India to improve rail-road links to Bangladesh.
India will extend and improve its road and rail connectivity with Bangladesh to enhance trade and also to get access transit through that country to bridge distances between the mountainous northeastern states and rest of India, officials said here Monday.
As per the agreement signed during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi early this year, India will construct a bridge over Feni river in southern Tripura to get access to Chittagong port for carrying goods and heavy machineries for the land-locked region.
The Chittagong international sea port is about 75 km from Tripura’s southern border town Sabroom.
The proposed bridge, to be built at a cost of over Rs.13 crore, would connect Sabroom and Bangladesh’s Ramgarh and would not only be the trading lifeline for the whole of northeast India, but also help trade from the southeast Asian countries.
‘The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has started work to extend its railway network up to the Sabroom in southern Tripura, 135 km from Agartala, and Akhaurah in western Tripura, just 6 km from the Agartala railway station,’ NFR general manager Keshav Chandra told reporters.
Agartala is the newest station of the Indian railways, and came up on the country’s rail map in October 2008.
‘Works are now in full-swing to extend railway line from Agartala to border town Sabroom by 2014,’ said Chandra, who accompanied by 20 senior officials arrived here from NFR headquarters in Guwahati and is now on a three-day visit to Tripura.
Bangladesh operates regular train services along the border on its side up to Akhaurah and various other places, just opposite several sub-divisional towns in Tripura.
‘A team of officials of IRCON (Indian Railway Construction Company) recently visited Dhaka and held talks with the Bangladesh government and the railway ministry officials and finalised alignment of the 13-km Agartala-Akhaurah connecting rail line,’ NFR additional general manager Vipin Jha said.
Subsequently, top officials of the Bangladesh government and the railway ministry visited Tripura in September and signed an agreement in this connection.