For the first time in the history of North-East India, Indian Railways has started a RoRo (Roll On Roll Off) service to deal with the ongoing Tripura fuel crisis. The first flat-wagon goods train with 21 loaded tanker trucks left from Bhanga in Assam and would be reaching Churaibari in Tripura, which is 67 kilometres away. With rains damaging the national highway, the road connectivity to Tripura has been severely affected, resulting in petrol prices sky-rocketing to over Rs 300 per litre in the state. During his visit to Agartala, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had promised to help the state out of the fuel crisis situation. With this train being rolled out today, Indian Railways is ready to fill whatever demand-supply gap that would help alleviate the crisis. “We are trying to provide the best possible help to Tripura in this regard and will continue to do so in future as well,” Suresh Prabhu told FE Online on this development.
Giving details of the help that Indian Railways is providing, PranavJyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer at North-East Frontier Railway told FE Online, “Earlier railway connectivity to North-East was a big problem, but now with Tripura being connected, Indian Railways has been able to provide timely aid to solve the crisis. The whole train trip will take 6 hours from Bhanga to Churaibari, because the speed will not be above 30 kmph. This is an over dimension consignment (ODC), and the terrain is hilly, which is why there are restrictions on the speed.” “IOC has given 2 lakh 36 thousand litres of HSD (High-Speed Diesel), 7*12 metric tonnes of LPG, 12,000 litres of motor spirit (petrol) and 48,000 litres of SKO (Superior Kerosene Oil),” he elaborated.
The RoRo service consisting 30 DBKM (flat bedded) wagons, with each having a capacity to carry two loaded trucks, were placed at Bhanga. Tanker trucks were loaded on by means of an end-loading ramp. “The trucks were securely fixed on the wagon floor to ensure safety during movement. The RoRo scheme will help the loaded trucks to piggyback on goods train bypassing the damaged national highway near Churaibari,” Sharma further said.
RoRo service was first introduced in Konkan Railway in 1999, and with its introduction in NorthEast Frontier Railway, the prospect of commercial goods’ movement opens up extensively. Given that road conditions in remote areas of North-East often gets affected during inclement weather, RoRo may increasingly prove to be a lifeline for the region.