AGARTALA, May 5 - The proposed 15-km Agartala-Akhaura railway link, considered one of the strategic railway projects in Northeast India, is unlikely to get completed within the scheduled target of March 2020, according to sources.
So far the Tripura Government could not hand over the 87 acres of land to be used for the 10-km long rail stretch on the Indian side. Naturally, IRCON could not take up the construction works on scheduled time leading to unnecessary delays in executing the project works.
Nearly a year after getting sanction of the 15-km railway link between Agartala and Akhaura (Bangladesh), IRCON has been able to kick start the earth works. But, the pace of works is still very tardy due to various factors like delay in land acquisition, erratic downpour and back to back elections.
Sources said out of total 87 acres of land, around 72 acres of land has been handed over to IRCON to start the ground works while nobody knows when the remaining part will be available.
Apart from the delay in land acquisition, untimely shower in February has caused a major headache for the IRCON. Besides, one and half month-long Lok Sabha election process and May Day have also contributed to disruption in construction works for the ambitious railway project.
When contacted, an IRCON official on Sunday admitted the pace of works is not as it was expected due to various factors. �In February, works had got stalled due to heavy shower. Even now, monsoon appears a major problem to take up work expeditiously�, he pointed out.
The official explained, �A day�s rain spoils three days� progress! What to do... We can�t control it, but works are underway to complete the project as early as possible�.
Rs 580 crore has been fixed as project cost on the Indian side, while Rs 392 crore has been earmarked for railway work on the Bangladesh side. The project cost will increase substantially if the works are delayed.
Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka, Riva Ganguly Das made a surprise visit to Akhaura area on Thursday to see the ongoing Indo-Bangla railway project. During the short trip, she also visited Akhaura LCS.