IANS

The Railway Ministry has allocated Rs 153.84 crores for the under-construction railway line between India's Tripura to Bangladesh, officials said here on Saturday.

The Rs 862.58 crore Agartala-Akhaura (Bangladesh) railway project is expected to be operational by the end of this year or early next year.

Northeast Frontier Railway's (NFR) Chief Public Relations Officer Sabyasachi De said that the funding of the project is being done by the Ministry of DONER (Development of North Eastern Region) and already about Rs 708.74 crores of the anticipated cost has been provided and utilised.

He said that the new rail project would boost relations between India and Bangladesh which would help growth of small scale industries in the border area and boost tourism of the northeastern region.

It would also help in export and import of commodities faster and help the local producers to export their products outside the country faster, he added.

De said that Indian Railways is significantly working towards PM's vision of 'Act East Policy' and 'Neighborhood First Policy' by executing several new railway line projects connecting the neighboring countries. Constructing the Agartala-Akhaura international connectivity rail line project between India and Bangladesh is one such of the crucial project that is at an advanced stage of completion.

The 15.064 km long railway line (5.05 km in India and 10.014 km in Bangladesh) would link Bangladesh's Akhaura through an international immigration station at Nischintapur (on the outskirts of Agartala), which would be a dual gauge station for both passenger and goods interchange between India and Bangladesh. The project includes one major bridge and three minor bridges.

After completion of the project, the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka of about 31 hours would get reduced to 10 hours, De said.

Currently, the people of the region, especially those in Tripura and its adjoining areas, go to Kolkata via Guwahati by rail, spending more than 31 hours.

The Maligaon (Guwahati) headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway is the nodal agency of the Agartala-Akhaura railway project, which was finalised in January 2010 when Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during her visit to New Delhi.

The NFR officials in Agartala said that over 90 per cent work of the Agartala-Akhaura railway project on the Indian side has already been completed.

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