Bibek Debroy: Problems of Indian Railways in the northeast

By Bibek Debroy

Unless you are interested in birds or unless you are familiar with the northeast, there is no reason for you to have heard of a village named Jatinga. It is a place where birds of various species ‘commit suicide’ at the end of the monsoon.

This is a myth. What’s true is that young and migratory birds are attracted by the lights of torches and distracted in the night. They are then captured with bamboo poles and killed.

You might find it a bit difficult to visit Jatinga by train. Most people use Haflong, in Dima Hasao district and Assam’s only hill station. Both Jatinga and Haflong are in what is called the hill section, one of India’s mountain railways, though certainly not as famous as Darjeeling Himalayan, Kalka-Shimla or Nilgiri Mountain. (Trains stop for hardly a minute in Jatinga; they stop longer in Haflong, that is, Lower Haflong and Haflong Hill.)

This hill section is the Lumding-Halflong-Badarpur stretch and used to be a metre gauge line, built in the 1890s by what was then Assam Bengal Railway. More info

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