Assam Northeast

Railways gets High Court notice on Assam hill railway safety

The Gauhati High Court asked the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) to explain why a report of the Commissioner of Railway Safety in 2015 was not implemented for a landslide prone arterial broad gauge track connecting southern Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura.

The 170-km-long track connecting Lumding and Badarpur across Dima Hasao district was damaged in at least 56 stretches following landslips induced by heavy rainfall in May. Indian Air Force choppers had to be engaged to rescue some stranded passengers.

Hearing a public interest litigation filed by Silchar-based Baharul Islam Barbhuiya, the court of acting Chief Justice N. Kotiswar Singh and Justice Soumitra Saikia asked the Railways why the non-implementation of the safety report was not investigated.

It also sought to know whether the seven-year-old suggestions of the Commissioner of Railway Safety was being incorporated in the ongoing Rs 180-crore track restoration work and whether geotechnical experts have been engaged for a safer alignment.

The conversion of the Dima Hasao railway line, of 1899 vintage, from metre-gauge to broad-gauge was sanctioned in 1996-97. It was declared a national project in 2004 and was opened for passenger train services from November 2015.

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