Agartala, April 22: Agartala-Kolkata travel time will be significantly reduced with the launch of the Indo-Bangla railway connectivity project, which will be operational in September, according to Tripura Transport Minister Sushanta Chowdhury.

The railway connectivity project will link Agartala on the Indian side and Akhaura on the Bangladesh side through Tripura. The distance from Agartala to Kolkata will be reduced from 1,600 km to 550 km, which will shorten travel time from 31 hours to 10 hours.

The completion of the project was delayed due to land acquisition issues and the COVID-19 pandemic. The countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the railway project in 2013, which was scheduled to be completed by December 2020. However, the latest review indicates that 85% of the construction work in India and 73% of the work in Bangladesh have been completed.

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Status of Construction Work

Chowdhury stated that during his meeting with the railway minister in Delhi, he brought to his attention the non-release of ₹150 crores for the completion of work on the Indian side. Instantly, the railway minister spoke to DoNER Minister G. Kishan Reddy and requested the release of the outlay.

The railway line will link Bangladesh’s Akhaura through an international immigration station at Nischintapur. The countries anticipate that this railway project will enable Bangladesh to have access to markets in northeastern Indian states. Additionally, it will reduce the distance between Agartala and Kolkata. The Agartala-Kolkata route currently takes approximately 38 hours to travel 1,600 kilometers by rail.

Benefits of the Indo-Bangla Rail Connectivity Project

Once the project is completed, travel time from Agartala to Kolkata through Akhaura will be reduced to 550 km, and the travel time will be reduced from 31 hours to 10 hours. The railway line will link Bangladesh’s Akhaura through an international immigration station at Nischintapur.

Chowdhury also proposed the idea of a second Indo-Bangla railway link connecting Bangladesh’s Feni region to Zero Point from Belonia in South Tripura. He said that steps have been taken to prepare the Detail Project Report for the 30km railway link between the two sides of the border.

The Indo-Bangla railway connectivity project will bring significant benefits for both countries. It will reduce travel time and distance, facilitating better access to markets and boosting trade. The project will also create opportunities for regional development and employment. With the completion of the project, the countries’ relationship is expected to strengthen and contribute to regional peace and prosperity.