Train service remains suspended in flood-hit Assam
Guwahati, August 17: As the flood situation across Assam, West Bengal and Bihar continued to be grim on Wednesday, train services to the Northeast region came to a grinding halt.
The railway communication to Assam--the gateway of Northeast region--from the rest of the country remained suspended since Sunday. Restoration of railway services got affected due to inaccessibility to most of the damaged sites as rains continued to batter Assam and neighbouring areas.
"Special trains between Guwahati and Dalkhola (in Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal) were arranged on Wednesday for stranded passengers. But sections like Dalkhola-Telta, Sudhani Barsoi, Raiganj, Balurghat and Buniyadpur are still inundated," Pranav Jyoti Sharma, chief public relations officer of Northeast Frontier Railway, said in a statement.
All trains beyond Malda in West Bengal and Katihar district in Bihar have been cancelled by the Railway Board till August 20, following damage of four railway bridges in the Kathiar division.
Since train services have been severely affected, airlines are taking advantage of the situation by hiking ticket prices by almost 50 per cent. Meanwhile, death toll in Assam floods reached 123 on Wednesday.
The second wave of floods in Assam claimed 11 lives on Wednesday, taking the death toll to 39. The first wave ending mid-July had claimed 84 lives. At least 33.45 lakh people are being affected across 24 districts in the state due to floods.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal left for Delhi on Wednesday to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him of preliminary damage in floods. Currently, 2,970 villages are under water and 1.43 lakh hectares of crop got damaged, said a report by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).
The ASDMA report added that the authorities have set up 304 relief camps and distribution centres in 21 districts, where 1,38,648 people have taken shelter. Over 4,600 people have been evacuated to safer places by the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel in many districts.
The flood has damaged embankments, roads, bridges and other infrastructures in several districts. Brahmaputra river is now flowing above the danger marks in Guwahati, Jorhat, Tezpur , Goalpara and Dhubri.
Meanwhile, the death toll in the flood rose to 72 in Bihar, where 73.44 lakh people have been hit by inundation in 14 districts. In West Bengal, at least 32 people have died and over 14 lakh have been affected.