River erosion threatens surface communication in northeast

Silchar/Agartala, June 8 (IANS) A portion of the Assam-Agartala national highway, considered the life-line of southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and eastern Manipur, is on the verge of being washed away due to erosion by the Barak river, officials said Tuesday.

The railway line passing through the region has also become extremely vulnerable due to erosion by the river.

‘The Tripura and Mizoram governments have asked the Centre to take urgent steps to prevent the river erosion, otherwise the surface communication among southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and eastern Manipur and between the region and the rest of India would be snapped during the monsoon,’ an official in Agartala told reporters.

The official said: ‘The Border Road Organisation (BRO), which maintains the national highway, publicly notified the possible danger due to the river erosion. However, the BRO is yet to take any step to stop the river erosion.’

‘If the river erosion is not checked, a big portion of the national highway 44 and the railway line might soon be washed away by the turbulent river in the monsoon,’ the official said.

According to railway officials in Silchar (southern Assam), the matter has been reported to the Northeast Frontier Railway authority, which has taken some action to protect the railway line.

‘We are now executing some short-term measures to protect the important railway line connecting Tripura, southern Assam and Mizoram. We have also finalised some long term measures likely to be executed in future,’ senior railway official B.K. Mishra told reporters.

‘The supply of raw materials to the Cachar paper mill, the only major industrial unit of southern Assam in Panchgram near Silchar, and delivery of the mill’s products would also be badly affected if the road and railway communication is snapped,’ a Hilakandhi district official told journalists.

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