badarpur Hill Section since the monsoons began quite early in the last week of April. While a limited movement goods trains have been resumed through a diversion near Migrendisa in Dima Hasao district in Assam, passenger trains have remained suspended between Agartala and Guwahati for more than two months now.
Last weekend state chief secretary Yashpal Singh visited the 5-km stretch between Churaibari and Lowerpoah on the Assam-Tripura border to take stock of the ground situation. Though a few trucks have managed to cross the road that has huge craters and knee-deep mud, hundreds of trucks, tankers and LPG carriers have remained stuck for days at length.
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