Train services resume in terror-hit south Assam

June 4th, 2009 - 4:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala/Guwahati, June 4 (IANS) Train services resumed after nearly two months on militancy-hit Lumding-Badarpur rail section which connects southern Assam and three other northeastern states to the rest of the country, officials said here Thursday.
“The NFR (Northeast Frontier Railways) has resumed both passenger as well as goods train services from Wednesday along the militancy-hit Lumding-Badarpur hill section, where the railway authorities were forced to suspend the services since April 10 following the terrorist violence,” said Tripura Food and Civil Supplies director Saumitra Banerjee.

According to official estimates more than 85 people, including railway officials, have been killed by Dima Haolam Daogah or the Black Widow militant outfit attacks on trains on this rail and nearby villages of North Cachar Hill district.

“All the trains to be run on the section would be escorted by soldiers,” Banerjee told reporters after returning from Assam capital Guwahati.

The 221-km Lumding-Badarpur section is possibly the only place in India where bullet-proof engines are run and serves as a life line between southern Assam, southern Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura and the rest of the country.

“There has been no movement of trains on the section since April 10 creating serious problems of transportation of both passengers and essentials goods, specially food grains, to the land-locked southern part of northeast India,” the official said.

“The train service was resumed following a high level meeting held in Guwahati earlier this week. Food Corporation of India (FCI) Chairman Dipak Kumar Panowar, top railway, army and officials of several state governments were present in the meeting.”

“Before the onset of the monsoon, the northeastern states have also asked the FCI to build buffer stocks in each northeastern state,” he added.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the lack of proper roads in the North Cachar Hills district had been a major hurdle for security forces to operate effectively against militants.

“Following the centre’s direction, there has been heavy deployment of army, police and paramilitary forces in the hill district to fight tribal guerrillas, who take advantage of the thickly forested and rugged terrain of the region,” the chief minister told newsmen in Guwahati.

A central team headed by Special Secretary (Internal Security) Raman Srivastava had visited the trouble-torn southern Assam last month and held a series of discussions with state government and railway officials.

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