NEW DELHI, Aug 22 - Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today urged Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu to restore train services with the northeastern region on a war footing.
The Chief Minister�s action came after reports in the media which quoted railway officials as saying that the rail services to the Northeast are likely to be restored towards the month-end. Sonowal called Prabhu over phone this morning and drew his attention of the harrowing time the rail passengers, particularly from the Northeast, have been going through following disruption of rail link in the Katihar division of the Northeast Frontier Railway and requested him to restore the train services on a war footing.
The Chief Minister also apprised the Railways Minister of the impending shortfall of essential commodities that the region might experience following prolonged disruption of rail traffic � both passenger and goods trains � and sought his intervention for early restoration of the damaged portion of the tracks washed away by floodwaters.
Prabhu assured Sonowal that the Railways with its men and materials are on the job of repairing the damaged tracks and restore train services to the northeastern region at the earliest.
Sonowal also talked to Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari to ensure smooth movement of goods-laden trucks so that there is no scarcity of essential commodities in Assam and other parts of the Northeast. He also requested Gadkari to see to it that no unscrupulous businessman takes advantage of the flood situation to create artificial scarcity of essential commodities.
Moreover, following inordinate rise in air fares because of disruption in train services to the Northeast, Sonowal also spoke to Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha and called for his intervention for maintaining a �reasonable fare� for flights connecting the region.
Later talking to newsmen at his official residence here, Sonowal said the entire State government machinery is focused on providing relief and rehabilitation to the flood-affected people. He also said that the Prime Minister in a meeting yesterday asked the chief ministers of the BJP-ruled states to help the states affected by flood.
�The Prime Minister has been closely monitoring the flood situation and helping the State in all possible ways to mitigate the suffering of the flood-hit people,� Sonowal said, adding, as per the Prime Minister�s directive, a high-level committee would be constituted for finding a comprehensive and lasting solution to the flood and erosion problem plaguing Assam.
During the day, the Chief Minister also called on the principal secretary to Prime Minister, Nripendra Mishra at the PMO. However, Sonowal declined to disclose what transpired at the meeting.
Yesterday, Sonowal had a one-on-one meeting with party president Amit Shah as did other chief ministers of the BJP-ruled states.