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Tripura-B�desh rail links to improve connectivity for NE

By Prabir sil

AGARTALA, March 23 - The Railways Ministry is now exploring the possibility of connecting Tripura with Bangladesh in three sides to remove communication bottleneck of the entire Northeastern region, said Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain.

�We have already sanctioned a project to connect Agartala with Gangasagar in Bangladesh. We are now exploring the possibility of connecting Belonia, the southernmost town of Tripura with Chittagong Port of Bangladesh through Feni district of the neighbouring country. Another route will connect Sabroom with Chittagong Port�, Gohain told reporters here on Thursday.

Gohain, who arrived here on Wednesday, met Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and Governor Tathagata Roy separately today and both of them requested Gohain to expedite the ongoing railway projects in the State.

He said, both of them also requested to introduce Rajdhani Express from here and the Ministry is also trying to introduce the train. However, he did not fix any time frame for it.

The process of laying the 15 km long railway tracks to connect Agartala with Akhaura in Bangladesh will be completed in two years. �Of the total 15 km track, a stretch of five km will be on the Indian side and the rest in Bangladesh. The project would be completed in two years,� Gohain said.

The total project cost of Rs 972.52 crore would be borne by Government of India, he said, adding the Indian side was being funded by Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) while Ministry of External Affairs is financing the Bangladesh portion.

Acquisition of land on the Indian side is likely to be completed by May this year and acquisition of land in Bangladesh side is likely to be completed by July, Gohain said, adding construction for laying railway tracks would be started immediately after acquisition of lands in both sides.

New Delhi is keen to establish the rail link which will connect West Bengal and Tripura through Bangladesh. The Agartala-Akhaura railway route will connect Indian Railways with Bangladesh Railways to improve connectivity and boost trade between the two countries.

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