The Indian Railways is leaving no stone unturned to help people affected by the Assam floods. From providing relief in the form of food and medicines to transporting them to shelters, the national carrier is doing it all reports The Hindu. Here is how it is playing out.
Stations in Assam, like Katakhal, were used to 14 trains, and around 500 passengers passing through on a regular day. Now, for the last week, there have been no trains, but about 1200 people are on the platforms, seeking shelter from the torrential downpour and floods that have wreaked havoc in Southern Assam.
Ever since the rail line was converted to broad gauge a few years ago, many stations now are on high ground and have raised pucca platforms and improved infrastructure—and all these features have immensely helped during this difficult time. In fact, one of the very few patches of dry and high land in the area, is the Hailakandi district junction, from where tracks branch off to Agartala, Silchar and then Jiribam in Manipur and Bairabi in Mizoram.
Speaking to the publication, S Umesh, the Badarpur area manager of the North East Frontier Railway (NFR), said, “Katakhal itself is at an elevation of 20.85 metres above sea level and escaped the floods, that have completely submerged the railway tracks, and much of the region”.
He added that this is the worst scenario that the people have witnessed in 13 years.
Thankfully, the Railways decided to step in and help. According to NFR Headquarters spokesperson Pranav Jyoti Sharma, railway officials and security personnel ran sorties on motorised trolleys on submerged tracks. Boats were used to provide medicines, food and other relief material to people, who have taken shelter in the platform. Sharma also mentions that there are around 50 families taking refuge in railway coaches as well. In fact, the Railways has appointed 15 spare coaches, at Silchar railway station just for this.
More than 400 other people have taken shelter in nearby smaller stations, like Salchapra—the Food Corporation of India’s railhead—and at Algapur. Even Silchar, southern Assam’s biggest city, has people seeking shelter from the rain.
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Well, it is indeed commendable that the Indian Railways has thrown open the doors of its stations for people to take shelter in, and is stepping up relief operations to help stranded people in Assam.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)