GUWAHATI, June 22: After development of road connectivity with neighbouring Bangladesh, the Foreign Affairs Ministry of India is now focussing on railway connectivity to Bangladesh via Tripura.
It may be mentioned that Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina during her visit to India in 2010 put emphasis on direct railway link between India and Bangladesh for improvement of mutual understanding, cost effective transportation, expansion of trade & commerce etc. The proposal got a boost after Narendra Modi came into power in 2014 and when the Prime Ministers of both the countries came to an agreement on the issue of direct rail connectivity.
So after getting the nod from PMO both the Railway and Foreign Affairs Ministry gave formal permission for the work to start. Accordingly the Construction Organisaion, NF Railway, Maligaon has started the spade of work of the project like survey, land acquisition etc. for the 12.03 km long direct broad-gauge track to Akhaura of Bangladesh from Agartala of Tripura.
As disclosed by the Senior PRO of NF Railway Susen Kumar Ojha the work for the railway track is going on after both countries got the requisite land in 2017. Out of the total length of the track 5.46 km will be in India and 6.57 KM will be in Bangladesh. The total estimated cost of the project is Rs. 967.50 crores. The portion in India will entail an expenditure of Rs. 569.63 crores which will be borne by DONER Ministry. Similarly Foreign Affairs Ministry of India will bear the expenditure for Bangladesh portion. Technology advisor of Foreign Affairs Ministry M/S IRCO will construct the Bangladesh part of the railway track. It may be mentioned that 3.1 km of the project will be elevated track and the proposed yard at Nishchintpur will have as many as five tracks.
The Senior PRO also disclosed that survey work for three other railway tracks has already been started to connect the far off corners of the neighbouring country with India. These three tracks are 125 km long Chittagong — Belonia track, 170 km long Dharmanagar — Pencharthal track and 45 km long Pencharthaf — Kailashahar — Dharmanagar track. It is also worth mentioning that Guwahati to Dacca direct railway link via Lumding, Halfiong, Sitchar and Agartala would become a possibility when the Agartala
— Akhaura railway track will become functional. Moreover the proposed railway link between port city Chittagong of Bangladesh and India would not only improve the mutual trade and commerce between the two countries but it will also usher a new vista of possibilities for the North-eastern states with connectivity to Southeast Asia. It is heartening to note that the survey work for this railway track is now going on.