GUWAHATI, May 17 - Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has put in place a huge number of manpower and materials to tackle any eventuality during the coming monsoon season.
“The mobilisation was carried out in the last few months across the entire NFR jurisdiction, having more than 6,400 km of railway tracks spread over the entire North East, West Bengal and Bihar. Monsoon season is challenging for NFR as the railway lines are spread over a wide range of terrain consisting alluvial plains and mountainous regions which are not very stable. To make things more difficult, the South West monsoon brings 90 per cent of the annual rainfall, varying from 2,000 to 5,000 mm, to the region during April to late October every year,” said Pranav Jyoti Sharma, chief public relations officer (CPRO) of NFR.
Sharma said the challenges come in the form of landslides, breaching of embankments and washout of bridges.
He added that a detailed strategy has been adopted to ensure that the tracks are protected and kept in good condition so that safety of passengers is not compromised.
“While pre-monsoon preparedness like stacking of materials as monsoon reserve, cleaning of drains, ensuring marking of danger levels in bridges have been completed, 813 parties of patrolmen, each consisting of two persons, have been deployed to secure the tracks round the clock since yesterday. The patrolling will continue till October 15 or further as per the rains or the weather forecast warrants,” said Sharma.
He said the patrolmen are equipped with latest state-of-the-art equipment like GPS tracker, luminous jacket, raincoat and separate waterproof trouser, safety helmet with attachable miners light and safety shoes.
“During night time, the entire track is patrolled twice from 8 pm to 11.30 pm and again from 12.30 am to 4 am. Every patrol party is provided one walky-talky and mobile phone to communicate with the nearest station in the eventuality of any condition, posing danger for train movement. They also carry fog detonators to alert train driver that leaves any station before being alerted. These patrolmen are monitored by five divisional control offices with the help of GPS tracker,” he said.
“In addition to these patrolmen, stationary watchmen are also deployed in vulnerable locations like areas susceptible to landslides and bridges where the water level is nearing danger level. Currently, 13 such stationary watchmen are deployed in the vulnerable location of Lumding division,” he said.
Sharma said despite precautions, there are occasions when bridges are washed out, embankments are breached and landslides occur.
“To face such situation and to carry out restoration within a minimum possible time, materials like boulders, sand, sandbags, various pre-fabricated components of bridges, etc., are kept loaded in wagons and kept at strategic locations. A total of 235 such wagons have already been placed at 27 locations spread over the entire zone ready for movement at any time. Additional reserve materials have also been stocked at another 162 locations,” said the NFR CPRO.