Landslide at New Haflong station in Dima Hasao district, Assam

Specialists from North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC), a subsidiary of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), are using drones and satellite data for conducting rapid damage assessment of railway tracks, stations, and other assets of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) in Assam’s Dima Hasao district, officials said on May 23.

Due to unprecedented landslides triggered by heavy rain since May 13, massive damage has been caused to stations and railway tracks at over 58 locations in NF Railway’s Lumding-Badarpur single line railway route via Dima Hasao.

This railway line connects Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and the southern parts of Assam with the rest of the country.

Officials of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority said that a team of specialists from Umiam (Meghalaya)-based NESAC is doing rapid damage assessment in Dima Hasao using drones and satellite data to plan post-disaster activities and restoration of the damaged lines.

ISRO’s NESAC was set up in September 2000 as a joint initiative of the central government’s department of space and the North Eastern Council.

In many places, due to heavy rain, the soil from the railway tracks got washed away and huge landslides covered the tracks and other railway assets. According to NF Railway, in the hill section under Lumding division, all trains have been cancelled till June or until the restoration of the railway lines.

An official said that railway engineers and workers are working on a war footing to restore the rail links. The Lumding-Badarpur single line railway route via Dima Hasao is vital for ferrying goods, fuel, and passengers to and from Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and southern Assam’s three districts – Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi.

In the floods and landslides caused by pre-monsoon rain, 24 people including children and women have been killed, and around 8.40 lakh people in 32 of the 34 districts in Assam have been affected.

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