AGARTALA: Land acquisition for the 15 km long Agartala-Akhaura rail project to link Indian Railways with Bangladesh Railways, has started, officials said on Sunday.
“We have served notices to 257 families to acquire 66 acres of land for the rail project and the land would be handed over to the railways by August end”, West Tripura District Magistrate and Collector Milind Ramteke told reporters.
He said, the Central government has already released Rs 97.63 crore to acquire the land.
The process of laying the 15 km long railway tracks to connect Agartala with Akhaura in Bangladesh will be completed in two and half years time after laying of tracks begin.
Out of the 15 km track, 5 km would be on Indian side and the rest in Bangladesh.
Ramteke said that the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is the nodal agency for implementation of the project in Indian side.
Bangladesh government has also started acquiring around 70 acres of land for the project, NFR officials said.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu and his Bangladesh counterpart, Majibul Haque had jointly laid the foundation stone here on 31 July 2016.
A flyover of 3.7 km would be constructed on the Indian side to save cultivable lands and the entire project cost would be borne by the government, he said.
New Delhi is keen to establish the rail link as it would connect West Bengal and Tripura through Bangladesh.
During Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi, the two neighbours had agreed to lay the tracks between Akhaura and Agartala.
The Agartala-Akhaura railway route would connect Indian Railways with Bangladesh Railways which would improve connectivity and boost trade between the two countries.
The 1,700 km distance between Agartala and Kolkata which goes through the ‘chicken’s neck’ in Siliguri would be reduced by 350 km if passengers could move through Bangladesh, officials said.