This cross border project will not only reduce the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka but will also enhance the business ties between the two nations.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina will jointly inaugurate a key cross-border railway project today, November 1. This cross border project will enhance the business ties between the two nations and will provide a direct access between landlocked north eastern part of the country with the Chittagong port of the neighbouring country while also significantly reduce the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka.
The 15-km rail link (5km in India and 10km in Bangladesh) will boost cross-border trade and significantly reduce the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka. The successful completion of the trial run for the project was achieved on Monday, as a locomotive engine, accompanied by four wagons, entered Tripura, making a stop at the newly constructed railway station in Nischintapur.
🚆Trial-run of Akhaura-Agartala rail link was conducted today. It was for the first time the locomotive… pic.twitter.com/uUXp06QWID
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) October 30, 2023
What is the significance of the project?
This rail link, spanning 15 kilometers (5 km in India and 10 km in Bangladesh), holds immense significance. It will notably reduce the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka. Currently, the rail route covers approximately 1600 kilometers and takes 38 hours to complete. Once operational, the rail link is expected to cut down travel time to approximately 10 hours.
Moreover, it will facilitate the transportation of goods trains to the northeastern region via Bangladesh, offering cost-effective logistics. Additionally, it will provide direct access between landlocked northeastern India and Chittagong port in Bangladesh.
It will also help in growth of small scale industries in the border area and boost tourism of the NE region.
Project Inception and Costs
The project was sanctioned in the year 2012-13, with the foundation stone for the Agartala-Akhaura rail link laid in July 2016. It involves the construction of one major bridge and three minor bridges. The estimated cost of constructing this Agartala-Akhaura international railway link stands at Rs 862.5 crore.
According to the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), the national news agency of Bangladesh, the cost of construction of 6.78 kilometers of railway in Bangladesh is estimated to be around Taka 241 crore.
The project was supposed to be completed in 2020 but was delayed following land acquisition issues and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tripura shares an 856 km-long international border with Bangladesh, parts of which are still unfenced owing to local disputes. The state’s only road connectivity with the rest of the country is through Assam and a narrow strip of land in West Bengal’s Siliguri.