In a bid to boost railway communication between Northeast India and neighbouring country Bangladesh, Indian Prime Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the much-awaited Akhaura-Agartala rail link on Wednesday.
According to sources, the following three projects were inaugurated in the virtual presence of the prime ministers to further strengthen India-Bangladesh ties:
Agartala-Akhaura Rail Link
Khulna-Mongla Port Rail Line
Unit-II of the Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant
It is learned that a trial run of the Akhaura-Agartala rail link was conducted on Monday. It was for the first time the locomotive engine attached to four wagons entered the Indian territory of Tripura.
The BSF personnel carried out the screening of the engine and attached wagons to it before the train entered the Indian side of Nischintpur near Agartala.
As per the standard operating procedure, the train would return to Bangladesh after necessary formalities.
This rail link, which is about 15 km away, will bring about a paradigm shift for the people of the Northeast. Along with cross-country trade and commerce, there will be a breakthrough in the movement of common people. The time taken by the people of Tripura to reach Kolkata or Delhi by rail or road will now be reduced by one-third. Earlier, it used to take 33 hours to reach Kolkata from Agartala. Now it will take only 8 hours to travel through Bangladesh.
The passengers’ footfall from Agartala to Kolkata is significantly very high due to the linguistic similarity between the two states. Both states also share age-old cultural and business relations.
Notably, the Ministry of Development of North East Region funded the railway line from Agartala to Nischintapur; whereas the Ministry of External Affairs funded the rail line from Nischintapur to Gangasagar which is in Bangladesh.