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The Railway ministry was exploring the possibility of connecting Tripura with Bangladesh from three sides, Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain, said on Thursday.
“We have a sanctioned project to connect the Tripura state capital, Agartala, with Akhaura in Bangladesh. We are now exploring the possibility of connecting Belonia, the southernmost town in Tripura with Chittagong Port of Bangladesh through Feni district of the neighbouring country.
Another route will be connecting Sabroom, the southernmost town in Tripura, with Chittagong port”, Gohain told reporters here.
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and Governor Tathagata Roy, in separate meetings with the Union minister, on Thursday urged Gohain to expedite the ongoing Railway projects in the state.
Both of them also requested the Centre to introduce a Rajdhani Express from here, he said.
Stating that the Railway ministry was trying to introduce the train from here, he did not give any time frame for it.
The process of laying the 15.054 km long railway tracks to connect Agartala with Akhaura in Bangladesh will be completed in two years, Gohain said.
“Of the total 15 km long track, a stretch of five km will be on the Indian side and the rest in Bangladesh.
The total project cost of Rs 972.52 crore would be borne by the Indian government”, he said.
Work on the Indian side was being funded by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region while the MEA was financing the work on the Bangladesh side, Gohain said.
“Acquisition of land on the Indian soil has already begun and is likely to be completed by May this year and acquisition of land on the Bangladesh side is likely to be completed by July this year”, Gohain said
The construction for laying the Railway tracks would begin immediately after acquisition of lands on both sides, he said.
The state government, he said, has also demanded linking of Jawharnagar in Dhalai district of Tripura with Kalay in Mizoram and Myanmar to bring Tripura in the Trans-Asian railway map.
“We have kept all the proposals of the state government in our consideration, but are yet to fix up any target for the trans-Asian railway or connecting the two southernmost towns with Chittagong”, Gohain said.
New Delhi, the minister said, was keen to establish the Railway link which will connect West Bengal and Tripura through Bangladesh.
The Agartala-Akhaura railway route will connect Indian Railways with Bangladesh Railways to improve connectivity and boost trade between the two countries.
The neighbouring country had agreed to lay the tracks between Akhaura and Agartala during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in January 2010.