AGARTALA, June 20 � The NITI Aayog today declared the 15 km Indo-Bangla rail link would be commissioned by 2017, official sources confirmed here.
The development came at a meeting convened by NITI Aayog in Delhi on June 18. NITI Aayog advisor Dr Manoj Singh presided over the meeting where Joint Secretaries of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), DoNER and top officials from Railway Ministry and representatives of the Tripura Government were present.
In the meeting, it was decided that Agartala-Gangasagar (Bangladesh) link should be completed by 2017 but it was not clarified when the work for the dream railway extension work would start.
Of the total five km proposed railway project, altogether 2.5 km rail link would be overhead while remaining part would be laid on the land. This would reduce the estimated expenditure for land acquisition to connect Agartala railway station with Bangladesh�s Gangasagar railway station.
According to sources, the plan to erect overhead rail track would save at least Rs 67 crore. Earlier, it was estimated that an amount of Rs 302 crore would be required to acquire land for the five km railway track in the Indian side.
Uncertainty over funding of the ambitious project has also been removed after NITI Aayog clarified that the Railway Ministry would pump in money to implement the project.
Sources also said a Railway Ministry team would visit the State to push the Indo-Bangla railway extension project.
The project was finalised when the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Dhaka in 2011. As part of follow-up action, three meetings were held to implement the railway extension project.
In these meetings, it was decided that separate survey would be conducted in both sides to implement the project. Accordingly, separate survey for the ambitious railway project was conduced in both sides.
Of late, Tripura Transport Minister Manik Dey had written a letter to the Union Railway Minister to implement the railway extension project from Agartala to Gangasagar. Following persistent pressures from the State Government, NITI Aayog today held a meeting and gave a green signal to the long-pending railway project.