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May 11, 2024

Tripura’s Fuel Crisis Deepens: Goods Train Services Yet to Normalize

Tripura, a state nestled in the northeastern part of India, is grappling with a severe fuel crisis as the normalcy of goods train services remains elusive. According to an official from the Food and Civil Supplies department, the disruption in goods train services, which halted on April 26 due to a derailment in Assam’s Jatinga area, has significantly impacted the state’s fuel supply chain.

While passenger train services remain unaffected, the absence of goods trains has led to a dire shortage of essential commodities, particularly petrol and diesel. Nirmal Adhikari, Director of the Food and Civil Supplies department, expressed concern over the prolonged disruption, stating, “The fuel crisis remains as it was earlier. The petrol crisis is severe as goods trains are not coming to the state since April 26. We don’t know when the track will be ready for the resumption of goods train service fully.”

In response to the crisis, the state government initiated rationing measures for petrol and diesel effective April 30. A notification issued by the government outlined daily limits for fuel consumption based on vehicle types, ensuring equitable distribution. However, with uncertainty looming over the restoration of goods train services, concerns persist regarding the availability of essential items, including rice.

Efforts to mitigate the crisis include augmenting oil tanker transportation to meet the state’s fuel demands. Adhikari mentioned that currently, 60% of the state’s total fuel requirement is being met through oil tankers from Guwahati and Silchar. However, he cautioned that without the full operation of the railway line, the state could face further shortages.

To maintain order and fairness in petrol distribution, the Food and Civil Supplies department has requested police vigilance at petrol pumps. Instances of unrest were reported when some motorcyclists turned violent after being unable to obtain petrol at a city-based fuel outlet.

In a recent development, Transport Department Additional Secretary Subrata Chowdhury announced the successful passage of a goods train carrying petrol and diesel through Jatinga. However, challenges persist as the restoration work progresses slowly due to weight distribution concerns over damaged tracks.

Chief Minister Manik Saha has urged Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw for immediate restoration of goods train services to alleviate the state’s fuel crisis. However, NorthEast Frontier (NFR) authorities remain cautious, unable to provide a definitive timeline for the resumption of services.

Sabyasachi Dey, Chief Public Relations Officer of NFR, stated, “The restoration work is on a war footing manner but we can’t give any particular time when the service will be restored.” Until then, Tripura continues to grapple with the repercussions of disrupted transportation, emphasizing the critical importance of restoring goods train services for the state’s welfare and economy.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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