SILCHAR, April 9: The trail run of 53 ballast wagons pulled by BG engine from Patharkola to New Haflong, followed by window inspection train also from the same destition to Silchar as well as BG heavy and light engines, besides that of a potato-laden 42 wagons, hopes were raised about the regular services of trains within March 31. But, as apprehended and even admitted by R K Singh, GM (Construction), at a press-briefing here, multiple problems have appeared on the newly laid track.
According to ground reports, heavy showers of the last few days have left its adverse effects on the stretch of BG railway line particularly between Harangajao and Mahur. At some places, there have been water-logging, sinking of earth, erosions and even cracks. Moreover, retention walls at some locations have collapsed. Tunnel nos 10 and 12 are in focus, particularly for their being the most troubled spots. Retention walls of Silchar railway station, Maibong railway station as well as near Harangajao station have collapsed uble to stand the impact of heavy rains.
What is of concern is that 15 to 20 metres of track on Harangajao stretch have sunk and with that the BG track is in a suspended position. Though the NF Railway have initiated steps on war-footing to repair and reconstruct the affected places, questions have been raised about the quality of works and also the planning in respect of flushing out of rain waters along the track. Knowledgeable circles have found many chinks in the planning.
These circles say that in order to please rendra Modi Prime Minister for his commitment to complete the Silchar-Lumding BG by 2015, there has been a sort of hurried and flurried planning to get it completed without taking care of the fact that the hilly region through which the 210 km track passes is prone to geological problems which include instability of the earth mass. Besides, it also falls on the seismic belt identified by ONGC and Geological Survey of India as ‘Haflong-thrust’.
When the British who under most adverse situations constructed the MG track from Lumding to Badarpur within 14 years only, their planning after detailed and critical survey identified Harangajao and Jatinga stretch as most troublesome due to geophysical reasons. It was British engineering skill and efficiency that provision of hidden works in the form of ‘boulder drains’ and ‘heading’ inside the hillocks to flush out rain waters to preempt land-sliding was made. These ‘drains’ and ‘headings’ number 262 in the entire hill section. The British engineers took note of the fact that this zone is of heavy rainfall and prone to earthquakes. Engineering care was taken in designing bridges, tunnels and tracks.
It was made known by the NF Railway authority that the fil run of passenger and goods trains would depend on the report of the Commissioner of Railway Safety. In fact, a team of experts headed by the Commissioner did make survey of the track from Patharkola to New Haflong. But, the track between New Haflong and Silchar could not be done for unknown reasons and that has put question on the early green sigl to thorough services. It is more or less now confirmed that the people of Barak Valley and the adjoining hinter areas will have to wait till the monsoon is over.