Bangladesh okays Akhaura-Agartala rail link project

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina chairs the meeting of executive committee of the National Economic Council at the NEC conference room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the city on Tuesday. Approval of Bangladesh’s  Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) headed by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for Akhaura-Agartala rail link project is one of the important and key milestone for the economic development of the region.

Dhaka: The Bangladesh government yesterday approved the construction of Akhaura-Agartala dual gauge railway link project aiming to improve rail connectivity and boost trade and economy between the India and Bangladesh.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, nodded to the part of the project that falls on Bangladesh side.

The project on the Bangladesh side will cost about Tk 477.81 crore. Of the amount, Bangladesh will provide Tk 57.05 crore while the rest will come from India as grant.

After the ECNEC meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told reporters that the rail link project has been undertaken to improve Bangladesh’s connectivity with the north-eastern states of India.

The rail link will open up markets of India’s northeastern states for Bangladesh, enhance smooth transportation of goods and facilitate people to people contact. The connectivity will also lower transportation cost and time.

The railway link might be considered as a corridor of the Trans Asian Railway Network and the subregional connectivity, according to the railway ministry’s proposal.

In 2010, during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi, the two countries agreed to lay the 15.54 kilometre long railway link between Akhaura and Agartala.

A stretch of 10.54 km of the track will be on the Bangladesh side while the rest on the Indian side. The laying of the railway tracks are estimated to be completed by 2017.

In today’s meeting, the ECNEC also approved six other new projects involving a total cost of Tk 1,095 crore, of which Bangladesh will provide Tk 674.71 crore while Tk 420.76 crore will come as project finance.


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