Northeast India to have rail links with neighbouring countries

The Daily Star July 10, 2012

Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal may soon have rail connectivity with the northeast states of India thanks to a plan that includes establishment of links between Agartala and Akhaura.

India’s Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has recently submitted a field survey report to the Railway Board which envisages connecting Tripura, Bihar, Assam, Manipur and West Bengal with the neighbouring countries to boost bilateral trade, usher development and tourism in the region.

“We have already sent the report to Railway Board and waiting for their reply,” IANS quoted a senior official of the NFR.

Work on the rail links from Tripura capital Agartala to Akhaura in Brahmanbaria of Bangladesh has already started, he said, adding, “The central government had sanctioned an amount of Rs 493.52 crore for the rail connectivity projects between Agartala to Akhaura and Jagboni in Bihar and Biratnagar in Nepal.”

India will build a 15km railway track linking Agartala with Akhaura — an important railway junction connected with Chittagong port, Sylhet and Dhaka — under its railway budget proposal this year.

There is also a road link between Akhaura and Agartala. The Dhaka-Agartala bus service was introduced in 2003.

The proposed rail links with Bhutan are Hasimara in West Bengal to Phuentsholing in Bhutan, Rangiya in Assam to Samdrupjonkhar in Bhutan, Banarhat in West Bengal to Samtse in Bhutan and Kokrajhar in Assam to Geleka in Bhutan and Pathsala in Assam to Namlang in Bhutan.

Proposal has also been made for establishing rail links between New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal and Kakrabita in Nepal.

A survey on the connectivity with Jiribam in Myanmar to Moreh in Manipur will start very soon, the official was quoted by IANS as saying.