An eight-member delegation from Bangladesh recently met their Indian counterparts during the third meeting of the Agartala-Akhaurah railway Link Project Steering Committee in Agartala.
They did a field inspection and visited Agartala railway station and Nischintapur, the bordering village from where the proposed rail line will enter Bangladesh.
India will build 15-km railway tracks, coasting Rs. 252 crores, to link Tripura's capital Agartala with Bangladesh's southeastern city of Akhaurah, an important railway junction connected to Chittagong port, resource-rich Sylhet and Dhaka.
Joint Secretary in Bangladesh Railways, Sunil Chandra Pal, said, "We discussed the decisions taken in the earlier meetings. Both sides are satisfied with the progress. We will finalize the project documents and get approval from the appropriate authority and then start the work, may be by the end of this year or the 1st half of next year."
An agreement to implement the railway project was signed in 2010 between the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh.
With the new rail link, Northeast India would be connected to Chittagong international sea port in Bangladesh.
This will help in reducing the time consumed for transporting food grains and other essential commodities.
Joint Secretary in Ministry of External Affairs, Alok K.Sinha, said, "Cooperation in the railway sector between India and Bangladesh is an important component of our bilateral co-operation programme. Several projects have been undertaken. This project in particular when implemented will be greatly beneficial to the people in our two countries."
Surface connectivity is an important factor as India's northeastern states which are surrounded by Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China.
The only land route to these states from within India is through Assam and West Bengal. But it passes through over 70 per cent hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple bends.
India has for long been seeking land, sea and rail access through Bangladesh for ferrying good and heavy machinery to its northeast from abroad and other parts of the country. (ANI)
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