Jalpaiguri, Sept. 16: Around six long-distance trains and five local trains running on the 161km stretch from Siliguri Junction to Alipurduar were diverted from New Jalpaiguri after a part of the tracks subsided this morning near Oodlabari.
The subsidence was spotted by gangmen around 9am when the Siliguri Junction-Alipurduar passenger was approaching Oodlabari. According to the Northeast Frontier Railway’s divisional manager, Virendra Kumar, the train was sent back to Siliguri Junction.
The trains are now plying on the 145km long route between New Jalpaiguri and New Alipurduar stations passing through Belakoba-Jalpaiguri Road-New Mainaguri-Dhupguri and New Cooch Behar. Sources at the New Jalpaiguri station said all the trains were running on schedule.
“For the past couple of days there has been continuous rainfall because of which there was the breach of the embankment of the Ghish river on September 12. Water had flooded the area and weakened the soil under the tracks causing subsidence. Trains such as the Sealdah-Alipurduar, Kanchan Kanya Express, the Kamakhya-Danapur Capitol Express and the Dibrugarh Jhajha Express were diverted from New Jalpaiguri,” Kumar said.
The other long-distance trains affected were Ranchi-Kamakhya Express, the Delhi-Alipurduar Mahananda Express and the Yashwantpur-Dibrugarh Express.
Local trains such as the New Jalpaiguri-Alipurduar Intercity, the New Jalpaiguri-Alipurduar passenger, the New Jalpaiguri-Cooch Behar and the New Jalpaiguri-Bamunhat passenger were also affected.
The divisional railway manager, however, could not say when the tracks repair would be complete. “I cannot say when the tracks can be opened again,” Kumar said.
North Bengal development minister, Gautam Deb, visited Manabari in Oodlabari, today to speak to those affected by the flooding of the Ghish river.
“I have spoken to those affected by the flooding and have found out that boulders had been removed from the riverbed and that had caused the river to change its course and breach the embankment. I have asked the irrigation officials to put a stop to this illegal and rampant boulder collection,” he said.
The chairman of the North Bengal Flood Control Commission, Narayan Chatterjee, said the state irrigation department would bear the expenses for getting the embankment repaired.
“It was not possible for the irrigation department to carry out the repairs because of the strong river current and that is why we approached the district administration to bring in the army,” Chatterjee said.