Three-day-old rail blockade in northeast India withdrawn
Agartala/Silchar, Nov 17 (IANS) A rail blockade that snapped the crucial rail link of Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and southern Assam in the north-east with the rest of the country since November 15 was withdrawn on Thursday.
A Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) spokesman said rail services were likely to resume from Thursday evening or from Friday morning after inspection of tracks.
The North Cachar Hill Indigenous Students Forum (NCHISF) members had blockaded tracks since Tuesday morning at Haflong, the district headquarters of Dima Hasao district, to demand compensation to families whose land and homes were acquired by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) during conversion of tracks to broad gauge in 2014 and 2015.
The NFR had to cancel several important trains passing through the Lumding-Badarpur hill section due to the indefinite rail blockade.
“We have received a letter from NFR General Manager (Construction) H.K. Jaggi for a meeting with NCHISF leaders at NFR headquarters at Maligaon on November 24 to discuss the compensation issue. We have decided to call off the rail blockade,” NCHISF President David Kevom told reporters at Haflong, 279 km from Guwahati.
Dima Hasao Deputy Commissioner Manoj Kumar told the media that he had received a letter from Jaggi about the compensation issue. Dima Hasao was formerly known as North Cachar Hills district.
“The NCHISF leaders told me about withdrawal of rail blockade from Thursday afternoon,” Manoj Kumar said.
NCHISF President David Kevom said railway authorities had promised compensation to 500 families whose 300 hectares of land was acquired, but nothing was done.
NFR officials, however, said compensation of around Rs 55 crore was given to the affected families but they are demanding Rs 3-5 crore more.
The north-east region is dependent on the railways for the supply of food grain, fertilisers, petroleum products, construction materials and other consumer goods.