B’baria Correspondent: The dual gauge railway has been designed to connect the northeastern states of India with Bangladesh and to reduce the distance between Kolkata and Agartala. Akhaura-Agartala Dual Gauge Rail Link Construction (Bangladesh Part) project was completed a few months back. Already, the inspection car has been tested several times on this railway. However, when this new railway will be inaugurated, the people concerned do not know yet.
The 3rd consecutive term of the current government is coming to an end in a few months. In this situation, the government is trying to inaugurate almost all the projects which can be completed within this year. Some projects have already been inaugurated and some have been announced for inauguration. However, no one is able to provide accurate information about when the Akhaura-Agartala dual gauge rail link construction project will be inaugurated.
The project officials say that the work of running the train has been completed. The remaining works are also progressing at a fast pace. There is no work left. But it is not yet known when the inter-country commercial journey will start on this route.
Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said Daily Industry that due to the lack of time of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the date of the inauguration of this railway can’t be given.
It is known that during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India, there was a plan to inaugurate the railway in time with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But for some reason it didn’t happen.
Recently, the concerned officials of the railways said in various media that it may be inaugurated in the second week of September. Although the second week of September is now underway. But there is no announcement of the opening yet.
A Bangladesh Railway delegation visited the project work on September 2 at noon. The team was led by the then Additional Secretary (Development) of the Ministry of Railways. It was then announced that Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the railway by connecting virtually on September 9.
If you want to know about this, the director of the Akhaura-Agartala dual gauge railway project Abu Zafar Mia told Daily Industry that I do not know any information about when this railway will be inaugurated.
On Monday (September 11), Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said that world leaders were present at the G-20 conference. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent time with all of them there. Such a huge event, that’s why maybe it’s not time. Due to this, the inauguration of the project has been delayed. Since a major part of this project is with India, their interest was high here. The Prime Minister just came to the country. The timing of the inauguration of this project will be decided later after talking to the Indian representatives.
According to project sources, an agreement was signed with Indian contractor Texmeco Rail and Engineering Limited on May 21, 2018 for the construction of dual gauge railway from Gangasagar in Akhaura to Nishchintpur in Agartala. The length of this railway between the two countries is 12.24 km. Of this, 6.78 km is in the Bangladesh part. The project (Bangladesh part) is being spent around Tk 241 crore. The contractor started the project on July 29, 2018. Although it was supposed to be completed within a year and a half, they could not complete the work on time due to various crises including the Corona epidemic.
During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in 2010, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two countries regarding the construction of this railway. The railway will reduce travel time and distance from Agartala to West Bengal. If the project is launched, it will take 10 hours instead of 31 hours. The distance from Agartala to Kolkata will decrease from 1,650 km to just 513 km. In addition to trade, tourism and cultural exchange between the two countries will begin a new horizon.
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