Land acquisition for a 15km India-Bangladesh rail line, connecting Tripura's capital Agartala with Brahmanbaria’s Akhaura, has finally begun in both the countries after around seven-and-a-half-years of project finalisation.
Of the 15km railway track, 5km will be in India and 10km in Bangladesh. State-owned Indian Railway Construction Company will lay the track on the Indian side and Bangladesh Railway will lay the rest on its side.
"We have started the land acquisition process this week for the railway project,” West Tripura District Magistrate and Collector Milind Ramteke said, The Economic Times
reports quoting IANS.
“We plan to hand over the land to the railways by August 31," he added.
The $145 million project, which will be fully funded by India, was finalised in January 2010 when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met her former Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
Notices have been served on 257 families for acquiring 66 acres of land – five acres of which belong to the government.
Ramteke also said that India’s Union government had released Rs97.63 cr to acquire land for the project, for which the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is the nodal agency.
A NFR official, who declined to be named, said Bangladesh was also acquiring around 70 acres for the project.
"It will take 30 months to complete the project, after the actual work starts," the officer added.
The project, sanctioned in India’s 2012-13 railway budget, would facilitate carriage of goods between the countries and greatly benefit India's land-locked north-eastern states.
Besides, it is a part of Trans-Asian Railway Network and will reduce the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata from 1,613-km to 514 km when trains run through Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Railway Minister Mazibul Hoque and his Indian counterpart Suresh Prabhu jointly laid the project’s foundation stone on July 31 last year.
Currently the rail line from Assam’s Guwahati passes through Lumding and southern Assam connecting Agartala and parts of Manipur and Mizoram with rest of the country.