Tripura asks adequate security on hill railway

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Agartala, May 19: The Tripura Government has urged the Centre to provide adequate security between Lumding and Badarpur hill section of railway for ensuring safe movement of trains in Tripura, Barak Valley of South Assam and Mizoram, following suspension of rail services in the sector last week.

Official sources here today said that Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had brought the matter to the notice of the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister, besides the Railway Ministry, while Food Corporation of India was asked to make alternative arrangement for transportation of food grains in the states.

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Authority had suspended railway services since May 12, following two subsequent militant attacks on goods trains in the hill section of the route, where at least 11 people were killed.

The suspension of rail services has led to crisis in the transportation of essential goods in Tripura, resulting in price hike of commodities and hence compelling the Chief Minister to take up the matter with the Centre, officials stated and added that Railway personnel posted in the section had been evacuated due to security reasons and at least 18 stations were virtually under lock and key now.

Almost all essential commodities, including rice, wheat, sugar, petroleum products to Tripura, Mizoram, South Assam and parts of Manipur were sent through the Hill section only and the train line was considered as the lifeline to the area because Assam - Agartala National Highway had not been able to manage good carried by road.

''About 50,000 tonnes of food items are generally sent to these areas by Railways every month, but in the last two months, 75,000 tonnes were sent as buffer stock to be stored in the godowns of the Food Corporation of India(FCI) in preparation of the monsoon season, which all are now severely affected,'' NF Railway officials underlined.

Meanwhile, NF Railway authority has also demanded adequate security arrangements for the staff, while maintaining the lifeline of southern part of Northeast and they also sought intervention of the State Government to provide armed guards on trains as well as to persons involved in maintaining the tracks and to the personnel posted in the more vulnerable stations.

UNI

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