Guwahati, July 9 (IANS): India's landlocked Northeast may soon have rail connectivity with the neighbouring countries of Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh courtesy an initiative to boost bilateral trade, usher development and tourism in the region.
The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has submitted a field survey report to the Railway Board which envisages connecting the northeastern States, Bihar and West Bengal with neighbouring countries, including Nepal. "We have already sent the report to the Railway Board and waiting for them to reply back to us, he added. There has been a long standing demand from the northeastern States for expanding the railway links to the neighbouring countries," said a senior NFR official.
The proposed rail lines include Jagboni in Bihar to Biratnagar in Nepal, New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal to Kakrabita in Nepal, Hasimara in West Bengal to Phuentsholing in Bhutan and Pathsala in Assam to Namlang in Bhutan.
The other proposed rail links are Rangiya in Assam to Samdrupjonkhar in Bhutan, Banarhat in West Bengal to Samtse in Bhutan, Agartala in Tripura to Akhaura in Bangladesh and Kokrajhar in Assam to Geleka in Bhutan, the official said.
There are also plan to connect Myanmar through Jiribam and Moreh in Manipur. "We are going to carry out the survey regarding the connectivity with Myanmar very soon," he said.
"The Central government had already sanctioned an amount of Rs 493.52 crore for the rail connectivity projects between Jagboni to Biratnagar and Agartala to Akhaura. We have also started the works regarding the Agartala to Akhaura project, he said.
The proposed railway lines will not only boost the bilateral trade, particularly between the northeastern states and its countries that are located in its borders-Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Mynamar but also increase connectivity between the northeastern states and these countries and particularly to some of the region's remote border areas.
The establishment of rail links to these counties will also boost the tourism industry in the region, said the official.