- Indian part is to be completed by this year
- 10.5km construction work in Bangladesh got extension for twice
- The project is being implement by Indian grant
- Project will improve railway connectivity between BD and Indian
- Travel distance between Kolkata and Agartala will reduced to 550km from 1700km
Only half of the construction of the Akhaura-Agartala Dual Gauge Rail Line (Bangladesh portion) has been completed even three years after the first deadline expired.
The project deadline has been extended twice and is expected to be completed by June 2022. On the other hand, the adjacent rail tracks on the Indian side are scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, reports newstracklive.com.
As a result of the delay, large scale trade between the eastern part of India and Bangladesh will be hindered in the Bangladesh part.
Project Director Md Shuboktagin said as per the contract obligation, 65% of the project equipment and machinery have to be taken from India and due to some complexity in the import process, there have been delays.
"Out of 16 bridges under the project, 15 have already been constructed and the embankment of the line is also completed. We just now need to set up slippers," he said.
However, due to Covid-19 and machinery import complexity, the project implementation period has been extended by one more year.
The project aims at improving railway connectivity and boosting trade between Bangladesh and India. The rail link will open up the markets of India's north-eastern states for Bangladesh, ensure smooth transportation of goods, and facilitate people-to-people contact. The connectivity will also lower transportation costs and save time.
Officials at Bangladesh Railway said the commissioning of the rail link would benefit India more as Indian businessmen would be able to easily transport goods from Kolkata to Agartala as the distance between these two stations will be reduced to only 550 kilometres from 1,700 kilometres.
At present, India and Bangladesh have four rail links with the Indian state of West Bengal. The existing railway line from Guwahati in the hilly areas passes through Nagaon district (in central Assam) and Lumding in southern Assam and connects Agartala and parts of Manipur and Mizoram to the rest of the country, says Bangladesh Railway data.