With floods ravaging West Bengal and Bihar, train services between Northeast states and the rest of India remained cut off for the 11th day on Tuesday, affecting supply of essentials to the region.
The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), which serves seven districts in West Bengal and five districts in north Bihar besides the seven Northeast states, is working on a war footing to restore railway services, an official said.
NFR’s chief public relations officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said, “Floods in Assam, north Bengal and north Bihar have snapped railway links between the northeast and the rest of the country since August 12.”
He said that currently the railway networks were badly damaged in Kishanganj, Katihar and Araria districts of Bihar.
“As per the engineering estimate, full connectivity cannot be restored before August 28,” he added.
Another NFR official said due to cancellations of trains followed by cancellation of tickets, the NFR had suffered a loss of over Rs 550 crore so far.
“Though it has not been estimated yet, but NFR would suffer another Rs 500-600 crore loss because of damages to the railway assets including bridges, culverts, tracks and communication network,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.
Assam’s food and civil supplies officials held a series of meetings with the NFR to chalk out ways to transport foodgrains, essentials and other important goods.
Tripura food, civil supplies and consumer affairs minister Bhanulal Saha said they were in touch with the NFR to ferry goods to Tripura from the other parts of the country.
“The railway services between the Northeast and rest of India are likely to be restored by the first week of September,” Saha told news agency IANS.