The people of Belonia and Tripura as a whole are optimistic over the revival of the old Belonia-Feni railway service which would strengthen bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh
As Belonia a sub-division of South Tripura has the possibility to be connected with Agartala, the populaceisthrilled with the hopes of the revival of old ties with Bangladesh via railway connectivity.
On December 2, the Commission of Railway Safety conducted an inspection test on the 9.8km Santirbazaar-Belonia broad gauge line which connects to Agartala and could potentially extend the lines to Bangladesh.
Subsequently, on December 3 the Commission of Railway Safety formally approved passenger-safety on the Santirbazaar-Belonia broad-gauge line.
Sources in the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) informed that a tender had beenissued in 2015 to conduct a traffic survey of a new broad-gauge line from Belonia to Feni to extend linkage with Chittagong to gain access to the Bangladesh Railway Network.
In order to revive the snapped railway connection, the Hyderabad-based Aarvee Associates Architects Engineering Consultants Pvt. Ltd had recently conducted a technical survey to explore economic feasibilities and viabilities, sources in the NFR further informed.
Agartala wasintroduced tothe railway connectivity in 2008, althoughthe people of Belonia had access to railways earlier than Tripura’s capital city.
The people of Belonia had access to Feni, Chittagong and Dhaka via rail since the era of pre-independent India. However, this connectivity was snapped owing to the losses incurredin 1997, disheartening the people of Belonia.
The distance between the Belonia Railway Station (India) and the Belonia Railway Station (Bangladesh) is 2.75 km. The Belonia Station of Bangladesh is situated in the Parshuram upazilain Feni and, the Bangladeshi portion of Belonia is located 165 kms away from the Indo-Bangla border.
Pavel Das, a Civil Engineer based in Belonia said, “The ABR acquired an overall 277 acres of land from 25 villages in compliance with a Government order on 17 Dec, 1927.”
“The Belonia-Feni railway track was commissioned in 1929. There were eight railway stations between the Belonia-Feni route – Bondhua, Daulatpur, Anandapur, Pirbox, Munshir Haat, Notun Munshir Haat, Fulgazi, Parshuram and Belonia.”
“Owing to the lack of road connectivity, this railway track was asignificant medium of communication as well as economic development for Parshuram, Fulgazi and other places north of Feni, but owing to losses incurred, the Belonia-Feni railway service was shut down on 17 August, 1997,” added Das.