Agartala: The Ministry of Railways has been working in mission mode to complete track-laying works for a 15-km section of the Agartala-Akhaura railway line to link Bangladesh within a year, the minister said on Monday of State for Finances of the Union, Pankaj Chaudhary. after his two-day visit to Tripura.
Chaudhary inspected work in progress and toured the international immigration station and marshalling yard at Nischintapur along the India-Bangladesh border on Sunday, followed by interaction with railway officials and state government officials.
Track-laying works on the 15.054 km stretch that would connect Agartala to Akhaura in Bangladesh by railway were expected to be completed by March 2019 but have been delayed for more than three years so far. A section of five km is on the Indian side and the rest in Bangladesh, but the expenses for the entire construction, including part in Bangladesh, are borne by India.
The minister said the Agartala-Akhaura railway line built by the Indian government through IRCON will reduce the travel time between Tripura and Kolkata.
After the completion of this project, it will be a gateway to the entire northeast, which will facilitate greater business opportunities for the entire Asian region.
“Upon inspection, I found that all work was well executed and that construction would be completed within the revised timeframe. The route will be operational soon and hopefully it will take about a year,” said Chaudhury, adding that the quality of work and the speed of execution of the project are satisfactory, but must still accelerate to meet the schedule.
The ambitious rail connectivity project between India and Bangladesh is expected to reduce the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka from 31 hours to 10 hours, as the route would effectively reduce the distance from 1,600 km to 550 km.
Recently, the daily bus service between Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka resumed after a three-year hiatus due to Covid19.
However, freight transport to Tripura, Mizoram, western Manipur and southern Assam solely depends on the pothole corridor from Siliguri (in northern West Bengal) via the hilly northern hills stretch of road of Cachar of Assam and the high ground of Meghalaya, which creates problems with each monsoon