Agartala-Akhaura rail project

Agartala-Akhaura rail project

Adventz Group’s Texmaco Rail & Engineering Limited has bagged the Rs 200 crore project to construct the 45-km dual gauge line between Agartala in Tripura and Akhaura, a sub-district of Chittagong in Bangladesh. The project is scheduled to be completed in 18 months.
Part of India’s $4.5 billion third line of credit extended to Bangladesh for its infrastructure and social sector development, the Agartala-Akhaura rail project will lend full connectivity from east to west of Bangladesh, apart from enabling trade relations between the two neighbours. Once completed, the railway link is expected to cut the distance between Agartala and Kolkata by more than 1,000 km. In addition, it will also enhance India’s access to Chittagong port, considered to the heart of Bangladesh economy.
Elaborating on the project, Texmaco Rail & Engineering executive director Sandeep Fuller said, the Agartala-Akhaura railway link is a watershed project in more ways than one. The rail link will not only boost bilateral trade and cooperation between the two countries, but will also affect ‘transformation through transportation’. For Tripura, the railway line will mean enhancing regional access in ways other than by air or the states national highway, NH44.
The company’s specialised engineering, procurement and construction unit Kalindee Railway Nirman (Engineers) Ltd will execute the Agartala-Akhaura project. The project includes construction of railway stations and associated work in cross-border areas of Karimganj district in Assam and Maulavibazar district in Bangladesh.Track-laying would be as per the high standards of railway construction specifications and with the ability to carry 25-tonne axle load to enable transportation of heavy goods and commodities between the countries.
Of the 15 km railway track, 10 km falls in the Bangladesh side and the rest in India.
“An amount of Rs 580 crore was sanctioned in the wake of a meeting between the officials of the Prime Minister’s office, Ministry of External Affairs and Railways ministry recently,” state Transport Secretary, Samarjit Bhowick told reporters here.
He said the entire project cost would be borne by the Centre and over Rs 1,000 crore was sanctioned for completion of the track in Bangladesh side.
A team comprising technical experts of IRCON, representatives of state government, the Indian High Commission officials in Dhaka as well as Bangladesh Foreign Ministry officials had earlier visited the sites.
The team had decided that a 3.7-km-long flyover (viaduct) would be constructed along the five km stretch on the Indian side to save cultivable lands and the present detailed project report (DPR) would be changed, he said.
New Delhi is keen to establish the rail link as it would connect West Bengal and Tripura through Bangladesh.
The 1,700 km distance between Agartala and Kolkata through Chicken Neck near Siliguri would be reduced to 350 km if passengers from here could move through the neighbouring country.
During Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in January 2010, the two countires had agreed to lay the track between Akhaura and Agartala.
The 15-km-long Agartala-Akhaura railway route would connect the Indian Railways with the Bangladesh Railways through the North-East which would improve connectivity and boost trade between the two countries.
Land acquisition for the 15 km long Agartala-Akhaura rail project to link Indian Railways with Bangladesh Railways, has started, officials said. “We have served notices to 257 families to acquire 66 acres of land for the rail project and the land would be handed over to the railways by August end”, West Tripura District Magistrate and Collector Milind Ramteke told reporters. He said the Central government has already released Rs 97.63 crore to acquire the land.
The process of laying the 15 km long railway tracks to connect Agartala with Akhaura in Bangladesh will be completed in two and half years time after laying of tracks begin. Out of the 15 km track, 5 km would be on Indian side and the rest in Bangladesh. Ramteke said that the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is the nodal agency for implementation of the project in Indian side.
Bangladesh government has also started acquiring around 70 acres of land for the project, NFR officials said. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu and his Bangladesh counterpart, Majibul Haque had jointly laid the foundation stone in Agartala on July 31 last year. A flyover of 3.7 km would be constructed on the Indian side to save cultivable lands and the entire project cost would be borne by the government, he said.
New Delhi is keen to establish the rail link as it would connect West Bengal and Tripura through Bangladesh. During Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi, the two neighbours had agreed to lay the tracks between Akhaura and Agartala. The Agartala-Akhaura railway route would connect Indian Railways with Bangladesh Railways which would improve connectivity and boost trade between the two countries.
The 1,700 km distance between Agartala and Kolkata which goes through the ‘chicken’s neck’ in Siliguri would be reduced by 350 km if passengers could move through Bangladesh, officials said.
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